Date: 30th August 2010 at 11:03am
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The Clarets lost their unbeaten record for this season going down 1-0 to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday. The defeat still leaves Burnley well-placed in 5th spot on 7 points and only 3 points off the top three places as we head towards the International break. It would have been nice to go into the break on a high and even a point would have been something to celebrate but it wasn`t to be despite putting the Swans under considerable pressure in the second-half.

As expected, with no further injury or suspensions to worry about, Brian Laws reverted to the eighteen he selected for our last League match at home to Leicester, a match of course we won 3-0. Laws had made nine changes to that team in our Carling Cup 3-1 victory over Morecambe at the Globe Arena in midweek but none of the fringe players did enough to earn a starting eleven place against Swansea. Duff is still recovering from his calf injury and has targeted a return for the Preston derby game after the international break and of course Chris McCann will be sidelined for six months whilst he recovers from the surgery this month to fix his cruciate ligament injury once and for all.

We therefore lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo, Paterson

Subs: Grant, Cort, Cork, Edgar, Eagles, Rodriguez, Thompson

Somerset referee, Steve Tanner got the game underway

This was an entertaining match for the neutral with plenty of action and incidents to boot but it was a frustrating one for Clarets fans. We basically lost this game in the first half. After a bright start we lost the plot when Swansea took the lead with just 8 minutes on the clock. It was a sloppy goal to concede as well. The impressive Nathan Dyer set up full back, Alan Tate who had got in behind a woeful Clarets defence to put over a cross along the six-yard line. Despite Cotterill missing with his swing attempt the ball fell to Sinclair who thumped home the ball into the roof of the net.

How we escaped further damage in the first half is beyond me. We were simply woeful and could easily have been 4-0 or 5-0 down by half-time if the Swans had taken their chances.

The opposition teams we have played recently seem to have sensed that our weakness is down the right flank and that if you put left back, Danny Fox under pressure you might reap the rewards. Swansea were no exception with our former loan winger, Nathan Dyer causing all sorts of problems. Tyrone Mears in contrast at right back was given a relatively easy ride. I am not saying Danny Fox is totally to blame, he does need more support from the midfielders chasing back sometimes and at times our midfield in the first half looked plodding and clueless.

Dobbie and Cotterill both failed to convert chances set up by Dyer and after 23 minutes the lively and busy Dyer was at it again this time passing to Pratley who bursting into the box let rip with a shot that rattled off the woodwork with the rising ball hitting the top of the bar.

Our first chance didn`t come really until the half-hour mark when Martin Paterson forced a save after curling a ball towards the top corner. De Vries though snuffed out the threat after flying through the air to get to the ball. Brian Jensen then got in another crucial save at the other end with the Clarets desperately trying not to concede another goal. Sinclair was denied this time.

Iwelumo was then given our best chance to equalise after Wallace put over a perfect cross. He could only head badly wide of target though but at least we were now having a bit more possession. Marney towards the end of the half dragged his shot wide and before that the unmarked Paterson would have been in an ideal position to score had Elliott managed to get the ball to him without being crowded out. 1-0 down then at half-time and not an impressive one for the Clarets

I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall in the Burnley dressing room at half-time but whatever Laws said seemed to work and we looked a far more confident team in the second half especially in the last half-hour of the game. We just couldn`t get that elusive equaliser though despite our best efforts and there was also the bizarre spectacle on the hour mark of two players being sent off within two minutes! First of all, Swans midfielder, Darren Pratley, already on a yellow card felled Tyrone Mears to earn his marching orders for a second bookable offence on 58 minutes.

Burnley`s hopes of being given an easier task to get the equaliser with Swansea now down to ten men were soon dashed when two minutes later Mears foolishly found himself also walking towards the tunnel. He too was also on a yellow card when a clumsy tackle on Nathan Dyer gave referee, Steve Tanner no option but to show red again.

