Burnley moved out of the Premier League relegation zone with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa in a dramatic night down the bottom.
Ashley Barnes’ penalty late in the first half had put Burnley ahead but Emiliano Buendia equalised early in the second half and the mood became flatter for Mike Jackson’s team with the travelling support acutely aware of Everton’s extraordinary comeback.
Burnley could still have won it had Wout Weghorst not spurned a great chance late on but had to settle for a point – particularly when Matt Lowton was sent off late in the game.
Afterwards, Villa boss Steven Gerrard insisted Barnes should have been sent off prior to his goal for elbowing Tyrone Mings.
Aston Villa: Martinez (7), Cash (7), Chambers (7), Mings (7), Digne (7), Luiz (6), Chukwuemeka (5), McGinn (6), Buendia (6), Ramsey (7), Watkins (6).
Subs: Traore (6), Coutinho (6), Ings (6).
Burnley: Pope (8), Roberts (6), Tarkowski (7), Long (7), Collins (7), Taylor (7), Brownhill (7), Cork (6), McNeil (6), Barnes (7), Cornet (6).
Subs: Weghorst (5), Lennon (6), Lowton (4).
Man of the match: Nick Pope.
Burnley’s draw will be enough to guarantee they will retain their Premier League status as long as they can match Leeds’ result at Brentford when Newcastle come to Turf Moor on Sunday.
How the drama unfolded
Villa came closest before the penalty, John McGinn twice forcing athletic saves from Nick Pope in the Burnley goal as the away team started slowly. Jacob Ramsey was making some driving runs on his return to the starting line-up. The full-backs were pushing on.
But Jackson’s side hung in there, broke up the play and began to cause problems from set-piece situations. Matty Cash had to get his head to a Dwight McNeil effort that looked bound for the corner. Barnes was throwing his weight around – not always fairly.
An elbow to the head of Tyrone Mings early in the half left the Villa captain on the deck. “I think Barnes is very lucky to be on the pitch,” Dion Dublin told Sky Sports. “He doesn’t look at Mings and that elbow is a bit naughty for me.” Barnes would take full advantage.
The big moment came late in the half when Maxwell Cornet turned inside the penalty box and tumbled over the foot of Buendia. The home fans chanted his name in support of the Argentinian but he knew it was sloppy. Barnes did the rest from the spot.
Burnley’s situation looked pretty healthy at that stage – Everton were two down against Crystal Palace. But that all began to change when Buendia made amends for his earlier error by sweeping the ball into the net on the volley with a shot that was too hot for Pope.
Calum Chambers replaced the injured Ezri Konsa as expected but there were three further changes to the Aston Villa line-up. Carney Chukwuemeka, Emi Buendia and Jacob Ramsey all came in with Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings and Marvelous Nakamba benched.
Burnley made just one change to the team that lost out narrowly to Tottenham last time out. James Tarkowski returning in favour of Matt Lowton.
When news of Everton’s third goal filtered through at Villa Park, the away end appeared deflated and the situation could have soon been worse had substitute Danny Ings – a former Burnley player – not seen his well-struck shot fly just wide of the far post.
Villa came even closer with 10 minutes remaining when Calum Chambers’ floated cross found the head of Bertrand Traore but his low attempt was somehow clawed away by Pope. It might just be the save that helps to keep Burnley in the Premier League.
With Burnley defending deeper and deeper, and Jackson making defensive substitutions, they appeared to have settled for a point. Then came their huge chance. Connor Roberts squared to Weghorst with Emi Martinez beaten but Mings produced a heroic block.
Any hope of a Burnley winner ended when ex-Villa man Lowton lunged into a challenge with Chambers and though he got his foot to the ball first, the follow through caught the Villa centre-back and Paul Tierney sent him from the field.
It was the final twist in a crazy night of Premier League action.
Gerrard: Clear red card for Barnes
Steven Gerrard was unhappy that Barnes was not sent off for the elbow on Mings, labelling it one of the clearest red-card offences of the season.
“I think we should have been playing against 10 men from a very early stage of this game,” said the Villa head coach. “I think that is a clear red card, probably one of the clearest I have seen this season. That decision went against us.
“The PGMOL said there was not enough force for that to be a red card. I heard it and I was 60 yards away. He has run into the incident from 10 yards, he has pulled his elbow back and he has smashed him in the face.
“I mean, have you got to break someone’s cheek or make them go off the pitch for it to be a red card? Everyone knows that is a red card. That is a fact.”
Man of the match: Nick Pope
Pope made two big saves in the first half but his one low to his right late in the game from Traore was worth a point. It was a man-of-the-match performance by the England goalkeeper and his Burnley team-mates were quick to acknowledge that.
“He is special, he is so big and he dominates that goal and we just feel we are not going to concede,” James Tarkowski told Sky Sports. “He was outstanding,” agreed Ashley Barnes. “That is why he is there and all season he has kept us in games.”
The match in stats
- Nick Pope tonight made eight saves in helping his Burnley side to a point against Aston Villa, the joint-most he’s recorded in a single Premier League game.
- Ashley Barnes has scored each of his seven Premier League penalties for Burnley, the most of any player for the club in the division, surpassing Graham Alexander’s tally of six.
- Matt Lowton is the fifth different former Aston Villa player to be sent off against the club after appearing for them in the Premier League, with all five red cards coming at Villa Park; he is the first such player since Christian Benteke in July 2020.
Aston Villa travel to Manchester City and Burnley host Newcastle on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday at 4pm.