Out of all the second round ties of The Carabao Cup, Blackburn Rovers vs Burnley was the stand out draw. The fierce rivals are now two leagues apart and on the night that gulf certainly showed as the Clarets cruised into the third round after two first half goals from Jack Cork and Robbie Brady.
As are most rivalries, it was hostile and heated and this tie showed evidence of that early on; Burnley fans being forced to travel via club support only from Turf Moor using buses and coaches with a police escort down the M65, flares being set off after Jack Cork’s opener and a Blackburn supporter encroaching the pitch, confronting Burnley players celebrating and put his hands around Ashley Westwood’s neck as the players began to wander back to the centre circle. The Burnley players were forced to man handle the supporter before stewards began to assist with escorting the fan off the pitch. Lancashire Police later confirmed that five arrests of made during the game. So it was another eventful Lancashire derby.
Burnley fans arrived at Ewood Park around an hour before kick and were herded into the stadium and through the turnstiles like sheep. As the Darwen End continued to fill as kick off approached, it was clear that the problems between Blackburn supporters and the board are still there as only 10,000 home supporters turned up to their “biggest game of the season” as Burnley fans jokingly suggested. Bookmakers were uncertain of Burnley’s prowess heading into this one, offering 11/10 on an away win – and nerves were growing as kick off approached.
Burnley failed to settle into the game early on, but after that sloppy 10 minutes or so, the Clarets began to find their rhythm and fluidity has the half went on and Robbie Brady was instrumental in Burnley’s play as the visitors began to take control of the tie and on 27 minutes, Brady’s in swinging cross from the right found an unmarked Jack Cork who headed home past a stranded David Raya, who was in no mans land. The 5000 travelling Burnley fans mocking the Blackburn support chanting “We are superior” was well underway.
The opening goal clearly rocked Blackburn as Burnley continued to control the tie; Robbie Brady had a long range effort just narrowly miss the target. Scott Arfield had an effort deflected into the goalkeeper which could have gone anywhere and debutant Chris Wood was played through on goal by Ashley Barnes only for Raya to deny him before half time.
But the Clarets did get their second goal on the stroke of half time. Charlie Taylor’s long ball forward found Chris Wood who held the ball up, found Jack Cork who rolled the ball across the box to Brady who danced through two Blackburn defenders to smash into the roof of the net. Burnley fans went into raptures with chants of “Easy, easy, easy” go around Ewood Park – that 11/10 was suddenly looking like a value betting tip.
With all Burnley dominance in the first half, from a Burnley fan’s point of view, the second half was equally as pleasing to watch. Burnley kept the ball and continued to control the game and see the game out professionally and could have easily added to the score line more than once through Chris Wood, but the £15m signing from Leeds United lacked the composure in front of goal which saw the striker score over 40 goals in two seasons in the Championship.
Sean Dyche made eight changes from the side that were defeated at home by West Brom; Nick Pope, Kevin Long, Scott Arfield, Ashley Westwood, Ashley Barnes and Jon Walters all come in as there were debuts for full backs, Phil Bardsley and Charlie Taylor. Last season, Burnley were knocked out both cup competitions in humiliating circumstances by Accrington Stanley and Lincoln City during their famous FA Cup run. Sean Dyche was come under scrutiny from Burnley fans for making chances and not having a strong enough depth to the squad. But this time around, Burnley made changes in a derby game and looked more than comfortable against their local rivals, Burnley progressing never looked in doubt as Blackburn just couldn’t compete against Burnley’s second string side which proved that Burnley are the superior outfit between the two sides.
Seven years, seven unbeaten and four wins in a row now for Burnley against Blackburn.