Date: 15th March 2009 at 3:30pm
Written by:

It has been some time since we last tonked a side, but we certainly did that yesterday at Turf Moor in our 50th game of the season. Struggling Nottingham Forest, trying to avoid the drop, were the visitors and they must have wondered what had him them after conceding five goals by the time the final whistle went.

Our dominance was so great the 5-0 final score line could well have been even more, but this result was just the tonic we needed with three more points on the board plus a boost to our goal difference. We have now scored 9 goals in the last two matches and the Clarets will be hoping their form and goal scoring touch continues in our next three matches, all tricky away games. We face Ipswich at Portman Road this Tuesday night followed by a long trek down to Devon to play Plymouth next Saturday. The International break will then be a welcome respite before we travel to Pride Park to play Derby County on Saturday April 4th.

The result yesterday took us into 5th place on 61 points although we could drop one place today if Cardiff defeat Bristol City away from home. We are however now just three points behind third place Reading (although have played one more game) and two points behind Sheffield United, a side we still have to play at home. Crucially, Preston in 6th place are still one point behind us and we have that game in hand.

The only bad news for the Clarets yesterday was that Steve Thompson was stretchered off with an ankle injury after only 8 minutes played and everybody is anxiously awaiting news of the seriousness of the injury. He looks certain to miss the next couple of games and will be having a scan on his ankle to assess the extent of the ligament damage.

There was also concern ahead of the match that injuries could prevent Christian Kalvenes, Chris McCann and Kevin McDonald from being selected against Forest. In the end all players were named in the sixteen with Kalvenes and McCann making the starting eleven.

Coyle, with no injury concerns or suspensions to worry about did not in the end ring any changes to the sixteen that were selected for the Palace game and so once more Jay Rodriguez had to be content with a place on the bench with Martin Paterson partnering Steve Thompson up front. Jay probably thought he might be in with a chance of starting his first match this season for the Clarets after his well taken 4th goal and clincher late on in the Palace game but Coyle remained loyal to his star striker despite Paterson looking tired and off the pace in recent matches.

Our line-up was therefore once more:

Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Thompson

Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez.

Referee, Dean Whitestone from Northamptonshire got the game underway on a sunny but blustery day at the Turf.

Steven Thompson was stretchered off with a potentially serious ankle injury after a strong challenge from Wes Morgan in the 8th minute giving the opportunity for young Jay Rodriguez to come on and make a mark.

The game in the first half was to be honest a pretty scrappy affair with few chances for either side but it was livened up in the 19th minute after the Clarets were awarded a free kick near the left side touchline. Robbie Blake hit a superb curler into the top right hand corner of the net over the stunned Forest keeper, Paul Smith. The Clarets now sought to extend their lead and seven minutes before half-time they succeeded thanks to some more Blake magic. Weaving in and out inside the box beating defenders left, right and centre he finally got a cross in with Elliott well-placed in the six yard box to steamroller it home.

So a pretty comfortable 2-0 lead for the Clarets at half-time without having broken sweat. Owen Coyle predictably made no changes for the start of the second half whilst Billy Davies replaced McCleary with Garner.

It didn`t take long for the Clarets to further increase their lead with just 6 minutes of the second half played. Martin Paterson flicked on a looping ball to the back post for Carlisle to thunder in and a score with a powerful header to make it 3-0 with Forest now looking in all sorts of disarray.

Four minutes later and disarray turned to disaster for Forest as the Clarets extended their lead even further thanks to a stunning goal from Jay Rodriguez, one that must surely be a contender for this year`s Goal of the Season. Rodriguez got the better of the defender outside the box, turning inside to shoot from 25 yards. The keeper had no chance as the curling ball sailed into the net to make it 4-0 Clarets with some Forest fans now heading for the exits already with still 35 minutes to play.

Another inspired substitution by Coyle saw Gudjonsson come on for McCann after 69 minutes, two minutes after Eagles had replaced Blake. Joey`s first touch was to take a free-kick from fully 40 yards out. The ball was smashed in true Gudjonsson style and was just wide of target. Gudjonsson though did finally score on 73 minutes after Forest failed to clear their lines. The ball nicely dropped to him and he hit it on the volley from 18 yards out to score the Clarets fifth and final goal of the afternoon although we did have further chances to extend that lead.

Eagles tried a great pass but just failed to find Rodriguez in the 75th minute

McGugan almost got Forest a consolation goal from a free kick with 79 minutes played but Jensen managed to tip the ball over.

On 85 minutes, Paterson hit the side netting from a tight angle after a Alexander free kick taken quickly caught Forest off guard.

The referee finally blew for time with Clarets fans ecstatic and Forest fans demoralised. The Clarets to be honest have probably played far better and lost plus Forest were simply not at the races today. The goals though were opportunist and very well taken with the result setting us up nicely for our play-offs challenge. We have now won three league games on the trot and we will be looking to make that four away to Ipswich at Portman Road this Tuesday night.

We shall leave the last word to the gaffer, Owen Coyle who in his post-match interview said:

‘There was never five goals in the game but the bottom line is we were clinical. All season we have been creating a host of chances, but this helps the goal difference. We have got some gifted players in the offensive third of the field and we did try and get the ball down but the pitch is not helping us in the way we like to play.’

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Burnley: Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Elliott, Alexander, McCann (Gudjonsson 69), Blake (Eagles 67), Thompson (Rodriguez 8), Paterson.

Subs Not Used: Penny, McDonald.

Goals: Blake 19, Elliott 39, Carlisle 51, Rodriguez 55, Gudjonsson 73.

Nott’m Forest: Smith, Chambers, Morgan, Perch, Gunter, McCleary (Garner 46), Cohen, Osbourne (McGugan 78), Tyson, McSheffrey (Thornhill 75), Earnshaw.

Subs Not Used: Gamble, Moloney.

Booked: Cohen, Garner.

Ref: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).