Date: 31st August 2008 at 4:54pm
Written by:

The New Dawn turned into the New Yawn yesterday as the Clarets had yet another very frustrating day, managing only a 0-0 draw at home to fellow strugglers Plymouth Argyle; a result that would have seen them prop up the League except for surprise flops of the season, Derby County determined to continue to be so!(The Rams, with gaffer Paul Jewell already under increasing pressure to resign went down 2-0 to bottom club, Barnsley at Oakwell to take over 24th and bottom spot)

However our two points from the twelve on offer after the first four league games of 2008/9 are not the start we wanted or expected after such a good pre-season.

The frustration and disappointment for Clarets fans were also compounded by the sending off of Eagles late in the second half for what looked like a petulant, foolhardy off the ball incident.

Hopes were high for this match with Burnley looking for their first League win of the season against a side who have had an equally bad start.

Owen Coyle perhaps surprisingly selected new boy Russell Anderson in the starting eleven.

It had been expected that the season long loan from Sunderland would have been benchwarming, but perhaps the gaffer couldn’t resist giving Anderson his chance against a club he played for on loan only last season.

There were no further major unexpected changes with the Clarets lining up in their now familiar 4-1-4-1 formation with Alexander as the holding midfielder and Paterson alone up front. McCann was paying his 100th game for the club.

The team was therefore as follows:

Jensen, Anderson, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, McDonald, Eagles, Paterson

Subs: Penny, Blake, Akinbiyi, Gudjonsson, Mahon

Mike Oliver got the match underway as Clarets fans donned sunglasses to avoid the glare from Plymouth’s Orange away shirts!

The first fifteen minutes were somewhat tentative with very few attacks as both sides looked hesitant . A well hit free kick by Eagles however after 18 minutes on the edge of the box was powered towards goal forcing Plymouth keeper, Graham Stack to push the ball wide to safety.

It was time for Clarets fans to wake up from their slumber now as we played probably our best spell of the match with Plymouth looking somewhat unsure in defence.

Chris McCann had two close efforts. His first on 20 minutes was a shot deflected wide by a defender. Five minutes later he saw his shot parried away by the keeper after turning and letting rip.

Paterson saw his shot on 30 minutes deflected over the bar.

Brian Jensen came to the rescue three minutes later when some rare pressure from Plymouth led to a free kick and a save from Steven MacLean.

The Clarets were then awarded a free kick of their own on 36 minutes. Eagles found the head of Steven Caldwell but the ball flew down and into the side netting.

The referee finally blew for the end of a very disappointing first half as Clarets fans wondered where the next goal was going to come from.

Owen Coyle made one change at the start of the second half, with Robbie Blake coming on to replace Kevin McDonald.

Blake provided a nice pass to Eagles a few minutes later but he skied the ball over the bar.

The current tactics and formation though was clearly not working for the Clarets playing against let’s face it a very poor side.

Its plain for all to see that we need some extra options up front. Paterson alone will not be able to fit the bill Far too often the midfield look confused wondering how to get the ball forward with often nobody to aim for except the solitary Paterson, who is not lets face it that type of player and certainly not a tall target man.

Coyle tried to get some sparkle in the attack by bringing on Akinbiyi for Elliott after 72 minutes. Two minutes later Joey Gudjonsson came on to replace the limping,injured Kalvenes.

Really though the effect of these changes was minimal and the Clarets continued to lack ideas up front.

Clearly frustrated, Eagles with eight minutes remaining, chucked a wobbly in an off the ball incident right in front of the linesman. Mike Oliver went over to discuss the incident with the assistant referee and then proceeded to show Eagles the red card for a foul and abusive language.

The Clarets have had problems with their disciplinary record and been fined accordingly so this sort of incident will not auger well for the club and Coyle could have some harsh words for the former Manchester United midfielder after reviewing the incident on tape:

‘I never saw anything but I will take a look at it (Eagles dismissal), said Coyle after the game

‘If it is an act of petulance he will be punished for that, we will not stand for that. He is a quality player but now he will be missing a few games.

‘You can’t get frustrated and you try to get that across to young players but they must learn that quickly.’

Eagles will now get a three match ban and will miss the games against Nottingham Forest, Blackpool and Swansea giving Coyle more selection headaches.

Down to ten men there was little hope we could now break the deadlock and score in the last few minutes but Gudjonsson did have time to try a valiant effort from a free kick which was saved by the keeper’s fingertips.

This performance though is clearly just not acceptable and one dreads to think what might have happened had we been playing the likes of Birmingham.

There is something wrong with the tactics and that’s down to Owen Coyle to address. Already the disquiet has started amongst Clarets fans concerning Coyle, some suggesting they want him to be replaced because they believe he is out of his depth. Well it’s far too early to say that but maybe, just maybe this quest for entertaining football has backfired and now is the time to consolidate and grind out some results through hard work and a return to basics.

The defence though has shown reasonable improvement keeping a clean sheet in the last three games although you do have to ask whether nine-man Palace, League One Oldham and lowly Plymouth have been good enough of a challenge to remain confident that the back four have got over the worst!

The encouraging sign for me though in that department was the debut of season long loan, Russell Anderson. He looked solid, especially in the second half and would certainly be my man of the match in a generally very poor team performance.

At least we now have an International break to take stock over the next couple of weeks and most Clarets fans will be hoping we can somehow bring in some more firepower before the Summer Transfer Window closes at midnight tomorrow.

Burnley: Jensen, Anderson, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes (Gudjonsson 74), Alexander, Elliott (Akinbiyi 72), McDonald (Blake 46), McCann, Eagles, Paterson.

Subs Not Used: Penny, Mahon.

Sent Off: Eagles (83)

Booked: Eagles

Plymouth: Stack, Duguid, Clark, Timar, Barker, Puncheon, Walton, Seip, Gallagher (Noone 68), MacLean (Fallon 70), Summerfield (Paterson 85).

Subs Not Used: Mackie, Cathcart.

Booked: Gallagher.

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).