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Club News

2016/17 - A Season To Remember: Part V

5 June 2017

The Clarets’ 2016/17 campaign will go down as one of their best in recent times, as Sean Dyche’s squad successfully maintained their Premier League status. And it came down to a memorable conclusion as Dyche’s men held their nerve to put a seal on a fabulous 10 months.

The Clarets’ 2016/17 campaign will go down as one of their best in recent times, as Sean Dyche’s squad successfully maintained their Premier League status. And it came down to a memorable conclusion as Dyche’s men held their nerve to put a seal on a fabulous 10 months.

April

The Clarets made a welcome return to Turf Moor but it wasn’t a happy homecoming as they found in-form Tottenham in un-forgiving mood.

A 2-0 win formed part of a nine-game winning streak as Spurs tried in vain to chase down Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

Burnley were unbeaten in six home games and fully tested Tottenham before the break. But second-half goals from Eric Dier and Heung-Min Son ended that record and made it seven without a win for the Clarets.

But, as ever where Sean Dyche’s side is seemingly concerned, they produced a result just when they needed one to calm the waters with a 1-0 win over Stoke City next up at Turf Moor.

There was little in it but one moment of class from George Boyd, coolly slotting past ex-Clarets’ keeper Lee Grant from Jeff Hendrick’s pull-back proved decisive.

The winger’s first goal since December gave Burnley a 10th home league win and also took them to 35 points to set a new Premier League high as any creeping doubts were clinically pushed aside.

A 0-0 draw at Middlesbrough again left supporters waiting for a first away win but Tom Heaton’s fantastic late save from Alvaro Negredo put another nail in Boro’s coffin as they headed straight back towards the Championship.

Burnley were inching towards their goal but back-to-back defeats to Everton and Manchester United kept them waiting.

The in-form Toffees lay in wait at Goodison Park as they chased an eighth successive home win which would be their best run since 1990.

And Ronald Koeman’s side duly obliged once they had overcome stubborn Burnley resistance.

The Clarets had first-half chances but didn’t take them and then fell behind when Phil Jagielka nodded in. 

Sam Vokes quickly levelled from the spot but Ross Barkley’s deflected effort restored Everton’s lead and when Romelu Lukaku burst into lift to score for the ninth home game running, it was game over.

A visit from Manchester United was never likely to be an easy way to resume the winning thread and so it proved as Jose Mourinho’s side extended their unbeaten league run to 23 games.

The Clarets were caught out on the break as Anthony Martial put United 1-0 up and when Wayne Rooney doubled the lead with a scrappy finish to chalk up his 251st goal for the club the Clarets were left with too much to do as they slipped back to 16th spot.

The bottom three remained five points adrift but Burnley wanted to take care of things themselves and in their penultimate away game of the season they produced one of their best performances to finally deliver that elusive away win.

Palace were fighting for their lives and arguably one win from securing safety themselves, having beaten Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in an upturn of fortunes.

But Sam Allardyce’s side found the Clarets a different proposition in the evening sunshine at Selhurst Park.

Ben Mee’s ever-present record was ended by injury, allowing James Tarkowski to make a long-awaited first Premier League start alongside Michael Keane in a new-look defence, which also lost Stephen Ward to a first-half knock.

But the re-shuffled back line did its job perfectly and an early strike from Ashley Barnes set Dyche’s men on their way.

Ashley Westwood also played his part in a magnificently controlled performance as he replaced Joey Barton following confirmation of an FA ban that had ended Barton’s second coming at Turf Moor.

And a sweet victory – celebrated joyously by both players and fans - was assured when substitute Andre Gray came off the bench to drill home the late second in a 2-0 win.

May

The Clarets were now within touching distance of becoming the first Burnley side since 1975 to set up back-to-back seasons in the top flight.

And fittingly they did it back at Turf Moor thanks to a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Vokes was the hero of the hour as he struck twice, including the late equaliser that effectively got Burnley over the line.

Kevin Long’s patience paid off with a first Premier League start in place of Michael Keane as the England international’s season was ended early by injury.

But the Baggies had points to prove themselves after a wretched run of form and after Vokes had put Burnley ahead, the visitors hit back with a quick-fire double to register their first goals in six games and lead 2-1.

That scoreline might have left the Clarets with work to do but four minutes from time substitute Robbie Brady clipped in a free-kick which Vokes reached ahead of goalkeeper Ben Foster to nod in.

Celebrations were muted with Swansea – one of the sides that could catch Burnley - facing an evening kick-off.

But once news filtered through that Hull had suffered a shock home defeat to Sunderland it became clear Burnley had done it. Mission accomplished.

Hull were never going to claw back a 19-goal deficit over the final two games, which meant the Clarets could concentrate on how high they could go.

At one point on the final day of the season – after the in-form Vokes had put the Clarets 1-0 up against West Ham with his 12th goal of the campaign – they went as high as ninth.

But with the season’s effort finally catching up with them, successive defeats to Bournemouth – where Dyche marked his 200th league game in charge of the club – and the Hammers meant the Clarets finished in 16th place with 40 points.

Still impressive figures, but those statistics tell only half the story.

The 2016/17 season truly was a magical one.


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