BRAVE Ben Mee won plaudits from all over for his goal-saving block at Reading.
But the modest Clarets defender insisted it was simply in the line of duty.
The 22-year-old threw his head at the ball to prevent Noel Hunt scoring, after Lee Grant had fumbled Ian Harte’s free kick.
He took the shot full in the face, with former England striker Michael Owen describing it as the “bravest defending I have ever seen”.
His efforts drew gasps of astonishment in the press box, keeping the Clarets in the game at 1-0, although, despite an outstanding performance from Eddie Howe’s side, the Royals held on to win by the solitary goal, scored by Jason Roberts after 11 minutes.
Mee took it all in his stride after the game: “It was a bit of a shock.
“I wasn’t expecting it to hit me in the face, but you just put it there and see what happens.
“It could have been a turning point but in the end it wasn’t to be unfortunately.
“I thought we played well enough to go on and win the game.
“It’s just one of those things.”
Despite a second-successive away defeat, the first back to back on the road since November, the former Manchester City defender remains hopeful that Burnley can still mount a push for the play-offs.
With 14 games remaining, the Clarets are four points behind Birmingham in sixth place - although the Blues have two games in hand.
Chris Hughton brings his side to Turf Moor a fortnight tonight, however - as Burnley play three of their next four games at home.
And Mee believes there is still life in their bid for the top six: “There are still 14 games left.
“It would have been nice to close the gap at Reading – they’re a few points ahead of us now which isn’t good – but there are still plenty of games to play and if we can go on a run of games again like we have done, we can be up there.
“We’re not giving up.
“The league’s so unpredictable and so tight we’ll see what happens towards the end of the season.”
Despite the setback at the Madejski Stadium, Mee pointed to the way the side are performing: “We’re playing well and moving the ball, we’ve just been unfortunate.
“But at least there are positives we can take out of the game on Friday night.
“I thought we made Reading look average.
“We played well. We hit the post, and Chas (Charlie Austin) had a great chance in the first few minutes of the second half.
“If we had scored then, we’re flying.
It was just one of those days.”
• BURNLEY have rearranged an outstanding Youth Alliance League fixture.
The home game against Carlisle United, originally postponed on Saturday, February 4th, will now be played on Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 (1 p.m. kick-off).
Saturday’s rescheduled game at Stockport County, postponed initially on Saturday, February 11th, suffered a late postponement on Saturday, while the sides were warming up.
The next next game is at home to Tranmere on Saturday.