Date: 4th April 2010 at 5:07pm
Written by:

This match was over for the Clarets in the first 7 minutes with Manchester City storming out of the blocks and finding themselves 3-0 up before the Clarets had hardly had time to kick the ball. Goals by Adebayor, Bellamy and Tevez sent the shock waves around Turf Moor and the scene was set for an awful afternoon for Clarets fans. No club in the Premier League since 1993 had scored three goals so quickly and it was just the start of a rout that would see the Clarets 5-0 down at half-time. The day had started bright and hopeful but things now looked bleak and if to emphasize that the storm clouds gathered and the rain began to fall.

The fans were obviously not happy and there was certainly a fair bit of booing aimed at Laws as they walked to the dressing room at half-time in torrential rain. Some had even walked out after just 20 minutes. Yes, the dark clouds had gathered in more ways than one and during the break it bucketed down with puddles appearing all over the pitch.

Laws made two changes for the start of the second half, not that anybody really cared anymore. Blake was replaced by Paterson and Jack Cork came on for the lacklustre McDonald. The tactics seemed to work for a time and there was a danger Burnley might even get a goal back.

Manchester City had clearly decided though it was job done and they were not going to risk injury too much sliding around in the surface water and mud. Just to rub salt in our wounds though they coasted in a sixth goal on 58 minutes to make it 6-0 after Kompany headed home from a corner.

Clarets fans had no option now but to turn to humour and decided that the only hope was that the rains would fall enough to have the game abandoned so they sang ‘Call it off` hoping to remind the referee how dangerous it was to be sliding about like this! Clutching at straws but we were desperate and the referee simply ignored this genuine concern for the players safety! (Cough!)

Oh well at least we got the inevitable consolation goal on 71 minutes when Fletcher cut in from the left to thump his shot home. There was more cynical humour than relief at this point. Clarets fans in the main still had heart to sing despite the forlorn hope of rescuing anything but at the end of the day , most of us just wanted to go home, get dry and avoid watching Match of the Day later at all costs!

Well yes, Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches and depth of quality in the squad that the Clarets with the smallest budget in the top flight could only dream of but there was still no excuse for this woeful performance. Let`s remember virtually the same two teams played out an exciting 3-3 draw at the City of Manchester Stadium last November although back then of course we played as a team with belief and confidence. None of that was present at Turf Moor on Saturday and it was yet another gutless, passionless performance from the Clarets. Something we have come to almost expect these days under Brian Laws. Apart from the Wigan game away recently, Laws just can`t seem to get them motivated enough to turn on a decent performance and that continued on Saturday but if anything was even worse than the last few home games. You could criticise players in every area of the pitch and it was the most schoolboy, amateurish display I have seen this team play in many a season. It is so sad to see and so desperate a situation. Our squad let`s face it simply does not have enough quality, they are Championship level players at the limit of their capability but even so on that performance they would even struggle to hold their own in the Fizzy Pop League. It was no wonder Brian Laws felt obliged to apologise to the fans following that result.

This terrible defeat keeps us second from bottom but now we have the worst goal difference in the whole of the Premier League. At least third-from bottom club Hull also lost 2-0 away to Stoke but they still have a game in hand and now a four goal advantage in terms of goal difference. The party is nearly over unless we can somehow beat Hull next Saturday and get our first victory on the road all season. The problem is the fans have lost confidence in the players and manager and that negativity could have its effect on the pitch. Not only of course do we need to get above Hull but we also need West Ham to falter and at the time of writing they were currently 1-0 down away to Everton in the Sunday fixture. If it stays that way, they will be three points ahead of the Clarets having played the same number of games and of course they have a vastly superior goal difference to both Hull and the Clarets.

The Clarets Team Sheet

Brian Laws in typical style made more changes to the starting eleven and perhaps after that totally passionless, poor display against Rovers in the big derby at Turf Moor last week he had no option.

Former Manchester City defender, Stephen Jordan was not risked after picking up a knee injury towards the end of the first half against Rovers last Sunday so Danny Fox regained his spot at left back. Caldwell after playing in a midweek reserves match was also still sidelined with Carlisle on the bench and Duff and Cort retained in the centre of defence.

Robbie Blake was preferred to Martin Paterson who returned to the bench and Elliott also had to be content with bench warming with Chris Eagles returning to the starting eleven.

Rumours had been circulating all week that Brian Laws had fallen out with Andre Bikey after being absent from the eighteen in the Rovers derby last Sunday. He did however make a return to the bench for the City game so the speculation may have been just that.

In summary we lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Fox, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, Blake, Nugent, Fletcher

Subs: Weaver, Carlisle, Bikey, Cork, Elliott, Thompson, Paterson

The Full Match Report

Brian Laws decided to be more attack-minded for this game choosing to play just two in central midfield but the plan soon backfired with Manchester City charging through our midfield and defence like it wasn`t there! To be honest it wasn`t!

