Burnley‘s 1-2 loss with Bournemouth ended what has been a really impressive season for Sean Dyche’s men and exciting times lie ahead for the side who next season will be in Europe for the first time since 1967.
Such an achievement cannot be underestimated and context can be found in Burnley’s 14 point improvement on last season and although it would have been nice to top the season off with a victory, a moment of complacency can be forgiven for this Burnley side who have exceeded all expectations.
Burnley fans have enjoyed a quite incredible season, however their side has been far from prolific in front of goal and if it wasn’t for their tough defence, their season might not have been the success it has been.
Turf Moor has seen less goals than any other Premier League ground this season, with only 30 goals scored all season coming into today’s game.
And it took a while to get started and it wasn’t until the 17th minute that Burnley fans had something to get excited about.
Some nice build-up play down the left resulted in Johann Berg Gudmundsson setting Stephan Ward clear, but the full-backs’ cross was deflected clear.
Bournemouth responded well, first threatening through a dangerous cross provided by Jordon Ibe, but his cross evaded the Cherries’ forwards.
Minutes later Ibe found himself in the same position but instead played an inside pass to Lys Mousset who’s shot was parried well by Nick Pope.
Pope has provided a compelling case to be included in England’s World Cup plans this summer and gave further evidence to that case this afternoon, blocking a powerful Charlie Daniels strike.
As half-time approached each side continued to trade blows, with every Bournemouth strike provoking a return effort from the hosts. Jack Cork ran on to a Jeff Hendrick pass but his shot was dragged well wide of the left-hand post.
With five minutes left of the first half Burnley broke the deadlock. Stephen Ward raced down the left and his cross allowed Ashley Westwood to provide an assist with a shot that struck Wood on its way into the net.
Repeating the pattern of the first period, an early Bournemouth chance was followed by a spell of Burnley pressure. A well hit Jeff Hendrick effort proving too central to trouble Cherries’ keeper Asmir Begovic who collected easily.
Eddie Howe, not content with direction the game was heading, resorted to a double substitution on the 58th minute with Callum Wilson and Dan Gosling replacing Lys Mousset and Emerson Hyndman.
Minutes later Dyche followed suit, bringing on Sam Vokes for Chris Wood as Burnley’s top goalscorer appeared in discomfort and left the field for the final time this season to a rapturous ovation.
Bournemouth were then denied what appeared to be a clear penalty. Josh King sold Aaron Lennon a dummy in the penalty area and went down as his opposite number swept his legs away without touching the ball.
The equaliser did eventually come in the 74th minute when Josh King danced inside off the left and curled a delightful shot into the far corner. No chance for Burnley goalkeeper Pope, who had made a fantastic save seconds before to deny Jermaine Defoe a goal.
Just as the game seemed to be heading for a draw, Wilson provided Bournemouth with an unlikely winner after another defensive mixup by Burnely.
Ultimately two moments of madness cost Dyche’s side, an unfortunate slip by Burnley defender Kevin Long allowed Jermain Defoe to race clear and play Callum Wilson in for the winner.
Although Burnley will receive more of the plaudits for this season, it is important to note what a good job Eddie Howe has done, once again keeping Bournemouth in the Premier League on a shoestring budget.