Date: 27th December 2010 at 4:46pm
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The Clarets confounded all the pundits, statisticians and Brian Laws critics on Boxing Day by coming from a goal behind to beat Barnsley 2-1 at Oakwell. (Yes I DID say WIN at Oakwell!!…and breathe!) In so doing we recorded our first league away win of the season and indeed our first double having previously beaten the Tykes 3-0 at Turf Moor earlier in the season.

The omens looked bad for this clash though before we even kicked off

1. Burnley had not won a game on Boxing Day since 2005 and Barnsley had not lost one since 2002 and that had included two previous Boxing Day wins over the Clarets!

2. Barnsley were currently on a roll and had won four of their last five games in addition to having kept three consecutive clean sheets. The Clarets meanwhile had not won away since the Premier League clash against Hull City at the KC Stadium back in April over 8 months ago and their current form was also suspect after going down at home 3-2 to Leeds in their last match despite having taken a two goal lead.

3. Not only was it Boxing Day but this match was being played at Oakwell, a bogey ground where we had not won since April 1932!!

Just before setting off for this game, I was greeted with news that the match might be called off due to burst pipes. It sounded touch and go for a time but eventually the all clear was given and we continued along the M1 South. Were we deluded to be happy that our match was still on? This was still after all Boxing Day AND Oakwell we were talking about but what the hell now was the time to put a few taboos to rest!

If ever the Clarets needed to find that Burnley moment with a victory with everything stacked against you this was it. Probably the happiest person on the pitch after the final whistle was under pressure gaffer Brian Laws. Speculation had been fuelled in the media during the day that Burnley could be lining-up Phil Brown to replace Brian Laws which is just the tonic Laws would have wanted (Not!)

There was also certainly a large and seemingly growing section of Clarets fans venting their anger verbally at Laws before kick-off and that grew to fever pitch at half-time with Burnley 1-0 down following a generally mediocre performance. Laws, skulking off the pitch to the sound of boos was not a pretty sight but he must have found something inspirational to say during the break because we came out for the second-half invigorated finding ourselves 2-1 up after just 54 minutes thanks to two goals in five minutes. The result seemed to silence Laws critics slightly but you just sense this is going to continue to bubble under the surface until we begin to string back-to-back wins together. Six points in our next two games both at home could go some way to reducing the pressure on Laws

We face Scunthorpe at home on Tuesday and then the Blades visit Turf Moor on New Year`s Day! Six points could put us well and truly back on track for promotion but anything less could mean more anguish for our hapless manager. The victory at Oakwell saw the Clarets more four places up the table to 8th spot. We now have 32 points from 21 games just two points behind sixth placed club, Coventry with two games in hand over them. Indeed all the clubs above Burnley have played one or two games more than the Clarets so things are not too bleak at the moment although now is the time to start getting a run together.

QPR and Cardiff both enjoyed home wins on Boxing Day so they now occupy the automatic promotion places after Leeds could only manage a draw away to Leicester. I think most Clarets fans are disappointed that at this stage we haven`t been to become one of the pace setters after a season in the top flight. At least our first away win this season keeps us in contention, if only we could now play with consistency and get our first back-to-back win of the season and go on a run. It does look a tall order though with QPR in top spot twelve points ahead of the Clarets albeit having played a game more, Cardiff in second place are eight points clear of Burnley although that could be reduced to five if we win our game in hand .

Laws decided to change things around a little bit for the match at Oakwell after the disappointment of Leeds. Iwelumo found himself on the bench with on-loan Manchester City striker, John Guidetti being handed his full debut after a couple of cameo appearances from the bench. He partnered Jay Rodriguez up front.

Graham Alexander in centre midfield was also named in the starting eleven but Chris Eagles had to be content with a place on the bench after recovering from his back injury.

In summary we lined up as follows:

Grant, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Easton, Elliott, Cork, Alexander, Wallace, Guidetti, Rodriguez

Subs: Jensen, Duff, Edgar, Marney, Eagles, Iwelumo, Thompson

It was a bitterly cold day in Barnsley as Tyne & Wear referee, Colin Webster got the match underway in front of a strangely subdued home crowd. 2738 Burnley fans on the other hand were in fine fettle in the North Stand despite the nads-freezing weather. The atmosphere though at Oakwell did appear to be lacking with the home fans it seems maybe wishing they had stayed at home in the warmth!

Mark Robins` side started the brighter but our back-four soaked up the early pressure. It was the Clarets though who nearly broke the deadlock on 15 minutes. Wallace went on a charge from midfield to set Jack Cork free down the flank. He got in a deep cross to Guidetti.His header went tantalisingly back across goal only for the ball to hit the inside of the post. We still had a chance to score when the loose ball fell to Wallace. He drove a shot towards goal only to see Tykes defender, Jason Shackell block on the line.

At this stage to be honest the Clarets had looked to be in control but that would all change on 25 minutes when Barnsley got the lead. It was danger-man Adam Hammill who pounced after a defence-splitting through ball from Lovre. Frustrated by Mears on the flank, Hammill decided this time to run through the centre of midfield to unleash a shot. Mears saved his first attempt but the ball went straight back to him for an easy tap-in. All those visions of Oakwell Hell had now come back to haunt the Clarets and nothing much changed to allay those fears for the remainder of the first half.

We did have a chance though from an Alexander free kick four minutes after the Tykes opening goal. With the ball flying into the penalty area, Clarke Carlisle needed only a touch with his attempted header to put the Clarets level. He didn`t get that touch!

Luke Steele also had luck on his side after a fumbled save from an Elliott cross. After dropping the ball, there was both Rodriguez and Wallace ready to pounce but somehow the Tykes keeper gathered the ball at his second-attempt.

1-0 to Barnsley then at half-time with quite a few Clarets fans venting their anger at Brian Laws. Losing to Barnsley was almost unthinkable but was the Oakwell curse about to strike again and maybe claim a Burnley manager?

We did not have long to wait for the answer to that question. On 49 minutes, Elliott got over another telling cross and this time Guidetti made his height count, getting up to head the ball across the keeper into the corner of the net.

Lovre almost put the Tykes back in front soon after from a Trippier free-kick but could only nod the ball wide.

Surviving that scare we now got our noses in front from a Wallace corner on 54 minutes. Wallace swung the ball over to the near post and there was Bikey to get up and head home powerfully into the top corner of the net. 2-1 Burnley with Clarets fans now both stunned and ecstatic, what a change around! Dare we now sing ‘We`re Winning Away`? Well it might have been tempting fate based on recent history but we sung it anyway!

Burnley now began to turn the screw and despite the next 20 minutes of possession and dominance we just could not get another goal to kill the game off. The Oakwell Curse refused to give in it seemed!

Rodriguez could have put the game beyond doubt on a number of occasions but it just wouldn`t happen for him. In one attempt, Guidetti and Elliott linked well to set up Jay Rod before he sliced his shot wide. Guidetti then went on a storming run before crossing over the ball into the danger area. This time Rodriguez got in a glancing header only to see the ball hit the inside of the post.

With 18 minutes to go, Laws made his one substitution of the afternoon bringing on Chris Eagles to replace Guidetti and he soon had Steele diving to scramble away his shot from distance.

The Tykes tried to push everyone forward in the dying minutes of this game and it was still nervy for Clarets fans after the fourth official announced 4 minutes of added time. However for once we absorbed everything the home side chucked at us to hold on and secure our long-awaited first league away win of the season and our first on this ground since 1932!

Match Stats

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Shackell, Foster, Trippier, Doyle, O’Brien, Lovre (Hayes 58), Hammill, Colace (Butterfield 63), Gray (Bennett 71)

Subs Not Used: Preece, Hill, Arismendi, Neumann

Booked: Yellow Card for Doyle

Goal: Hammill 25

Burnley:Grant,Mears,Carlisle,Bikey,Easton,Elliott,Alexander,Cork,Wallace,Rodriguez,Guidetti (Eagles 72)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Duff, Edgar, Marney, Iwelumo, Thompson

Booked: None

Goals: Guidetti 49, Bikey 54

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

Ref: Colin Webster (Tyne and Wear)


15 Replies to “Well,Well Oakwell-A Boxing Day Burnley Win!”

  • This was a weird game in many respects! It seemed to be all about Laws survival and things looked bleak at half-time for the gaffer. I thought it was going to turn nasty and may well have done had we gone further behind and lost! He has a charmed life at times it seems our Brian! So many fans though were telling me, they would have sacrificed the win had a defeat ensured a new manager would be coming. I could never wish for defeat but the strength of feeling by some fans says it all. Nothing would make me happier if Laws could turn this round, there is just this nagging doubt at the back of your mind all the time that he cant and wont

  • Absolutely agreee TMP and thanks for the honest match apparaisal as ever. BL will stay so long as we have a chance of the play offs. To me this is not good enough but that is a fact of life to the Board. Meanwhile the fans have to give 110% support on match day.

