Date: 22nd February 2010 at 12:06pm
Written by:

Villa 5 Burnley 2! Oh woe is me! Where do you start with this embarrassing score line?

The joke seems to be that for the first 55 minutes of this match we were coping with Villa and playing them at their own game. We even managed to score our first goal on the road in over 540 minutes of football not to mention take the lead for the first time since the game against Manchester City at Eastlands back in November! Yes we were one nil up after just ten minutes thanks to some nice play between Cork and Nugent to set up Fletcher. The weary travelling Clarets fans yet to see a victory on the road this season in the league could once more begin to dream. The dream though was about to become a nightmare.

A cross from Ashley Young on 32 minutes started the rot; somehow it went through a mire of players and finished up in the back of the net. On close inspection, it looks like Fox should have done better but the ball glanced off him to deceive Jensen and ensure that Villa went in at half-time on equal terms. There was no panic though, Burnley were still in this game and a point on the road would be both vital and a great achievement against a side pushing for a Top 4 finish. We still looked comfortable for the first ten minutes of the second half and then the spell from hell arrived.

Wham on 56 minutes, Downing puts Villa 2-1 up. Bam, he gets another to make it 3-1 just 2 minutes later. Thank You say Villa as the Clarets wilt and Heskey makes it 4-1 on 61 minutes and Man it`s suddenly 5-1 with Agbonlahor getting in on the act seven minutes later.

In just 12 minutes we had folded, capitulated and been destroyed! Thankfully for the Clarets, Villa did not push much after that to make the score even more embarrassing probably now sitting back and dreaming of Wembley and the Carling Cup final next week against Manchester United.

Deep into added time we actually pulled one back to make the final score 5-2. That might even turn out to be a vital goal if goal difference comes into play at the end of the season. Paterson scored and that was good for him after a long lay-off with injury for most of the season. This was his first goal in the top flight and will be a great boost to his confidence.

Although we can`t use this as an excuse, I also thought this young referee that has been fast-tracked through the system, Stuart Attwell was woeful in charge of the match yesterday. Naive and an easy ‘homer` accusation target he booked three of our players to none of theirs and for the first time that I can recall the Clarets fans actually cynically applauded the referee a few times at one point with hand-clapping when he actually decided to give us a couple of decisions.

In the end though it was same old, same old for Clarets fans once again making a pointless journey and coming away pointless!

The result thankfully did not turn out to be a great disaster in terms of the Clarets staying in touch with our rivals to avoid the drop. Clarets fans just before our kick off yesterday had been strangely buoyed by the fact that Blackburn (normally the ones we hate the most) had just thumped Bolton, (the now most hated) 3-0 at Ewood Park! Wigan also lost 3-0 at home to Spurs yesterday and with Portsmouth, Wolves, Hull and Sunderland also all losing on Saturday it is very much as you were with only West Ham taking advantage after their 3-0 victory against Hull City at Upton Park.

The Clarets remain second from bottom in 19th place on 23 points but just three points off 14th spot so there is still all to play for but once more we are now going to have to rely on Fortress Turf Moor to survive with no allowance for any slip ups.

I am now going to have a rant but sorry. I think I am entitled to have one after going or attempting to go to every league game this season, home and away. I have only missed two matches so far all season; away to Rovers and Manchester United and it wasn`t for the want of trying going to those two either, I just got caught out with the club`s ticketing fiasco and so-called Loyalty Points system. But I am not going to rant against the ticketing system that`s for another day.

Today`s rant is based on the fact I must have spent well over £1200 travelling to away games so far this season and have still not seen the Clarets win an away game and sorry it is just not good enough!

