Date: 22nd April 2011 at 11:47am
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The Clarets play Derby County at Pride Park on Saturday 23rd April hoping it will be a Happy Easter as they try to keep their play-offs hope alive by completing the double over the Rams. Burnley played them at Turf Moor earlier in the season coming from behind in the last ten minutes of the match to win 2-1.

The game was played on Saturday 27th November 2010 in front of a crowd of 13,790 fans.

Brian Laws was forced into making some changes for this match. Danny Fox was still ruled out with ankle ligament damage, Paterson was still struggling with a thigh injury and Chris Eagles was out with a back problem. Wallace replaced Eagles on the wing to earn his first starting eleven place since September with Jay Rodriguez initially playing out wide on the opposite flank. Dean Marney replaced Graham Alexander in midfield with Clarke Carlisle leading out the team as captain. Brian Easton continued his run of games at left back in the absence of the injured Fox and our new loan signing from Manchester City, 18 year old John Guidetti was named on the bench along with young Alex Ray Harvey. Andre Bikey having fully recovered from a rib injury was also preferred to Michael Duff in the centre of defence. In summary then we lined up as follows:

Grant, Mears, Bikey, Carlisle, Easton, Cork, Wallace, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo

Subs: Jensen, Duff, Edgar, Alexander, Harvey, Guidetti, Thompson

The Clarets started brightly with Wallace getting in a cross from the left wing to find Iwelumo who got up to head the ball only to put it wide of the near post.

Blackburn loan keeper, Frank Fielding then saved a header by Bikey from a corner with the Clarets at this stage now seemingly in control and pressing to open the scoring. Very much against the run of play though and in the Rams first meaningful attack we found ourselves one goal down after just 19 minutes.

It all started in the Rams half of the pitch after Jay Rodriguez mis-directed a header to surrender possession and give Derby a chance on the break. Some quick work in midfield found Luke Moore on a charge and the on-loan West Brom striker cut in and let rip with a right-footed shot from 22 yards out. The ball took a wicked deflection off Clarke Carlisle and sailed into the top corner of the net to put the Rams 1-0 up. It was a bitter blow for the Clarets and they seemed to struggle after that to get back on equal terms. Derby just seemed to sit back now and invite the Clarets to come at them easily coping with most of our attacks which indeed were few and far between in the first half. We looked static and a change in formation was inevitable with Wade Elliott now drifting out wider to support Mears on the right flank. Our game play though was still pretty mediocre at this stage and we could only resort to long-range efforts which were easily contained by the Derby keeper and back four. There was just one memorable attack after going behind. Marney angled a pass to find Jay Rodriguez on the half-hour mark with the Clarets for once stretching the Rams back four. JayRod`s shot at least tested the keeper but he was equal to it and the Clarets sloped off the pitch 1-0 down at half-time with a few boos echoing around the ground aimed at the hapless Laws.

There were no substitutes made by Laws for the start of the second-half but maybe the boos had affected him because there was a change in formation at least with Rodriguez now taking up a more central striking role partnering Iwelumo up front with Elliott now playing out on the right flank. The verbal chants around the ground demanding 4-4-2 appear to have been heeded and almost instantly the shape of the team looked much better.

We looked a lot sharper and crosses were now coming over left, right and centre from both flanks (is that Irish?) in these early stages of the second half. The equalising goal though continued to be elusive. Iwelumo nearly scored after a ball from Wallace took a deflection and then on the hour mark, Rodriguez pounced shooting on the turn to test Fielding. The score stubbornly remained 1-0 to the Rams though despite the Clarets momentum and possession. Iwelumo in his last action of the match, headed a deep cross from Rodriguez onto the roof of the net before Laws took him off to be replaced by Steve Thompson on 63 minutes. Wallace then thumped the ball from 25 yards out but this time it hit the bar to frustrate the Clarets yet again. Was this pressure ever going to pay off?

Derby were now piling their defence with yellow shirts happy to see a frustrated Clarets come at them and with 17 minutes to go, Brian Laws decided to try Plan C by handing a debut to on loan striker, John Guidetti who came on to replace Rodriguez.

Graham Alexander then came on seven minutes later to replace Marney. At long last with just seven minutes remaining we managed to equalise thanks to being awarded a direct free kick. Tyrone Mears stepped up to the mark and from 22 yards out thumped a belter over the wall with the ball curling into the top corner of the net to score his first goal for the Clarets since signing 18 months ago. This was only his eighth career goal and what a time to score it and against his former club as well. A point though at home would still be a disappointment so could we get the winner with time now running out? Burnley were certainly going to try and they continued their relentless pressure although Derby did cause a few scares along the way.

One minute into added time and our dreams came true. A stunning cross from Wade Elliott on the right flank found Jack Cork charging into the danger zone past the near post. He crafted a well-taken header to glance the ball home into the top corner of the net to make it a perfect day after all for all Clarets fans. That goal was only Jack Cork`s second for the club but it meant a seventh home win of the season for the Clarets and a return to the play-offs positions. There was just time for Grant to make his only save of the match deep into added time following a shot on target from Cywka but it would have been a cruel stroke of fate had the Rams scored again following such dominance by the Clarets.

Derby County and Burnley before this current campaign last met in the Clarets promotion season of 2008-9. We played them first at Turf Moor on Saturday 29th November 2008 and convincingly beat them 3-0. In the return game played at Pride Park on Saturday 4th April 2009 we could only pick up a frustrating point in a 1-1 draw. It should have been three points though after a momentary lapse of reason in the dying seconds of added time allowed a very poor Rams side to equalise.The strong feeling at the time was that the loss of these two points could seriously have dashed our hopes of reaching the play-offs but thankfully the fears were unfounded.

The Rams that season were a pretty average side and they would finish a disappointing 18th but at least we got the better of them over the two games although just failed to make it a double. It would also be a season of managerial change for Derby. The club had been relegated from the Premier League the season before and had picked up a record that nobody wanted. With just one win all season in the top flight, they recorded the Premier League’s lowest-ever points total and that poor run of form continued after relegation to the Championship. Paul Jewell had replaced Billy Davies as the Rams manager during their fateful Premier League season but it would take him 27 attempts before he secured a victory and that would come in the Championship game at home to Sheffield United when they beat the Blades 2-1 in September 2008. Although their League form in the Championship continued to be disappointing, Jewell did steer Derby to the semi-final of the League Cup when they lost 4-3 on aggregate to Manchester United over the two legs. Jewell though resigned as manager in December 2008 and was replaced by Nigel Clough, son of the legendary Rams manager, Brian Clough.

It was Paul Jewell though who was still in charge when we faced them at Turf Moor in November 2008. Derby at this stage had mid-table blues and were in 14th spot although they were just five points behind the Clarets in 5th position.

Coyle decided to change the sixteen round quite a bit for the start of the game after the 3-2 away defeat to Barnsley in the previous match. Gudjonsson was dropped to the bench after some indifferent games giving the chance for Kevin McDonald to make a starting eleven appearance. That would prove to be an inspired decision. Paterson also earned his starting eleven place after coming on from the bench at Oakwell and getting a brace of goals with the Clarets already 3-0 down.

With Alexander taking up the holding midfielder role in front of the back four we lined up as follows in a 4-1-4-1 formation:

Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, McCann, Blake, Paterson

Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, Mahon, Akinbiyi, Thompson

Turf Moor that day was fog-bound but that didn`t deter the Clarets who found themselves 3-0 up in the first half with all three of their goals coming in a stunning first 23 minute spell. With just six minutes on the clock we were ahead 1-0. A half-cleared corner found the head of Caldwell. The ball went straight into the path of McDonald who let rip with a half-volley giving Rams goalkeeper, Carroll no chance with the ball whizzing past the stunned keeper into the net.

After 14 minutes the Clarets fans were applauding our second goal with the shell-shocked visitors wondering what had hit them.

Michael Duff started the move with a throw in with the build up involving some nice play between McDonald, Eagles and Blake before Paterson finished off to score his third goal in two consecutive games.

Two minutes later and incredibly we were 3-0 up after Eagles got in a brilliant cross into the six yard box to find that man Paterson again who slid the ball into the net to score his fourth goal in two games and his second brace.

The Clarets by now were on fire and no doubt Clarets fans were expecting more goals and a right tonking of the Rams at this stage. 3-0 though it remained at half-time and it was no surprise the same eleven started the second half.

We simply took our foot off the accelerator though in the second half and there was no further scoring much to the relief of the Rams. We simply handled anything Derby chucked at us, which was wasn`t much to be honest and in the end we cruised to an easy victory without busting a gut. The victory saw the Clarets go up one place to 4th but oh no Christmas was approaching!

By the time we played Derby County in the return game at Pride Park, Nigel Clough was now at the helm for the Rams and we had recovered from the traditional Christmas slump with our promotion hopes still very much alive and we were in 7th spot. The Rams had begun the road to recovery but in 17th spot they still had a mathematical chance of being relegated.

The good news for Clarets fans at the start of this game was that all of our injured players at the time were able to make the starting eleven (with the exception of Steven Thompson who was still struggling with a ankle ligament injury). This meant that Alexander and Paterson were able to play after recovering from hamstring injuries and Rhys Williams was also available after suffering from a calf injury.

The Clarets lined up as follows:

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

Subs: Penny, Duff, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Rodriguez

Hertfordshire referee, Grant Hegley got the match underway on a bright, sunny afternoon at Pride Park in front of a packed house of 33,010 fans including 2000 or so supporting the Clarets.

It was a pulsating game but it was the Clarets who looked to be in control having the lion`s share of possession and looking the most likely to open the scoring. We did eventually but not until the 59th minute. Carlisle put Eagles on a charge who after a nice one-two with Elliott put in a speculative low cross into the area. The shaky Derby defence then failed to handle the danger and Bywater added to their problems by fumbling the ball. McCann said ‘thank you very much` and tapped home the ball from a yard out to put the Clarets deservedly 1-0 up.

The Clarets as the second half unfolded looked to be cruising to victory but the clock ticked down painfully slowly. The Rams seemed to have given up with their fans already leaving Pride Park in their droves. They would live to regret that sadly for the Clarets.

Blake could have put them out of their misery had he been able to better control the ball towards the end of 90 minutes. Three minutes of added time was announced by the fourth official and surely we could hold out now. The answer was ‘no we couldn`t` when from nowhere in the final minute of added time, a moment`s lapse of concentration allowed Connolly to head home a Teale cross and break the hearts of the travelling Clarets fans. Although this felt like a defeat it would still be a valuable point in the end but at the time they was no consoling the Clarets fans making their journey back home.

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