Date: 23rd January 2011 at 11:16am
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Eddie Howe`s first game in charge as the new Burnley gaffer perhaps didn`t quite have the happy ending we were all praying for but we had a damn good try and in the end came away with a point after a 0-0 draw at Glanford Park against Scunthorpe United. The result meant that we had now kept two clean sheets in a row but had also failed to score as well.

This in many ways was a frustrating game despite our defence holding firm, our midfield creating chances and our attack having numerous attempts on goal especially in the second half. In general it was a very good team performance on a difficult pitch. Had we not been so wayward in our shooting and been better in the final third, it could have been a very different story.

Our normal passing game though was hampered by a poor pitch which was soft under foot causing problems for both sides in a match that could hardly be described as classic. The neutrals watching this late kick-off game live on Sky Sports may well have fallen asleep in this one although the Clarets tried their best in the second-half to raise the tempo putting the Iron under sustained pressure and having by far the greater possession (56% in fact)

Burnley, after the results from the earlier normal 3pm Kick-off games in the Championship were known had slipped two places to 12th spot before the start of this clash which kicked-off at 5:20pm.

That was not lost on the Sky Sports commentary team which included Robbie Blake. You could tell Blake was trying to be diplomatic about Brian Laws but was failing dismally. He thought Howe would put a smile back on the Burnley players` faces suggesting all was not well under Laws. It was clear too that 12th spot was a sign of underachieving after a season in the top flight.

In his pre-match interview on Sky, Howe said he thought it would be a tight game on a surface that was not too great. He hoped his players would take the game to Scunthorpe in a positive way.

Eddie Howe made just two changes from the side that faced QPR at home in our last game managed by caretaker manager, Stuart Gray.

Dean Marney replaced captain, Graham Alexander who returned to the bench and there was a start for Ross Wallace. Howe decided to start with a 4-3-3 formation with just Jay Rodriguez up front supported by Eagles and Wallace on the flanks. Chris Iwelumo therefore had to be content with a place on the bench.

In summary then we lined up as follows:

Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Rodriguez

Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Edgar, Easton, Alexander, Iwelumo, Thompson

Scunthorpe had a number of injury problems before this game. Republic of Ireland international keeper, Joe Murphy was out injured and was replaced by Josh Lillis. Four other players were making debuts or home debuts. Left back, Andy Hughes was in the team after only just signing from Leeds on a free transfer on the Friday before the game. On-loan Manchester City midfielder, Abdisalam Ibrahim was also in the starting eleven along with defender Paul Reid recently signed from Colchester and winger, Mark Duffy who arrived at Glanford Park only last week from Morecambe. With Scunthorpe second from bottom in the Championship and having the league`s worst home form, the enforced changes to their team gave Clarets fans even greater hope and expectation.

Hertfordshire, referee, Grant Hegley got the game underway and if Howe was looking for a positive start from the Clarets he certainly got one. We looked to be in control for the first few minutes of the game with Eagles in particular causing problems for the Iron defence. However Scunthorpe eventually responded and began to put the Clarets under pressure with a few early corners and attacking moves. Lee Grant made an early hash of things flapping about and Wade Elliott, making his 450th career appearance came to the Clarets rescue having to head a Togwell effort off the line. Clarke Carlisle got in a crucial tackle to then deny Forte before Grant made amends for his earlier lapse by saving a long-range shot from the lively Togwell after diving low to his left.

The game now became a very scrappy affair with few chances for either side. Burnley simply lacked quality and couldn`t seem to get their full-backs forward. The Clarets got bogged down in midfield with the pitch not helping their passing game. Both defences were now easily snuffing out any attacking moves which were few and far between. Our few attacks seemed to break down in the final third but on 33 minutes we finally had a real chance to break the deadlock.

A corner from Wallace eventually skidded over to Eagles but he could only lift his shot over the bar from 12 yards out.

A subtle change in tactics to a more pseudo 4-4-2 formation saw Eagles take on a more central role with Elliott going out on the flank. Eagles was certainly now in the thick of things and at this stage was our liveliest player. His shooting touch though was deserting him but his best chance came when he burst into the box and got in a shot that Lillis did well to save.

Scunthorpe had shown very little in the first 45 minutes but looked to catch us out on the break at every opportunity and it nearly paid off when ten minutes before half-time, Martyn Woolford forced Grant into a save.

The game had not been a dirty match by any means and Grant Hegley, not renowned for handing out cards had kept things under control although Fox had picked up a yellow on 35 minutes for a foul. Michael Duff though was lucky to still be on the pitch when in full view of the referee; he got in a bad-looking waist high challenge that amazingly went completely unpunished. Duff didn`t even need to have attempted a challenge since the referee had already blown for a Burnley free-kick.

Clarke Carlisle also picked up a painful knee injury during the first 45 minutes but after treatment he soldiered on for the remainder of the half which remained goalless. Carlisle later admitted he had carried on based on the adrenaline rush alone but realised he couldn`t continue when the injury tightened up in the dressing room at half-time. He was replaced by Andre Bikey for the start of the second half but that was the only change Howe made.

The Clarets defence continued in the same vein allowing the Iron only limited opportunities to break the deadlock. Bikey seamlessly took over the role that Carlisle had done excellently in the first half to continue to frustrate the home side. The Iron had to resort to long-range efforts which rarely challenged Grant and the back-four although Woolford on the hour mark put a swinging shot just wide of target.

Two minutes later, Rodriguez came close to giving the Clarets the lead after picking up a long ball from Duff. Controlling the ball well and running towards goal, Jay Rod could only put his shot wide from 20 years out after being put under pressure by Iron defender, Reid.

