Last Time We Met...Cardiff City
The last time we played Cardiff City was in our Championship promotion season of 2008/9 It was the Bluebirds though who had the upper hand in the matches collecting four points from the two games.
Cardiff looked to be strong candidates for automatic promotion in 2008-9 and when that opportunity evaporated it still looked odds on they would be in the play-offs. It looked certain when they beat Burnley 3-1 at Ninian Park on Easter Monday 2009 with just four games left to play that the Bluebirds would at least get something for their efforts. In the end they managed to pick up just one point from those last four games to finish agonisingly 7th behind Preston losing out by just one goal. Preston in the first of those four games had trounced Cardiff 6-0 at Deepdale and they would go on to finish the season on the same number of points as Cardiff with the same goal difference but having scored one more goal.
On Easter Monday 13th April 2009 though, Clarets fans hopes were high that we could get something from our clash away to Cardiff City. At the time we were on a run and had been undefeated in seven games. We were still in a good position to reach the play-offs ourselves lying in 6th spot two places behind Cardiff who in fourth place still had hopes of automatic promotion. This was certainly going to be a six pointer of a game but the omens were not good. Ninian Park was proving to be a bit of a bogey ground for the Clarets in recent times and with Cardiff moving to a new stadium in 2009-10 unless we met again in the play-offs this was going to be our last chance to get a rare victory on this ground.
However we had not even managed a draw there since Cardiff were promoted to the Championship in 2003 and you would have to go back to our promotion season of 1999/2000 for the last time we had won on this ground. A 2-1 victory on ironically April Fool`s Day 2000 was the last time we could wipe the smile off Welsh faces so could we now?
It was not going to be easy since Owen Coyle also faced a problem with his team selection. He had limited options in attack and had a threadbare squad of just nineteen fit players to choose from. Former Cardiff striker, Steven Thompson was still out injured with an ankle ligament problem and Martin Paterson was also sidelined with a hamstring injury. This meant that Jay Rodriguez was given his second start having only just made his full debut in the previous game.
We lined up as follows:
Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McCann, Elliott, Blake, Rodriguez
Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, MacDonald
Burnley looked to have had the edge in the first 30 minutes of this nervy match but Cardiff then began to turn the screw. It was goalless though at half-time but the pressure would be on the Clarets in the second half following news that our rivals for a play-offs spot, Preston and Swansea were both winning away from home.
The second half continued very much like the first with no side able to get that all important first goal. The hour mark came and went and still the score was 0-0. In the 74th minute though, Cardiff finally broke the deadlock. McCormack flicked the ball into the area and it was Bothroyd who picked up the loose ball to thump it into the top corner of the net and put the Bluebirds 1-0 up.
The goal though seemed to spur the Clarets into action and suddenly we started to string a few attacks together.
Rodriguez headed over and then Blake attempted a strong shot from 20 yards that bamboozled Taylor who fumbled the ball with no Clarets player around to take advantage.
Darren Purse then had to clear the ball following some magic by Elliott in the box.
Eight minutes remaining and we got a free-kick in Robbie Blake territory. Despite the fact, it was wide on the left hand side, Blake came close to equalising but at least Clarets fans didn`t have to wait long until we did draw level.
On 84 minutes, Rodriguez was pressing on the attack and Gudjonsson got onto a loose ball before a poor Darren Purse back pass let Blake sneak in and score Burnley`s 85th goal of the season.
The Clarets fans had hardly stopped cheering though when the Bluebirds regained the lead straight from the kick-off to destroy our hopes of getting something from this game. Bothroyd headed down the ball which McCormack latched onto having found room in the box to shoot past the hapless Jensen. What a hammer blow, something surely we didn`t deserve?
Coyle now had limited options to try and rescue the situation and was forced to bring on defender Michael Duff as an emergency striker with three minutes of the match remaining
Burnley tried to get the equaliser in the last few minutes of the game but you just sensed we would get caught out on the break and so it proved. Carlisle came close with a header from a corner that was headed clear off the line, in a little bit of pressure that saw three corners in quick succession but with stoppage time being played, McCormack caught Burnley out on the break to beat Jensen who was rushing out with the defence on the retreat and trying to get back. No 'Happy Easter` then for the Clarets but at least in the end it would still be our season.
The earlier clash at Turf Moor was played out on the night of Tuesday 10th December 2008. Both teams were riding high at the time with the Clarets in fourth spot and the Bluebirds fifth.
Both Michael Duff (calf strain) and Chris McCann (illness) were sidelined for this match but thankfully Clarke Carlisle was available after a one match suspension for a fifth yellow.
Coyle lined up 4-4-2 but chose to leave former Cardiff player, Steve Thompson on the bench
We therefore lined up as follows
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Paterson, Blake.
Subs: Penny, Akinbiyi, Thompson, Mahon, MacDonald
It was the Bluebirds who made the livelier start and Jensen was soon in action smothering the ball following a shot by Ledley. Bothroyd nearly broke the deadlock with a shot after 8 minutes but it was the Clarets against the run of play that took the lead five minutes later.
Paterson turned superbly to shoot and test the Bluebirds keeper, Enckelman who could only parry the ball to Blake. He made no mistake from close range to put the Clarets 1-0 up.
However, the lead was not going to last too long with Cardiff drawing level after 25 minutes of play.
Another parry this time from Jensen after Routledge had sliced through our defence and shot could only find Bothroyd who scored. The first goal from a visiting side at Turf Moor in 488 minutes!
It remained 1-1 at half-time but the Clarets quickly fell behind in the second half. Jensen saved from Bothroyd but the loose ball in the box was snapped up by Routledge to score and give Cardiff a 2-1 lead in the 47th minute.
The Clarets now tried to get back in the game and began to put some pressure on the visitors. Enckelman had to be on his guard on 51 minutes after being tested by an Eagles shot from the edge of the box.
The game was now becoming a thrilling end to end affair.
Coyle decided though it was time to change things round after 57 minutes. With Elliott failing to make an impression it was time to replace him with Thompson and see if the striker could put some pressure on his former team mates.
He certainly did that and was about to score only his second goal for the Clarets of the season and what an important one it was too.
A cross by Eagles on 75 minutes found Blake whose shot was tipped onto the post by Enckelman. The ball fell to Thompson who from close range made no mistake to make the score 2-2.
It was Thompson again with seven minutes remaining who could have got a second goal but he put his header at the far post just wide following an excellent cross by Eagles.
We tried everything to get the winner but it wasn`t to be and in the end the Clarets had to be content with a point.
You can read more about both these games by visiting our Match Archive and clicking the links below:
Disappointing Home Draw Against Cardiff
Easter Reversal of Fortunes for Clarets in Cardiff