Date: 18th March 2009 at 10:34am
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Burnley came away with a point in a 1-1 draw against Ipswich at Portman Road last night, but having taken the lead and had numerous chances to extend that lead before Ipswich equalised, it seems like another disappointment.

It came as no surprise when Ipswich equalised after countless defensive blunders, missed chances of our own and an inability it seemed to clear our lines.

The Clarets led 1-0 thanks to a stunning goal from Wade Elliott after 19 minutes and held on until the 73rd minutes when new signing, Dos Santos on loan from Spurs equalised with a shot from just outside the area.

Last night`s match was a good game for neutral fans with both sides showing attacking flair in an end to end affair but it was a frustrating night for Clarets fans.

The Clarets squandered a number of chances and could easily have led 3-0 had they taken them. Ipswich stopper Richard Wright though pulled off some stunning saves after point-blank headers from Elliott and Caldwell to keep the Tractor Boys hopes alive.

Burnley seemed to lose the plot somewhat in the second half and started defending deep letting Ipswich come at them. This problem was compounded by their inability to clear their lines on far too many occasions, not to mention the occasional defensive blunder. Our midfield was also nowhere to be seen at times giving Ipswich far too much space in the middle of the park. It was only a matter of time before they equalised and they did setting up a nervy last 20 minutes.

The draw last night denied the Clarets their fourth consecutive league victory but we have at least now gone four games in the league without defeat and indeed have only lost one league match now in 10 games. We remain in 5th spot with now 62 points but if Cardiff beat Watford at home tonight we will drop to 6th and they will still have two games in hand. The point though also means we are now two points clear of local rivals, Preston in 7th place. We are still very much in the hunt for a final play-offs spot but every point is now crucial and it is still too close to call with nine clubs fighting over the Top Six places. Wolves and Birmingham now look to be pulling away from the pack and they look favourites to take the automatic promotion places. Just 10 points though separate 9th placed Swansea and 3rd placed Reading.

Burnley fans might have expected Owen Coyle to give young Jay Rodriguez his first start for the Clarets after coming on in the 8th minute of our last match against Forest and scoring that stunning goal. He replaced Steven Thompson who was stretchered off. Thompson`s ankle injury was not as bad as first feared but he was unable to feature last night and will definitely miss the Plymouth game on Saturday. Rodriguez must have been disappointed though last night when once more Coyle decided to keep him on the bench bringing in Eagles instead as a replacement for Thommo.

There were also injury concerns ahead of this match for both Martin Paterson and Rhys Williams with both missing training on Monday. However, both made the starting eleven with Coyle naming the following sixteen:

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

Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Rodriguez

Derbyshire referee, Rob Shoebridge got the game underway on a mild but chilly night with Ipswich knowing that only a victory would realistically keep them in with a chance of reaching the play-offs and the Clarets knowing that another three points would really cement their challenge for a Top 6 finish.

Ipswich started brightly and in the 7th minute, should have taken the lead. On loan striker, Dos Santos making his full debut was put through clear on goal but instead of blasting the ball past Jensen tried to chip it over him only for the Beast to mop up the danger.

Rhys Williams nearly broke the deadlock moments later but his shot was cleared for a corner.

Jensen, making his 200th league appearance for the Clarets blocked a shot by Luciano Civelli in the 18th minute after the Argentinean striker had picked up a neat reverse ball from the sprightly Dos Santos.

The Clarets responded immediately by going up the other end and scoring and what a stunning goal it was. Rhys Williams in a nice one-two with Elliott set Wado free on a run. He dodged two tackles in an attempt to stop him and then let rip with a low right-footed shot that sailed past Wright into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

The Clarets buoyed by their goal were now looking to double their advantage with Ipswich looking shell-shocked. Eagles was now beginning to make his mark and tried a powerful volley from 20 yards out but Wright was equal to it. Caldwell was angry with himself moments later when he should have done better with a header instead of putting it wide following a Blake free kick.

In a pulsating game, it was now Ipswich`s turn to try their luck. Wright got the better of Kalvenes and cutting inside saw his deflected shot fly wide of the target.

That spurred on the Clarets to attack again and this time we came the closest to doubling our lead so far with Burnley fans wondering how the hell we didn`t after a downward header by Elliott following a superb cross by Eagles looked to be going into the back of the net. Somehow though Wright pulled off a breathtaking save by getting his leg in the way to deny Elliott a brace.

At the other end with the half-time fast approaching, Jensen then denied Norris following an attempted shot from 18 yards but it was the Clarets who would be the happier of the two teams as both sides headed for the dressing room at the end of the first half

Neither side made any changes for the start of the second half.

It was the Clarets who had the first chance to score after the break. Paterson who had been tightly marked in the first half, often with two defenders giving him close attention, finally found space to shoot only for Wright once more to pull off a good save.

The Clarets fans hearts though nearly stopped after Lisbie found himself clear on a one-on-one with Jensen but thankfully he fluffed his shot pulling it wide under the keeper.

Paterson was having another frustrating day and although he runs about and more, he seems to be chasing shadows plus his first touch often seems to be lacking and he badly needs a goal to restore confidence. It got worse for Pato after picking up a yellow card and it looked like Coyle could sense his frustration and rather than risk a second yellow brought on Jay Rodriguez to replace him in the 59th minute. Many Clarets fans, me included think Jay should have been on from the start and I am not sure why Coyle at the moment persists with Pato who clearly looks in need of a rest and a re-think.

Another chance for the Clarets to double their lead went begging in the 63rd minute. Robbie Blake took his own free kick after being fouled. As the ball came over, Caldwell got in a powerful header on target only for Wright to save the day again from point-blank range.

The Clarets though were now beginning to take their foot off the throttle and defending deeper, you just sensed Ipswich were getting closer and closer to getting the equaliser and it came in the 73rd minute . Dos Santos let rip with a powerful low driving strike that gave Jensen no chance

A free kick in Robbie Blake territory foiled Wright but the magician`s swinging ball was just wide of target as the Clarets pressed to re-establish their lead.

Blake then fed McCann who attempted a side-footed shot from twelve yards but the ball was well-held by the Ipswich stopper.

In the end, it was those two point blank saves that had Clarets fans muttering ‘if only` as they headed back home. Yes, we would probably have taken a point at the start of this match but how many times this season has a point seemed like two points lost rather than a point gained? This match would certainly be in that category and we have to hope we can get three points instead against Plymouth at Home Park this Saturday in our next match.


Ipswich: Richard Wright, David Wright, McAuley, Campo, Thatcher, Dos Santosi, Norris (Garvan 63), Miller (Quinn 74), Civelli, Stead, Lisbie (Counago 62).

Subs Not Used: Supple, Balkestein.

Goals: Dos Santos 73.

Burnley: Jensen, Williams, Caldwell, Carlisle, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles (Gudjonsson 78), McCann, Elliott, Blake, Paterson (Rodriguez 59).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Duff, McDonald.

Booked: Paterson.

Goals: Elliott 19.

Ref: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire).