Burnley played their normal 4-4-2 formation and have kept the same starting eleven for eight consecutive Premier League games. Alan Pardew set the Palace team up with the same formation, the thought being that if both sides played well we would win. A poor start had the travelling fans shaking their heads in disbelief. A misjudgement at a corner by Julian Speroni saw the home team take the lead through Ben Mee with a free header at the far post.
As we know mistakes in the Premier League in the final third generally get punished. A dubious decision by referee Phil Dowd to allow play to go on when I felt Joel Ward was fouled put us two goals down in sixteen minutes when Danny Ings slotted home.
Director of Communications and Strategy for Prime Minister, Tony Blair, back in the 90’s, had two fingers up and formed a zero with his other hand to remind me of the score, as the saying goes, he who laughs last laughs the longest.As I looked across the directors box to Alastair Campbell, an ardent Burnley fan and former
That was it, the manager had seen enough, he made a decisive move, he changed the formation from 4-4-2 to 4-1-4-1.
Joe Ledley sat in front of the back four, Dwight Gayle moved from up front to wide left, Punch moved more central to play alongside James McArthur and Wilfried moved from left to right wing, leaving debut boy Yaya Sanogo alone up front.
Slowly we got to grips with the match, and twelve minutes after Burnley’s second goal we were back in the game, Wilfried's run at the Burnley’s defence produced a fine cross, McArthur had a stab at it but it deflected to Dwight, who’s fine touch and finish was no more than we deserved. We controlled the play for the remainder of the first half, we passed it better, looked more confident and to be honest, looked the more likely to score again.
I didn’t see any sense of panic and the fans we spoke to on the journey back all said they felt we would go onto win even at 2-0 down. When you have a skillful wide player playing central they can sometimes wreak havoc, well that’s what Jason Puncheon did, he has the ability to go past defenders from a central position, and that’s what he did for our second goal, a shimmy, turn of pace and a low shot drew the teams level at 2-2.
Glenn Murray hit the post as the snow began to fall, moments later Punch came inside from the right, looked up and picked out Dwight, who’s sweet strike finished Burnley off. We have massively increased our shots at goal and produced more goal scoring opportunities with Pards, and we have the belief back again. Resilience, hard work and creativity have all returned to the team, long may it continue.