Date: 31st January 2007 at 8:25am
Written by:

The Clarets sadly continued their losing streak with no win now in 9 League matches and only 7 points from a possible 39 points in their last 13 league matches. This time they succombed to a 4th minute goal from Steve Howard going down to Derby at Pride Park in a 1-0 defeat.

This was a bad tempered match with both managers being told to sit in the Stands. The referee, Mike Riley seemed to lose the plot in the last 20 minutes booking four of our players,yellow carding Mahon, Djembe-Djembe, Foster and Harley. It was even worse for Djembe-Djembe who found himself yellow-carded again in the 90th minute for what seemed like an innocuous tackle on Steve Howard. The sending off will mean that Eric wil not be available for the next match away to QPR on Saturday.

The incident prompted Steve Cotterill to say:

‘There was nothing in Eric’s challenge and it didn’t warrant another yellow card.

‘It was in stoppage time and I honestly think it was harsh. He (Riley) is an experienced referee, it is the 90th minute and it was just ridiculous.

‘I have known Steve (Howard) for years. We played against each other in the Third Division and I think he is a really good, honest lad.

‘I just said I thought he went down a bit easily and he came over and had a chat about it, but nobody deserved to be sent off tonight.’

This losing streak has led to a number of our fans now questioning the ability of our manager but we do need to get things in perspective here. Lets remember as far as this game goes, we were playing against high-flying, top placed Derby. After that goal in the fourth minute, the lads played well and had most of the possession most noticeably in the second half. Arguably all the new signings need match practice and are still not firing on all cylinders and undoubtably we have missed the goal scoring talents of the injured Andy Gray. There are calls that we need a defender, but maybe we still need another attacker as a higher priority:

0 goals in 7/10 games?

0 goals in last 6 League matches?

More than one goal in it in only 2/10 matches?

We also lost last night, Gifton Noel-Williams who will be joining it was announced Real Murcia today.

Lets not panic just yet, once the new signings are up to speed and we hopefully see the return of Andy Gray soon, this losing streak will hopefully be a distant memory. I, for one cant wait to see Ade Akinbiyi line up with Andy Gray, surely we will begin to see our scoring touch improve with those two up front.

We may have blown our chances of reaching the play-offs but that’s not definite and although we still only have 38 points, 12 points off the 50 recognised as safety, surely we cant face a relegation battle. It also has to be encouraging that we are ,for once bringing in new players in the January window. Hold your nerve on this roller coaster ride!

As soon as the team sheets were announced, the Clarets fans picked up the fact that Gifton Noel-Williams was nowhere to be seen. Surely it couldn’t really be true he was off to Sunny Spain? It was confirmed however,after the match that he would be in a £50,000 deal. Good luck Gifton, I was never one to criticise you unduly and you were one of the few that held the ball up well for us this season. Hopefully the Spanish sun will help those winter limbs of yours!

Sinclair appeared to be another casualty in this match through injury and his place was taken by John McGreal. Joey Gudjonsson started his full debut for the Clarets with Chris MCCann dropped to the bench.

Despite Lafferty in the starting line-up, Steve Cotterill opted for a 4-5-1 with Ade Akinbiyi up front.

Former Claret, Mo Camara would feature in the Rams defence and who could have predicted the situation he found himself in with former boss, Steve Cotterill.Cotterill saw red after a touchline incident with Camara late in the game.

Cotterill explained: ‘I took exception to Mo Camara pushing out at Kyle Lafferty, a 19-year-old kid.

‘He came over and I said ‘Oi Camara, what are you pushing him for?’

‘I did not swear, but what will happen somewhere along the line is they will say ‘use of language’.

‘Is it a winnable case? No chance, because it never is and I don’t know whether appealing is worth it.’

So that was that,Steve Cotterill followed his opposite number, Billy Davies to the stands. Billy had also tasted the wrath of Old Mother Riley in an earlier incident.

The only other talking point about the Derby line-up was that both Lupoli and Peschisolido found themselves on the Subs bench. These could have been the biggest threats to Burnley with the latter having a reputation of always scoring against us,particularly at Pride Park.

The match therefore kicked off with Burnley hoping to settle down quickly and keep out Derby! That plan didnt work with the Rams punishing the Clarets after only 4 minutes thanks to a Steve Howard headed goal from a David Jones free kick. All the Clarets fans hearts sank with fears of a thumping, but its to the lads’ credit that for the rest of the match they kept out Derby and came close to scoring on a number of occasions with Lafferty in particular in the second half testing the Derby keeper and missing one golden opportunity late in the second half when the Clarets were pressing hard for an equaliser.

Indeed the Clarets started briskly in the second half putting Derby under a lot of pressure in the first 20 minutes. The Clarets seemed to dominate the second half but always seemed to be just short of finding that elusive equaliser.

One concern for the Clarets, may be Captain Wayne Thomas who hobbled off in the last few minutes of the first half to be replaced by Foster with McGreal taking up the Captain’s armband.

Oh well, it wasnt to be as the Rams maintained the incredible statistic of having won now 18 of their 34 games this season by only the one goal margin. 400 Clarets fans therefore had to endure yet another defeat and wonder along with the fans who didnt go to the match where our next goal,let alone win was going to come from.


Derby: Bywater, Edworthy, Camara, Leacock, Jones, Howard, Fagan, Oakley, Moore, Pearson, Teale (Bisgaard 61).

Subs: Johnson, Peschisolido, Lupoli, Malcolm.

Booked: Oakley 33, Fagan 44

Burnley: Pollitt: Harley (McCann 88), Duff, McGreal, Thomas (Foster 45), Elliott (Mahon 65), Djemba-Djemba, Gudjonsson, J O’Connor, Lafferty, Akinbiyi.

Subs: Coyne, G O’Connor

Booked: Mahon 74, Djemba-Djemba 84, Foster 85, Harley 87

Sent off: Djemba-Djemba 90