Date: 28th September 2008 at 6:16pm
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The Clarets thumped local rivals Preston 3-1 at Turf Moor yesterday to move into eighth place, just two points behind the 4th placed club. Burnley now have 12 points from 8 matches. But for goal difference we would also be in the Top 6 with Bristol City currently 6th and on the same number of points. Just shows how tight once again the Championship has become and how quickly you can move up the table.

We were in the bottom three a few weeks back but have now managed to go eight games without defeat including the two Carling Cup victories against Oldham and Premier League, Fulham.

The victory against the old enemy ended a perfect day for ecstatic Clarets fans following on from the earlier exciting news at lunchtime that we would also soon be facing a prestige match against the mighty Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the 4th Round of the Carling Cup.

A very nice feeling then to be able to wave the Preston fans goodbye as their coaches passed by ‘The Lounge` after the game. Funny how many waves involved just one or at most two fingers!

So we have now beaten the ‘Young Pretenders`, Blackpool and the ‘Old Pretenders`, Preston at Turf Moor to give Owen Coyle his second derby win of the season and two out of two!

It didn`t start well for the Clarets though with Alan Irvine’s men taking the lead in the first half when Barry Nicholson scored with a right-foot volley from 10 yards out after 22 minutes. However a stunning 35 yard drive by that man Gudjonsson 11 minutes later to score the equaliser had the Clarets fans wild with jubilation.

In the second half, Caldwell made it 2-1 with a close range shot before Preston were reduced to 10 men after Callum Davidson was sent off for deliberate handball on 70 minutes. Preston to their credit still seemed to be causing a few anxious moments and the announcement of four minutes of injury time did not steady any jitters the Clarets fans may have had with that Swansea equaliser a week ago still in the back of their minds.

However, we need not have worried after a superb pass by McCann on the break in the dying seconds found Eagles in acres of space heading towards goal. He made no mistake with his shot to give the Clarets the perfect 3-1 victory over our local rivals avenging to some degree our defeat at Turf Moor last season and the double they got over us.

The Clarets had some bad news earlier in the week after Russell Anderson, our season-long loan defender from Sunderland was stretchered off against Fulham on Tuesday night. It was confirmed later, he would now be out for the whole season with cruciate ligament damage. Kevin McDonald and Ade Akinbiyi were also still sidelined with injuries. Chris Eagles perhaps surprisingly had to be content with a place on the bench but Steve Thompson returned after being cup-tied on Tuesday night

The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:

Jensen, Duff, Caldwell, Carlisle, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Paterson, Thompson

Subs: Penny, Blake, Eagles, Mahon, Rodriguez

Former Claret, Richard Chaplow would also have to be content with a place on Preston`s bench after hopes were high he would play following recovery from a hamstring problem.

Lee Mason (Lancashire) was yet again the referee for this fixture after last season`s controversial match in which we didn`t get a cast iron penalty and saw two of our players dubiously sent off in our 3-2 defeat. Oh great!

As the match got underway, the Clarets nearly scored in the first minute thanks to a dodgy back pass by Darren Carter. Paterson pounced on the mistake and rounding the keeper, Lonergan seemed to maybe push the ball a little too far ahead of him but even so he should have done better than blast the ball well over the bar.

A Clarke Carlisle header back across the goal found Duff in a prime position on 10 minutes but he put the ball inches wide.

The Clarets were looking the better side but it was Preston who were to be the first to break the deadlock on 22 minutes.

Steven Caldwell could only half clear a cross by Sedgewick and Nicholson made no mistake with his volley from just eight yards out to put Preston 1-0 up.

Preston’s Michael Hart was carried off on a stretcher after 32 minutes to be replaced by Callum Davidson

One minute later though and the Clarets positivity and resilience to being behind finally paid off with probably our goal of the season to date.

A short free-kick by Alexander found Gudjonsson who from about 35-40 yards out let rip with a shot that screamed into the net past the stunned Preston keeper, thus silencing the Preston faithful behind the goal. The Clarets fans had waited a long time to see Joey score his first goal at Turf Moor and what a way to do it!

It was then Alexander to have a go as he let rip from a more modest 20 yards out on 36 minutes. His daisy cutter however was wide of target. Lonergan then tipped round a Thompson header from close range with five minutes of the first half remaining and he then denied Elliott after his shot (or was it cross?) was clipped over the bar as the first half came to an end.

The Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half and after 51 minutes, Gudjonsson nearly added to his spectacular goal count. Blasting a clearance from his own half, he seemed to have spotted Lonergan off his line and as the shot flew over the anxious keeper, it was just too wide and the ball bounced to safety.

The Clarets by now though were well in control with most of the possession and it was no surprise when they took the lead on 64 minutes. Clarke Carlisle got on the end of an Alexander free kick and his excellent header back across the box found Caldwell who slotted home with a shot from six yards. 2-1 Clarets and a feeling that it could be our day after all!

However that seemed to stir Preston into action and they then had probably their best spell of the match.

Richard Chaplow finally made an entrance after 69 minutes to play against his former club but never really had any impact looking a shadow of his former self.

Preston were then reduced to ten men. The referee had no option but to red card Callum Davidson on 70 minutes for a deliberate handball after Gudjonsson tried to knock the ball past him into Preston`s half

Eagles replaced Thompson after 72 minutes

Lonergan saved well from Gudjonsson on 79 minutes and Coyle then brought on Blake and Rodriguez for Elliott and Paterson with ten minutes left.

Despite the Clarets wanting to kill the game off, it was stubborn Preston who might have got the equaliser as they kept up the pressure with four minutes of injury time announced.

However with seconds left of the game, it was the Clarets who broke away to score. Chris McCann found Eagles with a superb through ball and clear on goal, he made it look easy shooting past Lonergan to make it 3-1 and put the icing on the cake for all Clarets fans.

This was a true derby and I thought a fully entertaining one keeping both sets of fans on their seats for 90 minutes. Just glad we came out the winners and we can now look forward to another home game soon this time against Watford on Tuesday night. Hopefully we can continue our progress up the league table and finally put to bed that awful start to the season as we seek to go nine games without defeat and make our first mark on the Top 6 positions.

Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott (Blake 80), Gudjonsson, McCann, Thompson (Eagles 72), Paterson (Rodriguez 80).

Subs Not Used: Penny, Mahon.

Goals: Gudjonsson 33, Caldwell 64, Eagles 90.

Preston: Lonergan, Parkin (Brown 46), Mawene, St. Ledger, Hart (Davidson 32), Nicholson, McKenna, Carter (Chaplow 69), Sedgwick, Mellor, Jones.

Subs Not Used: Chris Neal, Elliott.

Sent Off: Davidson (70).

Booked: Sedgwick, Carter, Nicholson, Mellor.

Goals: Nicholson 22.

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).