Date: 17th April 2011 at 5:20pm
Written by:

The Clarets managed to secure their first win in seven attempts after coming from behind to defeat high-flying Swansea 2-1 at Turf Moor on Saturday. Swansea until this match were in 4th spot and this defeat certainly dented their promotion hopes. The victory though still keeps our slim hopes of reaching the play-offs alive. We go up one place to 11th and now have 60 points from 41 games with five matches still to play.

6th placed Leeds United could only manage to draw 2-2 at home to Watford on Saturday and looked to have lost the game until an 88th-minute own goal by Hornets forward Troy Deeney rescued a point for the Yorkshire side. That result keeps them in sixth spot. Leeds now have 65 points ,five more than Burnley but crucially they have played a game more than the Clarets and we still have to play them at Elland Road later this month in our penultimate game of the season. They are catchable although it certainly won`t be easy. At least though we have now turned a corner following a terrible spell that before the Swansea match saw the Clarets pick up just one point from their last six games

We play our game in hand against Middlesbrough at Turf Moor this Tuesday night, so win that one and our promotion hopes could well and truly be back on track.

The good thing about the result yesterday was that we showed that resilience we had earlier in the season to come back from a goal behind and secure victory. The truth was though that for the first 53 minutes of this game, the Clarets did not look at the races and were lucky not to be 2-3 goals behind by the end of the first-half. Darren Pratley and Scott Sinclair both hit the woodwork for Swansea with the visitors simply unable to take advantage of the possession they had in the first 45 minutes of play.

Things took on a familiar pattern of late though when Swansea finally broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute. Fabio Borini sprung the offside trap to give the visitors the lead although he looked a mile offside from where I was sitting!

It looked like it was now going to be yet another bad spring day at the office for Burnley but the Clarets quickly rallied and begun to fight back equalising within four minutes. Ashley Williams could only slice Chris Eagles’ cross into his own net but they all count and now it was the Clarets who were in the ascendency.

The Clarets continued to press and with thirteen minutes to go we got the lead we deserved following a penalty decision in our favour. Rodriguez appeared to be pushed in the back by Rangel as he attempted to jump up to meet a cross in the penalty area. The referee had no doubt it was a foul and pointed to the spot. Chris Eagles slotted home from 12 yards out to easily beat De Vries.

Graham Alexander came on from the bench to a rapturous applause from the Clarets fans with three minutes to go. He had now finally achieved the milestone of 1000 career appearances in English football to become only the second outfield player to do so. (Tony Ford was the other one!). He nearly made the achievement even sweeter too deep into added time. Burnley were awarded a direct free kick and it was Grezza who thumped the ball towards target only to be denied by the finger tips of De Vries and then the woodwork!

It was not to be but the victory at least was ours. It would be a long journey back home to South Wales for the Swansea faithful who were now licking their wounds after their fourth consecutive away defeat knowing also that their great Welsh rivals, Cardiff City had just thumped Portsmouth at home 3-0 to go second in the table. All Clarets fans though could now go home happy for the first time in seven matches.

So Burnley`s season may not be over just yet but what a crucial match we play this Tuesday night. Come on you Clarets.

The Full Match Report

Eddie Howe was boosted by the news that Jay Rodriguez was back to fitness after suffering a hip injury ahead of the Forest clash at the City Ground in midweek. He therefore returned to the starting eleven for the Swansea game after missing the clash against Forest. This was in fact the only change to the eighteen except of course for the absence of midfielder, Marvin Bartley who was sitting out the first of his three match ban following his straight red card in the first half against Forest. Despite losing the game 2-0, we showed a lot more spirit than of late considering we were down to ten men for most of the match and it was perhaps no surprise that Howe on Saturday showed faith in his battlers from Tuesday night.

We lined-up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Duff, Bikey, Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Rodriguez, Delfouneso

Subs: Grant, Duffy, Carlisle, Alexander, Wallace, Thompson, Iwelumo

Sale referee, David Webb got the game underway and the Clarets seemed to be taking the early initiative in the opening few minutes without really testing the keeper. Jay Rodriguez tried a couple of shots but the defenders got in the way each time. Chris Eagles too was looking lively on the right flank and he attempted a dipping volley that was just wide.

