Date: 25th November 2008 at 11:16am
Written by:

The Clarets came away aggrieved in last night`s 3-2 defeat by Barnsley at Oakwell and rightly so.

At the start of the second half, the Clarets were 1-0 down thanks to a goal by Macken against the run of play with just 18 minutes played. By the end of 51 minutes they were 3-0 down, the second a goal that should have been disallowed as clearly shown courtesy of the Sky Sports cameras that were televising the game. Campbell-Ryce’s shot got a deflection into the net by Simon Whaley but as the cameras clearly indicated the ball came off Whaley`s arm and just for good measure he was standing in an offside position.

Owen Coyle and the team clearly saw what happened, they were incensed that the goal was allowed, most of the crowd clearly saw the same thing and those football fans watching the match on television obviously knew the truth. Just two folk seemed to miss the obvious, the referee and his assistant. Could also someone explain to me what the role of the 4th official is here?

Coyle said this about the incident after the match:

‘It’s just a bad decision and I asked at the time the fourth official to ask the linesman who was playing him on. And the answer I got was that his view was obscured by Burnley players but there were no Burnley players in sight of that line.

‘It’s a hard one to take because we certainly merited a result out of that game.’

That goal clearly took the stuffing out of the Burnley side, they took their eye off the ball and within 3 minutes of the goal that shouldn`t have been, found themselves 3-0 down thanks to yet another deflected goal after some poor defending.

It looked game over with a potential tonking on the cards.

What followed next just shows the character and professionalism that we have in the team these days and most Clarets fans will be proud of the attempted comeback even if it ended in disappointment.

The fight back started with a double substitution on 55 minutes, Paterson replaced Akinbiyi and McDonald replaced Duff and all hell broke loose as the Clarets took over the game. A brace of goals by Paterson had brought the score back to 3-2 with 17 minutes to play and for the rest of the match the Clarets dominated possession, getting chance after chance to score the equaliser.

Barnsley`s man of the match turned out to be their keeper, Heinz Muller who had to make two fine saves at the death to deny McCann and Eagles.

Yes, we can be proud of that performance despite coming away with nothing; the only criticism really is that we should have been more professional after their second goal. Our loss of concentration with some players still arguing with the officials led to their third goal and a mountain to climb. A mountain we nearly scaled in the end.

The defeat means we have lost some ground and will have to wait for the results of tonight`s game to see what damage has been done. We are still currently fifth but we could be as low as 10th by tonight if Cardiff, Plymouth, Ipswich, Swansea and Preston all win.

Oh well, is anybody old enough to remember John Hall? He was the scorer in the game between Barnsley and Burnley at Oakwell in 1932, a game we won 1-0 and the last time we won on this ground. The jinx continues!

Owen Coyle at the start of this match must have been concerned that fatigue might be a problem after the side only played two days ago in a frustrating afternoon at Turf Moor against Doncaster Rovers. The Clarets too had to run around with only ten men after the unfortunate sending off of Steve Thompson for a second yellow with 60 minutes of that match remaining. The team must have been shattered by the end but they held on for a valuable point in a 0-0 draw.

The loss of Thompson for the Barnsley game thanks to the one-match suspension would have given Coyle selection problems in attack. Would he play our hero at Chelsea, Ade Akinbiyi in the starting eleven giving him his first start since Cardiff in the final game of the 2007/08 campaign? What about Martin Paterson though, he has had to be content with a place on the bench in recent league games and most be chomping at the bit to get back in the side? Then there is young Jay Rodriguez, a regular on the bench until the return of form and favour of Akinbiyi.

In the end it was Akinbiyi who got the nod with both Paterson and Rodriguez named on the bench.

Wade Elliott was sidelined still suffering from a groin injury he picked up in the last match against Doncaster which meant that the Clarets returned to a 4-1-4-1 formation and lined up as follows:

Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Akinbiyi

Subs: Penny, McDonald, Mahon, Paterson, Rodriguez

As soon as referee, Nigel Miller (Durham) blew his whistle for the start of the game, the Clarets stormed out of the block first putting to bed any concerns of fatigue as they began to make the first 15 minutes count.

Akinbiyi brought the ball down and fed Chris McCann but his shot was high.