Laws was clearly not a happy man over the Mears sending-off. He told the media after the game:

‘Tyrone Mears has quite clearly got to look at himself. We are professionals and we have to play with our heads and not our hearts. Even the most experienced players lose their heads sometimes.’

I have to say Mears is not the man he was and at times looks disinterested and lacklustre. Whether he has a move in mind or is sulking because nobody has come in for him one can only guess but he needs to snap out of it, if he to keep his place in the team.

Anyway back to the match

Although Burnley looked far more energised and determined in the second half Swansea still looked dangerous on the break and we had to thank Jensen again after Cotterill got in a through-ball to Sinclair who once more had got the better of the Clarets defence. Jensen raced out of the box to get in a perfect tackle to keep the score at 1-0.

After the red cards, fresh legs in the form of Jack Cork, Steve Thompson and Chris Eagles added some sparkle to our play but with Iwelumo playing on after picking up a late hamstring injury, you just sensed this was not going to be our day.

Thompson got on the end of a Fox cross and his glancing header seemed to fool De Vries but luckily for the Swans keeper he managed to rescue the situation at the near post. Eagles was now causing the Swansea defence all sorts of problems as well but somehow they held on. Thompson put a shot just wide and into the last minute of five minutes of added time our last chance to equalise fell to Wallace from a direct free-kick. His shot frustratingly for the Clarets fans dipped just over the bar and that was it our first defeat of 2010-11.

If only we could have played the first forty five minutes like we did in the last thirty minutes of this match, the result may well have been different but then that is football. We have ridden our luck a few times already this season and have come away with points despite not firing on all cylinders. We did not hit top gear for most of this match either especially in the first half and this time we came away without any points so that could be a worry.

Many Clarets fans are asking if we truly have gone down stronger and whether the team of 2010-11 is better, worse or about the same as the one that gained promotion in 2008-9. With Iwelumo now out injured and looking likely to miss out on the Scotland call-up and with the Summer Transfer Window closing tomorrow (Tuesday 31st August @6pm), it begs the question whether Laws might be tempted to do some last minute trading to bolster the squad. It does not look very likely with Laws extolling the virtue of the ’emergency loan` system and having one eye it seems on the Premier League club cast-offs who do make the named 25 man squads. I just hope that once again we are not erring on the cautious side too much.

Next month could prove a significant one for Laws and his relationship with the fans with both Preston (our next match after the international break) and Bolton (Carling Cup Third Round) coming to Turf Moor in September! Win both these games and he could become hero-worshipped! It was great to hear chants of ‘Brian Laws Claret & Blue Army` at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday and he could be gradually winning the fans round. The club owe it him to give him every chance of succeeding and if that includes releasing the purse strings then sobeit. Surely we have enough money now?

Match Stats

Swansea: De Vries, Williams, Taylor, Tate, Monk, Cotterill (Allen 62), Pratley, Dyer (Orlandi 69), Sinclair, Gower, Dobbie (Kuqi 78)

Subs Not Used: Cornell, Serran, Lopez, Richards

Booked: Yellow cards for De Vries, Taylor and Pratley. Red Card for Darren Pratley for two bookable offences

Goal: Scott Sinclair (8)

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander (Cork 63), Marney (Eagles 72), Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo, Paterson (Thompson 68)

Subs Not Used: Grant, Cort, Edgar, Rodriguez

Booked: Yellow cards for Mears, Cork and Thompson. Red Card for Tyrone Mears for two bookable offences

Possession: Swansea 50%, Burnley 50% (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset)


11 Replies to “Swans Inflict First Season Defeat on Clarets”

  • Really frustrating game and a worrying one. I kept asking myself if we going to struggle this season despite all the hype and being one of the favourites for promotion. Something is still lacking and we need to play with more consistency or we face being disappointed come May. Our defence is still woeful at times and our midfield often look clueless and far too slow in the build up. Must do better!

