Burnley 2-2 Birmingham: Late Matthew Taylor stunner seals point
Last Updated: 15/08/15 10:30pm
Matthew Taylor came off the bench to rescue a point for Burnley with a sumptuous 81st-minute free-kick in their 2-2 draw with Birmingham.
Blues had taken an early lead at Turf Moor when Arsenal loanee Jon Toral found the target for the second straight weekend only for the Clarets to level after the break thanks to centre-back Michael Keane's first goal for the club.
Clayton Donaldson then won a contentious penalty which Paul Caddis converted before substitute Taylor curled an unstoppable 25-yard set-piece off the crossbar to open his Burnley account and earn them a share of the spoils.
In their draw at Leeds on the opening weekend Burnley felt they should have had at least one penalty, and that sense of injustice followed them here when referee David Coote remained unmoved as Jonathan Spector tumbled into the back of Lukas Jutkiewicz in the fifth minute.
Coote did award a foul against Jutkiewicz outside of the box shortly afterwards but Tomasz Kuszczak held on to Michael Kightly's free-kick before launching the route-one attack which led to Blues' opener.
The Pole's direct punt was latched on to by Donaldson, who won his aerial duel against Keane and flicked on for Toral to fire into the corner with a first-time left-footed strike.
Birmingham were proving difficult to unlock and almost had a second when David Cotterill's 25-yard curling effort came back off a post, while Stephen Gleeson's dipping 30-yard half-volley from a semi-cleared corner had to be pushed over the top by Tom Heaton.
Sean Dyche elected not to make any half-time changes to a team that had lacked invention and his faith in his starting XI was vindicated with a 51st-minute equaliser.
Kightly's disappointing afternoon suggested he would have been first in line to be replaced, but he won a free-kick on the left touchline and delivered the ball that Jelle Vossen flicked on to the back post where Keane was on hand to nod in.
Birmingham remained a threat on the counter, though, Donaldson getting behind the defence to fire at Heaton from a narrowing angle before earning the dubious penalty which restored Blues' lead.
The ex-Crewe forward collected Toral's pass inside the area with Keane shepherding him away from goal and then flopped to the ground as Tendayi Darikwa came behind him.
There appeared to be no real contact from Darikwa as Donaldson went down but referee Coote, whose view may have been obstructed by Darikwa, did not hesitate in pointing to the spot from where Caddis drilled in Birmingham's second.
However, it was another set-piece that would allow Burnley to get back on level terms again.
Taylor's first act after replacing Kightly was to drill a free-kick into the Birmingham wall but, three minutes later and slightly closer to the target, he bent his next one around the bodies in front of him and in off the crossbar as Kuszczak remained rooted to the spot.
"When it's that blatant on Jutkiewicz...it's unfathomable to me. I was a defender, the defender's done and he's panicked. It's not only a penalty but he goes off the pitch.
"Then you have the contentious other penalty. Their lad (Donaldson) runs in an unnatural manner, stands on our lad's (Darikwa) toes and goes down. Two big decisions go against us."
"I said to the players I'm so proud of their work ethic and how they've played, how they've coped with the pressure of coming to Burnley.
"I'm sure one or two teams will get washed away here in the first 10-15 minutes. I thought we showed great composure. One or two better decisions in the final third and we could have added to our goal tally."