Date: 7th January 2009 at 1:23pm
Written by:

The Clarets went off the track down the wrong (White Hart) Lane last night and they will now have to take the track up a mountain if they are going to get their Wembley dreams back on course in the second Carling Cup Semi-Final game at Turf Moor on Wednesday 21st January.

Burnley lost the first game against Tottenham Hotspur last night 4-1 but if we are honest that was a result that flattered Spurs after a first half in which the Clarets completely dominated and played their hearts out to get a much deserved opening goal and lead 1-0 at half-time.

I don`t know what Harry Redknapp said to his boys at half-time but unfortunately for us it worked and within the first 23 minutes of the second half we found ourselves 4-1 down looking shell-shocked. Their transformation all seemed to hinge on Redknapp replacing the ineffective Bentley with O`Hara for the start of the second half.

Spurs had equalised after just two minutes of play in the second half with Dawson heading in an O`Hara corner.

O`Hara seemed on fire now with Spurs buzzing and the Clarets having had the stuffing knocked out of them by that early second-half goal.

The writing was on the wall, when O`Hara himself scored from a volley five minutes later aided by a spill by Jensen that allowed the ball to squirm over the line.

At this stage there was still hope for the Clarets, a 2-1 defeat in the away leg or better would still give the Clarets hope of a win at Turf Moor and we had that all important away goal.

The dreams began to truly go up in smoke though when Spurs got their third and fourth goal over a three minute spell of hell!

Pavlyuchenko drove home the third after 65 minutes and then our fortunes were summed up when three minutes later, Michael Duff glanced O’Hara’s free-kick past Jensen into his own net.

To defeat Spurs 3-0 at home in the second leg is one hell of an expectation and the mountain to climb could only be described as scaling Everest but the Clarets will not give up just yet I am sure and indeed even at 4:1 down in this match they did us proud. We did well to contain Spurs in the final quarter of this game and had a few moments ourselves where we could have reduced that deficit. One more goal to lose 4-2 would have made the match at Turf Moor a more thrilling prospect and given us more hope but it wasn`t to be. It just seemed all our confidence and superb technique with sweet passing we showed in the first half dominance deserted us in the second half. We did seem to be unduly capital punished though by the end of the match and I don`t think 4-1 was a fair reflection overall of how well we played.

The Clarets had to start this game without Captain Steven Caldwell who was suspended and sitting out the second of his two match automatic ban following a red-card sending off against Doncaster over Christmas. Chris McCann however did make the starting eleven after being passed fit following a knee injury. Kevin McDonald too was also an injury concern before this match but he made it to the bench after recovering from a groin strain.

With Jordan also returning after a one match suspension, Owen Coyle had options in defence too with Christian Kalvenes now also fit and could have played 4-1-4-1 with Alexander in the holding midfield role. However he chose 4-4-2 with Kalvenes named on the bench.

With Thompson cup-tied we lined up as follows:

Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Jordan, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Eagles, Blake, Paterson

Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, Mahon, McDonald, MacDonald, Akinbiyi, Rodriguez

Spurs paraded their new singing and former player, Jermain Defoe before the start of the game having just signed him from Portsmouth for a fee thought to be about £15m. He was not however signed in time to face the Clarets in this first leg battle but he could face us in the second-leg.

£15 for one player? You are having a laugh. Our whole side would not come near that figure in total value which just makes our first half performance where yet another moneybags Premier League side were totally outplayed even more remarkable. Anyway I digress so back to the game!

Premier League, West Yorkshire referee, Martin Atkinson got the match underway and it was the Clarets who came storming out the blocks first. Eagles fired wide in the third minute after a dazzling run by Elliott and a few minutes later with the Clarets looking more and more confident, Paterson came close with a shot.

It was 13 minutes into the game before Jensen was called into action. A deflected shot from distance by Bentley was comfortably saved by ‘The Beast` and immediately the Clarets were on the counter-attack, an Elliott shot being just off target.

Two minutes later and the continually standing (is that legal? Nobody minded) Clarets crowd (myself included) in the South Lower Tier erupted with excitement after realising Paterson had just scored. Stuck behind the goals you couldn`t really see what was happening at the other end although the Big Screen straight in front on the opposite stand helped confirm the unbelievable fact we had taken the lead at White Hart Lane after just 15 minutes of play.