It was now time for Eddie Howe to make a change in an effort to step up a gear. On came Iwelumo to partner Rodriguez up front. Wallace was the player to make way, with both Eagles and Elliott now taking on the role of wide-men down the flanks. It was an inspired substitution as the Clarets now began an onslaught on the Scunthorpe goal that made the home side look nervous for the rest of the game.

Almost instantly, Iwelumo was in action. A cross from Eagles to the near post found the head of Iwelumo. In his first touch since coming on, he headed on target and would have scored had the post not got in the way. The relentless Clarets pressure though now continued

It was just one of those days for Eagles and it was summed up when a curling effort from him was heading for the top corner of the net before Lillis intervened to gather the ball and save the danger.

Iwelumo too was causing the Iron defence all sorts of problems and he seemed to be able to do anything but score. He failed to score after chesting down a great ball from Jack Cork and then stretched to get in a shot which Lillis parried away.

You just sensed it wasn`t going to be our day despite now being in complete control and enjoying the lion`s share of possession.

We continued to be frustrated though when a Marney shot was deflected wide and then a swerving shot from Eagles was denied by Lillis after he somehow managed to keep the ball out.

That was it, a goalless result for the second time in succession following the 0-0 against QPR at Turf Moor a week earlier. It was not a perfect start then for the new management team, but at least lowly Scunthorpe did not get the double over us.

The result leaves the Clarets frustratingly just out of reach of the play-offs promotion chasers. They are now in 11th spot, six points behind the sixth placed club who are now Nottingham Forest and Forest also have a game in hand over us. Other clubs in the top six though could be catchable with Burnley having games in hand over them. They really, really do though now have to start winning away and putting a run together. Their hectic January schedule is followed by an equally hectic February with nine games to play between now and the end of next month. The results from those games could make or break our season, especially with five of those matches being played away and with the Clarets still only having one away victory to their credit all season.

Come on we can do this with Eddie at the helm!

Match Stats

Scunthorpe: Lillis, Raynes, Reid, Wright, Togwell, Woolford, Hughes, Ibrahim, Duffy (Nolan 84), Dagnall (Grant 71), Forte (Godden 88)

Subs Not Used: Slocombe, Mirfin, Wright, Collins

Booked: 0

Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle (Bikey 46), Fox, Eagles, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Wallace (Iwelumo 62), Rodriguez

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Alexander, Edgar, Easton, Thompson

Booked: Yellow card for Fox

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

Attempts on Goal: Scunthorpe 9 (6 on target), Burnley 19 (12 on target)

Ref: Grant Hegley (Hertfordshire)


12 Replies to “Stalemate at Glanford Park”

  • Very frustrating to watch on Sky Sports this one. You just sense things are beginning to slip away and that the squad just doesn’t have enough to get us to the play-offs even under our new energetic management team. I just hope I am wrong and we get some new players in before the end of the Jan window to freshen up the squad.

  • Yep,commented to that effect in t’other front page article today ‘ ‘Howe Admits To Two Unnamed Transfer Targets’

  • The second half performance was really encouraging , just a shame that not one of our efforts went in, especially that curling Eagles effort that was well saved. The pitch wasn’t conducive to a good passing game although Elliot did superbly under the circumstances. Things can only get better and I still think they will .

  • Very pleased with the defence, looked far more solid. Despite lots of opportunity and efforts, putting the ball in the net is still eluding us. Surely it must come together soon. A couple of new players might do it but I am thinking that next season is going to be the target for automatic promotion.

  • I think the pitch was a big problem for us in this game. I kind of agree with CC I’m starting to let this season go and thinking about building for next season. I di think the squad is good enough but it might be a bit too late for Eddie. I blame Laws.

  • Come on Burnley ! there’s a ton of games left and anything can happen were still in with a shout boys keep ya heads up none of that building for next year lets get it on right now and get on a run that all we need a little run of form were not getting beat but we aint winning transfer the draws to wins and were away !

  • Agreed hollins lets go for it, but I am just being honest with myself. We can still do it but if we don’t, let’s keep our heads up and really go for it next season. A motivating manager, 2-3 new signings, and auto promotion beckons.

  • Tuesday really important with Forest playing at home to Bristol City too. If they win and we lose we will be 8 points behind play offs with only 1 game in hand. We may have to be satisfied with a Wembley FA Cup semi final appearance

  • Well if we don’t reach the play-offs, even Kilby has said that would be failure. He is right and the blame will fall squarely on the Board for making the crass decision to bring Laws in, in the first place and not doing more to keep us up last season when they had the chance. Every season we stay down, the pressure will be greater to go up,with parachute payments being the only thing that is keeping the club’s head above water at the moment. It is crucial we get back up before they run out or it will be back to pleading poverty, midtable mediocrity and selling all our key players in the transfer windows with the excuse it makes good business sense!

  • You paint a grim picture tmp. All that could happen, but right now I’m backing Eddie to start turning things around . Let’s see who he plays on Tuesday night, and I’m guessing he’ll play Bikey with Carlisle assuming he’s fit, otherwise Duff. The pitch at Pompey will be more suited to playing some nice football so here’s hoping Wade and Eagles turn it on. UTC

  • It will be a grim picture if we don’t get promoted by the time the parachute money runs out. grim in the sense the club won’t have any money with average gates of 11-15,000 to progress and we will probaly return to midtable mediocrity again fighting off the odd relegation threat and having to sell all our best players to survive. Like everybody else, I don’t want that to happen and want to get out of this poverty rut once and for all. I thought we had when we got promoted but the Board ballsed that up by not spending enough on players to keep us up

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