With the game just four minutes old, City got a corner after a shot by Adam Johnson got a deflection and hit the outside of the post. Adebayor fired home strongly from the corner and just one minute later it was 2-0. Johnson, the City winger was ripping us to shreds and this time he pounced on a terrible pass by Kevin McDonald and found Tevez. The Argentinean laid off the ball neatly to Bellamy who had a simple task to shoot home and send a shiver through the spines of all Clarets fans!

City`s attacks were relentless and by now we looked to have already capitulated and thrown in the towel! If we hadn`t then we had by the 7th minute when City made it 3-0. It was that man Johnson again who started the move after finding himself in acres of space. He pulled the ball back to Adebayor to shoot. Jensen should have saved it but instead he spilled the ball at the feet of Tevez for yet another simple tap-in. City never lose when Tevez scores but then we were that shockingly bad we knew we were unlikely to win even before he scored !

I don`t think we had been in their half yet and were now 3-0 down looking bewildered, shell-shocked and totally embarrassed. It would not get any better. City were now having wave after wave of attacks and our only reply so far had been an effort by Robbie Blake who could only put his shot into the side-netting.

Johnson was set free and we looked certain to go behind even further with three City players charging forward with just one defender to beat. It was a poor cross though and the chance went begging giving the Clarets a temporary respite.

City though got another corner soon after and this time Patrick Vieira stormed in to head home to make it 4-0 with just 20 minutes played. We were that pathetic now that some Clarets fans had decided enough was enough and were now storming out of the ground in disgust. The vast majority of fans stayed trying to put on a brave one but it was pretty much purgatory to watch for the rest of the half. Robbie Blake at this stage seemed to be the only one showing some passion but was fighting an uphill battle trying to get his demoralised team mates to respond and urge forward.

Shay Given saved routinely from Michael Duff and then Fletcher put his attempt wide as the Clarets finally tried to save some face. A Blake corner with seven minutes to go found the head of Nugent but Given saved the danger at close range parrying away the ball.

This little bit of pressure from the Clarets was a false dawn though and on the break City again ripped through our non-existent defence time and time again in the closing minutes of the first-half with both Vieira and Bellamy coming close to getting their second of the afternoon. Just before half-time the inevitable fifth goal came for City after a Tevez attempt had hit woodwork. The Clarets defence if there was such a thing seemed to go AWOL again and Adebayor simply walked through the open spaces to shoot past Jensen.

The rain was now falling like the clappers as the storm clouds gathered during half-time with surface water and puddles appearing all over the pitch. Clarets fans had only one hope and that was that the game would be abandoned and it was forlorn hope with both teams kicking off the second half in torrential rain with no sign that Alan Wiley was remotely interested in calling this one-sided affair off despite the Clarets fans best efforts.

For the start of the second-half, Laws had made a couple of changes. Blake, who had seemed the only one putting in the effort in the first half was substituted in an effort to tighten up midfield and Kevin McDonald also made way with Cork and Elliott coming on to replace them.

Players were now slipping all over the place and sliding in the mud and water. The ball was also getting stuck in the mud making passing difficult. Things carried on though and to be honest I think City now had decided job done and laid off in some of the tackles allowing Burnley to have a little spell of possession. David Nugent had a couple of efforts on goal but both went wide.
That little spell though came to a shuddering halt when City promptly went down the other end to make it 6-0 from yet another Johnson corner with still 32 minutes to play. This time Kompany headed home. Horrible thoughts of a double-figure final score for City entered the minds of Clarets fans and had they not taken the foot of the accelerator it might easily have been 10-0!!

The storm clouds finally gave up the ghost and it brightened up slightly as early evening approached. Just time to get a consolation goal when on 71 minutes Fletcher ran on to a through-ball from Cork and thumped the ball sweetly past Given with the ball sailing into the top corner to make the final defeat 6-1. Cynical cheers exploded around the ground but really those Clarets fans staying to the bitter end just wanted to go home and forget about this pathetic performance.

Match Detail

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Fox, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald (Cork 46), Blake (Elliott 46), Nugent, Fletcher (Paterson 80)

Subs not used: Weaver, Carlisle, Bikey, Thompson

Goal: Fletcher (71)

Booked: None

Manchester City: Given, Onuoha, Sylvinho (De Jong 67), Toure, Kompany, A Johnson, Barry, Vieira, Adebayor (Santa Cruz 79), Tevez (Nimely 83), Bellamy

Subs not used: Nielsen, Garrido, Boyata, Wright-Phillips

Goals: Adebayor (4), Bellamy (5), Tevez (7), Vieira (20), Adebayor (45), Kompany (58).

Booked: None

Possession: 36% Burnley, 64% Manchester City (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire)