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

Last Time We Met...West Ham

West Ham have a 100% record against Burnley in the FA Cup but then we have only played them twice before in this competition both of them in the sixties. In the first clash, we lost 3-2 at Upton Park in February 1964 with West Ham that year then going on to win at Wembley and lift the FA Cup after beating Preston 3-2. John Connelly had put the Clarets ahead after 16 minutes but three second half goals in fourteen minutes had put the Hammers 3-1 up by the 64th minute. Ray Pointer reduced the arrears in the 80th minute

In the other Battle of Claret & Blue, we went down 3-1 at Turf Moor in January 1968. Once again Burnley had taken the lead after 14 minutes thanks to a Frank Casper goal but the Clarets then succumbed to West ham pressure with the Hammers equalising after 23 minutes and then getting two second half goals on 50 and 55 minutes. The match would turn out to be Willie Irvine`s last game for the Clarets after he handed in a transfer request in February that year.

In the League encounters since we first played them in November 1923, honours have been even. Both Burnley and West Ham have won 30 matches each and played out 16 draws. Over the years, games between these two clubs have often been high-scoring, entertaining attacking games.

Last season at the Boleyn Ground, eight goals were scored but sadly for the Clarets, five were clocked up by West Ham. It may have been a great spectacle for the neutral with plenty of goals and incidents including two penalties and a sending-off but for Clarets fans (i.e. the ones supporting the proper team in Claret & Blue not the poncey lot that blow bubbles) if was a case of a Hammer Horror show with a strange twist at the end.

The Premier League clash was played on Saturday 28th November 2009 in front of 34,003 fans and we lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, Bikey, Elliott, Blake, Fletcher

Subs: Penny, Duff, Kalvenes, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Nugent, Thompson.

Burnley looked the better team by far in the first 15 minutes of this match and had we taken the lead during this period the end result could have been a different story.

It was however West Ham who against the run of play got their noses in front. Collison beat the offside trap from a quickly taken free-kick to shoot under Jensen from 12 yards out. Burnley now seemed to disintegrate and by the 65th minute a massive tonking looked on the cards with the Clarets already 5-0 down. At this stage, my mind was wandering to the Spurs 9-1 murdering of Wigan the week before with thoughts that maybe we could be getting a refund for our tickets. I have very rarely felt like leaving a game before the final whistle but had West Ham scored another goal, I might have been legging it to Upton Park Tube station to make a quick getaway and avoid the massive queues and taunts from the smirking Hammers fans.

To our credit only a handful of Clarets fans left the ground which was a pity for them because they missed a bit of a comeback after Burnley suddenly found fourth gear and started banging them in at the other end. It was 5-2 by the 75th minute following a brace of goals by Steven Fletcher. West Ham were known for losing goal leads last season although 5-0 was asking a lot still we didn`t give up hope with the slightly happier Burnley fans now chanting 'We are Gonna Win 6-5`

It was an impossible task of course and it might have been better for the Clarets to have lost 6-2 rather than Caldwell make a rash challenge in the last few minutes of the match to earn a straight red and get sent off. We were still determined to have the final word though and try and reduce the goal difference and it was Eagles, who had worked hard all afternoon who finally got some reward when in injury time he made it 5-3 after neatly slotting home a cross from Mears from just inside the box. We were definitely in the ascendency at this stage with West Ham looking done-in, if we had still another 20 minutes to play after the Eagles goal we might have comeback to draw 5-5 but that was fantasy land not reality.

You can read more about this game by visiting our Match Archive and clicking this link:

Hammer Horror Show with a Late Twist

The result may have been a disaster but it is remarkable to think that at this stage of the season our first in the Premier League and our first in the top flight for 33 years, Owen Coyle`s Burnley after the Hammers defeat were still in 11th place.

How things had changed by the time we played the return game at Turf Moor on Saturday 6th February 2010. Owen Coyle had jumped ship in January for Bolton and Brian Laws was now at the helm. In the meantime Burnley had plummeted to 18th place in the Premier League table on a terrible run. Laws had yet to win his first game in charge and our last victory in the League was against Hull City at Turf Moor back in October 2009. West Ham too had been struggling and were now one of our relegation rivals. It was a vital six pointer and thankfully in front of 21,001 fans (I was the One!!) we won the game 2-1 to move up to 15th in the table and provide some hope of survival. It wasn`t to be of course and we would finally be relegated but at least Clarets fans for now had something to smile about for the first time in four months.

The Clarets that day lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Bikey, Elliott. McDonald, Blake, Nugent, Fletcher.

Subs: Weaver, Edgar, Duff, Eagles, Cork, Thompson, Paterson

We may have won but we had played much better and lost that season. However it has to be said we were solid and at times very impressive during this game. The Clarets completely dominated the first 20 minutes and we took the lead on 14 minutes after our debutant, left back Danny Fox spotted Nugent in space and delivered a long up field pass to him. Nugent`s marker, Matthew Upson was caught out by the flight of the ball and should have done better but he allowed Nugent to get ahead of him to lob the keeper and put the Clarets 1-0 up. West Ham came into the game more now seeking the equaliser and their new striker Benni McCarthy (getting the usual warm welcome for a former Rovers player) suddenly seemed to wake up. Scott Parker on 33 minutes put McCarthy clear and he looked certain to score after rounding Jensen. However from nowhere came Leon Cort to clear off the line at full stretch. So it was 1-0 to the Clarets at the break.

All Clarets fans knew 1-0 would not be enough though and with just 10 minutes of the second half played we doubled our lead following a needless foul by Collison on Mears. The angle looked too tight for a direct attempt on goal from the free-kick but Danny Fox had other ideas. His stunning shot curled into the top corner of the net giving Green no chance.

It is perhaps typical of Burnley that we then seemed to take our foot off the accelerator and now allowed West Ham to come at us. The pressure finally paid off for the Hammers and they reduced our lead to 2-1 in the 81st minute thanks to a goal by new boy, Ilan. That goal certainly set up a very nervy last ten minutes for the Clarets. We were due some luck though and we certainly rode it especially in the 90th minute when another West Ham debutant, Mido stretched out a leg and diverted the ball against the post. Clarets fans hearts also sank when the fourth official indicated there would be five minutes of added 'sweating` time!

It was with great relief when the final whistle eventually went. We could now at long last celebrate a Clarets victory in the local pubs and toast our first league win in 13 attempts!

If you want to be reminded how good that feeling was you can read our full match report in our archive by clicking this link:

Burnley Fox Hammers in 2-1 Victory

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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday February 19 2011

Time: 12:27PM

Your Comments

I forgot that after the West Ham game away last season we were still riding relatively high in the Prem! 11th heh? Where did it all go wrong! :-(
turfmanphil
 

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