Date: 28th October 2012 at 11:06am
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The Clarets had no answer to the newly named Red Dragons in the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday. The former Bluebirds, having been rebranded as dragons and now playing in red kits this season breathed fire down the throats of the Burnley team all afternoon. Cardiff City were quite simply rampant and aided by a woeful Clarets defence scored four times without reply to bring an end to Terry Pashley`s honeymoon period in charge as caretaker manager. The 4-0 thumping brought Burnley back down to earth with a bang and once again exposed the severe problems we have in the back four. At least the defeat did not see the Clarets drop further down the table. They remain in 14th spot with 17 points from now thirteen games. We are now equidistant between the play-offs positions and a relegation dogfight and unless we tighten up the defence it is clear which direction we will be heading for. Burnley are five points behind sixth placed club, Hull City but also worryingly only five points clear of third from bottom club, Sheffield Wednesday. The new manager, expected to be announced this week will have to hit the ground running and if he saw that display yesterday he will know exactly which areas to tighten up first and concentrate on sorting out.

Team Sheet

Pashley opted to start this game playing a 4-1-4-1 formation with Stock playing the anchor role and Paterson playing out wide with Stanislas on the opposite flank. Austin, looking to score in his ninth consecutive game and set up a club record, was alone up front.

There was only one change to the starting eleven from the side that lined-up against Bristol City at Ashton Gate on Tuesday night. Ben Mee had picked up his fifth yellow card in that match and was therefore suspended for the Cardiff clash. Joseph Mills therefore stepped into the left back spot with Daniel Lafferty taking his place on the bench. The full line-up was as follows:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mills, Stock, McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Paterson, Austin

Subs: Jensen, Lafferty, Edgar, O’Neill, Stewart, Ings, Vokes

Full Match Report

On a sunny but cold, blustery day in Cardiff, Co. Durham referee, Nigel Miller got the game underway with Burnley looking for their first win on Cardiff soil since 2000, nine long games ago. It soon became clear they would be hard-pressed to avoid making it ten! Within 3 minutes, the Clarets were 1-0 down despite offside appeals. How many times this season have we lost possession only to concede on the break? Well it happened again. Cardiff picking up the ball on the edge of their own penalty area and in their first attack stormed forward and with Burnley lacking numbers in defence sensed the prefect chance to open the scoring. The ball was passed out wide to former Southport winger, Craig Noone and he then cut in to thump a left-footed shot that hit the inside of the post. The rebound though fell kindly for Joe Mason and he composed himself before hitting the back of the net.

Burnley simply had no answer and all the nerves and lack of confidence returned. Time and time again Burnley were caught in possession and the wingers totally ineffective with the midfield and defence backtracking in an effort to keep Cardiff at bay. The Clarets simply lost control of midfield and were punished for it. The Clarets were on the rack and it was a miracle how the score remained at 1-0 up until the 41st minute. Cardiff City had not lost on home soil in 12 games and were looking for their seventh consecutive win. It was beginning to look like a formality they would achieve it.

It is difficult to remember one meaningful attack by the Clarets in the first half and the most frustrated player on the pitch must surely have been Charlie Austin. Isolated up front, he got scant service and his only real chance came in the 20th minute when out of the blue a rare Burnley attack gave Trippier the chance to put over a diagonal ball. Austin got on the end of it, hooking the ball towards goal but the score remained 1-0 to Cardiff.

Jason Shackell was having a bit of a mare in the back four and his weak pass in an attempt to set-up Austin nearly gave Cardiff the chance to double their lead on the break. Ben Turner cleared the ball allowing Mason to charge forward between two central defenders with only Lee Grant to beat. His low shot though was driven against the foot of the post and this time the woodwork kept Burnley in the game with no kind rebounds to a Cardiff player. Burnley`s priority now was to make it to half-time without conceding again. There was always a chance at 1-0 that Burnley could dent Cardiff`s confidence with an equaliser after regrouping in the second half. That was the hope but it would turn out to be a forlorn hope! In the 41st minute, Cardiff doubled their lead and once again it was the defence that was culpable. Jason Shackell should have thumped the ball from the back anywhere but instead tried to be clever with an attempted pass to McCann instantly putting the midfielder under pressure. McCann lost possession and Cardiff pounced once again. Noone charged forward and unleashed a shot from 25 yards out. Grant tried to parry the ball but could not prevent it going over the line and now 2-0 down at half-time Burnley had one huge mountain to climb.

Pashley had to change something; the tactics were simply not working. Austin was ineffective up front alone and the wingers were simply incapable of creating any chances. It was no surprise when Stanislas was replaced by Vokes for the start of the second half and for the first ten minutes or so from the restart Burnley now playing 4-4-2 had their best spell yet and at long last gave the home side something to think about. Two minutes into the second half, Burnley almost got a lifeline using their trademark corner routine. Mills corner was dummied by Duff giving Austin his best chance yet to claim a new club record of scoring in nine consecutive games. His shot was well-struck and was heading towards target before a Cardiff boot got in the way and the ball looped just wide. Although Burnley were now looking a lot brighter, Cardiff would soon gain control again and they nearly made it 3-0 following some nifty approach work by Whittingham to set-up defender, Ben Turner. His header flew just wide though. Noone also had a chance when he curled a ball towards target only to see the ball hit the bar.

Burnley`s chances of getting back into the game were now few and far between although the presence of Vokes always gave some hope. Pashley had gone for broke now, bringing on Danny Ings in the 72nd minute to try and add more firepower. With 14 minutes to go, Ings set-up Vokes to force Cardiff keeper, David Marshall into his first save of the afternoon. Diving to his left, the keeper saved the danger and you could just sense this was not going to be our day! That was confirmed by two more Cardiff goals in the last eight minutes of the game ensuring a miserable afternoon for all the Clarets fans making the long journey to South Wales. Matthew Connolly headed home at the far post from a corner before substitute Aron Gunnarsson with virtually his first touch picked up the ball from a knock-down by Rudy Gestede to steer the ball past Grant. The only joy now would be for Austin to score and claim the new club record but even that was to be denied. Vokes however came close to getting a consolation goal in injury time but once again Marshall pulled off a reflex save to deny any joy for the Clarets on one sobering, horrible day for anybody associated with the club. The defence simply has to improve and we have to find a way of stop giving the ball away at the back. It is a worry that we are looking to Jason Shackell to try and captain the side and sort out the back four. The problem is, he is part of the back-four and yesterday was the worst defender on the pitch!

Match Stats

Cardiff City: Marshall, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Connolly, Whittingham, Cowie, Kim Bo-Kyung (Gunnarsson-78), Noone (Frei – 83), Mason, Helguson (Gestede – 63)

Subs Not Used: Lewis, McNaughton, Kiss, Conway

Goals: Mason 3, Noone 41, Connolly 82, Gunnarsson 85

Booked: 0

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mills, Stock (Stewart-78 ), McCann, Marney, Stanislas (Vokes 46), Paterson (Ings 72), Austin

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Lafferty, Edgar, O’Neill

Booked: Yellow card for Mills (53)

Possession: 60% Cardiff, 40% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Nigel Miller (Co. Durham)