It doesn`t matter what tactics you play, if your squad comprises basically of Championship level players you will not have a cat-in-hells chance of defeating clubs like Villa on the road, nor for that matter Portsmouth! It`s time for Clarets fans to smell the coffee! It has taken 33 years to get back into the top flight but if the Board make statements that they would rather be in the Championship than go into debt then I am afraid their wishes will more than likely come true. Of course those that support the Board wholeheartedly suggest if we go down we will be better placed to come straight back up. I am sorry but I don`t see it. Half the squad will be leaving in the summer, eleven are out of contract and we won`t be keeping most of them. The likes of Eagles and Mears will also no doubt be snapped up by Premier League clubs and both would probably not want to stay anyway. In effect we will have to rebuild and although parachute payments will help, we will be back to gates of under 12,000 and no doubt the club will be tight-fisted and plead poverty again! We will have a team full of Championship quality players again with no guarantee of promotion and even if we did go straight back-up the cycle will start all over again. Apparently Coyle said we had bought for the future so we are going to be relying on Penny, Easton, Eckersley, Edgar, Guerrero and van der Schaaf. Tis a joke!

We simply do not have the players with enough quality and experience of playing in the Premier League and all our new January signings were woeful yesterday (except Cork). If you are not prepared to bring in players with better quality and accept higher salary expectations than the ridiculous £15k/week cap then you will reap what you so. Some Clarets fans might be proud of this stance, I am not.

Whilst being debt-free is admirable the problem is all the other clubs in the top flight lap up the concept of taking calculated risks and going into debt be that right or wrong.

Burnley simply cannot compete and now it really is beginning to show. Now we are on a wing and a prayer hoping we can at least win our home games at Fortress Turf Moor with just 12 games remaining to escape the drop. 33 years to get back and now we are on the praying mat with no real confidence we have enough quality.

No I am sorry, we should have done everything we could have to stay in the top flight even if that meant taking some calculated risks and going into some debt and I am not talking about the scale of Pompey`s either. We have not done that and I hope it doesn`t come back to bite us in the bum. We could have missed our opportunity it seems to stay in the top flight and reap the even greater financial rewards that would have brought. Let`s hope our prayers are answered and we can somehow survive the drop.

Rant over!

The Clarets Team Sheet

Brian Laws decided to change a few things round for this game. Chelsea loan midfielder, Jack Cork was given his first start in the team and at long last Elliott was dropped to the bench after a spate of woeful performances. Laws opted for a 4-5-1 formation with Nugent playing a wider role supporting Fletcher alone up front.

The line-up in summary was therefore as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Bikey, Cork. McDonald, Eagles, Nugent, Fletcher.

Subs: Weaver, Duff, Elliott, Blake, Nimani, Thompson, Paterson

The Full Match Report

Thankfully the weather was good enough for the match to go-ahead after an early scare of snowfall and indeed in the end it was a pretty nice sunny day for a game of footy!

In this battle of the Claret & Blue obviously the Clarets came out in their away strip. They marched out in front of a pretty large crowd considering the game was not only on a Sunday but an early kick-off and featured live on Sky Sports. Stuart Atwell got the game underway and it was the Clarets who did the early pressing against both a subdued Villa side and set of pretty quiet Villa fans. They were even quieter when the Clarets took the lead after just ten minutes of play.

It was Cork who set-up the move linking well with Nugent. The on-loan Pompey striker then squared the ball to the far post for Fletcher on a well-timed run to simply tap home and put the Clarets 1-0 up.

The Clarets seemed to be buoyed up by their early lead with Villa now looking even more subdued. This would most definitely prove to be our best period of the whole match and we began to put together some attractive attacking football. A shot by Nugent after some neat passing moves glanced off James Collins to go just wide of target. Chris Eagles was also having his best spell of the game after returning to the starting eleven and was becoming a handful for the Villa defence.

Villa though suddenly woke up after 24 minutes when Heskey put a header wide from an Ashley Young cross. Although Villa were not looking too impressive in open play, they always looked a danger from set-pieces and with 32 minutes gone they got their equaliser which started from an Ashley Young free-kick. Jensen saved the danger but only at the expense of a corner. Villa took a short corner which ended up at the feet of Ashley Young again. The Villa winger thumped a low ball into the box through a crowd of players and it took a deflection off Danny Fox`s heel to wrong foot Jensen and sail into the back of the net to make it 1-1. Fox arguably should have done better but both teams had to be happy with honours even at half-time. The Clarets though could have been proud of their first half performance and no changes were made by Laws for the start of the second-half.

