Date: 22nd March 2012 at 7:21am
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The Clarets shocking run of form continued at Portman Road this evening. A goal by Michael Chopra in the 54th minute was enough to give Ipswich all three points but that score line does not begin to tell how badly we played, especially in the second half. One statistic that perhaps sums up our night was the fact that Ipswich had 21 shots (13 on target) during this game compared to Burnley`s woeful 2! Another would be 11 corners for the Blues with the Clarets getting just the one. Lee Grant in many respects saved our blushes and yet at times his hesitancy and mistakes nearly cost us dear. It was a strange night in Suffolk and there was a definite season-over feel about this clash. It was certainly not a good game of football to watch and the atmosphere at Portman Road was pretty subdued to say the least even from the home supporters.

The end result is that Burnley drop to 16th now eleven points behind the 6th placed club, Middlesbrough. These are worrying times for the Clarets. The season is ending on a very poor low note with only one win now in nine games and no win in six. The team look tired, clueless and rudderless. Can we have much confidence this team will do any better next season? On the evidence of this dire, woeful showing there is still a hell of a lot of work for Eddie Howe to do and it is clear there will need to be some changes. Some players are clearly not good enough at this level, and some that are might be off to pastures new in the summer. Howe is facing another rebuilding job and you just wonder when and if the transition will ever be complete.

There were a lot of unhappy Clarets fans leaving Portman Road tonight feeling they had been let down by a team that simply was incapable of entertaining. Fans had paid good money for this match ticket (£30 even) not to mention the travel costs involved getting down to this far flung place. They deserved better, much better!

The Line-Up

Well at least Jay Rodriguez was fit enough to play but there was no sign of Danny Ings. Howe decided instead to play Rodriguez and Austin up front with Paterson on the bench.

There were starts again for Danny Lafferty who made his debut in the last game against Cardiff and for Junior Stanislas who had just recently returned after recovering from a hamstring injury. Wallace though was dropped to the bench with Marvin Bartley making a start.

In summary then we lined up as follows:

Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Duff, Lafferty, Bartley, Marney, McCann, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin

Subs: Jensen, Mee, Wallace, Paterson, McQuoid

Full Match Report

Although Ipswich started the game the brighter, the Clarets soaked up all this early pressure. A deep cross from Daryl Murphy looked dangerous but thankfully Michael Chopra could not make contact with the ball with his attempted volley and Burnley survived. Lee Martin was looking a bit of a handful but the Clarets gradually came into the game. It was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock midway through the first half. Austin knocked down the ball to find McCann and it was Rodriguez, linking well with his captain, who almost beat the Ipswich keeper, Alex McCarthy after charging into the box.

Burnley now looked the more confident of the two sides as more opportunities to open the scoring came the Clarets way. Trippier charging forward unleashed a shot which flew into the side netting and he then delivered a free kick which was headed just wide by Lafferty.

Ipswich had been prevalent goal scorers averaging more than three a game in their last four matches at Portman Road. You would not have thought so watching this rather lacklustre performance by the home side. Ten minutes before half time though the Tractor Boys nearly broke the deadlock. A cross from Martin was met by Bowyer and his header looked certain to be heading for the top corner until Lee Grant tipped the ball over the bar. The near miss though sparked Ipswich into action and they finished the half on top. The referee frustratingly seemed to be giving the home side all the decisions but he turned down Bowyer`s appeal for a penalty. Bowyer took a tumble in the box but the referee was having nothing of it and waved play on. Murphy came close with a shot which thankfully flew over the bar and that was it for the first half; a strangely subdued game so far with very little action and no team in control.

Burnley were instantly under pressure from the restart and came close to conceding from an Ipswich free-kick. Grant Leadbitter brought out another excellent save from Lee Grant after latching onto the ball and letting rip with a fierce shot.

Leadbitter then found Emmanuel-Thomas out wide. Cutting in he unleashed a shot that flew across the face of goal and Burnley survived yet again.

The Ipswich pressure though finally paid off in the 54th minute when they got their noses in front. It was a blunder by Bartley that put our defence under pressure following a pass that went astray. Martin eventually pounced to bring out a one-handed save by the busy Lee Grant. The ball was now loose though with the Burnley defence unable to clear the danger. Chopra from close range had the easy task of slotting home to make it 1-0 Ipswich.

Ipswich could now scent blood and Emmanuel-Thomas almost doubled their lead but thumped the ball just wide. The Clarets now had no answer s to wave after wave of attacking play from Ipswich. The ball seemed to be permanently in our half at one stage with visiting fans struggling to recall one meaningful attack by the Clarets.

Howe decided to change things round on the hour mark after earlier bringing on Ben Mee to replace a lacklustre Danny Lafferty. On came Martin Paterson and Ross Wallace to replace Austin and Marney but to be honest it made little difference and left Clarets fans wondering why other, less effective players had not been replaced instead.

The impressive Emmanuel-Thomas had been running rings round the Burnley defence and Mee was unable to stop the former Arsenal player setting up Leadbitter for another shot on goal. This time though Trippier managed to get in a good block to keep Burnley in the game.

The Clarets were struggling to put together any meaningful attacks and their creativity was non-existent. The link play between the full backs and wingers was simply woeful. Wallace looked subdued and Stanislas was having a mare of a game and even worse looked totally disinterested. Passes went astray and the ball had more chance of going sideways or backwards than forwards. It was slow, plodding and painful to watch not helped by a homer of a referee.

There was always the hope at one goal down that Burnley could pull something out of the bag. That hope though was in the minds of the fans, the players seemed to have given up all hope!

If there was going to be another goal, it would be from Ipswich who looked by far the better team in the second half. It has to be said though that Burnley made them look better than they were. Grant had to come to Burnley`s rescue again after saving yet another attempt from Leadbitter. In the last minute of the game Leadbitter was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for dissent. It came too late though for Burnley to take advantage and they would probably have struggled against ten men never mind eleven they were that poor!

I was speechless after that shocking performance and I was just glad I was one of the lucky ones living in East Anglia who didn`t have to face a long journey back! By the way I have just realised I have not mentioned one Burnley attack in the second half and that speaks volumes!

Match Stats

Ipswich Town: McCarthy, Cresswell, Delaney, Smith, Leadbitter, Edwards, Bowyer, Emmanuel-Thomas, Martin, Chopra (Sonko – 90), Murphy

Subs Not Used: Lee-Barrett, Carson, Stevenson, Drury

Goal: Chopra 54

Booked: Yellow card for Bowyer, Red card for Leadbitter (second bookable offence)

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty (Mee – 53), McCann, Marney (Wallace – 58), Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin (Paterson – 59)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, McQuoid

Booked: 0

Possession: 56% Ipswich, 44% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: James Linington (Newport)


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