Burnley had most of the possession in the first ten minutes and looked the most likely to score first but Jensen came to the rescue in the 12th minute in the first attack by the Tykes after Macken saw his shot turned round for a corner.

The Clarets then turned on the pressure at the other end bringing out two saves by Muller as long range shots from Blake and then Eagles were turned round the post.

Very much against the run of play though, disaster struck for the Clarets with just 18 minutes on the clock. Macken made no mistake after picking up a ball from Kozluk and sent Jensen the wrong way to put Barnsley 1-0 up.

It was nearly game over in the 27th minute after Ade`s cousin, Odejayi stormed towards goal after getting the better of Carlisle. With only Jensen to beat, he seemed to delay too long before shooting allowing Jensen to once more save the day this time with his right leg.

The game now seemed to deteriorate into a scrappy affair after such a high-energy start by the Clarets. Their goal knocked the stuffing out of the side and we seemed to be unable to get the ball to Akinbiyi who looked frustrated up front with the Clarets losing possession time and time again. Barnsley were not much better though

Stephen Jordan however came close to an equaliser with two minutes to go to the break after Blake held the ball up on the by-line. He fed Jordan who hit the ball first time only to see the shot go inches high.

That was it for the first-half and Coyle would have some thinking to do in the dressing room if we were to get back into this game.

He wasn`t however tempted to make any changes for the start of the second half and once again it was the Clarets who started the brighter.

It wasn`t to last long though after Barnsley made it 2-0 with that controversial Whaley goal after just 48 minutes. Enough has already been said about the goal that wasn`t!

Three minutes later and the Clarets fans hearts sank again after a short corner found Leon and the Spaniard’s deflected shot once again foiled Jensen to put the Tykes 3-0 up with serious questions to be asked about the Burnley defence who still seemed to be thinking about the second goal and not concentrating.

There was still 40 minutes to play with the Clarets looking in disarray. The game looked to be well and truly over but we had not bargained on Paterson and the fight back about to happen.

A double substitution on 55 minutes saw Gudjonsson replaced by McDonald and the frustrated and despondent looking Akinbiyi replaced by Paterson.

With 69 minutes on the clock, Paterson restored some pride by scoring after some nice approach work between Blake and Alexander. You could see the determination on Paterson`s face and how the team were lifted by the goal.

Four minutes later it was 3-2 and it was that man Paterson again! Paterson this time went on a mazy run down the right and in a great solo effort scored to set up an amazing finale. What a second-half this was turning out to be and what a match for the neutrals to watch on TV!

It was now all Burnley as the home crowd nerves jangled

After 80 minutes, Muller got to a shot by Alexander from distance with Paterson about to pounce.

McCann then first had a cross partially cleared before pouncing to shoot on target only to see Muller pull off a great save to deny the Irishman.

Chris Eagles then danced in the box and pulled the trigger but again it was Muller who saved the day for Barnsley.

With the four minutes of extra time coming to an end there was just time for Caldwell to try one last ditch attempt with an header but it wasn`t to be as the ball sailed above the bar.

Disappointed yes, but credit where credit is due, the fight back attempt was phenomenal and it made you proud once more to be Claret. So many times in recent seasons a goal down would mean certain defeat let alone attempting to come back from 3-0 down. We will just have to hope the results go our way tonight, the thoughts of Preston winning and being above Burnley albeit on goal difference doesn`t bear thinking about. We have to storm back against Derby County at Turf Moor this Saturday now if we are to maintain our assault on a play-offs spot. With Christmas looming, I am not sure I can take yet another Xmas slump!

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Barnsley: Muller, Hassell, Foster, Guedes, Kozluk, Whaley, Campbell-Ryce, Colace, Devaney (Leon 10), Odejayi (Coulson 84), Macken, Leon (Van Homoet 84).

Subs Not Used: Mostto, Rigters.

Booked: Foster.

Goals: Macken 18, Whaley 48, Leon 51.

Burnley: Jensen, Duff (Rodriguez 88), Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McCann, Gudjonsson (McDonald 55), Eagles, Akinbiyi (Paterson 55), Blake.

Subs Not Used: Penny, Mahon.

Booked: Carlisle, Eagles, Paterson.

Goals: Paterson 69, 73.

Ref: Nigel Miller (Durham)