  • A proven striker of top Quality, Good left back & a good solid holding midfield player to Take over from Alxeander & use Alexander for 45 mins max, we have the money if we dont spend on these key areas we will slip down the table

  • I thought after the first half hour we were basically OK, but still ( hopefully) to really hit top gear. I agree TMP that Fox was persistently attacked but actually thought he did quite well, the support /protection from the midfield in front of him was not so good. Iwelumo should have scored and then who knows. Overall – 7 points from the first 12 is OK. That sort of point rate throughout the season should see us in the Playoffs.

  • Agree that Elliott had a good game but I thought we were far too lightweight and ponderous in midfield in the first half. Pratley is a good player at this level and Cotterill was given too much space to roam because no-one seemed sure who was meant to pick him up and that allowed Swansea the freedom of the pitch to utilise Dyer and Sinclair. How we were only 1-0 down at the interval will remain a mystery though if Iwelumo had converted an easy chance, Mears hadn’t lost his head and Alexander had been left out we might just have nicked something. Thought Carlisle and Bikey had good games for us and Beast produced some great blocks. Still, we’re not badly placed and a victory against Preston will see us back on track.

  • Do we think its time for changing and starting with players like Eagles and McDonald and Thompson, and i do think the next three games could be crucial. I agree with Albmaleaf that we do need to bring in some quality players whether Laws as been told thats it by the board or he’s happy with the squad only time will tell.

  • An accurate report as usual tmp, alas we had the ‘buffet defence’ out again during the first 25 minutes, the only thing missing was the ‘help yourself’ sign. I agree that Fox improved as the game went on but Dyer ran him ragged in the first part of the game, but he continued to give him way too much space for some reason. I don’t think there’s cause for panic here, but I think we need to start with both Cork and Eagles so that we’re on the offensive from the off. The opposition must love to see Eagles on the bench for most of the match, and Cork is far too good to be on the bench. Time to give Rodriguez a shot up front with Thommo, while Iwelumo recovers , I think. A lot of teams are going to come unstuck at the Liberty Stadium this season, with the Swans playing really attractive attacking football under their new manager.

  • Not sure Big Kev will be getting a start anytime soon Fedup – He wasnt in the 18 on Saturday. I do agree with a change though. For the game with PNE, I would replace Marney with Cork for a start. If Iwelumo isnt fit, Thommo starts. and I would replace Pato ( reluctantly) with Eagles. Depending on the performance of Eagles/Wallace against PNE – I would probably then bring Pato back for the game at Boro!

  • We have long needed a big, strong, experienced central defender. Now with Iwelumo injured we need more than ever a big, strong experienced striker. These may be impossible to get but let us try, surely we have money available for a good go at it.

  • I would give anything to have signed Maynard and Whittingham (or equivalents) by 5pm tomorrow. We must have the funds surely so release the bloody purse strings!

  • Good day out in every respect but one: the result. Great to catch up with turfman, rickers, CD and barnsey. Long journey home, but managed to catch the trains. All the talk on them, from Clarets, Jacks and a very opinionated and somewhat arrogant citeh fan who’d been on was that the officiating was all over the place. No argument from me. A few thoughts… We calmed Dyer down, and brought Fox into what was a good second phase of his game (after a dreadful first one), after we switched Paterson and Wallace. If we’re going to play a lone striker, Thommo holds the ball up better than Iw’o. But for two up front, I’wo heads the ball on better for the sort of runs Pato makes. I’d give Eagles and Cork starts against PNE, though I’m not quite sure who in place of! I’m not convinced that Marney and Grezza should start together: it makes the midfield a bit static. Given comments about lack of pace up front, I would be interested to see what Jay Rod would offer given a start, but probably not as a lone striker. We’re perhaps a bit over-focussed on aerial crosses rather than balls into feet, but it’s good to have I’wo’s aerial threat. Swansea are a well-coached, capable and resilient team. They had a clear plan about how to keep the ball on the floor to work around our lack of pace at the back, until we tightened up. We miss Chris McCann in games like that, both in defence and going forward.

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