Despite an energetic and bright opening twenty minutes, once again Everton fell to a defeat that must increase pressure on manager Ronald Koeman.
Following Thursday’s disappointing draw, the manager said he wasn’t worried about his immediate future, and went about his work in selecting his side to face Burnley: Pickford, Baines (c), Williams, Keane, Martina, Schneiderlin, Gana Gueye, Sigurdsson, Vlasic, Niasse and Calvert-Lewin.
Opposite number Sean Dyche after an encouraging start to their season opted for: Pope, Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward, Brady, Cork, Hendricks, Defour, Arfield and Wood.
Our referee was Jonathan Moss.
Everton started brightly with Baines throwing a high cross right under the crossbar to test Pope in the first minute.
A nice move started by Martina and played through DCL and Vlasic presented Niasse with a shot that Pope was pleased to hold, and when DCL dispossessed Mee in midfield and bore down on goal hopes were high of an early goal. He checked and played in Vkasuc who laid it into the path of Sigurdsson but his low shot had no power and was easily saved.
Niasse was full of running and movement and causing problems, he forced the Blues first corner.
Sigurdsson then played Niasse in on the left flank, he held it up and gave the return for for the Icelander who scuffed his attempted shot.
It had been a bright and encouraging start with CDL, Vlasic and Niasse all busy and hungry but as is so often the case, a dominant team that doesn’t score gets punished and so it was in the 21st minute.
Burnley got forward in numbers and at pace on their left side and a neat one-two saw the ball cut back from the byeline for Hendrick to control, step away from Keane and calmly fire home from about twelve yards.
The goal had come against the run of play, and it visibly affected the Blues as indecision and the all too familiar cautious sideways play appeared.
Niasse was still offering himself, eager to make the most of this rare start and forced another corner and then fired wide when collecting a pass from Sigurdsson.
The loss of confidence took on almost comical proportions in the 41st minute when first Sigurdsson then Williams both managed to hit Burnley players with attempted clearances with the ball falling favourably for Wood who went down theatrically and was booked for his cheek in claiming a penalty.
Half Time: 0-1
No changes to either side at the break as Everton set out to attack the Park End.
DCL was booked on 48 minutes for a foul on Ward and the opening minutes of the half offered precious little in terms of improvement in the play from the home side.
My notes again were littered with phrases like poor passing, poor crossing, no pace, no width, no penetration, indecision, too cautious.
DCL took a short ball from Sigurdsson and turned to make space for the shot that was deflected safely into the arms of the Burnley keeper.
Baines was booked on 58 minutes, rather harshly in my opinion and Rooney came off the bench to replace Schneiderlin four minutes later.
DCL put a header off a Martina cross just wide and Davis replaced Vlasic who had worked hard throughout.
Everton were failing to make any really serious impression upon a well drilled, but largely uninspiring Burnley, but they had the lead and no intention of relinquishing it either.
Ramirez for Niasse was the final throw of the dice with less than ten minutes to play during which the Blues had two penalty appeals for hand ball both refused by referee Moss.
Alan Ball celebration day had turned into a very disappointing occasion, and if I’m brutally honest, there doesn’t appear to be much light at the end of a very dark tunnel
Full Time: 0-1
Speaking after the game, Ronald Koeman said,
“I can’t complain about the reactions of fans. Everyone is disappointed about the result but I don’t think they can be disappointed about the commitment”.
“I like the team and my players. The solution starts by the commitment of the players and we need to improve and have a bit of luck”.
“I can’t complain about my players. We showed the right attitude and commitment that we need to play with. We had big chances in the beginning then the game would be totally different”.
“You know when you go down against Burnley it is tough. They drop back and are good defensively, organisationally and physically strong. We needed to be at our best to create and we didn’t create a lot”.