Date: 26th March 2011 at 12:32pm
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Burnley last played Ipswich at Portman Road in our second game of the season back in August. It was played on Saturday 14th August 2010 in front of a crowd of 19,317 fans. Things have certainly changed since that time with both clubs now under new management. Back then it was the battle of Laws v Keane and it all ended in stalemate with both clubs earning a point in a 1-1 draw.

In the end though it was a well-earned point considering we were down to ten men at the time we got the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time! David Edgar had been red-carded in the 78th minute for a second bookable offence but in the end it was resilient Burnley who had the last laugh.

Brian Laws though, before this match had a number of defensive headaches. Michael Duff had been given a 50:50 chance of making it. He was substituted on the half hour in our season opener against Forest at home after picking up a suspected calf strain which he put down to the softness of the pitch at Turf Moor. The new pitch had still not been completed with only the central section having had the special fibres added so the flanks were fairly soft and Duff thinks that caused his injury. It was later revealed that he was suffering from cramp only but it was still enough to keep him sidelined for the Ipswich game. The next problem for Laws was the loss of Tyrone Mears who had picked up a shin injury. With Duff also injured who could play at right back? When the team sheet was announced I thought they were going to put the skipper, Grezza back in that role which would have been a concern in relation to the pace needed for the job! Edgar was in the starting eleven so the obvious thought was well maybe he will be in the holding midfield position after he was tried in that role a number of times in this summer`s pre-season friendlies. The utility man though was in fact given the job at right back which surprised quite a few Clarets with Alexander keeping his holding midfield role.

There was also bad news during the week regarding Chris McCann. He would be sidelined yet again this time for six months which was clearly another blow for Laws. The club officially announced that his cruciate had still not healed properly and that he had undergone corrective surgery in the week thus requiring a long period to recuperate. At least there was some good news in the midfield department following the signing on the Friday of Jack Cork again. He arrived this time on a season-long loan but he was not given a place in the starting eleven at Portman Road having to be content with a place on the bench. In attack again Laws opted to have a sole striker up front (iwelumo) supported by the wide men.

In summary therefore we lined up as follows:

Jensen, Edgar, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Paterson, Iwelumo

Subs: Grant, Cort, Cork, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez, Thompson

Hertfordshire referee, Grant Hegley got the game underway and it was Ipswich who piled on the pressure in the early stages with both our full backs being tested down the flanks. David Edgar in particular was looking a little uncomfortable with Andros Townsend giving him the runaround. Edgar still managed to get in some crucial tackles though. With ten minutes of the first half remaining he pulled off a stunning block to deny the impressive looking Jon Stead following a dangerous cross from Townsend.

Despite the possession, Ipswich rarely tested Jensen and the defence held firm. The Beast though had to deal with a Townsend attempt from 20 yards out which skidded towards goal. Jensen had to dive to his right and smother the ball.

Our main problem seemed to be we just couldn`t seem to get Iwelumo into the game despite the best efforts of Paterson and Wallace who gradually began to make holes in their defence. Wade Elliott too was also giving the home side problems but the score remained at 0-0. Elliott combined well with Paterson to give the Clarets an early chance but Pato failed to score. Our best chance to break the deadlock came on 26 minutes with the industrious Elliott again involved. Bikey initiated the move after clearing the ball out of defence. The Ipswich defence prevented Iwelumo getting to the ball in the air but the ball eventually found Wallace after some nice play between Alexander and Marney. Getting the better of Jamie Peters, Wallace looked set to shoot but instead set up Elliott standing six yards out. He looked certain to score before Blues keeper, Fulop came from nowhere flying through the air getting both his face and hands to the ball blocking the attempt.

The Clarets came into their own a little bit after that close attempt. Wallace in particular was on the warpath to score. He put a shot wide before trying his luck from a free kick but he could only thump it hard into the defensive wall. It was 0-0 then at half-time.

Brian Laws made no changes for the start of the second half and once again it was the Clarets who came under pressure with Ipswich desperately seeking to make the breakthrough. Priskin fluffed a chance following some indecision from Carlisle and then Paterson was robbed with the Clarets attacking to set up an Ipswich counter attack. Jon Stead though could not make his effort count as another chance for the home side went begging.

Past the hour mark and it was time for Laws to make some changes. First Eagles came on to replace Paterson after 64 minutes and on 74 minutes the ineffective Iwelumo was replaced by Steven Thompson.

The task of breaking the deadlock for the Clarets got even harder though with 12 minutes to go when the away side were reduced to ten men. Edgar already on a yellow card had no option to bring down David Norris who was charging towards goal on yet another Ipswich break following a corner at the other end. Who would now slot in at right back? At this point Laws may have been wishing he had Eckersley on the bench but his only option was to drop Wade Elliott back.

