Date: 26th February 2008 at 7:52am
Written by:

Mustard Coloured Car – The Highlight of the Day

Plymouth Argyle 3-1 Burnley

Nalis (12) James O`Connor (19)

Halmosi (35, 76)

It was a sad and sorry day in Devon as Burnley went down to a disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Plymouth. We travelled down in an upbeat mood hopeful of returning with all 3 points which has often been the case this season away from home.

What we got was the second worst performance to date of Owen Coyle`s reign as Burnley manager.

All 3 goals we conceded could easily have been avoided. Our defending was at best shocking.

Plymouth had the better of the first half and deserved the lead we gifted them at half time, but our second half performance should really have seen us take something other than a loss from the game.

We had another referee overly keen to dish the cards for no apparent reason and vice-versa to let over the top tackles go. The man in question was Jarnail Singh. A prime example of this being Jon Harley who seemed to be booked for absolutely nothing from where I sat.

This was only briefly after a ridiculous slide tackle on Wade Elliott which missed the ball and sent our player flying in the air, escaped punishment. These ridiculous yellow cards add up to suspensions and in the same way letting ridiculous tackles go unpunished sees players avoid deserved suspensions.

In addition to Mr Singh we also had a linesman in front of the away crowd keen to make wrong decisions such as allowing Plymouth players to throw themselves on the floor and get a free kick if they lost the ball.

Perhaps the most amusing moment of the day was the announcement on the public address system pre-match that the owner of a mustard coloured car had left his windows open which was followed up with the comment “Anyone who drives a mustard coloured car would understandably want it stealing”.

As the game started some of us in the away end were perplexed to see Lafferty starting upfront although we later found out this was due to Akinbiyi being unwell.

Nothing much happened until the 12th minute when Brian Jensen made a real howler in front of the Burnley fans. A weak shot from Nalis looked to be heading comfortable into the kneeling Jensen`s hands only for him to contrive to let the ball slip through his grasp into the net. It was truly appalling, but in recent weeks he has been in good form for us and whatever keeper you have in the nets sooner or later they`ll make a mistake like that. This mistake was nothing compared to the farcical second which we were to concede later in the half.

Shortly after this an appalling foul on Wade Elliott was disgracefully waved on by Jarnail Singh quite how he didn`t brandish a yellow card for this especially considering some of the things he was later to produce the card for is anyone`s guess.

This was followed very quickly by Jon Harley being booked for absolutely nothing as far as I could see.

However Burnley were to shortly produce the only thing we had to cheer about all day as Wade Elliott made his way past two Argyle players to produce a sumptuous cross into the box which Lafferty from the centre of the area headed across to the post for James O`Connor to nod in for a 19th minute equaliser.

On first viewing from the away end I`d say Lafferty should have scored himself and we`re very lucky it went in. He still has a lot to do to prove the value which is being placed on him and as of yet his performances in the first team haven`t lived up to the hype surrounding him.

His performance at Home Park was poor and his attempts to control the ball with his chest resulted in the ball firing off to opposition players plus his finishing leaved a lot to be desired. His goals per game ratio for us stands at nearly 1 in 10 with a record of 8 goals in 79 games according to our Official Site. I`m sure every Burnley fan wants him to succeed, but this ratio is not good enough and needs to improve. To put it into perspective the much maligned Ian Moore scored more than twice as often during his time with us.

Stanislav Varga was also a victim of the illness which afflicted Ade Akinbiyi and he was withdrawn from the field of play after only 24 minutes on the pitch. It signalled a return to first team action for Clarke Carlisle for the first time since December.

Plymouth were playing the better football, but they didn`t seem keen on taking their chances. This was shown in the 35th minute when we gifted them a second after Jensen had partially redeemed himself by magnificently heading a ball out for a throw in outside his box whilst under pressure from the Plymouth attack. The goal had to be put on a plate for them countless times before they took it after we continuously failed to clear the ball from our area. All the defenders (not including Jensen) and at least some of the midfielders were to blame for this; we had countless opportunities for one of our men to put his laces through it, but we seemed to be playing the part of Father Christmas for the day. Eventually Halmosi managed to loop the ball into the net. To say it was pathetic defending is an understatement. Schoolboys would be embarrassed to concede a goal like it.

We almost completed a hat-trick of first half cock-ups as Carlisle and Caldwell combined to set Jermaine Easter through on goal, but Jensen superbly smothered the ball with Easter bearing down on goal.

Half time and although we deserved to be losing there is no way we should have gone in behind.

Throughout the second half we were knocking on the door, but didn`t seem to have the finishing to produce a come back.

A cynical foul in the first minute of the second half saw Robbie Blake nearly convert a Graham Alexander free kick.

Lafferty missed a sitter as Elliott crossed the ball in towards him just after the hour mark; with the goal gaping, an air kick was all he could manage to add to the frustration of the travelling Burnley fans behind the goal.

We`d had Plymouth under pressure the entire second half up until the moment our defence decided to complete its hat-trick. Jon Harley allowed himself to be brushed aside for Peter Halmosi to complete a brace.

That was game over and the remaining time ebbed away with nothing much happening of note.

After all of that we look forward to Tuesday night when we take on Coventry a team we beat 2-1 away only last month. A win will leave us 2 points adrift of 6th placed Charlton with them still to play at home leaving us with a great chance of achieving promotion. Let`s hope for a good result in what has already been an extremely sad week for football with MK Dons reaching a Wembley final.

Man of the Match: Wade Elliott

Another good game from Elliott provided the cross for our equaliser and another excellent cross in the second half which should have resulted in a goal.

EET (1882)

Many thanks again for your match report EET