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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Tour Ends on a High with a Trophy Held High!

The Clarets lifted a specially-commissioned glass trophy yesterday (Saturday 24th July)after beating a Singapore Select X1 1-0 in the inaugural FIS Asian Challenge Cup match in the Jalan Besar Stadium. A superbly taken free-kick from Chris Eagles in the 50th minute was enough to give the Clarets their third successive win of their Singapore tour ensuring they maintained their 100% record of wins in their pre-season friendlies to date.

The Clarets have now won all five friendlies they have played so far this summer. They beat Bury and Oldham in Blighty before embarking on their three-match Singapore Tour. The games have intentionally been getting progressively more difficult culminating in yesterday`s match against effectively a Singapore Under 23 International team. This was certainly their strongest challenge yet against a plucky talented side and there would certainly be no repeat of the previous two games when the Clarets handed out successive midweek 5-0 drubbings to first Singapore S League`s Gombak United and then Home United.

Burnley return to England on Monday with the opening game of the 2010-11 season at home against Nottingham Forest on Saturday 7th August getting ever closer. They will however still have two more pre-season games to play despite the game against Accrington Stanley scheduled to be played at the Crown Ground on Tuesday night being called off due to the inclement weather affecting Accy`s 70,000 plus pitch improvement programme.

Brian Laws has confirmed they will now play another match behind closed doors in addition to their scheduled game against Stoke City at the Galpharm Stadium in Huddersfield on Saturday 31st July (Kick-Off 3pm). If we win both those games we will have achieved a 100% record of victories in our pre-season schedule, something which has not been achieved for sometime. Indeed I would have to look that up to see exactly if and when that ever happened. Maybe one of our posters has the answer?

Anyway let`s get back to yesterday`s game played on a hot and humid night in front of over 5000 Singapore fans on a pitch made from 3G Astroturf. The demanding nature of this sort of pitch was enough for Brian Laws not to take chances with those players in his squad carrying minor knocks. Both Tyrone Mears and Chris Iwelumo were therefore sidelined for this game and once again Martin Paterson and Chris McCann were not risked.

Laws plumped for one man up front, Steven Thompson supported by Eagles and Wallace on the flanks with a back four of Eckersley, Duff, Bikey and Fox. Our full starting line- up was as follows:

Jensen, Eckersley, Duff, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Wallace, Marney, Elliott, Eagles, Thompson

Strict rules for this cup game would only allow up to seven substitutes to come on and play although it would appear you could name as many as you wanted and the Clarets named nine players on the bench.- Mawson, Carlisle, Harvey, McDonald, Edgar, Cort, Rodriguez, Easton and Fletcher.

The Singapore Select X1 was led by captain, 19 year old midfielder, Hariss Harun who three years ago became the youngest ever Singapore international. The rest of the team were made up mainly from Singapore Under 23 internationals. Their starting line-up was as follows if you want to Google their names:

Mahbud, Baharudin, Shah, Yunos, Hanapi, Jiayi, Sulaiman, Ishak, Amri, Harun, Hasan. Subs: Jantan, Casmir, Ashibilie, Nawaz, Wilkinson, Nizam, Hameed, Arifin, Hamzah, Masturi, Chang, Mahbud

The game got off to a lively start and the Singapore Select X1 had the ball in the net with the match only a few minutes old but thankfully for the Clarets it was ruled offside. In these opening minutes, Thompson, Marney and Duff all had good chances at the other end to break the deadlock. But the score remained 0-0. The bright start though petered out and the rest of the first half had little goalmouth action at either end with a midfield scrap taking over proceedings.

So a disappointing first half, after an encouraging start came to an end with no side being able to break the deadlock.

Brian Laws tried to liven things up for the second half by making two changes. Cort came on for Eckersley with Duff moving into the right back slot. Graham Alexander was also replaced by David Edgar who once more slotted into his new experimental role of holding midfielder.

The changes seemed to work and a much livelier Clarets side found themselves 1-0 up after 50 minutes. Marney was upended on the edge of the box and a free kick was awarded. Up stepped Chris Eagles and with some skill he drilled a sweet right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the net giving substitute keeper, Shahril Jantan no chance.

