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Pope Is Spot-On

Nick Pope's first Premier League penalty save helps Clarets gain vital point

1 February 2018

Nick Pope chalked up another career first in a season of highs with his crucial penalty save at St James’ Park.

Pope kept out Joselu’s spot-kick with a fine stop low down to his left to prevent Newcastle United taking a half-time lead.

And it gave the Clarets’ goalkeeper a welcome first spot-kick success in the Premier League at the fourth time of asking.

“I’m delighted to get the first one ticked off. I’ve had a few opportunities so it’s nice to have that one,” Pope told Clarets Player HD.

“I enjoyed it. Goalkeepers don’t score many, so they are the sort of moments you really enjoy.

“It was nice to pick the right way and get something on it.”

Pope’s previous top-flight shoot-outs since he came into the Clarets' starting line-up have come against Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Brighton.

He didn’t need to make a save as Brighton’s Glenn Murray blasted his penalty over the bar in a 0-0 draw at the Amex Stadium in December - where Pope kept the ninth of his 10 clean sheets so far this season.

The much-vaunted trio of Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez and Harry Kane had more luck as they beat the acting Burnley number-one to help their sides to victory.

But Newcastle took only a point from a 1-1 draw against the Clarets on Wednesday night, with Pope playing a key role in the first half when the Geordies were on top.

As well as denying Joselu, the 25-year-old also touched over a Ciaran Clark header and made a superb finger-tip save to stop Kenedy marking his Newcastle debut with an early goal.

“That’s one I enjoyed as well. It took deflection on the way and I got a bit of luck off the post, so it was nice to have that shine on me,” Pope added.

The Clarets did concede as Jamaal Lascelles headed Newcastle in front from a 65th-minute corner.

But Burnley were rewarded for an impressive second-half showing and a late fightback capped by an 85th-minute equaliser claimed by Sam Vokes but which may ultimately go down as an own-goal from United keeper Karl Darlow.

“It was a tough half for us in the first half. So, going in 0-0, I think we were happy with that,” said Pope, whose efforts helped Sean Dyche’s side move back up to seventh place in the Premier League.

“We then had a chance to re-group and get our thoughts together and go again in the second half.

“Being 1-0 down anywhere in the Premier League, especially away from home, is an uphill battle.

“But you can’t just lay down. You’ve got to get up and fight and that’s what we did.

“We kept going right until the end and a late goal has paid us back.

“We stuck at it really well in the second half. We stayed in the game and I think our character really showed and we came away with a good point.”

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