Things looked hopeless for the Clarets when Ipswich took the lead with just five minutes to play. Ipswich were awarded a corner which was taken by Colin Healy. McAuley at the near post flicked on the ball for Stead to head back into the danger area. Norris had a simple task of scoring from close range to make it 1-0.

The Clarets were not going to give up though despite being a man down and their spirit and determination had to be applauded. Four minutes of added time were announced and with two minutes remaining the Clarets equalised after an Elliott cross forced Fulop to tip over the bar for a corner. It was Carlisle scoring his first goal since April 2009 from the resulting corner taken by Alexander that saved the day for the Clarets. His glancing header to score ensured the long journey home from deepest Suffolk was a happy one for the fans as they savoured a well-earned point.

So what happened the last time we played Ipswich at home? Well that was back in our promotion season of 2008/9 and quite frankly it turned out to be a disaster for the Clarets both on and off the pitch! We played Ipswich in our first home game of the season on Saturday 16th August 2008 in front of a crowd of 11,312

Owen Coyle was our manager of course back then and he was embarking on his first full season for the Clarets. He had got off to a bad start following our 4-1 thumping at Hillsborough in our opening game.

In their first home game of the new season the club were keen to impress, inviting the Red Devils along to drop in before the match! That`s when all the problems started.

No I don`t mean Manchester United came along in a coach, I mean THE Red Devils, the ones that jump out of planes!

Spare a thought for our new match day announcer Martin Vernon! What a baptism of fire this was going to be as he lumbered up for the opening spectacular.

Things were going fine until he handed over to the special announcer from the Parachute Regiment’s Red Devils.

You could almost sense things were about to go tits up when a sprinkler decided to cover the poor lad with water and follow him round the pitch.

From somewhere upon high (we couldn`t see anything in the Bob Lord Stand) the Red Devils jumped out of an airplane and then all of a sudden one of them landed on the Turf flying in from the left, then another…Wow quite exciting!

We counted six of them in, all landing perfectly on the Turf despite the windy conditions.

So that was it then? Oh hang on still one to go. Well this was not quite such a good landing as folk in the Bob Lord stand were amazed to see him land perfectly on the top right hand side of the David Fishwick Stand!

Was this a gimmick? Nope it turned out to be a cock up as no doubt the Ipswich fans were the first to realise when they heard a deafening crunching sound as bits of asbestos roof came floating down. Some of the more clear sighted may well have also seen a foot dangling through the hole in the roof. Luckily for the away fans the accident happened at the other end of the stand from where they were sitting.

Mild amusement then and a few laughs but this was soon to be turned into anger as poor old Vernon had to announce that the match would be delayed for 30 minutes whilst they got the poor (red) devil off the roof!

The chap known as Ben would have to wait and so would we! Ben? I thought his name was Walter? Everybody round me was shouting ‘Where`s Wally? `

30 minutes and more apologies later, the match went back even further as a frustrated crowd began to vent their anger even more. 45 minutes passed, then it was announced that the fire engine couldn`t get to the roof until a number of cars were moved. Cue another 10 minutes of reading out car numbers with numerous apologies thrown in!

Safety & risk assessments my arse, the lad only had a few cuts & bruises, they should have left him up there, allowed him to watch the match for free and then got him down at half time but no we had to sit watching a perfectly clear pitch with no activity for over 50 minutes before the game finally got underway.

Total farce and it was not going to get any better for Clarets fans as the farce off the pitch was about to turn into a farce on the pitch with the Clarets putting in one of the most woeful and pathetic games at the time I have seen played at Turf Moor in four years!

We had just been tonked 4-0 by the Owls in our opener at Hillsborough and our new keeper at the time, Diego Penny was instantly made the scapegoat and dropped virtually never to be seen again in the first team. The Beast was back then!

Our line-up was as follows:

Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Paterson.

Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, McDonald, Akinbiyi, Mahon

With the match finally underway, Gudjonsson got in a good header after six minutes after a cross by Elliott. Wright then tipped over a Carlisle header with nine minutes on the clock.

The game though lacked sparkle at this stage although after 25 minutes Eagles got in a good shot from the edge of the box after some nice build up play only to see Wright yet again save well.

Six minutes later Eagles tested Wright again and from the resulting corner the keeper managed to get to an Elliott header with the ball safely parried away.

The first 30 minutes was to prove to be the Clarets best spell but it didn`t take long for the rot to set in with Ipswich breaking the deadlock on 34 minutes.

Liam Trotter fired home from close range after the Clarets failed to clear from a corner. Yet another failure to deal with a set piece and the situation was to get even worse seven minutes later as the Clarets found themselves 2-0 down. A cross by former Claret Alan Lee put Alexander under pressure with Lisbie, the new Ipswich signing from Colchester breathing down his neck.

Alexander put the ball into his own net ensuring that Ipswich went in at half-time 2-0 up despite Blake coming close a few moments later with a shot from the edge of the area.

