Date: 4th January 2009 at 4:38pm
Written by:

The Clarets probably got the worst possible result yesterday in the third round of the FA Cup against QPR at Loftus Road-a 0-0 draw! This game looked a poor, unexciting fixture as soon as it came out the hat and it seemed both sets of fans were not excited by the prospect of this tie with only 8, turning up to watch it.

The Clarets of course have juicier Capital Punishment to think about with Spurs in the Carling Cup Semi Final to play twice this month after already despatching Fulham,Chelsea and Arsenal.

The dull 0-0 draw ensured we would now have to play a replay at Turf Moor scheduled for the night Tuesday, 13 January 2009 (7:45 pm KO). This is probably our busiest month and our most important with two games coming up against Spurs in the Carling Cup Semi-final and another four Championship matches (Swansea and Charlton at home, Preston and Watford away). The Carling Cup and our push for promotion are surely more important at this point in the season and do we really need a FA Cup replay at this stage? If we win, we will also have to play in the FA Cup 4th Round in January as well. Of course we always want the Clarets to win, but if we couldn`t have won I wouldn`t have been too upset had we gone out of the FA Cup competition to avoid this extra game.

Oh well, we have another chance to win now so let`s hope this extra game doesn`t take its toll on our players or distract away from our focus on the Carling Cup and promotion push.

It was perhaps surprising with the first leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final only now three nights away, that we didn`t perhaps field a weaker team to keep something in reserve for Tuesday night rather than also risk injury or suspensions to our key players.

We knew that Jordan and Caldwell would be sidelined sitting out suspensions, so it was a relief when Kalvenes was selected for the starting eleven in the back four after a long persistent injury to his leg. This was Kalvenes first game since his injury against Reading at home back in October.

Injuries to McCann and McDonald also forced Coyle to make changes in midfield with the unusual site of Wade Elliott in a central midfield role. Thompson, who in any case will be cup-tied for the Carling Cup games against Spurs partnered Paterson up front in a move I think we should have tried more often this season.

The Clarets also couldn`t make up the numbers of the seven allowed substitutes and only named six players on the bench with all the young guns given an outing (Rodriguez, MacDonald and Kay)

We lined up therefore as follows:

Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Kalvenes, Eagles, Gudjonsson, Elliott, Blake, Paterson, Thompson

Subs: Penny, Akinbiyi, Kay, MacDonald, Rodriguez, Mahon

Staffordshire referee, Tony Bates got the match underway and the Clarets started the brighter of the two sides, getting their first corner in the fourth minute.

‘The referee`s a ****** (Master Bates)` was a chant that came to mind for Clarets fans when Damion Stewart got away without a booking after bringing down Eagles who was charging down the middle through the Rs defence.

QPR suddenly came to life in the 20th minute after Di Carmine beat the offside trap.Storming down the left, he cut back inside and shot right footed. Jensen though saved well getting down low to the ball.

The Clarets best chance though came moments later after a corner was only half-cleared. Elliott kept his eye on the ball and has it dropped let rip with a 25-yard volley. It hit the woodwork with the Rs defence thanking the crossbar.

Elliott then combined well with Eagles before cutting into the by-line and getting the ball into the danger area just before it was hacked away by the defence running back.

It was Burnley who ended the half in more attacking mood and Coyle would probably have been the happier of the two managers at half-time.

Coyle typically made no changes for the start of the second half and this time it was the hosts who looked the more determined to get the breakthrough that had eluded both teams in the first half.

QPR`s Lee Cook had been replaced by Emmanuel Ledesma for the start of the second half and the sub was quickly into action just failing to hit the target with a shot from 18 yards.

After 64 minutes play, Eagles over hit the ball to get past the last defender after a charge from midfield. He tried to get round Rs keeper, Cerny, but he was too wide and at full-stretch could only hit the side-netting after shooting.

With 15 minutes remaining, the energetic Eagles found Thompson but he could only fire over the bar.

Alan Mahon had replaced Blake after 72 minutes and once again he nearly got the winner following his goal in our Championship victory at Loftus Road back in November.

This time though his left-footed shot flew just inches over the angle.

That was it though and the final whistle went with no team getting the goal they wanted to avoid a replay.

If we get past QPR, the 4th Round Draw will mean another away trip this time to either Premier League strugglers, West Brom or Peterborough, riding high in League 1. These teams also have to play a replay on the 13th January. I suppose again this is hardly a riveting fixture either way for the Clarets assuming we beat Rangers at Turf Moor. Being based in Cambridgeshire though, I will just have to hope Posh can do the business against West Brom at London Road.


QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Gorkss, Ramage, Stewart, Rowlands, Leigertwood, Cook (Ledesma 46), Mahon (Ephraim 61), Di Carmine (Agyemang 72), Blackstock.

Subs Not Used: Cole, Connolly, Alberti, Oastler.

Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Kalvenes, Eagles, Gudjonsson, Elliott, Blake (Mahon 72), Paterson, Thompson (Rodriguez 86).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Akinbiyi, Kay, MacDonald.

Ref: Tony Bates (Staffordshire).