Date: 26th October 2008 at 10:38am
Written by:

It shows how far we have progressed as a team when not for the first time this season the end result of a creditable draw away from home feels like a defeat. The Clarets drew 1-1 against Charlton at The Valley yesterday but after taking the lead in the first half thanks to a goal by Steve Thompson, his first for the club, they somehow allowed a reformed and vibrant Charlton in the second half to come back and equalise. The Todorov goal late in the game denied the frustrated Clarets all three points although Charlton were admittedly helped by some strange decisions by the referee, Rob Shoebridge throughout the match.

The Clarets dropped a couple of places losing their Top 6 spot and are now 8th on 20 points. We are still very well placed though in a tight, fighting pack of a handful of clubs separated by only a few points. Cardiff, currently 4th are just two points ahead of the Clarets and third-placed club, Reading the team we face next at Turf Moor this Tuesday night are just four points ahead. A win on Tuesday night and revenge for a 3-1 defeat recently at the Madejski Stadium, our only loss now in 13 matches, should see the Clarets back in the Top 6. However let`s get back to the match yesterday.

Our main concern before this match was a leg injury to Chris McCann. He was given a 50-50 chance of starting but thankfully he made it to the starting eleven. In effect with no other injury concerns the starting eleven picked itself as Burnley named an unchanged team for the third time in a row.

The bench however saw one change with Jordan replacing Van der Schaaf and it was just as well we had a defender as one of our substitutes with Caldwell having to be replaced later in the game.

The successful outcome for McCann meant that once more, the star of our last game against Coventry, Chris Eagles had to be content with a place on the bench. One wonders what the effective and influential midfielder has to do to get a starting eleven place, one assist in the last match and one stunning goal still not being enough. Oh well, as you were with the team lining up as follows:

Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Paterson, Thompson

Subs: Penny, Blake, Eagles, Jordan, Rodriguez

Alan Pardew, the Charlton gaffer had made it plain before the match he could wring the changes after some disappointing performances by the Addicks in recent times and at first it was thought that former Clarets striker, Andy Gray had been one of the casualties after not making the sixteen. However, it would appear the reason he was not named was down to personal reasons with his wife being unwell. We therefore wish Andy and his wife well.

Rob Shoebridge, the Derbyshire referee for this game had only featured in one match involving the Clarets last season and by co-incidence it was same fixture. Could this be a good omen for the Clarets, bearing in mind we came out stomping 3-1 winners at the Valley last year? The answer to that would be a resounding no, but more of that later.

The Clarets got off to a good start as the match got underway and they were clearly the better of the two sides with Gudjonsson looking particularly dangerous and a handful for Pardew`s men in the first 15 minutes.

The Clarets thought they had taken the lead after just 8 minutes.

Paterson latched on to a clear Charton header back into their half and raced forward to score after cutting back from the by-line to slot the ball past Weaver. The referee had ignored an offside flag by the assistant (after all the linesman was a million miles away from the incident) and seemed to award the goal.

The referee then appeared to panic and it would not be the only time in this game. Threatened by crowd protests it seemed, he deemed it necessary to consult with the linesman and incredulously reversed his decision to chalk off a perfectly good goal. Was somebody else deemed to be offside? We shall probably never know but what a shambles.

The farcical decision seemed to stir the Clarets into action again and just five minutes later we got the goal we deserved.

The Clarets had been awarded a corner and as the ball failed to be cleared by the Charton defence, it was Gudjonsson who got on the end of it shooting from 18 yards out. As it bobbled through a packed defence and a sea of legs the ball must have been deflected into the net by Steve Thompson.

After much debate Thompson was officially awarded the goal despite many football websites naming Gudjonsson as the goal-scorer for the whole of the first half. Maybe not the goal that Thompson would have preferred to be his first for the club but they all count and he took claim to it.

Buoyed by the lead, the Clarets now began to dominate proceedings for the rest of the half although Charlton did look dangerous on the break.

Yassin Moutaouakil prevented Charlton going further behind after 28 minutes, heading over an Elliott cross with Thompson breathing down his neck. Charlton then managed to deflect a Chris McCann attempt from 12 yards out from the resulting corner.