It was Swansea though who then began to take control and put the Clarets under pressure. The first scare for Burnley came on 17 minutes after some nice play from the lively Nathan Dyer, our former loan winger. Dyer on a charge pulled the ball back to find Darren Pratley whose shot hit the post.

Five minutes later and the woodwork came to our rescue again! This time it was Pratley who set-up a chance for leading Swans goal-scorer and former Chelsea winger, Scott Sinclair. His header though hit the inside of the post and bounced back into the arms of a grateful Brian Jensen.

It was all Swansea at this point with Clarets fans becoming more and more frustrated by the minute. Borini put a free-kick attempt just wide and then eight minutes before the break thankfully failed to get any purchase on the ball after a dangerous looking low cross from Dyer.

Borini continued where he left off at the start of the second half. It was a slip by Andre Bikey this time that let in the Swansea striker on loan from Chelsea. His shot this time flew across the face of the goal.

There was a brief respite for Burnley when Rodriguez from a Fox corner came close with a header that flew into the side-netting but the inevitable happened a few minutes later when that man, Borini broke the deadlock to put Swansea deservedly 1-0 up in the 53rd minute. Pratley was the architect after putting Borini in the clear despite the Italian looking suspiciously offside. The referee waved play-on and Borini made no mistake slotting home with ease past the advancing Jensen.

All Clarets fans were now saying to themselves here we go again expecting the worse but from somewhere we dug deep and came back into the game. Eddie Howe decided to strengthen our attack by bringing on Iwelumo to replace the ineffective Delfouneso on 55 minutes and by moving to 4-4-2 with Rodriguez now playing a more central striker`s role. It paid off almost immediately with the Clarets level two minutes later! Chris Eagles put over a dangerous looking cross and there was Swans defender, Ashley Williams to head the ball into his own net!

Swansea now looked to be on the back foot no doubt thinking about their last three defeats on the road but they still had a trick or two up their sleeve. On the hour mark, Neil Taylor came close with a shot after being released by Pratley but Jensen saved the day with his legs. It was now a pretty entertaining game for the neutral and at the other end, Eagles and Marney linked well to set up Rodriguez. De Vries though was equal to the shot as another chance went begging for the Clarets.

The Clarets though finally took the lead on the counter-attack with just 13 minutes left to play. Elliott on a charge down the right flank got over the cross with Jay Rodriguez in an ideal place to try and head the ball home. As he was rising to head the ball though, Jay Rod got felled in the box by Rangel after being pushed in the back. Penalty to the Clarets said the referee despite the Swans protests so up-stepped a confident-looking Chris Eagles to slot home from the spot and put Burnley 2-1 up.

The Clarets now looked to be in control with the Swans devastated to be losing yet again away from home having squandered their chances and lost a one goal lead. Three minutes to go and on came Graham Alexander for his 1000th career appearance and he nearly had the final word too just failing to score from a direct free kick in added time.

2-1 Burnley then the final score and at long last something for Clarets fans to celebrate after a torrid March and April. Bring on the Boro!

Match Stats

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Eagles (Alexander 87), Rodriguez (Thompson 90+5), Delfouneso (Iwelumo 55)

Subs Not Used: Grant, Carlisle, Duffy, Wallace

Goals: Williams (og) 57, Eagles (pen) 77

Booked: Yellow cards for Duff, Mears and Fox.

Swansea: De Vries, Williams, Taylor, Monk, Rangel, Pratley (Moore 68), Dyer (Dobbie 82), Sinclair (Priskin 68), Gower, Britton, Borini

Subs Not Used: Ma-Kalambay, Tate, Orlandi, Beattie

Goal: Borini 53

Booked: Yellow cards for Gower, Sinclair, Borini

Possession: 51% Burnley, 49% Swansea City

Ref: David Webb (Sale)