Date: 28th April 2008 at 10:47am
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This was a strange end-of-season affair with plenty of goals and incidents no doubt keeping the neutrals happy.

However probably it will go down as a disappointing game by the Clarets fans and it would have been nice to finish the season at home with a win instead of the 3-3 draw.

The Clarets found themselves 2-0 up after a first half rare goal by Alexander followed by a Cole goal in the second half. Cardiff however then hit back through a Joe Ledley penalty followed by an Aaron Ramsey strike to make the score 2-2.

Clarke Carlisle then restored the Clarets lead before a persistent Cardiff again got the equaliser after a late own goal by Caldwell.

What followed next was a bit of pure farce that led to Owen Coyle describing the incident on Radio Lancashire as reminiscent of something off the Benny Hill Show.

The start of proceedings however was quite ugly.

Darren Purse in the last minute of the game was sent off for a bad challenge on Andrew Cole and he could now face a suspension and miss out on Cardiff`s FA Cup Final at Wembley. Huge chunks of Cole`s leg were missing after the vicious tackle by Purse and it was the state of his leg that forced Cole to leave the pitch down the tunnelfor treatment with Clarets fans wondering if the striker had also been sent off and was following Purse on a red card.

Next followed what looked to be straight off the chase sequence on the old Benny Hill Show and after Coyle alluded to this similarity it is difficult not to laugh with the thought of that speeded up action and the Benny Hill tune in the background! It looked like some of the bench were running off down the tunnel after Cole. This action seemed to panic the yellow-vested police and stewards who then proceeded to also run down the tunnel on masse appearing to chase Andrew Cole. What was all that about?

Cole received ten stitches and was not a happy man having strong words to say about Purse likening him to a Muppet. (He didn`t say which Muppet character, but I bet “Animal” came to mind!)

‘I have played the game at the highest level for 18 years and some muppet tries to challenge me like that.

‘I only had eyes for the ball, and what disappoints me is Darren said I went over the ball, yet he must have gone higher than me.

‘I am furious about it. It is one of the worst tackles I have had in my career on me.

‘I ain’t going to tell a lie. I went looking for him, but I didn’t get to him.

‘The bloke can’t even play football. He was saying I went high, but if I did how high did he go? I have 10 stitches at the top of my shin.’

Cole`s anger has he sprinted down the tunnel worried the Burnley bench and fearing reprisal, David Unsworth and Wade Elliott plus Cardiff reserve team boss Paul Wilkinson chased after Cole followed by stewards and police. All this left the Clarets fans wondering what the hell was going on and whether Cole too had been red-carded.

It was only when I was listening to Owen Coyle on Radio Lancashire coming back in the car, did I finally understand what had happened.

The point leaves the Clarets in 11th place on 62 points. The highest we can now finish is 10th and only if we beat Palace away in our last match of the season next Sunday. At least for the first time in many seasons we will finish above Preston!

Owen Coyle named an unchanged starting eleven from the side which beat Southampton 1-0 at St Mary`s last week and 18-year-old Alex MacDonald was given a place on the bench.

We therefore lined up as follows:

Jenson, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, James O’Connor, McCann, Blake, Akinbiyi, Cole, Elliott.
Subs: Kiraly, Gudjonsson, Duff, Mahon, MacDonald.

The first few minutes summed up expectations that this was an end-of-season affair with both sides having nothing to play for. Little did we know what was about to happen!

Andrew Cole after six minutes had an attempt on goal and then a minute later Akinbiyi beat the Cardiff defence to shoot forcing Bluebird`s keeper, Peter Enckelman to tip round the post for a corner.

During the first 20 minutes, Cardiff had a lot of possession but hardly tested Jensen.

Clarets fans however were rewarded after 36 minutes when Alexander scored his first goal in more than 12 months and his first for the Clarets.Andrew Cole had flicked on the ball to him and he let rip with a shot thundering it past Enckelman to put the Clarets 1-0 up, livening up a pretty dull game so far. For a moment Clarets fans though the goal might have been scratched off with the referee running over to the linesman with his flagged raised for offside. West Midlands referee, Andy Hall however thankfully over-ruled his assistant.

Nothing much else happened in the first-half despite Cardiff possession and the Clarets went in 1-0 up.

Burnley started the second half well and Wade Elliott came close to doubling the lead with a header on 48 minutes following a good cross by Stephen Jordan.

Six minutes later though the Clarets were 2-0 up, Blake put in a through ball to Akinbiyi splitting the defence. His cross was then tapped home by Cole and we looked to be cruising to victory but it didn`t take long for Cardiff to bring the Clarets fans back down to earth.

Two minutes after Cole`s goal, Jordan tripped Trevor Sinclair in the area according to the referee and Ledley made no mistake from the spot to make it 2-1.

Carlisle calmly cleared the ball away after Thompson had made a hash of his kick following a cross before Cole on 68 minutes brought out a good save from Enckelman after being put through.

A few seconds later though and Alexander sloppily gave the ball away to Ledley. He pulled the ball back to Aaron Ramsey and from just inside the area, he found the back of the net to get Cardiff`s equaliser. We really must stop giving away stupid goals like this and tighten up our defence next season.

With 78 minutes on the clock Blake and Cole both had attempts on goal blocked by the defence before Akinbiyi put the ball wide after scuffing his shot.

Second- year apprentice Alex MacDonald then came on for his debut replacing Elliott and five minutes later he was involved in the build-up to a goal that gave the Clarets the lead again.

Blake from a corner found MacDonald who flicked onto Carlisle. His header found the back of the net from a few yards out to make it 3-2 Clarets!

It wasn`t to be our day though and within a minute or two, Cardiff were back level. Former Clarets loan, Peter Whiitingham crossed the ball and Caldwell put the ball into the back of his own net from a couple of yards out although the goal appears to have credited to Thompson by some of the media.

That was it apart from the Benny Hill Show about to follow and once again poor defending had cost the Clarets points.

It was a bit of a disappointing and subdued ending for the Clarets in the last home game of 2007-8, and a gentle stroll by the players, management and staff round the pitch to polite applause by the Clarets fans after the game in a lap of honour seemed to sum up the season.

Maybe they should have speeded things up a bit and put that Benny Hill music on!!


Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott (MacDonald 79), James O’Connor, McCann (Gudjonsson 77), Blake (Mahon 87), Akinbiyi, Cole.

Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Duff.

Goals: Alexander 36, Cole 54, Carlisle 86.

Cardiff: Enckelman, Blake, Purse, Loovens, Capaldi, Ramsey, McPhail (Ledley 45), Sinclair, Scimeca, Hasselbaink (Whittingham 67), Thompson.

Subs Not Used: McNaughton, Rae, Johnson.

Sent Off: Purse (90).

Goals: Ledley 57 pen, Ramsey 69, Caldwell og 89.

Ref: Andy Hall (W Midlands).