Date: 12th March 2010 at 10:08am
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Burnley earned their first point in six games on Wednesday night following a 1-1 draw at Turf Moor against Stoke City. This to be honest though was a disappointing result and keeps the Clarets in the bottom three. We have moved up a place though and are now third from bottom with 24 points ahead of Hull on goal difference having played a game more. Wolves who we play next this Saturday at Turf Moor are also on the same number of points but are ahead of us on goal difference fourth from bottom and with a game in hand. The pressure is now really on for the Clarets to win this Saturday and nothing less than three points will be enough to settle the nerves and give Clarets fans some hope that we can still avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

The match against Stoke really was the epitome of the expression ‘a game of two halves`.

We looked nervous in the first half and couldn`t seem to string two decent passes together against a strong physical Stoke City side. Questions could be asked in all departments, the defence was error prone, the midfield unsure and the strikers were getting very limited opportunities often trying to get on the end of totally ineffective long balls. There was much pre-match talk about how we were going to deal with the threat of Rory Delap`s long throw-ins. The cunning plan of moving all the advertising hoardings nearer the line seemed a good idea and of course we had our so-called secret weapon Leon Cort who had been tapped up for inside information about his former club and their tactics involved during Delap`s missile launches! How disappointing therefore that we fell behind in the first half from such a throw in. Delap`s throw into the penalty area confused the Clarets defence and Mamady Sidibe flicked on for Tuncay Sanli to head home from the edge of the six-yard box after 23 minutes. Burnley went in 1-0 down at half-time and after such a dire performance the subdued Clarets faithful feared the worst.

It is not often this season you see the Clarets make a change at half-time; Owen Coyle never seemed to do it. Our first half performance was so poor though, Laws probably had no option but to try Plan B for the start of the second half. Kevin McDonald was the man to come on, replacing the largely ineffective and nervous looking, Jack Cork and boy did that seem to do the trick. The Clarets looked far livelier in the second half and at long last started stringing some decent passes together.

Seven minutes into the second-half and we had equalised. Paterson who was at the top of his game crossed from the edge of the 18-yard box for Nugent to rise highest and score his sixth goal of the season with a strong header.

At long last the Clarets fans had some hope and our bright start then continued for most of the second half. If any team was most likely to get the winner it was the Clarets who continued to have most of the possession with the action mainly in Stoke`s half. It was not to be though and in the end Clarets fans went away reflective wondering what might have been had we not been so awful in the first 45 minutes. Let`s be clear whether you think this was a good result or not, if we are to survive this relegation battle, we can`t afford to play like we did in the first 45 minutes against any team. The players` nerves are clearly beginning to take effect and now they will need to be steadied like mad with Wolves next up on Saturday.

The Clarets Team Sheet

Steven Fletcher was still deemed too unfit to play with his broken hand. Most Clarets fans would have expected therefore a similar line-up in attack as in our last match at the Emirates with Nugent supported by Paterson. Brian Laws though had other ideas and decided to give Steven Thompson his first Premier League start of the season in partnership with Nugent up front but also including Paterson playing a wider role. Kevin McDonald was the one to make way and he was dropped to the bench.

The line-up in summary was therefore as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Alexander, Cork, Eagles, Paterson, Nugent, Thompson

Subs: Weaver, Duff, Jordan, McDonald, Bikey, Blake, Elliott

The Full Match Report

Once more for the umpteenth time this season we had a change to the scheduled referee for this clash and once more Howard Webb was the man in charge.

With the match underway the Clarets looked to be quite nervous but seemed to be coping well with all Stoke`s set-pieces including the inevitable Delap testers from the throw ins. Had we moved those advertising hoardings in close enough though? It didn`t look like it as would be later confirmed.

After 16 minutes the Clarets had their first real chance to break the deadlock. A flick-on from Thompson set Eagles free and he got in a superb pass to find Cork charging in. He should have gone for goal but instead tried to pass to Paterson and the attack broke down. Fox from a corner then got in a low shot that the Stoke keeper, Sorensen rather unconvincingly had to push round the post

Stoke though were looking dangerous and all Clarets fans hearts sank when every inevitable throw-in was awarded to them in our half. On 23 minutes one such throw-in led to Stoke getting the lead.

Sidibe flicked on the long throw for Tuncay Sanli, ideally placed on the edge of the six yard box to head home.

We were not that impressive before they got the lead, now we looked awful with mistake after mistake being made in all areas of the park. The effect was wearing on the Clarets fans and the atmosphere was again pretty subdued. There were certainly a lot of disgruntled noises being aimed at the manager who just didn`t seem to have any answers as he shuffled his tactical papers in an effort get the Clarets back on track.