The Clarets started the second half looking like they meant business but it all soon evaporated.

An appeal by the Clarets for handball in the area on 49 minutes was turned down by the referee denying them a penalty that could have meant game on.

Ipswich and Lee in particular then turned the screw. Lee broke free after 53 minutes but his shot was blocked by Jensen coming quickly off his line. Jensen then had to palm away another shot from Lee four minutes later.

The Man of the Match by a country mile, Chris Eagles then tried to rescue the situation single handed for the Clarets. His free kick went just over the bar and Wright then had to pull off a good save to deny Eagles after the busy midfielder got in a powerful shot.

A cross by Eagles on 67 minutes was parried by Wright but the loose ball found Paterson who shot instinctively only to see the ball go over the bar.

Further attempts by Elliott and Paterson came to nothing and the final humiliation was complete on 88 minutes with the Blues were flattered to find themselves 3-0 up thanks to yet another own goal, this time by Jordan. He attempted to head the ball clear but it shot past Jensen into an open goal to seal this day of farce and misery for the Clarets.

The return game that season was played at Portman Road on the night of Tuesday 17th March 2009 and our disastrous start to the season was now firmly behind us with all Clarets fans hoping we could now reach the play-offs.

This time we lined up as follows:

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

Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Rodriguez

Derbyshire referee, Rob Shoebridge got the game underway on a mild but chilly night with Ipswich knowing that only a victory would realistically keep them in with a chance of reaching the play-offs and the Clarets knowing that another three points would really cement their challenge for a Top 6 finish.

Ipswich started brightly and in the 7th minute, should have taken the lead. On loan striker, Dos Santos making his full debut was put through clear on goal but instead of blasting the ball past Jensen tried to chip it over him only for the Beast to mop up the danger.

Rhys Williams nearly broke the deadlock moments later but his shot was cleared for a corner.

Jensen, making his 200th league appearance for the Clarets blocked a shot by Luciano Civelli in the 18th minute after the Argentinean striker had picked up a neat reverse ball from the sprightly Dos Santos.

The Clarets responded immediately by going up the other end and scoring and what a stunning goal it was. Rhys Williams in a nice one-two with Elliott set Wado free on a run. He dodged two tackles in an attempt to stop him and then let rip with a low right-footed shot that sailed past Wright into the bottom left hand corner of the net.

The Clarets buoyed by their goal were now looking to double their advantage with Ipswich looking shell-shocked. Eagles was now beginning to make his mark and tried a powerful volley from 20 yards out but Wright was equal to it. Caldwell was angry with himself moments later when he should have done better with a header instead of putting it wide following a Blake free kick.

In a pulsating game, it was now Ipswich`s turn to try their luck. Wright got the better of Kalvenes and cutting inside saw his deflected shot fly wide of the target.

That spurred on the Clarets to attack again and this time we came the closest to doubling our lead so far with Burnley fans wondering how the hell we didn`t after a downward header by Elliott following a superb cross by Eagles looked to be going into the back of the net. Somehow though Wright pulled off a breathtaking save by getting his leg in the way to deny Elliott a brace.

At the other end with the half-time fast approaching, Jensen then denied Norris following an attempted shot from 18 yards but it was the Clarets who would be the happier of the two teams as both sides headed for the dressing room at the end of the first half.

Neither side made any changes for the start of the second half.

It was the Clarets who had the first chance to score after the break. Paterson who had been tightly marked in the first half, often with two defenders giving him close attention, finally found space to shoot only for Wright once more to pull off a good save.

The Clarets fans hearts though nearly stopped after Lisbie found himself clear on a one-on-one with Jensen but thankfully he fluffed his shot pulling it wide under the keeper.

Paterson was having another frustrating day and although he runs about and more, he seems to be chasing shadows plus his first touch often seems to be lacking and he badly needs a goal to restore confidence. It got worse for Pato after picking up a yellow card and it looked like Coyle could sense his frustration and rather than risk a second yellow brought on Jay Rodriguez to replace him in the 59th minute.

Another chance for the Clarets to double their lead went begging in the 63rd minute. Robbie Blake took his own free kick after being fouled. As the ball came over, Caldwell got in a powerful header on target only for Wright to save the day again from point-blank range.

The Clarets though were now beginning to take their foot off the throttle and defending deeper, you just sensed Ipswich were getting closer and closer to getting the equaliser and it came in the 73rd minute . Dos Santos let rip with a powerful low driving strike that gave Jensen no chance.

A free kick in Robbie Blake territory foiled Wright but the magician`s swinging ball was just wide of target as the Clarets pressed to re-establish their lead.

Blake then fed McCann who attempted a side-footed shot from twelve yards but the ball was well-held by the Ipswich stopper.

In the end, it was those two point blank saves that had Clarets fans muttering ‘if only` as they headed back home.

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