Date: 30th September 2007 at 4:48pm
Written by:

The Clarets came away with only a rather disappointing one point following their home match against Crystal Palace yesterday. The 1-1 draw however still keeps us in the chasing pack in 7th place on 12 points and we are still only five points behind leaders, Watford with a game in hand.

However, Palace were pretty woeful to be honest and somehow we have to find the formula for beating these teams, and beating them convincingly. I am sick to the hind teeth of these performances giving ammunition to the ‘Cotterill Out’ brigade! Yes,the brigade still exist and seem to find their voice via the world of Clarets websites. You have to pinch yourself sometimes and wonder why the knives are out for a team’s manager when the club is in 7th place and have only lost one match in seven League games this season.These folk are so negative, they are incapable of seeing anything positive it seems and 7th place speaks for itself! We are always going to get these games but I am confident we have enough quality and depth in our squad to be there or there abouts come the end of 2007/8. I believe we will finish significantly higher than the previous midtable finishes under the gaffer’s reign.

Yes, OK we are not perfect at the moment but by definition there are another 16 teams below us who are less than perfect too! Yep, OK our defence was non-existant in the first half, we looked awful and it was no surprise we went behind. But come on we did equalise in that poor first half and can someone explain how in hell in the second half Robbie Blake didnt manage to score? I dont like making the referee an excuse, but on this occasion I will make an exception! He was awful and I am sure being a Kettle, his whistle was permanently stuck to his spout. He destroyed any chance of a free-flowing match and most of his whistling favoured the Eagles. So much so, King Peter will no doubt be knighting the guy at the Palace as we speak! The worst ref I have seen at the Turf since I returned to watching the lads play at home in 2005.

However back to the start of the match. The Clarets as expected made changes to the sixteen following the Portsmouth defeat in the midweek Carling Cup match, four changes in fact. Andy Gray and Robbie Blake returned to the starting eleven as the strike pair. Chris McCann was still out injured and there was no place in the 16 for midfielders, Gudjonsson or James O’Connor. Alan Mahon and Graham Alexander however shored up that Department with Kyle Lafferty and Wade Eliott bombing down the wings.

Unsworth returned to the bench after his cameo role in midfield last Tuesday night and he was joined by Jensen, Jones, Akinbiyi and Spicer.

Gabor Kiraly in goal was therefore of course facing his old club.

The Clarets however got off to a bad start and we looked woeful and shoddy in defence for some reason

It was the visitors therefore who not surprisngly took the lead in under five minutes when Mark Hudson headed in Ben Watson’s free kick.

Scowcroft nearly doubled their lead after eight minutes but Gabor Kiraly denied him any celebrations

However we did quickly bounce back after that goal and the Clarets were soon level from a Robbie Blake free kick after 13 minutes. The ball seemed to evade everybody although Michael Duff did appear to got a touch and he’s certainly claiming it!

Kyle Lafferty shot from distance after 18 minutes but the Palace keeper, Speroni got the ball at the second attempt

Alan Mahon after 26 minutes shot from 25 yards but the ball was both high and wide of the target.

After 34 minutes Mahon seemed rather unfairly to be booked for a challenge despite Fletcher having a go at Wade Elliott only a few seconds earlier ( A Case of Kettle calling Potty!)

Michael Duff a few minutes later was injured after what looked a fairly innocuous tackle and hobbled off being replaced by John Spicer. Graham Alexander therefore took up his more natural role at right back with Spicer joining Mahon in centre midfield.

As the first half drew to a close Robbie Blake,in injury time crossed but the ball but just failed to find the head of Wade Elliott as Speroni collected and then Lafferty was even closer following a long-range curling shot from 25 yards. So 1-1 at half-time and a relatively poor half from the Clarets against a less than impressive Eagles team, playing with 12 men (one of them with a whistle called Kettle!)

The Clarets came out the brighter at the start of the second half.Andy Gray turned and shot on the edge of the 18 yard box producing a good save by the Palace keeper.

Alan Mahon fired in a 25 yard shot a few moments later and by now we looked a totally different team with more determination

After 50 minutes, Wade Elliott put Robbie Blake through but on turning he showed Cort too much of the ball and it was cleared by the Eagles defender.

Sloppy work by the the Burnley defence nearly let in Ben Watson but his shot went wide much to the relief of Kiraly

The ‘Whistling Kettle’ then got in on the act again and awarded a ridiculous free kick on the edge of the area thanks to Dickov’s diving antics. Came to nowt though as the free kick went harmlessly over the bar.

Blake found Gray from a quick free kick a couple of seconds later but he fired over from two yards out under pressure from a defender.

Ade time was now due with 20 minutes to go and the gaffer made a double substitution as Ade Akinbiyi and Steve Jones both came on replacing Lafferty and Gray.

Robbie Blake then weaved his way past three defenders, but slightly unbalanced, his shot on the edge of his box went just wide of the upright.

It was Blake again a minute later but his volley did not cause the Eagles keeper any problem.

The ‘Blake Show’ continued after 78 minutes when his shot from 25 yards went just over the bar. We just couldn’t seem to convert all this pressure into a goal and so it continued up to the last few minutes of the match when Wade Elliot’s brilliant shot from the edge of the area hit the crossbar in the 89th minute

Last action of the match and we had to settle for a 1-1 draw despite putting the visitors under the cosh for most of the match, especially in the second half.

Ipswich at home this Tuesday night and we need a good three points from this match to get back on track and continue to challenge for a Top Six spot.

Burnley: Kiraly, Duff (Spicer 35), Caldwell, Carlisle, Jordan, Elliott, Mahon, Alexander, Lafferty (Akinbiyi 70), Blake, Gray (Jones 70).

Subs not used: Jensen, Unsworth

Booking: Mahon

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Craig, Hudson, Cort, Fletcher, Scowcroft (Morrison 75), Warson, Soares, Butterfield, Dicov (Hughes 60), Green (Idrizaj 60).

Subs not used: Flinders, Lawrence.

Booking: Idrizaj