Date: 29th August 2007 at 7:27pm
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Burnley FC defeated League One club Oldham, 3-0 last night in the Carling Cup second round match at Turf Moor. A healthy 7317 fans turned up which was good considering this was a night match in the holiday season and all credit to Oldham for bringing a sizeable contingent. Gray, Blake and Akinbiyi did the damage for the Clarets though with all three goals coming in the second half. The scoreline may have flattered the Clarets at times and Oldham put up a brave fight with some excellent saves by Brian Jensen keeping them at bay.

However that`s what successful sides do, make the most of their luck and Burnley will be hoping for a nice juicy tie in the next round against Premiership opposition.

Clarets manager, Steve Cotterill made four changes compared to the last match away to Scunthorpe. It was clear after the match that some of these changes were forced upon him due to injuries.

The most surprising was perhaps John Spicer being tried at right back following the news that Duff had tweaked his abductor muscle in the free training session put on for the fans at the Turf last Saturday (following the postponed match against QPR)

Steve Caldwell was deemed fit after all and started the match in the back four along with Carlisle and Jordan The other changes saw Jones return to the starting eleven and Brian Jensen in goal in place of the injured Kiraly.

The Clarets therefore started as follows:

Jensen, Spicer, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, McCann, Jones, Gudjonsson, Elliott, Gray, Blake.

Subs: Mahon, J O’Connor, Akinbiyi, Unsworth

Perhaps surprisingly, we only named four substitutes!

There were some familiar faces in the Oldham line-up too with former Clarets Youth player, Neil Trotman on the bench and former loan striker, Michael Ricketts facing his old team-mates. Sean Gregan will also have been remembered from his Preston and Leeds days.

Crossley, Eardley, Thompson, Gregan, Bertrand, Smalley, Kalala, McDonald, Taylor, Ricketts, Davies.

Subs: Pogliacomi, Liddell, Wolfenden, Trotman, Lomax.

The match started fairly quietly with nothing much happening in the first five minutes and it was Michael Ricketts for the away side who broke the deadlock and attempted a shot (or was it a cross?) which was easily snuffed out by the Clarets defence.

Elliott almost made up for it just seconds later when his inch perfect through ball found Robbie Blake in a good position. Unfortunately his shot was blocked well by an Oldham defender and the Clarets had to settle for a corner, which was wasted.

Steven Jordan came the closest for the Clarets after 30 minutes when his shot from distance cleared the cross bar much to the relief of Crossley.

Oldham then continued to press with Chris Taylor coming close putting his shot wide of the upright.

Andy Gray was flagged offside by the assistant referee after 42 minutes as he broke into the six yard box after being up-ended by the Latics keeper

Chris McCann was booked for a foul in the centre circle just before the whistle went for halftime. Not a particularly impressive first half from the Clarets but Steve Cotterill often criticised for not having a Plan B, was to instigate a pretty good one at the start of the second half (it would prove) as Alan Mahon and James O’Connor replaced the rather ineffective Joey Gudjonsson and Steve Jones. Joey needs to watch himself and start putting some good performances together. Sadly some Clarets are not content unless they have a figure to ridicule. Graham Branch and Wayne Thomas can testify to that, Joey looks the obvious candidate to take over this unwanted mantle reading some of the comments on various message boards.

The visitors however started the brighter much to the delight of the away contingent

However the Clarets held their nerve and Robbie Blake nearly got on the end of a cross by Jordan after a break down the right.

It was Robbie Blake again after 55 minutes who unnerved the Latics after rattling the Oldham post from a free kick from about 30 yards.

The Clarets now had the upper hand and it didn`t take long for the deadlock to be broken. After 60 minutes, Gray showed some skill in the box and lobbed the ball over Crossley into the far corner to make it 1-0 Clarets.

Gray nearly had a penalty two minutes later following a pass from McCann after he looked to be pulled down in the six yard box. The Ref, Keith Hill though thought otherwise!

Jensen then made a good point blank save on 72 minutes with now end to end stuff from both teams. ‘The Beast` made a number of excellent saves in this match and was awarded the Sponsors Man of the Match Award. He should really start in the next game against Colchester even if Kiraly is fit based on this performance.

Blake and Mahon were linking up well and Mahon was having his most effective game in sometime. Mahon must now be clear favourite to start ahead of Gudjonsson this Saturday

Wade Elliott found himself in space after 74 minutes of play but he blasted his effort well over from only seven yards out

The Clarets didn`t have to wait long for that second goal though and another excellent through ball from Mahon found Blake who simply slid the ball under Crossley to put the game beyond the reach of Oldham. To give the away side their due though, their heads didn`t drop and they still tried valiantly to get back into the match.

Blake was replaced by Ade Akinbiyi for the final few minutes and left the pitch to a standing ovation

‘The Beast` pulled off another great save this time from Wolfenden in front of the Burnley goal and then a few minutes later palmed a free kick over the bar with seven minutes left and with Oldham pressing for a consolation goal.

Akinbiyi however then made it three after breaking free of the Oldham defence in stoppage time and shooting past the Latics keeper.

This was a good win, maybe not the prettiest but lots of positive stuff to come out of it. There will be many Championship clubs wishing they had done as well against lower opposition. Wolves joined Preston last night as the banana skin team as Morecambe continued to rattle the cage. Many other Championship clubs are nursing wounds after defeats by League 1 and 2 clubs. What was also pleasing was that Mahon seemed to find a new lease of life and the manager`s Plan B was all the better for it after a lacklustre first half.