Agnew frustrated as Clarets hold Boro

Middlesbrough interim head coach Steve Agnew was left to bemoan his luck as relegation-threatened Middlesbrough were denied a first victory in 14 Premier League games by Burnley.

Saturday, 8th April 2017, 10:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 8:18 pm
Steve Agnew

Agnew was convinced last man Michael Keane should have been sent off for an 85th-minute foul on substitute Patrick Bamford as he threatened to go one-on-one with keeper Tom Heaton with a chance to secure a priceless win.

However, referee Martin Atkinson decided only to book the England defender - replays suggested he had slipped as he tried to rein Bamford in - and Matt Lowton headed Stewart Downing's free-kick off the line to double the dose as the match ended 0-0.

Agnew said: "Patrick, I knew when he went on that he's capable of getting on the last man and balls in behind. He's a threat and that's exactly what happened.

"From where I was standing, I was disappointed with the decision. I thought he was in on goal, I thought his first touch was terrific. His dropped on his right foot, he was in control of the ball - he'd have had a one-v-one with the goalkeeper."

Agnew's mood was not improved seconds later when Alvaro Negredo, who had earlier forced a stunning save from Heaton with an acrobatic volley, had a goal chalked off for handball, although he had no issue with that decision.

The defeat left the Teessiders six points adrift of 17th-placed Hull with a game in hand and with work still to do.

Agnew said: "Alvaro did everything right, scissor-kick, left foot, lots of power behind it, great save. Stewart Downing steps up and does everything right, Lowton drops on to the post, sees it out for a corner.

"They're just things that have just not gone for us today. But in terms of effort, commitment, attitude, energy... and I have to say the crowd was terrific. It was a proper team effort, really.

"I thought we deserved the three points, I thought we deserved a goal and we live to fight another day.

"I thought it was a game we should have won and we could have won. But we are six off it with a game extra to play, so it's all to play for and still positive."

Burnley boss Sean Dyche was the happier manager after seeing his side collect just a fourth point of the season on the road. The Clarets wait for an away victory goes on but top-flight safety is firmly within their grasp.

Asked if they are just about there, Dyche said: "You can never guarantee it until it's done, so our focus is on every game as it comes. We have maintained that with the players.

"It was a big week this week with the three games and to pull four points out of it is pleasing. There's still more work to be done because you want to take care of your own business and we have given ourselves a good base position to do that, so it's important now that we do that.

"Now the focus is just taking each game as it comes, staying on the front foot trying to take on every team we play against.

"We came here today, two strikers again. We want to take games on to win them and we tried. First half, they were better; second half, probably we edged it and in the end, a draw is about right."