Vokes snatches late draw for Clarets in Europa League

Planes, trains and automobiles. Burnley fans did whatever they could to cover the hundreds of miles to Pittodrie to see the club back in Europe.

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 10:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 11:02 pm
Clarets striker Sam Vokes netted the equaliser against Aberdeen in the Europa League tie at Pittodrie.

Moments like this don't happen all the time. They've skipped a generation, or two. Many arrived at this occasion via trips to Plymouth, Cambridge, Maidstone, Torquay, Northampton, Barnet, Hereford, Lincoln, Wrexham and Aldershot as the Clarets trudged the depths of the Football League.

It's been a long time coming, some believed that it would never happen in their lifetime, but 24 managers, eight relegations, four titles and a further four promotions later, Burnley are back!

Supporters congregated in Aberdeen's Union Square prior to kick-off, proudly displaying their colours, they united back at home, and when Jeff Hendrick got the first leg underway their wildest dreams were realised.

History was being made right here in the Granite City. Not since April 1967, when Brian Miller netted in a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt at Turf Moor in the quarter-finals of the Fairs Cup, had Burnley been involved in a European competition.

It was a memory to savour off the pitch, reward for a seventh place finish in England's toughest division, and the result is a good building block as Sean Dyche's side hit the halfway mark in this 'Battle of Britain'.

Nick Pope's injury, sustained in the opening 10 minutes following a collision with James Tarkowski, is of huge concern with the season nearing, particularly with Tom Heaton also sidelined at present.

The England international was helped off, making way for Anders Lindegaard, who hadn't played a first team game since shipping six for Preston North End against Newcastle United in the League Cup in 2016.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, the Dane's first involvement was to pick the ball out of the net as the home side converted from the spot.

And on reflection it will probably go down as one of the most contentious decisions to go against Burnley in the Dyche era.

After a record-breaking amount of penalties awarded at the World Cup in Russia, with VAR giving officials a helping hand, referee Daniel Siebert may have benefited from having the same luxury.

There seemed nothing in it when James Tarkowski challenged Sam Cosgrove in the air but the German official thought otherwise and pointed to the spot.

Gary Mackay-Steven stepped up and sent Lindegaard the wrong way, planting the ball in to the bottom left corner in the 17th minute.

The visitors seemed well off the boil in the first half, Aberdeen had their tails up, but it was testament to the Clarets that they were able to completely transform the momentum after the interval.

Jack Cork was left scratching his head when his point blank effort was somehow scrambled clear by Joe Lewis before Aaron Lennon's threaded cross somehow evaded everybody inside the six-yard box.

The Dons did have opportunities to extend their lead but Lindegaard was on hand to keep them at bay on a couple of occasions.

The former Manchester United stopper denied Cosgrove at full stretch once Mackay-Steven had caught the Clarets on the break.

But it was his second stop that rated as the most impressive. With Mackay-Steven's header destined for the corner, owing to Cosgrove's assist from Niall McGinn's delivery, the 34-year-old sprung to his upright to turn the ball away for a corner.

The Clarets, though, were fully in control, continuing to stretch the play in Aberdeen's final third, looking to pick that game-changing pass.

That came with 10 minutes remaining, after Johann Berg Gudmundsson's dipping volley narrowly evaded the crossbar.

Substitute Sam Vokes never looked like conceding possession when collecting Tarkowski's pass and, aided with an air of fortune, he fired the ball beyond Lewis, becoming the first player since Brian Miller to score for the Clarets in Europe.