With 30 minutes of play on the clock, Paterson and Thompson both rushing in only just failed to connect with an Elliott cross hit first time after some nice play by Alexander on the break.

The Charlton fans frustrations now began to tell as the total Clarets dominance led to the Addicks contingent booing their own team and manager. Just what the Clarets would have liked to hear!

In many ways though it was a disappointment that we could not extend our lead with the Charlton players clearly in disarray and looking shell-shocked. Elliott on one of his trademark mazy runs might have done better with his shot had it not hit his team mate, Paterson but that was it for the first half and no prizes given for who was clearly the better team.

Charlton would have to change things around in the second half if they were to stand any chance of getting something from this match and that is exactly what they did. Lloyd Sam and Svetoslav Todorov came on for Primus and McLeod for the start of the second half while the confident Clarets made no changes.

It was the Clarets too that were out of the blocks first. Thompson nearly got his brace within seconds of the start of the second half only to be denied by Grant Basey who managed to get in a superb defensive header with the ball duly flying over his own goal.

Luke Varney should have done better after 50 minutes but headed straight to Jensen from eight yards out in clear space. The move though seemed to inspire Charlton as the Addicks came more and more into the match making the Clarets slim 1-0 lead look even more slender.

Steven Caldwell then picked up a knock and on 51 minutes had to be replaced by Stephen Jordan with the defender slotting into the centre of defence.

Elliott broke free moments later and was blatantly and cynically fouled by Basey as he charged towards the box.

A yellow card seemed a let off but worse was to follow as Shoebridge continued to wimp out on decisions and enhance is Homer instincts! (Homer Simpson that is, in what was fast becoming a comedy farce as we shall now see!)

Gudjonsson chased from midfield three quarters of the way through the game and was heading clear towards goal before blatantly being fouled by two defenders on the edge of the area as he dropped to the ground.

This was quite clearly an opportunity for Gudjonsson to have scored and surely there should have been a red card. The referee though again showed how totally inept he was in this match and failed to do anything, even consult with his linesman something he seemed keen to do when Charlton fans protested. Not even a yellow card? Pathetic refereeing and strong protests should officially be made about this incompetence. Mugged again by Charlton`s twelfth man!

By now, Chris Eagles had come on the pitch in place of Paterson after 60 minutes with Blake replacing Thompson after 73 minutes as Coyle seeked to freshen up the team against an ever improving Charlton.

Burnley should have scored again though after they found themselves in a four against two situation but it was Eagles, having by his standards a lack lustre game who had strayed offside as the attack broke down giving fresh impetus to the Addicks with just 19 minutes remaining.

It was only a matter of time before the Clarets conceded an equaliser, with luck quite clearly not on their side.

76 minutes of play and the inevitable happened. Todorov , a danger man all afternoon after coming on from the bench headed home the equaliser from a free kick awarded after a Jordan foul.

Charlton with their tails up now looked for the winner as the stress began to take its toll on the Clarets. Time though for Gudjonsson to try a thunderbolt that rattled off the crossbar with Weaver beaten and time also for Jordan to nearly give Charlton a thoroughly undeserved victory. His back pass was far too short for Jensen to collect and Varney pounced rounding the Dane and heading towards goal. Somehow, from nowhere Duff had spotted the danger and had headed towards the goal-line to snuff out the threat with a superb block to save the day and ensure that the Clarets came away with a point.

Yes, another result that somehow seems a disappointment but put into context I think we would have all taken four points from our last two games, both away and we can now look forward to hopefully consolidating our position with two home matches to follow against Reading this Tuesday night and Norwich next Saturday.


Charlton: Weaver, Moutaouakil, Primus (Sam 46), Hudson, Cranie, Ambrose, Wright (Holland 81), Bailey, Basey, Varney, McLeod (Todorov 46).

Subs Not Used: Elliot, Bouazza.

Booked: Basey.

Goals: Todorov 76.

Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell (Jordan 51), Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Thompson (Blake 73), Paterson (Eagles 60).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Rodriguez.

Booked: Elliott.

Goals: Thompson 13.

Ref: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire).