Burnley return to scene of pivotal moment

Michael Keanes header crosses the line but isnt given
Michael Keanes header crosses the line but isnt given

Burnley go to Brighton sixth in the Premier League table, riding the crest of a wave.

The last time they were at the Amex Stadium was something of a sliding doors moment, however.

Facing Championship title rivals, in April 2016, the Clarets trailed 2-1 in the dying moments, before Michael Keane headed in a Matt Taylor corner - though, without goal line technology, it wasn’t given.

Shortly after, Keane repeated the feat to earn a point, and keep Burnley top of the table, and their unbeaten run intact, taking it to 16 games.

Had Brighton held on, they would have moved within a point, but Burnley it at four.

Three days later, Keane rescued a point at the death again, at home to Middlesbrough.

Burnley went 23 unbeaten to win the league, with Boro edging out Brighton for the second automatic promotion slot after a final day draw at the Riverside.

Brighton were then beaten in the play off semi finals by Sheffield Wednesday, but bounced back to win promotion to the Premier League for the first time last season.

Clarets boss Sean Dyche looked back on a pivotal moment: “It’s not really one of the sweetest games I’ve been involved in, because it could have been a win if you remember.

“But it was a great point, and a needed point at that time.

“It gave us the momentum to go on and take the title, so we have very good memories of going down there to play them.

“But that doesn’t guarantee anything this time. I think Brighton are doing ever so well. I really like Chris (Hughton), and have a lot of respect for him. I respect all managers but Chis is someone I have known a while, and he is a straight-up man. He calls it about right I think.”

He added: “I enjoy his company whenever I see him, and his wife is fantastic, a great character. I’ve met them at a few dinners and had a great time with them. I just think he goes about his business in a proper fashion. And his team equally.

“To get the knock of that season when they were up there all season only to fall away at the end, and then come up next season, all credit to them. And they have got good points on the board because it is very difficult in the Premier League.

“It still is for us, and it was even tough when we first came up. I know Brighton have had a difficult little run lately but I saw them against Man Utd when they gave a very good performance. I felt they deserved to take something from that game. So there’s a healthy respect for these challenges, especially with them at home.

“They will want to get a result and it makes for another good fixture in my eyes.”

A face familiar to Brighton fans is former striker Ashley Barnes, who remains a integral part of the Burnley success story under Dyche, after making a £450,000 move in January 2014, as Dyche’s first cash signing.

He is Burnley’s record Premier League goalscorer with 13 in total, and Dyche said: “He was (my first cash signing) for a massive total of £450,000! It seems weird now, because I feel we’re spending a lot for Burnley, but in the big wide world you see how quickly the numbers have gone bump, bump, bump!

“Yeah, he’s done well. Really well. I’m really happy with him, and he’s done his part, and continues to do so. Good around the camp, a good member of the group, and he’s done well for us this season in very different situations – starting or off the bench, he’s been very active. The respect I have for the players who are not in the team is huge, because they’re vital to our success.”