  • The margins between success and failure are so narrow. At half time we were looking at bottom half of table and so called fans wanting Laws sacked. Not his fault we had 2 games postponed-games that if we had won we would now be 2 points behind automatic promotion with 6 more points in our sights at home this week. The only thing that will stop us this season is the boo boys pressure getting through to the players

  • I lke your confidence Bolton Claret, my problem is the big if. Win all our remaining games and we are in the Prem, Lose them and we are fighting relegation. In MHO we have given away points though bad management. So where could we be now?

  • Totally agree CC. Laws does not inspire confidence and to be honest we should not be pfaffing about arging the toss about how many points we are off the play offs, postponements or not, but taking about automatic promotion by now. We are a million miles from that. This is the dilemma for me, Laws is never going to be dreadful or brilliant. He is already losing a lot of fans and the energy is draining out of the club. The Board have to bite the bullet if we dont get six points from next two games both at home.

  • It’s about time the ****in boo boys f***ed off and left Laws to do his job, are they retarded or what? we have a great team were 2 points off the play off’s, with 2 games in hand, and 2 home games to come we are creating a self fulfilling prophesy by thinking the manager and the team arn’t good enough …. they bloody well are!, its about time this negative crap was stamped out and the wasted energy spent on cheering the boys on not jeering the manager, I say back him now! why pay £3M TO BOOT HIM OUT? lets not become a hire and fire club support BL and roar the clarets to promotion DON’T GO ON if ya goona boo, SIMPLES !!

  • Agree Hollins. It isn’t doing any good at all. The press are another issue on top of it all. This sort of stuff is for Notlobs and other B@st@rds we should be better than that.

  • It seems to me Bolton fans had it about right,look at where they are now! I only draw the line at venting dislike at games, thats when it is counter-productive! The Laws issue will rumble on and will only evaporate if we go on a run. At the moment though, one win here and one win there is NO WAY good enough. and its all too energy sapping. The ball is in Laws Court but there comes a time when the Board are going to have to decide if they think Laws can carry this club forward because if there is any doubt we cant afford to risk giving him money to bring in another Francis Jeffers! [Edited by turfmanphil]

  • I hope Laws turns it round, I have always been one for the underdog and let’s face he is the underdog at the moment, got the away win the last team to get it the division, I am still optimistic though bring on Scunthorpe, prove us wrong Laws, board give him some money to spend UTC

  • Agree re booing at games, only makes things worse, but then people pay good money and should be allowed to voice their opinions. Have been in the Laws-out camp for some time, but I sincerely hope he can turn it around. He doesn’t have many more chances I’m afraid. We need another good central defender with premier league potential to partner Bikey. Carlisle, for all his brains, is a defensive liability.

  • Did his team talk at half time work? Or were we lucky in the 2nd half? I really do feel Laws is dividing the fans more and more. If he gets two home wins against Scunny & Sheff Utd there is no way he will be sacked and then what? I have two games left before taking the splinters of support out…….

  • I remember all this business with Laws last season in the prem, and it’s as counter productive this season as it was then. Ok, so we’re all disappointed that we’re not up in the automatic spots, but a few results could change all that as well as the games in hand. We’ve won at Oakwell and now I expect us to beat Scunny and Sheff United, and then things will suddenly look a lot better. I hope Laws pulls it off as well, but we’ve got to that stage where wins are seriously required now. UTC

  • I just keep coming back to the same thought. The whole club needs to be energised again and the fans need to ditch old baggage. I can only see that happening with a new management team and new ideas!

  • I’m not disagreeing with you tmp, especially after today’s performance 🙁 It’s just that I was hoping things were going to start turning around after Boxing day, but how many times have we hoped that? Is there such a thing in life as back to back wins? Much as I like the bloke and have always wanted him to do well, the nagging thought in the back of the mind has always been ‘has he got the motivational skills’ ? We should have *****ed on Scunthorpe from a great height, but we didn’t manage more than a few drops. A bad result against the Blades could see us with more upheaval in January for the second time, but on the other hand someone like Hughton could be the answer.

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