Date: 22nd October 2012 at 11:13am
Written by:

Terry Pashley, in his first game in charge as caretaker manager steered the Clarets to a 1-0 victory over local rivals, Blackpool in the Lancashire derby at Turf Moor on Saturday. Burnley looked brighter and more determined to secure three points than I have seen them play in some time and it is hard to know why there was such a transformation compared to recent games under former manager Eddie Howe who returned to Bournemouth a week last Friday.

How much was down to Pash is difficult to say but the team certainly had passion and at times the performance was very pleasing on the eye. This was a good time to secure three points in front of the live Sky cameras with the club precariously close to the relegation zone ahead of this clash. It can only have been a confidence boost with the club still seeking a new manager to replace Howe and the side having not won a game in four matches (including the Carling Cup defeat at Swindon) before Blackpool came to town.

History was also made in the victory. Charlie Austin scored in his seventh consecutive game; a feat not achieved by any Burnley player since Willie Irvine in 1965. His winning goal in the 19th minute was his 13th Championship goal of the season and his 16th in all competitions. It was also pleasing to have kept our first clean sheet since the opening day of the season when we beat Bolton 2-0 at home.

The three points were vital taking Burnley further away from the relegation zone and up to 15th in the table. The Clarets now have 14 points from 11 games, five points clear now of third-from-bottom club, Sheffield Wednesday and remarkably just five points away from the play-offs!!

Our season is still very much alive and that just shows how critical the next managerial appointment could be. Surely the club will have to go for proven, experience this time. Can we afford not to? Pash looks set to be in charge for probably the next two games away to Bristol City on Tuesday night and then Cardiff in Wales on Saturday. Co-chairman John Banaszkiewicz though has revealed that the new manager will be picked from a shortlist of “three or four” next week so all Clarets fans await the news with bated breath. That`s for the future though so let`s not take away Pashley`s remarkable achievement on Saturday just yet and return to the game.

The big question was how would Pash approach this game, would he introduce ideas of his own or stick very much to the Howe formula, a formula which seemed to be sadly failing of late. Probably on analysis you would say somewhere in between but on a psychological basis he seems to have come up trumps motivating the team to victory and getting them to play with both passion and confidence. Michael Duff returned to the starting eleven following his knee injury and replaced David Edgar who had only just returned from international duty with Canada. No doubt tired and jet-legged after his transatlantic flight, Edgar was rested although was named on the bench. Pashley made two further changes from the side that lost 4-3 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park before the international break. Ross Wallace and Brian Stock returned to the starting eleven, Pashley preferring to play with just Austin up front in an effort to stem the leakiness in defence and keep our goal threat still very much alive.

We lined-up as follows:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stock, Stanislas, Austin

Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Stewart, Bartley, Vokes, Paterson

Blackpool had to make a last minute change due to injury with Ian Evett replacing Craig Cathcart in the centre of defence meaning they had only six players on the bench.

They also had a familiar face in the team, with our former on-loan striker from Aston Villa, Nathan Delfouneso now on loan for a season at Bloomfield Road. He scored on his debut for the Tangerines (in fact a brace) but hadn`t found the back of the net since. Sound familiar?

Northumberland Premier League referee, Michael Oliver got this fixture underway for the second successive season and it was soon clear that the Clarets would not be so much gung-ho in attack this time and try and keep more possession avoiding the defensive blunders at the back. Austin may have been more isolated because of it but this time the tactics seemed to be working and we looked a lot more effective in the build-up and less prone to being caught out on the break with more men behind the ball.

Austin may have looked more isolated but when he got the ball he caused all sorts of problems for the Blackpool defence. Clearly Ian Holloway had not really done enough homework on the former Swindon striker and he was soon showing the Blackpool gaffer what a threat he could be. His first effort soon after kick-off caught the inattentive Gilks off guard. A cross from Stanislas fell to Austin and he unleashed a first-time shot on the volley. Somehow the lucky keeper got a deflection off his glove and the ball flew just wide of target.

