Date: 19th October 2008 at 3:31pm
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The Clarets fought bravely against League leaders, Birmingham at Turf Moor yesterday and had by far the most possession for long spells of this match. The Clarets had taken the lead in the first half thanks to a McCann header on 25 minutes but lost out to a sucker punch (as Coyle described the goal) in the 77th minute with Cameron Jerome earning Birmingham a point.

Despite Brum`s equaliser, Burnley continued to battle for the winner and were cruelly denied a chance from the penalty spot after both the referee and assistant had a moment of blind madness and failed to see the obvious.

Owen Coyle had this to say about the nailed-on penalty that was not given:

“I thought it was a stonewall penalty but the referee said he wasn’t in the best place to see it and the linesman said someone was in his line of vision. “

I think it`s time to bring in video camera action and the fifth official to football if that`s the case.

Let`s be clear though, this was an awesome performance by the Clarets and a point against a team like high-flying Birmingham should not be underestimated in a game where so many positives for our team were plainly evident.

Coyle had this to say about his side`s performance:

‘We were terrific all game, but were caught by a sucker punch. I am disappointed with a point, but we switched off at our corner and paid the price.’

We slide a little bit down the table by not securing all three points and we are now eleventh on 16 points, but to put things into context we are only one point off the fifth placed club, Sheffield United and just two points off the fourth placed club, Cardiff. It just shows once again how tight this League has become.

Three points only separate Cardiff on 18 points and the 15th placed club, Sheffield Wednesday!

The permutations and combinations for predicting the Clarets sixteen before this game were eased by two pieces of good news affecting the back four. Both Michael Duff and Clarke Carlisle, two players who missed training during the week through injury were deemed fit enough to play and made the starting eleven. As expected though with Jordan suspended, Christian Kalvenes returned to the starting eleven. Van der Schaaf also made the sixteen, replacing Alan Mahon . Mahon once again appears to be consolidating his ‘Sicknote` reputation after picking up an injury in a recent behind closed doors game against Blackpool at Gawthorpe.

The one person who was believed to be ready to reclaim a place, Kevin McDonald did not feature at all in the sixteen despite the earlier hype in the media. Maybe Coyle didn`t want to risk the midfielder after he picked up an ankle injury in the reserve game in midweek also against Blackpool.

In many ways therefore the Clarets lined up in a very similar manner to their last few matches despite all the back four scares in midweek. Alexander once more kept the holding midfielder role and we had the same midfield and attack of recent games. I have to say though, for me personally after a bit of a one-man campaign to get Chris Eagles named in the starting eleven, I was somewhat disappointed that the former Premier League midfielder did not start against the former Premier League side of last season.

The Clarets lined up as follows therefore:

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

Subs: Penny, Rodriguez, Van der Schaaf, Eagles, Blake

Referee, Lee Probert got the match underway and both sides were keen to get the upper edge in the first few minutes of this tussle in a pretty even game.

Brum`s Garry O`Connor came close to breaking the deadlock for the visitors but an alert Michael Duff came to the rescue with a sliding tackle to rob the midfielder after he had been put through on goal.

Alexander picked up a headed pass from Caldwell and tried a shot from distance on 23 minutes but the ball went high over the bar.

The Clarets however didn`t have long to wait to take the lead when on 25 minutes Paterson got in a delightful cross to find McCann who headed home to notch up his third goal of the season.

The match now seemed to take on a new lease of life but the Clarets were equal to the challenge as Birmingham looked for the equaliser.

McCann nearly got his brace for the Clarets after 28 minutes from an Alexander free-kick but his header flew wide. The Blues keeper, Taylor was then directly in the way of a header from Gudjonsson with five minutes of the half remaining and on 44 minutes Elliott`s cross found the head of Thompson but the striker put the ball wide.
1-0 Clarets then at half-time and Coyle would be by far the happier of the two managers.

There we no Clarets changes for the start of the second half and we were the first to make our mark in the half with the first attack. Gudjonsson from a free kick on 47 minutes saw his shot get a deflection via the Birmingham wall only to go wide of the post.

Taylor was bamboozled by an Elliott cross on 55 minutes with the ball finishing up on the roof of the net after a deflection off the top of the bar.

Robbie Blake seemingly restless this week about not making the starting eleven had a chance to impress coming on from the bench after 65 minutes replacing Martin Paterson.

Coyle then brought on Eagles at long last after 69 minutes with the midfielder replacing Thompson but seriously he should have started in this game.

Duff came close with a shot on 72 minutes but the shot was just wide and four minutes later we got caught out with that sucker punch as battling Birmingham finally got their equaliser despite sustained pressure by the Clarets.

The Blues were on a quick counter attack and although Jensen managed to block a shot from James McFadden, the ball skidded to Jerome who made no mistake from close range. Birmingham had played much better in the second half and probably on balance deserved their equaliser but it was a blow after all the Clarets hard work. To their credit though, the Clarets picked themselves up and sought to get in front again by maintaining the pressure and possession.

One minute after Brum equalised, the Clarets had a penalty waved away by Probert much to the disgust of Owen Coyle and the fans.

Birmingham`s veteran midfielder Lee Carsley clearly handled the ball in the box after a cross from Wade Elliott but Mr & Mrs Magoo failed to spot the obvious!

The Clarets however finished the stronger of the two sides. Burnley`s final effort in injury time saw McCann get in yet another header which yet again went wide.

Burnley had to settle for a point therefore and on balance they deserved more after putting in a good, hard performance holding their own against a team that don`t look likely to drop many points this season.


Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Thompson (Eagles 69), Paterson (Blake 65).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Rodriguez, Van der Schaaf.

Booked: Thompson, Carlisle.

Goals: McCann 25.

Birmingham: Maik Taylor, Agustien (McFadden 58), Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, Murphy (Queudrue 46), Larsson, Carsley, O’Connor (Jerome 68), Parnaby, Phillips, Owusu-Abeyie.

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Nafti.

Booked: McFadden.

Goals: Jerome 77.

Ref: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).