Eagles and Mears had the odd burst down the flanks but nothing really came from the attacks and to be honest we only had one real chance to equalise in the first half.

With seven minutes to go, Eagles put over a cross deep into enemy territory to find Paterson but the former Stoke striker could only side foot his attempt wide of target. 1-0 at half-time and Laws had a massive task on his hands now to get this side playing well enough to get anything from this game.

He must have said the right things at half-time plus he made an inspired substitution with McDonald coming on to replace the lacklustre and ineffective, Jack Cork. We were a different team from the start of the second half and stormed out of the blocks to at long last buck up the worried Clarets fans. Eagles was now looking particularly dangerous with McDonald adding that extra dimension we needed in midfield.

On 52 minutes we made our impressive start count and got the equaliser we so badly needed.

Thompson holding the ball up neatly passed to Paterson out wide who charging into space put over a delightful cross to find Nugent well placed to rise well and head home past Sorensen.

That was just the tonic we needed and the possession and pressure now continued with Stoke on the back foot, finding it difficult to get out of their own half. A weak save by Sorenson from another Paterson cross fell kindly for the keeper with Nugent and Eagles both unable to pounce.

Sorensen was tested again this time by Eagles as he struggled to get to his dipping shot from distance. Clarets fans were now hopeful we might just get that winner we so desperately needed.

Elliott replaced Thompson after 71 minutes and he looked a lot brighter than late. Charging forward he was fouled by Delap and from Fox`s free kick Clarke Carlisle tried his best to head home from the far post but the angles were all wrong.

Stoke gradually came back into the game and there were a few nervy moments for Clarets fans but we still had enough in reserve to keep pressing for the winner.

There were a couple of great chances for the Clarets with full-time approaching. Eagles came close but could only lift his shot over the bar and then it was the lively McDonald`s turn but he put his shot just wide of target.

In the end we had to be content with a point; a point that could still prove crucial but with games running out we should really have got three points and might have done so had we not been so dire in the first-half.

Match Detail

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox (Jordan 77), Alexander, Cork (McDonald 46), Eagles, Paterson, Nugent, Thompson (Elliott 71)

Subs Not Used: Weaver, Duff, Bikey, Blake

Goal: Nugent (52)

Booked: Yellow Cards for Carlisle and McDonald

Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Collins, Faye, Wilkinson, Lawrence (Pugh 63), Whitehead, Sanli (Moult 85), Delap, Etherington, Sidibe (Kitson 63)

Subs Not Used: Begovic, Davies, Faye, Lund

Goal: Sanli (23)

Booked: 0

Possession: 51% Burnley, 49% Stoke (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)


21 Replies to “One Half Dire, One Half Better!”

  • This was a major disappointment as far as I am concerned. The best chance of getting two back to back wins and we blew it putting even more pressure now on the Wolves game

  • Yes we were bad in the first half well all bar about 10 minutes but the second half showed the fighting spirit that may just help us survive, we now just need to do that in both halfs. I spent yesterday looking at some stats and there is only 2 teams out of the 10 we have played twice done the double on us, so maybe if we carry on in the same way we will drop 6 points and then there is the potential of 21 points to play for and out of that im hoping for 16 points taking us to 40 and this hopefully would mean safey.

  • We all wanted 3 points tmp, particularly the team so yes it was a disappointment in that sense . But that’s football eh? Nerves, pressure and Stoke playing the hard man/keep it off the carpet game ended in a dismal performance in the first half from our point of view. But Laws to his great credit turned it around and showed people that he does have a ‘plan B’ in his armoury. Ok only 1 point when we desperately needed 3, but the passion and commitment shown in the second half should hold us in good stead provided we can continue that from the kick off on Saturday. Laws is getting there I think , and he’s beginning to find his team . A bit more luck, fortune or whatever you like to call it and Pato and Eagles could have got the second but they didn’t. Perhaps Saturday will be the day when they do go in from all the strikers , I’ve got a good feeling about this one and we owe McCarthy one if I remember correctly.

  • 1 point from safety with 9 games to play – I would have take this at any stage of the season and before. If we are in the same position by the time Spurs visit – I would take it.

  • Any chance you could give Stoke some credit and look at how many teams have taken them to the sword. They are an awful team imo but so hard to beat and stop, Arsenal conceded a goal against them just like us, no shame in it at all. You might as well start your match reports for the Championship Phil as you certainly struggle to find anything good to write about. I want to be even more positive going into these last games. I also want to join with people who are prepared to try and encourage everything Burnley. Have a read in the Telepgraph today about Hull selling their next two seasons season tickets to an agency in London to raise cash and the fact that auditors say they need 26 Million to survive and don’t know where its coming from….Come on Burnley, another great performance from Kev and goals for Eagles and Nugent and lets just see if Phil can come out of his doom and gloom….I will not write what my nurse thinks Phil needs as its rude and would put a smile on his face!