Chris McCann had linked well with Robbie Blake to find Eagles. He took an easy flight around two defenders without flinching to put in a low cross for Paterson to shoot home from close range.

After the delayed reaction, 3,800 travelling fans were now going wild and the Clarets hadn`t finished and were not going to give Spurs a quick chance to recover. Blake nearly made it a sensational 2-0 midway through the half with Eagles once more involved after he picked up a pass from Elliott and crossed to find Blake ideally placed.

Blake`s header had the keeper well beaten and the ball nearly sneaked in at the far post but was just an inch or two wide.

Jensen then brought off a spectacular save at point-blank range to deny Woodgate before Gudjonsson picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Kevin McDonald on the half-hour mark.

The half came to a close and despite one or two jittery moments, we had kept Spurs at bay and in fact had totally out-thought and outplayed them for most of the half and had most of the possession looking the most likely team to score next. 1-0 Clarets at half-time. How many pundits would have predicted that, not to mention predicted the dominance we had shown over 45 minutes?

The Clarets made no further changes for the start of the second half whilst Spurs made one, a Redknapp decision that would prove to be a disaster for the Clarets. He decided to replace the lacklustre, Bentley with O`Hara.

Perhaps the taunts from the Clarets fans about Bentley`s barsteward past were getting to the man although being sat at the end of the first row, I was next to some disabled Spurs fans one of whom who assured me Bentley was rubbish anyway! Sadly for us, O`Hara wasn`t and looked on a mission to prove something. Spurs got a corner just two minutes into the second half and as the ball came over from O`Hara, Dawson was on hand to head home.

Five minutes later and the hosts were in front. A shot by Pavlyuchenko was deflected across goal but O`Hara pounced to sneak the ball under Jensen who should have done better and held onto it.

This was now turning into a nightmare for Clarets fans with Spurs at this stage running riot.

It was going to get much worse but we did try to fight back after the double-whammy before disaster struck twice again.

The Clarets earned their first corner of the game just before the 60 minutes mark. There was a scramble as Blake picked up the ball from the edge of the box but he was just off target with his chipped effort. A last gasp header by the Spurs defence on 65 minutes prevented a Clarets fight back after Gomes had saved from Paterson with Blake then getting the loose ball into the six-yard box.

The clearance led to a Spurs counter-attack from which they scored. Pavlyuchenko picked up the ball 25 yards out and went outside Clarke Carlisle who maybe should have done better and attempted a tackle. It didn`t matter, game over for the Clarets as Pavlyuchenko`s shot sailed sweetly into the bottom corner to break all the Clarets fans hearts!

Matches against Spurs over the years have often involved at least one team getting four goals, 4-4 at White Hart Lane comes to mind in the 60s and most Clarets fans of a certain age will recall the thumping 4-1 League Cup victory at White Hart Lane back in January 1983.

Well this was going to be another 4-1 with the Clarets on the wrong end of it and not really deserving it. It was perhaps typical of our frustrating second-half that their fourth goal would also be an own goal with Duff rather unfortunately glancing a O’Hara’s cross into his own net just three minutes after their third goal.

Burnley though to their credit never gave up and nor did they fold. Spurs fourth goal came in the 68 minute with nearly 25 minutes still to play. We could have been severely tonked but we showed spirit to survive the Spurs onslaught and even could have reduced the deficit on the break if we had managed to get back the form of the first half. Coyle tried to freshen things up with Rodriguez coming on for Blake after 75 minutes and there was a late chance for Akinbiyi to shine after he replaced Paterson on 86 minutes. Although we mounted quite a few attacks, we seemed to lack that sparkle of the first half and most of the attacks were left wanting, breaking down usually due to poor passing.

Oh well, still game on for the return at Turf Moor but as we speak no doubt the Brasso is out shining the clubs crampons!! 


Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Bale, Lennon, Modric, Zokora, Bentley (O’Hara 46), Pavlyuchenko, Campbell.

Subs Not Used: Alnwick, Gunter, Giovani, Taarabt, Boateng, Rocha.

Goals: Dawson 47, O’Hara 52, Pavlyuchenko 65, Duff 68 og.

Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Jordan, Gudjonsson (McDonald 30), Eagles, Paterson (Akinbiyi 86), Elliott, Blake (Rodriguez 75), McCann.

Subs Not Used: Penny, Kalvenes, Mahon, MacDonald.

Booked: Duff.

Goals: Paterson 15.

Ref: Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire).