Date: 23rd September 2012 at 11:19am
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Burnley picked up their first points and first Championship victory on the road this season after coming from behind at Pride Park to beat Derby County 2-1. A brace of goals from hotshot striker, Charlie Austin cancelled out Janie Ward`s opener in some style with the winner coming in the last minute of normal time. This ground must be one of Eddie Howe`s favourites with his side having won all three of their last three visits to this stadium. The victory sees the Clarets move up to 16th spot on 9 points. With the Championship so tight and with two home games against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday coming up next in the league, the Clarets could find they are well-paced and fighting for a play-offs spot if they pick up maximum points in the next ten days. Burnley are only four points behind current sixth placed club, Cardiff, five behind Blackburn (spit!) in second spot. Even Championship leaders, Brighton are only seven points clear of the Clarets so there is certainly no need for any despondency at the moment. It is clear that once again consistency appears to be crucial to our likely chances of success if only we could find it and keep it! We now have an ideal chance to get amongst the chasing pack with those two home games coming up especially since both Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday are also struggling at the wrong end of the table.

In yesterday`s game, things looked bleak when Derby got their noses in front in the 20th minute after a shaky defence let in Jamie Ward. The former Sheffield United midfielder now converted to a striker pounced on a loose ball from a badly-defended corner to put the Rams 1-0 up. Derby took control after their goal and Burnley were lucky not to have conceded more goals. Somewhat against the run of play though Burnley equalised in the 32nd minute after McCann found Austin ideally placed and unmarked. The striker, returning from injury after missing the midweek game against Leicester due to a bruised hit showed his worth again after swivelling to shoot home through what seemed like a sea of legs. It was the Clarets, buoyed by the goal who now began to take control and although they looked the most likely to score next the hectic half came to a close with both sides even at 1-1. The second half was a scrappier affair but the last fifteen minutes or so were nerve wrecking for the Clarets with Derby stepping up a gear and putting our defence under severe pressure. Grant was in top form and we needed him to be during this spell with Burnley seemingly unable to put together any meaningful attacks and being put under the cosh at the other end. It was all about holding on as the final minute of the game clocked-up. Holding on? Nobody told Austin that! In the 89th minute, he sent the visiting Clarets fans into ecstasy heading home in unstoppable fashion to secure all three points for Burnley and notch up his ninth goal of the season.

Eddie Howe had given Austin a late fitness test ahead of this game and boy were all Clarets fans relieved he passed it when the final whistle went. The inclusion of Austin virtually ensured we would line up 4-4-2 and so we did with Paterson also named up front in the starting eleven. Ross Wallace was also preferred to Cameron Stewart on the wing and there was a first Championship start for Ben Mee who replaced Mills at left back. One player who did not make the eighteen though was Michael Duff who failed a late fitness test after picking up an Achilles injury in the victory over Peterborough and missing the midweek game against the Foxes. Kevin Long, having returned from his loan spell at Portsmouth duly took up the vacant substitute defenders spot on the bench. In summary then the Clarets lined up as follows :

Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Shackell, Mee, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Stanislas, Austin, Paterson

Subs: Jensen, Long, Mills, Stock, Bartley, Vokes, Stewart

Two players in the Burnley line-up were making a return to their former club. Captain, Jason Shackell of course was making his first start against his old club since arriving from Derby in the summer. Lee Grant was also returning to the ground in which he made his debut against the Clarets back in September 2002. He played over 70 games for the Rams before signing for Sheffield Wednesday in July 2007.

West Midlands referee Oliver Langford got the game underway on a sunny day in Derby.

The Clarets started quite brightly but it was the Rams who began to put the pressure on. They sensed that perhaps our weakness could be our left Back, Ben Mee who was making his first Championship start of the season. Mee was certainly kept busy and although hesitant at times, he held his own to keep the Rams at bay despite the best efforts of their attacking full back, John Brayford and winger, Paul Coutts. Both players though were involved in Derby`s opening goal in the 20th minute. Up until the goal, Derby`s only real effort had started down the other flank and finished when Will Hughes unleashed a shot that tested Lee Grant. This time though, Brayford was claiming a penalty after Stanislas tackled him in the area but the referee was having none of it and instead awarded the Rams a corner. Coutts linked well with Hendrick from the corner before Hendrick crossed the ball over. Jamie Ward could not believe his luck when the ball fell to him without any Burnley challenge and simply hooked the ball past Grant into the bottom corner of the net to put the Rams 1-0 up.

The goal seemed to take the stuffing out of Burnley and their confidence took a battering as the Rams stepped up a gear and began to turn the screw. Connor Sammon should have doubled their lead after latching onto a Ward through-ball but thankfully his angled shot flew just wide of target. During this spell, Burnley were presented with limited opportunities to score and their only one real chance came on a swift counter-attack when Wallace found Paterson. Pato though could not get the better of Rams keeper Frank Fielding and the Rams pressure continued.

Derby have failed all season though to keep a clean sheet so there was always hope and so it would prove. Burnley found a way back into the game after equalising against the run of play in the 32nd minute. A Wallace free-kick was blocked by the Rams wall but before Ward could clear the danger, an alert Ben Mee pounced to find Austin in an ideal place to thump the ball home across the keeper into the far corner of the net. Austin had been contained for most of the half but he was always going to be a danger and his goal lifted the Clarets spirits and they even came close to going into the break ahead with only the woodwork saving the Rams bacon. Burnley were awarded a corner which was cleverly worked with Trippier eventually crossing over the ball into the danger area. Ben Mee, yet to score his first goal for the Clarets, got up to head on target only to see the crossbar get in the way with the Rams keeper firmly fixed on the spot.

Stanislas had not been too effective in the first half and it was perhaps not surprising that Howe decided to replace the former West Ham winger bringing on Cameron Stewart for the start of the second half. Burnley were now holding their own as both teams looked to break the stalemate and with a hour gone, Howe decided to once again protect Paterson and bring him off. They are clearly still concerned that Paterson is vulnerable to injury in the final third so it was not surprising to see Sam Vokes given his chance up front. The game was certainly not as fluid as the first half now and was becoming quite scrappy. Chances for both sides were now few and far between although the Rams could have got their noses in front had both Sammon and Henrick managed to make contact after lunging forward to meet crosses flying across the face of goal.

Sammon had a number of chances in the game to put Derby ahead and when Ward played him in he looked certain to do so before making a hash of things. The Clarets though with fifteen minutes to go began to run out of steam (or so it seemed!) with Derby beginning to take control again. This was a squeaky bum time for all Clarets fans with Burnley seemingly ensconced in their own half unable to thwart the continual bombardment. Lee Grant made a stunning save to deny Craig Bryson in the 75th minute and somehow Burnley`s resilience helped by Shackell`s leadership kept the Rams horns at bay as the clocked ticked down ever closer to the final whistle. In the 89th minute, Burnley found one last gasp of energy and determination from somewhere to shock the home crowd and secure all three points. Austin both started and completed the move. On the counter-attack, the former Swindon striker involved in the build-up then darted forward to get on the end of a McCann cross at the far post. His downward header gave Fielding no chance and left Derby stunned with their unbeaten home record this season now in tatters!

Match Stats

Derby County: Fielding, Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts, Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes (Jacobs – 77), Ward, Sammon (Robinson – 80)

Subs Not Used: Legzdins, O`Connor, Tyson, Doyle, Gjokaj

Goals: Ward 20

Booked: 0

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Shackell, Mee, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Stanislas (Stewart – 46), Austin (Bartley – 90), Paterson (Vokes – 61)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Long, Mills, Stock, Bartley

Goals: Austin 32, 89

Booked: Yellow Card for Mee

Possession: 52% Derby, 48% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)