Date: 11th July 2008 at 10:52am
Written by:

A lot of bleary eyed Clarets will be waking up this morning in the UK and probably getting up an hour or so later than normal after staying up to watch our first friendly game of the summer against a Carolina Railhawks Under-23 side in the US at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina

The match was covered live online for free courtesy of USLLive and remember the game will be archived, so it you missed it, you can watch it again by going to: LINK

A few of us also enjoyed a debate in our chatroom on Vital Burnley while watching the match live and we kept other Clarets informed about the match via our regular updated article:

The Carolina Railhawks LIVE thread!

The Clarets named four of their five new signings on the bench for this game fully intending to give all the new faces a run out.

Keeper, Diego Penny has still not arrived due to his visa problems but will join up with the US tour this weekend.

It was later revealed also that defender, Christian Kalvnenes was not risked after he pulled out as a precaution at the last minute with a tight chest.

The Burnley team lined up as follow:

Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Duff, Mahon, McCann, Gudjonsson, Blake, Elliott, Akinbiyi.

Subs: Van der Schaaf, Kalvenes, Paterson, K McDonald, Rodriguez, Berisha, A MacDonald, Jones, Kay.

The first 25 minutes of the game were quite lively with both sides determined to get the first goal in some end to end stuff.

With Penny still in Peru and Gabor Kiraly missing out on the US trip due to a visa mix up, it was down to Brian Jensen to keep out the dangerous Cary U-23 strikers. He didnt disappoint saving the day on numerous occasions the first being after only 10 minutes.

Clarets fans soon got a glimpse of new signing, Kevin MacDonald in midfield. The former Dundee star came on for Chris McCann after just 23 minutes of play in the first half. McCann was substituted as a precaution after feeling his hamstring. MacDonald looked quite strong and impressive and put in one of the better Clarets performances on the night although did blot his copy book by picking up a yellow card.

Wade Elliott and Ade Akinbiyi looked the most dangerous in the first half, especially during the first 30 minutes but then the heat and humidity seemed to affect the team and they began to look a little lacklustre and tired as Cary U-23 began to take control.

The Clarets held on though and at half-time no team had managed to find the back of the net.

Owen Coyle made two changes for the start of the second half. New boys,Paterson and Van der Schaaf came on to replace Akinbiyi and Mahon.

Paterson came close to scoring after some nice link work between Elliott and Blake but with only 8 minutes into the second half somehow put the ball wide from a few yards out.

That was to be the last action we would see from Robbie Blake with young Jay Rodriguez coming on to replace him.

The Clarets however didn’t have long to wait to open the scoring in the 54th minute thanks to a spectacular individual effort from Wade Elliott.

The right winger ran about 50 yards through the middle keeping three defenders at bay before banging ball home.

However the Clarets had hardly had time to finish celebrating before Cary U-23 were level.

Corben Bone beat three defenders before being poorly tackled on the edge of the area by Graham Alexander. Zack Schilawski, picked up the loose ball and thundered in the equaliser to make it 1-1 and game on.

By now it was getting slightly cooler with the humidity dropping, this should have favoured the Clarets but somehow they just couldn’t get back into their stride as Cary U-23 again began to dominate.

15 minutes after the equaliser, Clarets fans were delighted to see Besart Berisha come on for his first slice of action since his cruciate ligament injury nearly a year ago. He replaced Gudjonsson.

Cary U-23 however then deservedly took the lead. Midfielder, Tyler Lassiter who had only just come on after 60 minutes picked up the ball from Bone on the left of the area unleasing a left-foot screamer that gave Jensen no chance.

Young Alex MacDonald was now on the pitch replacing Man of the Match, Wade Elliott as the Clarets tried to play for pride and get the equaliser but they looked tired and clueless as the game petered out with our US hosts the victors.

All credit also to the lively Cary U-23 side, who never stopped trying to entertain the crowd, still looking to increase their lead despite being 2-1 ahead.

So a disappointing start for the Clarets, but we have to remember this is our first kick-about of the summer and the new players need to bed in. Their fitness was tested to the limit in the heat and humidity of the WakeMed Soccer Park. There were both encouraging signs from the new boys in particular but also concerns,especially defensively.

Owen Coyle had this to say after the game:

‘We are only a week into training and although we don’t like losing any games I think people here realise how high the humidity was.

‘We knew it would be a tough night’s work and so it proved, but I thought we still had numerous chances in the game.

‘Wade’s goal was fantastic and I thought we should have seen the game out, but you saw the fatigue and the tiredness setting in and we have lost the game through two defensive mistakes.

‘We don’t like losing goals and games, so that’s something we have to eradicate, but there were positives.

‘I thought we had two or three sitters in the game – two in the opening five minutes – and Martin Paterson has just put one past the post.

‘I actually thought Martin was trying too hard and I’ve said to him afterwards just to relax and be himself.

‘But as I said it’s all about fitness and fitness alone, not results, so we’ll get back out there and keep working.’

The Clarets will now continue training in Cary, North Carolina before travelling to Minneapolis to end their tour with a game against Minnesota Thunder on Tuesday, Jul 15 (KO 19.35 local time, 00.35 UK)