In the 19th minute though, Austin again exposed the weakness in the Blackpool defence and this time there was no let-off for the Tangerines. A perfect cross by Wallace allowed an unmarked Austin to get in behind their central defence and head down into the back of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up.

The Clarets pace down both flanks was beginning to take effect and Burnley looked the most likely to score next and increase their lead before the break. Stanislas was looking particularly sharp and effective and three minutes before half-time he nearly single-handedly gave Burnley a 2-0 advantage. After linking well with Austin, he charged clear heading towards goal with only Gilks to beat before attempting to chip the keeper. Gilks though managed to get his right glove to the ball and save the day for the Tangerines and keep the score 1-0 to the Clarets at half time.

The busy keeper was tested again one minute after the break and again it was Austin on the rampage. The Seasiders` defence had again been breached with Stock, Wallace and Trippier showing up their frailties. This time the ball fell to Austin and he unleashed a powerful drive that fully tested the keeper who beat away the ball to keep Blackpool in the game. The Clarets sensed they had the Tangerines on the ropes now and were looking for the knockout blow. It nearly came when the impressive Stanislas just failed to put Austin clear.

Blackpool had hardly troubled the Burnley defence all afternoon but they fired a warning shot across our bows in the 53rd minute in virtually their first meaningful attack of the game. The Tangerines main threat had come down the flanks, especially from Tom Ince and it was Ince who nearly levelled the scores but he could only fire into the side netting. Nevertheless Ince`s performance must have pleased his more famous father, Paul who was in the crowd watching his son play. That must have also got the tongues wagging after being linked with the Clarets managerial vacancy in midweek.

Blackpool after that attempt now seemed to be getting more into the game and they began to get more possession and turn the screw putting the Burnley defence under some pressure. This time though they did not buckle and kept the Tangerines at bay for most of the second half in an impressive, confident display. With the game barely an hour old, the Seasiders had three attempts in quick succession. Shackell was well-placed to deal with Ince`s square ball across the face of goal after the winger got in behind the back line. His clearance brought a sigh of relief from the home crowd.

Now though, Grant was about to become the hero of the hour after pulling off two remarkable saves. First Alex Baptiste thought he had scored with a header before Grant got a touch at full length to deflect the ball onto the post. The ball on the rebound then fell kindly to Gary Taylor-Fletcher who unleashed a shot only to see Grant quickly recover and block the ball again with a superb save. Burnley were now holding onto their lead for dear life as another Taylor-Fletcher attempt took a deflection and flew just wide.

It was time for Pashley to freshen things up and try and block Blackpool`s increasing influence in the game. On came first Bartley in the 75th minute and then Paterson six minutes later replacing Stock and Stanislas respectively.

Burnley continued to keep the Tangerines at bay although it was still a nervous time for Burnley fans and a second Clarets goal would have relived all the pressure as the clock ticked down. The Clarets were now finding it difficult to mount an attack but with nine minutes to go, Paterson came close to doubling our lead. It was always too tight an angle though and his shot could only find the side netting.

Sam Vokes came on to replace Austin with four minutes to go and in stoppage time he unleashed a drive which skidded towards target. Gilks though somehow managed to steer the ball round the post and that was it. Burnley had secured their first win in five games and had at long last managed to keep a clean sheet in an impressive defensive performance. Well done Clarets and well done Pash!!

Match Stats

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stock (Bartley – 69), Stanislas (Paterson – 75), Austin (Vokes – 86)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Stewart

Goal: Austin 19

Booked: Yellow Cards for Mee (29) and Paterson (90)

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, M Phillips (Bruna – 80), Osbourne, Angel, Ince (Dicko – 79), Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso (Sylvestre – 58)

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Gomes, Eccleston

Booked: Yellow Cards for Crainey (68) and Evatt (77)

Possession: 46% Burnley, 54% Blackpool (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)