On the hour mark, McDonald and Rodriguez come on to replace Marney and Thompson and 14 minutes later Laws made a couple more changes when Carlisle and Easton replaced Bikey and Fox. The Clarets could have made one more substitute out of their seven allowed but Laws resisted the temptation.

The Singapore side to their credit never give up hope and continued to test the resolve of the Clarets back-four as they sought that elusive equaliser. Brian Jensen had earlier come to our rescue on the hour mark diving at the feet of Nawaz to keep the score at 1-0. With the game drawing to a close it was Jensen again who pulled off a great save to once more deny Nawaz in added time. In the end though, it was the Clarets who lifted the trophy bringing to a close their successful tour of Singapore.

Jensen, Eckersley (Cort H/T), Duff, Bikey (Carlisle 74), Fox (Easton 74), Alexander (Edgar H/T), Wallace, Marney (McDonald 61), Elliott, Eagles, Thompson (Rodriguez 60)

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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday July 25 2010

Time: 8:36AM

Your Comments

Eagles seems to be playing his heart out, I hope his heart lies with the Clarets and he aint just showboating his skills for a Premier league club! We should do everything in our power to keep him in my opinion. He could be key to our promotion chances at this rate
turfmanphil
Agree tmp but Eagles would jump ship first chance he got if a premier league team came along, whether thats going to happen don't know but teams don't seem to be splashing the cash this year as previous years.
Fedupclaret
Agree with Fedup that he would jump ship. BUT having said that he may also be tossing up between a seriously "full on" season at the Turf against a season in the Premier League where he could be on the sideline a lot of the time (earning the same dough?). Good result and nice that Laws seems to have a workable lineup despite some issues on the transfer scene..
AndyHo
Well I am trying to get my mojo back (for football). Since the end of the season I just don't seem to have had the enthusiasm for the start of the season. Even when we were battling away in the lower league's I felt more enthusiastic about the start of the season. Is this what relegation from the premier league does?. However having said that the good results for pre-season have slightly boosted my mojo. So well done lads for winning the trophy. Hopefully come 5pm on 21.08.10 I will have my mojo back as thats the first game I will see due to being on my holi-bobs.
sheclaret
Yeah she, I went through a similar disinterest. However once the Season Ticket arrived and I got used to being back in the Championship, things began to improve. The new signings although so far not particularly WOW seem to have settled in well and I am encouraged pre-season by the performance of the players on the fringe of the first team last season re Edgar, Eckersley and Easton plus the new young guns on the scene like Wes Fletcher and Alex-Ray Harvey. I am trying to keep upbeat and the pre-season results so far have been encouraging but the true tests will soon be upon us
turfmanphil
Hope u guys come over here in singapore again! :) by the way, its Jalan Besar stadium. :)
wigan_forever
Thanks for your kind words WF above and in the forum! Have corrected Jalan,thanks for letting us know! You will have to explain the Wigan connection though? ;-)
turfmanphil
I'm looking forward to being competitive again. Had we survived by the skin of our teeth last season, I'd wager we'd be heading into the new campiagn with trepidation, whereas we're looking strong. I like the idea of adopting a 4-2-3-1 World Cup style formation as used by Germany. With the players at our disposal and the number of attacking midfield options we have, its the way forward. Elliott, Wallace and Eagles all breaking from midfield is an exciting proposition. Let's hope they are all here at the start of the season.
cubanclaret
I think had we survived last season, we would have been better placed financially with 90 million to look forward to with Fletcher still on the books and no concerns about potentially losing Mears and Eagles. I am sure we would have released the purse strings this time round and had a better go at it with more Prem quality players in the side. Don't think I would have been looking at the season with trepidation but with some hope that we might beat the likes of Bolton and Blackburn this time round. Instead of that its Barnsley but we have to move on and hope for Boing Boing
turfmanphil
Lets just hope that Laws has managed to persuade Eagles to stay, and that no premiership club come in for him. Excellent tour results and performance by the sound of it, so let's hope we can produce a performance against Stoke to liken that of the last match against Spurs. The confidence and team spirit should be high now, and that will play a big part in this season's campaign.
WelshClaret
 

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