The Clarets again looked comfortable for the first ten minutes of the second before disaster struck and we suddenly found ourselves 5-1 down with about 25 minutes still to play! Up until then Eagles had seen a cross cleared whilst a shot by McDonald had been blocked by the Villa defence.

A throw-in though confused the Clarets who were too slow to react. Agbonlahor was quick off the mark and charged forward picking out Young. He saw Downing in space and the former Middlesbrough winger worked hard to finally get in an angled drive that beat Jensen with Cort on the line trying his best to get to the ball and clear the danger! He couldn`t and Villa had the lead.

Two minutes later it was 3-1 with the Clarets having lost all their composure and concentration. This time Jensen managed to save from Agbonlahor who had been put clear but it fell to Downing who shot for goal. Danny Fox having a torrid afternoon once more took a deflection with the ball sailing into the bottom corner of the net.

Villa were now on fire and we were playing like a bunch of damp squibs. They then punished us even more as our defence lost the plot and capitulated. Agbonlahor at the centre of things again went on yet another penetrating run before getting in a low cross for Heskey to make it 4-1! Clarets fans by now had been destroyed and had lost the will to live. On 68 minutes, it was 5-1 and this time Agbonlahor got on the score-sheet himself after some nice play between Milner and Heskey. A side-footed finish was enough to add even more salt to the Clarets wounds with all Clarets fans wondering when the torment would end and whether we might do a Wigan against Spurs and be able to demand our money back!

It may have been a rugby score but for the fact that Martin O`Neill decided to take off three of his impressive strikers with one eye on the Carling Cup final at Wembley ! He left Downing on in case he might get his hat-trick. He didn`t and in all honesty things calmed down a bit after that with Villa noticeably taking their foot off the accelerator.

Laws made some further substitutions. Elliott had already come on to replace McDonald after Villa`s fourth goal but had been largely ineffective. On came Nimani N’galou after 70 minutes to replace Nugent and then Paterson came on to replace Fletcher with eight minutes of play remaining.

Two minutes into added time we got a consolation goal after Martin Paterson latched on to a nice cross from the impressive Cork after the on-loan Chelsea midfielder had linked well with Eagles.

In the end another disappointing result on the road for the Clarets but at least none of our rivals trying to avoid the drop gained much ground over the weekend.

Match Detail

Aston Villa: Friedel, Dunne, Cuellar, Warnock, Collins, Downing, A Young (Sidwell 82), Milner, Petrov, Agbonlahor (Carew 71), Heskey (Delfouneso 76)

Subs Not Used: Guzan, L Young, Beye,Delph

Goals: A Young (32 mins), Downing (56 mins, 58 mins), Heskey (61 mins), Agbonlahor (68 mins)

Booked: 0

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Bikey, Cork. McDonald (Elliott 64), Eagles, Nugent (Nimani N’galou 70), Fletcher (Paterson 82)

Subs Not Used: Weaver, Duff, Blake, Thompson

Goals: Fletcher (10 mins), Paterson (90 +2 mins)

Booked: Yellow Cards for Carlisle, Fletcher and Nimani

Possession: Aston Villa 51% Burnley 49% (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)


57 Replies to “Burnley Fell to Spell from Hell”

  • Go easy on the rant, I am angry and frustrated. I am sick to death of every club in this league bringing in top quality players in the windows despite being £££££ millions in debt whilst we play the virtuous club and struggle like hell despite taking 33 years to have a go at it!

  • Seriously hope you guys stay up and get a second ‘bite at the cherry’. In the seventies I worked away at lot in Nelson where most of the locals were Burnley fans. I found everyone so friendly I have always had a soft spot for the club (the great Andy Lochhead helped as well-Burnley and Villa legend). Villa were there for the taking yesterday IMO. I’ve never heard VP so quiet. Everyone around me was just talking about Wembley, and I think that’s were the players minds were too. I was impressed with the football you played, but when Villa do click into top gear, as they did for 15 minutes, they are very vey difficult to stop with so much pace and movement. Anyway, good luck and really hope you stay up.

