Burnley could have headed into the break with a 4-1 lead had the officials had their eyes in but instead a bizarre disallowed goal in the second half handed momentum to the visitors to get an equaliser.
Not many games will see officials get so many decisions wrong, then manage to make a mess of getting one right! The Clarets thought they had sealed the game when Junior Stanislas fired home after being played in by Martin Paterson. However as the Burnley players ran back to the half way line for the restart the linesman’s flag went up. The decision was the right one, Paterson was offside in the build up to the goal, but the linesman did not flag at the time. It was cruel to make the decision so late and only after extended protests from the Millwall players. Surely it calls into question whether either official had indeed seen the offside in the first place.
Before the game got really farcical, Burnley had started well despite an early goal from the visitors. Liam Trotter played a neat one-two with Andy Keogh, cutting through the Burnley defence before finishing well to give the Lions a dream start. Burnley instantly went about trying to get back in the scoreline. Danny Shittu edged Martin Paterson out to clear after Chris McCann had a pacy effort batted away by David Forde in the Lions goal. Stanislas then missed a chance as Paterson pulled the ball back for him. Stanislas would soon make amends for his miss as, despite abuse being hurled at him from Burnley fans in the corner, he delivered a fine corner to the six yard box. Ben Mee wriggled free of his marker before leaping to head home. It was Mee’s first league goal, but it had been due after a fine header hit the bar last week at Pride Park.
Stanislas would come close to adding to Burnley’s scoreline from a long-range freekick that was just inches from finding the top corner. The Clarets should have had two set pieces that would have been more likely to result in a goal. Twice Millwall defenders handled the ball in the box as Shittu made a fine diving save from Paterson after Alan Dunne punched away a Burnley cross. Despite strong appeals from players and the crowd, the referee appeared to have missed both clear cut incidents.
While the referees eyesight worked against us, an in-form Lee Grant kept Burnley in the game at the other end. He first tipped a a Scott Malone volley on to the bar, one of the many times the Lions would find the woodwork, before making a save from James Henry.
The home side would find the net again before half time as Charlie Austin scored a bullet header from 17 yards after Kieran Trippier crossed from near the half way line. Burnley really could have done with the extra goals that the two penalty appeals would have provided going into half time as Millwall came out revitalised in the second half.
After withstanding 20 minutes of extended pressure it looked as though the Clarets had scored their third on the counter-attack before the goal was bizarrely disallowed. Burnley were, unsurprisingly, shaken by the decision. Millwall pushed for an equaliser as the refereeing performance got worse, even the 4th official had joined in as he seemed incapable of bringing Sam Vokes and Paterson’s numbers up on his board when Eddie Howe wanted to make a change, four more cards were shown adding to the four already shown. Vokes had another penalty shout turned down as he looked to be brought down in the box before the linesman flagged for a free kick the other way.
Five minutes of injury time were added and a Woods header hit the bar before Darius Henderson would finally equalise as he slotted an effort past Grant. He then nearly added a winner as an effort deflected off Mee, on to the bar before bouncing out.
The day had never been set to run smoothly from the moment Jason Shackell had to pull out following the warm up, meaning a start for David Edgar and Kevin Long being promoted to the bench, but nobody will have been able to predict the horrendous performance from the officials.