One win down, another six to go.
It’s amazing isn’t it a week in football? Last Tuesday night I was making my way home, wondering if I would be able to write over a paragraph to describe the horrow show that took place at the KC Stadium.
The same time a week later, I was leaving the Players Lounge, head held high after a wonder strike from Burnley’s midfield dinamo Wade Elliott.
The 29-year-old right winger strook left footed in to the top corner of Nicky Weaver’s goal, and I’ll tell you something… If you have ever met Brian Jensen before, you’ll know his size, and Weaver out grows the Beast, so it was a fantastic goal by all accounts to beat a man of his size from such distance.
Owen Coyle again rung the changes, this time only making the two changes, as fit again Alan Mahon made his first start for the Clarets sine the defeat against Preston at Turf Moor in Decemeber, he replaced on-loan Mark Randall.
Andrew Cole made a return to the starting eleven, replacing a confidence lacking Ade Akinbiyi up front alongside Robbie Blake.
The game also saw a return to Turf Moor for Andy Gray, who left Burnley in a controversy filled switch to Charlton in January, and he didn’t recieve the best of receptions on his return.
James O’Connor rose highest in a crounded Charlton penalty area to create Burnley’s first real chance, but he nodded Kyle Lafferty’s cross over the cross bar after out jumping Paddy McCarthey.
Robbie Blake was once again carving an opposition backline in to pieces, this time it was former Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher on the recieving end of Blake’s wrath.
50-goal man Blake then almost saw the Clarets take the lead, but his power packed cross evaded a Burnley head, before a busy McCarthy was forced to nod behind, almost beating his own keeper Weaver in the process.
Pacey Addicks winger Jerome Thomas turned into Christiano Ronaldo as he weaved in and out of the Burnley backline, eventually getting a shooting opportunity, but Jerome turned from Ronaldo to Paul Mullin, as his shot almost reached the screen way back in the stand behind the goal.
A poor Gabor Kiraly looked shakey in the Clarets goal, constantly stuck to his goal line, and not seeming willing to come and collect the ball, something that didn’t please the 10,000 strong Burnley faithful.
The Hungarian International stopper did well though as he superbly held on to a Darren Ambrose strike towards the ends of the half, as driving rain and halestone looked to be threatening the already puddle packed Turf Moor surface.
Half-Time: Burnley 0-0 Charlton Ath.
The second half started and thankfully the awful playing conditions ended, as former Claret, Gray got his first chance of the game. But to the delight of the Burnley fans, a once again superb Clarke Carlisle was there with a timely intervention to put the ball behind for a corner.
Sam Sodje broke free in the penalty area, only to see his unmarked header bounce violently over the crossbar, when a goal looked a certainty.
Now it was Elliott’s chance to take center stage. After a quite first half for the former Bournemouth winger, Elliott started to get more involved with play and picked the ball up on the edge of the Charlton area before cutting inside and striking the ball with his ‘weak’ left foot, which left the ball nestling in the top corner, also leaving Andy Gray with head in hands.
Jon Harley nearly joined the elite club of fantastic strikes just minutes later, but Elliott remained the only goal scorer as Harley’s thunderbolt skimmed inches wide of Weaver’s far post.
Gray was sent one on one with Gabor Kiraly five minutes later, but a combination of Kiraly and Carlisle, got the ball from a stumbling Gray to leave the Scot red faces in front of a crowd willing to watch the front man fail.
Coyle shouted to a clearly unfit Mahon that he would have only five minutes remaining on the pitch, and so it was the Irishman’s turn to have a long range effort fly just wide. And with it he made way for John Spicer.
Gray departed shortly after to a round of jeers to be replaced by fellow countryman Chris Iwelumo, who wasted no time in getting himself into the penalty area, heading over from six yards after just 20 seconds on the field.
A nervous Turf Moor saw four minutes of extra time, but thankfully the Clarets hung on to their three points, moving them within a point of Charlton’s fifth place with eight games remaining.
Burnley gaffer Coyle was delighted with Elliott’s finish saying: ‘I thought the goal was worthy of winning any game, not just the finish but also the build-up play.
‘It’s what we’re getting known for and that’s what we want, a bit of style about our play, getting the ball down and passing and moving.
‘The goal was well worth the admission money alone I reckon.’
Next up is Wolverhampton Wanderers at Turf Moor!
BURNLEY: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Varga, Harley, Elliott, James O’Connor, Mahon (Spicer 63), Lafferty, Cole (Akinbiyi 75), Blake (Randall 87).
Subs Not Used :Jensen, Unsworth.
Goals: Elliott 59.
CHARLTON ATH: Weaver, Halford, Sodje, McCarthy, Thatcher, Semedo (Zhi 79), Holland, Thomas, Ambrose (Varney 69), Gray (Iwelumo 69), Lita.
Subs Not Used: Elliot, Fortune.
Ref: Phil Joslin (Nottinghamshire).
Young Reporter: Charlton
One win down, another six to go.