  • I am one of those fans who is proud that the club are attempting to stay in the premiership without going into ££££ of debt. Just look at the clubs who have done it and have then seen it go belly up. Pompey are the prime example of a club living way beyond their means ( although they have clearly been ridiculous and I know Phil that you are not suggesting we do that). Bradford are one team who got into the Prem about 10 years ago and got their ‘calculated’ risks wrong – look at them now. I dont want that for Burnley. We all knew this season was going to be tough – we can do without making the next X amount of years tough as a result of overspending this season.

  • Naw sorry Dale it’s not good enough. You can be proud in the Championship as the pleading poverty cycle starts all over again and we have to virtually rebulid with players that are only fit to play in the Championship. We have wasted our biggest chance of securing nirvana and ££££ millions for years to come

  • Cheers KV,one day I hope in my lifetime we will become an established Premier League side but we never will unless we show more resolve and ambition to do so

  • Barry Kilby has done a fantastic job for this club and I do not think anyone could have done it better. He wants success for Burnley as much ( if not more) than any other clarets fan. He will aim to lead us to success in the way he sees fit! If we go down, we go down. We will still have a club – and I will still support Burnley whatever division they may be in!

  • Of course he has and does Dale but then so might other Chairmen prepared to show more ambition and take a few more calculated risks to reap the far greater reward of staying in the top flight with all the financial benefit that will bring. 16 other clubs in fact all of them except Pompey and two other relegated clubs will also stay up this season despite being in debt to various degrees [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • Clubs like Wigan and Bolton and even Hull have have spent big and they are in the same boat as us only in debt. We hurt as much as you Phil and desperately want Burnley to stay in the premier league. But look at southampton Leeds Norwich Charlton all in League two They all spent much more than us when in the Premier league. We more than anything want to stay with the big boys but not to the ruin of the club we love.

  • Bolton and Wigan have had how many seasons in the top flight massively in debt? Look at Blackburn too,a club not too dissimilar in gates to us.It is easy to quote the few that have slipped the net and fallen on hard times through REALLY bad management but they are all still in existence and are now steadily climbing back up. It’s a question of maximising your chances of staying up and some are more risk averse than others in trying to achieve that goal. You do not get anything in this world without being prepared to take the odd calculated risk or two. It is much easier to err on the cautious side but in the end we could just as easily go bust or fall down the Leagues without spending any money at all. If we are relegated, we will see if we bounce back but I would not be that optimistic with gates back to 11,000 and a new team that will have to be built. For heavens sake break this bloody cycle. 33 years to get in the top flight, what the hell are we pussyfooting around for? [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • you’ve let your frustration get the better of you on this one tmp–are you just trying to play devils advocate and stir up some debate?!

  • And tmp you seem to have given up on survival already!

    Assuming Pompey already down theres only an extra 2 out of a possible 7 that CAN go down! I’m sure all of those 7 are saying how poor they are. You seem to be forgetting we have 7 out of 12 games at home (with the next 4 being very winnable against Pompey, Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn) and after Arsenal the remaining away games are at Wigan, Hull, Sunderland and Birmingham and therefore much more chance of picking up something than our recent away matches

  • I’m on a roll now! How can you say our Directors are risk averse when they gambled on our promotion last year to stave off administration

  • Nope I have not given up on survival but I am annoyed we have not given it our best shot to ensure we stay up ! As for being Devils advocate, whilst I accept its a great topic to debate, I also firmly believe we should have done everything we could have to have stayed up, even though that might have meant going into some debt to get the quality players we needed! 33 ferkin years and all we hear is bloody pleading poverty again. Sorry it’s not only frustrating but potentially one of the biggest mistakes we have made. It’s worth £60 million to get promoted to the top flight,its worth countless millions to stay up and yet all we do is pfaff about looking forward to being in the Championship again [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • They should make the bigger gamble of staying up then unless they want to return to the Championship with gates back down to 11,000 and no real certainty of getting back up!

