Date: 24th August 2008 at 9:08am
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Well we are now off the bottom and have our first point of the season after a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace. Most Clarets fans would have taken that score line at the start of play, but the truth is it feels like we have lost two points considering that Palace for most of the second half, played with just nine men.

Jamie Scowcroft and Shaun Derry both picked up second yellows and were sent off after 47 and 52 minutes respectively.

The Clarets battled hard to find a winner in the second half and even had the ball in the net, but McCann`s goal after 45 minutes was scratched off for an alleged foul of Eagles keeper, Speroni.

The Clarets dominance were reflected in the number of corners we got in the game, eleven in total with ten of them in the second half. We just couldn`t make the pressure count and there was always the fear that Palace would sneak away and score, especially on the break or from set-piece free kicks.

The Clarets will remember a nine man Palace team defeating Burnley at Turf Moor a few seasons back so there was no time to relax and indeed there was probably more pressure now on the Clarets to score.

In a match where Palace had failed to score in the two previous league games of the new season and the Clarets had leaked seven goals, a 0-0 draw could have perhaps been predicted and it is certainly an improvement over the 5-0 drubbing handed out by Palace in this same fixture in the final match of last season only last May.

Owen Coyle made three changes to the team thumped 3-0 at home last week against Ipswich and he also made a radical change to the formation.

Out went Jordan, Gudjonsson and Blake and in came Kalvenes and McDonald (for their full debuts) together with Duff. Alexander was still in the team and was given the role of playing just in front of the back four to bolster our shaky defence. Paterson was given the sole striker`s role supported on the wings by Elliott and Eagles.

We therefore lined up as follows playing 4-1-4-1:

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

Subs: Penny, Jordan, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Blake

Carlisle was making his 300th league appearance and would not want a repeat of this fixture last May when he was sent off after 7 minutes.

The Berkshire referee, Iain Williamson got the match underway in front of 616 Clarets fans who had made the journey to Selhurst Park. There was probably another 100 who couldn`t find the place!

All the Burnley fans must have wondered if we could stop the current rot and get our first win on this ground since Ian Moore`s brace in our 2-1 victory back in December 2001.

Palace playing in their new home kit which was a throwback to the 70s with the purple and claret sash stripes on white shirts looked to be out of the blocks first.

A well timed tackle from Caldwell denied Tom Soares a goal in the eighth minute.

Jensen saved easily from a weak free kick by former Clarets winger, John Oster.

There was little to shout about for either side during most of the first half as the match deteriorated into a pretty dull, dire affair. The only positive note for the Clarets was that our defence was holding up much better than in the last three League games and at least we were not two down in the first ten minutes and down to ten men like the last time we visited Selhurst Park.

Anything Palace tried to chuck at us, Jensen seemed to be equal to it and in the 33rd minute he had no trouble saving a long range shot from Griffit as Clarets fans were beginning to wonder if we could possibly put together an attack of our own before the referee blew for the end of the first half.

The answer came two minutes later when Paterson on the right of the area controlled the ball to perfection and let rip a curling shot towards goal only for Eagles keeper, Speroni to be directly in the way.

At last the half-tame whistle came, no doubt waking up a number of sleeping Eagles and Burnley fans but at least our defence had not this time looked like startled rabbits in the headlights and Coyle would no doubt be the happier of the two managers.

Coyle made no changes for the start of the second half with the Clarets about to get their first significant advantage after just 20 seconds from the kick-off.

Jamie Scowcroft had been yellow-carded in the first half and decided to seal his fate by elbowing Clarke Carlisle.

After what seemed ages whilst both players were treated on the pitch, the referee finally showed Scowcroft the red-card reducing Palace down to ten men.

McDonald tested Speroni with a shot that flew off the keeper`s gloves just before Palace found themselves down to nine-men.

Shaun Derry had been yellow carded for showing dissent and arguing with the referee about the Scowcroft sending off and then proceeded to foul Elliott on 52 minutes giving the referee no option but to get out his red card for the second time.

Surely now the Clarets could break the deadlock? Despite the obvious advantage though in some ways the Clarets seemed to now be under more pressure to score and the second-half was about to develop into a survival story for the Eagles.

With nearly 60 minutes on the clock, McDonald came close but his shot heading for goal was deflected wide of the post.

A shot by Kalvenes was denied by the safe hands of Speroni at the near post just before Eagles let rip with a 30 yard shot on 62 minutes. Once more the Argentine keeper was equal to it pulling off another good save.

On 63 minutes Coyle made the first of his substitutions with a view to giving the Clarets a more attacking formation to try and take and break the deadlock and benefit from their two man advantage.

Robbie Blake replaced Duff, with Alexander now moving back into his more familiar role at right back. They were now playing 4-4-2 with Blake partnering Paterson up front.

Some nice interplay between Eagles and Elliott then bamboozled the Eagles defence to find Blake on the right. His cross found Paterson but his volleyed shot was too high and another chance evaporated.

The frustration began to affect both teams as a procession of yellow cards was shown to players on both sides. Paterson was booked for dissent and then McDonald.

Paterson was again denied by Speroni at the near post following a Kalvenes cross.

Coyle then made his second substitution of the afternoon bringing on Gudjonsson for McDonald with 16 minutes to play.

Just seconds later, it looked like the Clarets had finally broken the deadlock following a Blake corner. McCann got the ball in the net but was adjudged to have pushed the keeper.

Owen Coyle had this to say about the scratched off goal after the match:

“I thought we had scored a perfectly good goal which was chalked off and also [Palace goalkeeper] Julian Speroni made some top-class saves”

As the Clarets corner count mounted with the final tally recorded as eleven corners, ten in the second half, a number seemed to be wasted as the Clarets just couldn`t make the pressure count.

Eight minutes to go and Akinbiyi came on to replace Paterson but he too could not find a way through.

Carlisle was the third Clarets player to be yellow carded after 87 minutes. It was a busy day for the referee who by the end had handed out nine yellow cards in total and two reds.

Just one final scare for Palace fans as the four minutes of extra time were nearly up. A powerful shot by Alexander forced a point-blank save from the busy Speroni and that was it. The Eagles had survived!

A very frustrating match for Clarets fans then and although a point would have been taken at the start of this match, it still felt like we should have got more from the game.

Owen Coyle had this to say after the match:

“In the first half we both looked nervous. Palace are looking to score their first goal but we started well in the second half and then the sending offs came along.

“We showed some application and the effort was there but credit to Palace because they defended with their lives.

“The work ethic was good but we need to work on the final third because we could have had three points.”

Oh well at least we are now off the bottom (albeit just) in 23rd position with a home match to follow at Plymouth next Saturday. However we have the little matter of progressing in the Carling Cup to consider first with a second round match against Oldham at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, Lawrence, McCarthy, Hill, Oster (Andrew 51), Soares, Carle (Djilali 80), Derry, Griffit (Fonte 53), Scowcroft.

Subs Not Used: Moses, Watson.

Sent Off: Scowcroft (47), Derry (52).

Booked: Scowcroft, Derry, Hill, Fonte.

Burnley: Jensen, Duff (Blake 63), Carlisle, Kalvenes, Caldwell, Elliott, Alexander, McCann, McDonald (Gudjonsson 74), Eagles, Paterson (Akinbiyi 82).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Jordan.

Booked: Paterson, McDonald, Carlisle.

Ref: Iain Williamson (Berkshire).