  • For heavens sake VR we couldn’t even beat Pompey let alone Stoke. Smell the coffee the team is rubbish at the moment! Our only hope is that two other clubs play equally as bad or worse between now and 9th May or that we improve SIGNIFICANTLY. Your search for positivity is admirable but I repeat it’s not turning into enough points! As for Dale he has already confessed he would take going down and doesn’t see it as a problem. I wish I had his blind faith

  • It’s more than blind faith. This team can do it. We’ve all seen the stunning performances, just a matter of getting that back and shoring up defensively, and they started that against Stoke . This is far from over. C’mon the clarets.

  • Could someone remind me what our last stunning performance would be? I don’t remember one certainly this year You would have to go back to December and the draw against Arsenal to come anywhere near that and I am afraid there doesn’t appear to be the confidence, energy and drive anymore that there was back then.Yes of course we can still do it, but they better start proving it quickly

  • Not sure we do stunning, but Man U away was an awesome effort, Chelsea at home was equally worth a point. It is your choice as editor Phil how you write the reviews etc, I respect that totally, I just don’t agree, as you are in danger of dragging me down with you! As for you saying there doesn’t seem to be the confidence energy and drive as in December, 100% disagree at OT at Everton, home to Chelsea, last 45 minutes on Wednesday, if you are sure we are doomed which I tend to believe in your heart you have decided that even taking into account your post above, then you will not see any of the games I have mentioned as I saw them.

  • We cant pick and choose games, VR. Its no use playing great for 45 minutes if we play like a bunch of schoolboys in another 45. Its a matter of consistency and I dont see that enough in terms of quality and confidence. No,I am not saying we are down, I am saying I need to see some improvement in that consistency before I am confident of staying up. [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • Noting that there have now been 311 viewings of my Pompey Watch thread in the Backchat Burnley section of the forums on this site… and noting VR’s comments about liquidity draining down the Humber and out into the North Sea… maybe it will soon be time to turn my attention to another sinking ship… and formally launch a leaking Hull Watch? VR – are you saying that your nurse thinks Phil needs some of those tabs with smiley faces on them? Just be careful – sometimes you think you’re buying ecstasy and it turns out to be agony! At least that’s what the cops said when they came round to the old rockers’ day centre, so I’ve not tried them myself yet.

  • 100% correct Phil – I do not see being relegated as a major problem at all. Football does exist outside the Premier League and the fact that many of the Premiership teams ( and probably board) do not realise this is probably one of the main problems within football today. I support Burnley FC. Not Premiership Burnley FC. I want Burnley to be as good as they can possibly be, of course I do, but I want them to do it by being Burnley!

  • Then we have to agree to disagree, because I see it as a disaster with all the long term financial security staying up would bring. If you really want to give up the chance of playing the Big Four-Six whatever it is now and play the likes of Donny Rovers and Barnsley again its your call. been there done that and quite frankly got bored with it

  • Agree to disagree it is! 🙂 it might make an interesting poll in all seriousness though Phil? How many people are with you and that relegation would be a disaster? and how many people are more in line with myself in that it wouldnt be the end of the world? I dont want us to give our PL place up ( which is why i was furious with the 20 mins at Villa and the debacle against Pompey), but if the lads put in the effort they did in that second half and dont quite make it, then so be it.

  • I dont want those smug ********s down the road such as Blackburn. Bolton and Wigan crowing we were one season wonders either not to mention all the pundits who will turn roind and say told you so! Bloody Preston again? Er no thanks!

  • I think we can all agree on one thing and that is we are all absolutely passionate about Burnley FC. We can disagree on this site to our hearts content and we do we all have different ideas and different thoughts, I think it would be very boring if all our thoughts and ideas were the same all the time. One thing we must do is not take our disagreements to the game, but channel that energy and get right behind the lads even the muppet man BL!!!!!. I think we are going to have to hold on tight for the next 9 games as its going down to the wire!!

  • I agree with Phil, I want to stay in the best league in the world I cannot see the positives in going back down to the championship.

  • Fed up I think everyone will agree we would prefer to be in the premier league however the question to ask is are we going to stop supporting our great if we are relegated back to the championship? My answer is no I will support and re-new my season ticket just like I always have. These days the championship is a strong league. Remember 1994 when we beat Stockport to come up to the then division 1 and went straight back down, yes it took another 5/6 seasons to get back, but we did and went on to establish ourselves in that league, before we dared to dream, and boy have we dreamed what a season we have had beating the mighty man u at home putting in one hell of a performance at OT. Yes we want that dream season in season out. So if we are relegated we will have leant some hard lessons but can come back bigger and better whenever that will be.

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