  • Who says we are going to be a championship club next season ? We weren’t expecting anything from Villa, and although we saw atrocious defending which yet again presented the game to the opposition in a 10 minute spell, there were positives here as well. The first is that we scored 2 goals away from home, and they were superb goals. As long as we carry on creating and converting we’ll always have a good chance as opposed to some of our rivals who haven’t scored for a long time 🙂 The second point is that we did play well outside of the disaster period and managed 53% possession . The point regarding spending to stay up is a tenuous one and dependant on the availability of which players? Which of the so called premiership quality players would elect to move to an as yet unproven premiership side, with a real possibility of relegation, assuming these players were available in the first place? And the same goes for the merchant bankers (pun intended) – will they lend large sums in the current economic climate to a potential relegation candidate? I think not. The ref yesterday was a joke, haven’t seen that bad for a long time and it does seem as though the established clubs get all the decisions which certainly doesn’t help the situation. All we’ve got to do is explain to Bikey that it’s better to position himself in front of the opposition attack rather than behind them, and then practice how to defend corners a little better and we’ll be alright. I still think we’ll be alright , but Pompey could be dangerous on Saturday, as all wounded dogs with nothing to loose can be.

  • Hope you lads don’t mind me butting in, when really it is FA to do with me, but your discussions sound identical to those of my mates who are West Brom fans. Albion are also very well run (like Burnley) and have become a real yo-yo club. Too good for the Championship but not good enough for the Premier. I can see both sides of the discussion, but IMO I believe you are adopting the correct approach. You have a decent chance of staying up this season with only two places ‘up for grabs’ and your excellent home form. Then a little more spending will be necessary, but I think football is going to be in for a massive reality shake up and the well run clubs like Albion and Burnley will surely benefit. We, at Villa, are very lucky to have such a fantastic Chairman as Randy Lerner. Doug Ellis, much to the fans frustration, ran our club on a tight budget for years but what he did do was invest heavily in a fantastic Youth Academy. Lerner then took over, and provided his OWN money to MON to move us from a comfortable mid table club to one that can hopefully challenge the Sky4 for years to come. What a difference to Glazer at United and Hicks at Liverpool. I accept Burnley may not be as fortunate as to get their own Randy Lerner, but building slowly and carefully with an emphasis on young home grown players HAS to be the way forward. The trouble is us fans, we are TOO impatient. Despite the great progress we are making, you wouldn’t believe the amount of moaning at VP. Good luck.

  • ok about the blackburn thing…
    no 1: we havent been in debt for a long time now. we have broke even and make a very small profit for the past 4 seasons.
    no 2: the thing that has been keeping us up for the past few seasons have been smart buys and good management. eg santa cruz for 3 mil sold him for 18, bentley, duff…all sold for big profits. and there have been a few like that.
    every premier league position is worth 750k in prize money, so its worth going half a million in debt to buy a player who will give you that extra place in the league.
    survival in the premier league is what keeps us going, if we went down I do not think we would bounce back straight away for the same reasons as TMP has said.
    Now look at Burnley’s buys this season…Edgar, Guerrero? they have hardly set the world alight, what Burnley needs is players with premier league experience who know how to fight a relegation battle. Bikey and fletcher have been good, but they do not have much premier league experience and its them little mistakes which cost games.

  • Also you played okay on Saturday. There was little between the teams except we produced a 15 minute spell of fantastic football which IMO would been too much for most teams in the League. When we attack with that pace and movement we are excellent and difficult for any team to contain. Hope we have a spell like that in our locker for United on Sunday!

  • The crux of this debate is a simple one to me. If we get relegated,did we do everything to keep up and the answer to that has to be no. If we survive fair enough but what will we then be saying next season and will we bring in the players we need to make a go of it ? Yes I agree we fans can be frustrated but with all due respect to Villa it has taken us 33 years to get back to the top flight. If the Board quote statements like ‘We would rather be in the Championship,than go into debt’ they are clearly preparing for that eventuality and in fact as far as I am concerned I think they have ben preparing for that from Day 1 in the top flight by bringing in players for the future and not playing them. I dont know what salaries we have been forking out for Penny, van der Schaaf, Easton, Eckersley and the rest but maybe it would have better to spend the money on higher quality players we need NOW not next season

Comments are closed.