Date:Monday March 14 2011
The Clarets played Bristol City at Turf Moor earlier in the season. It was played out on Saturday 25th September 2010 and in the end was a very disappointing result with the Clarets only managing a point in a 0-0 draw.
It was a sunny but bitterly cold day for the start of this game and we lined up as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander, Cork, Elliott, Eagles, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Duff, Cort, Marney, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson
Stockport referee, Scott Mathieson got the match underway in front of a disappointing 14,540 set of fans.
In the first half we looked very poor and seemed to be suffering from the euphoric after effects of beating Owen Coyle`s Bolton in the Carling Cup game played in midweek. It was a dull first 45 minutes against a side that clearly had a game plan to frustrate the Clarets with the Robins defending in numbers for most of the match. The scene was set within the first 30 seconds when Rodriguez found himself already being yellow carded for what looked like a ridiculous booking so early in the game and most Clarets fans sensed this was not going to be our day when Graham Alexander even missed a penalty midway through the first half! Yes, that`s right MISSED a penalty, his first in a Claret & Blue shirt!
We can look for excuses if we like. Robins` keeper, David James was in top form and the word 'Calamity` never crossed his lips. There was the inevitable bit of woodwork getting in the way on more than one occasion and we had 56 % of the possession. Remarkably we also had 28 attempts on goal during this match, 15 of them on target but still we could not get that breakthrough goal despite a much better second half performance. Chris Eagles once more was having a great game and was a continual threat to the Robins defence whilst looking the most likely to break the deadlock. In the end though, we had to settle for a point. Not a classic then and nothing like the joy we had beating them at Turf Moor two seasons earlier.
Before this season we last played Bristol City during our promotion season of 2008-9 and got the double over them. Indeed we secured a play-offs place against the Robins at Turf Moor on the last day of the season. We also did it in style thumping the Robins 4-0!
Our first clash though was at Ashton Gate on the 20th December 2008. 730 Clarets braved the journey to Bristol having probably faced the wrath of their spouses beforehand since this was the final shopping Saturday before Christmas. Well at least they would all return with the best present possible. Three points! The Clarets came back from 1-0 down after a controversial penalty to win the match 2-1 thanks to second half goals from Paterson and Thompson.
The team sheet that day was as follows:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Mahon, Akinbiyi, MacDonald, Thompson.
A pretty dull first half was goalless but it was Bristol City who took the lead in controversial circumstances on 51 minutes.
Carlisle`s clumsy looking challenge on Stern John at the far post was first waved on by referee, Russell Booth. However, he didn`t seem to have the courage of his convictions and overruled his own decision after taking advice from a linesman who had indicated a foul.
A penalty was therefore awarded and Maynard made no mistake from the spot kick despite Jensen guessing the right direction.
Owen Coyle now confirmed his intention to attack by bringing on Steven Thompson for Gudjonsson after 55 minutes whilst at the same time moving to a more aggressive 4-4-2 formation with Paterson and Thompson upfront in an effort to get the equaliser.
The ploy didn`t take too long to work and we were level in the 57th minute. A free-kick was awarded for a handball after Thompson had tried to find Eagles on the right wing. Eagles from the kick found Carlisle at the far post and his header found Paterson to head home from two yards out.
The game was now buzzing end-to-end in complete contrast to the first half but it was the Clarets who would take the lead with a superb goal on 77 minutes. Eagles had been feasting on Robins all afternoon and this time he charged into the area to find Paterson on the right. Pato who had boundless energy all afternoon effortlessly got to the by-line to get in an inch-perfect cross to Thompson who slotted home from 4 yards out.
Bristol came at us for the remainder of the game and there were a few sweaty moments but we held on to secure our fifth win in six games consolidating our 4th place spot and looking good for promotion.
Christmas was now approaching though which is a time which fills most Clarets fans with dread and once more we began to hit the buffers for a time before once more getting our act together and keeping in the play-offs frame.
It was a nervy time though when Bristol City came to Turf Moor for the return match on Saturday 3rd May 2009. It was our last match of the scheduled season and we had one target. We simply had to win the match to be assured of a play-offs place, anything less and god forbid Preston might beat us to it.
In the end we did it in style by thumping Bristol City 4-0. A superb Elliot strike sandwiched between two penalties by Alexander with Gudjonsson scoring a late goal left Clarets fans ecstatic after a nervy, tense build up to the game.
The Clarets lined up that day as follows:
Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Elliott, Alexander, McCann, Eagles, Paterson, Blake.
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Thompson, Rodriguez
We were dominating this game in the first half and had numerous chances to go ahead but we just could not get the breakthrough as the half-hour mark came and went. There was always that terrible feeling that Bristol City would score on the break against the run of play but on 40 minutes, Clarets fans could finally relax a little. In the 40th minute the deadlock was finally broken after the Clarets took the lead from a penalty. Elliott had charged into the box only to be fouled by McAllister. The nudge was enough for the referee to have no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot so up-stepped penalty king, Graham Alexander to take the kick with his normal coolness. This time he belted the ball into the top corner to score.
Four minutes later and relaxation nearly became an art form!
On 44 minutes Caldwell found Elliott twenty yards out and the pacy midfielder let rip. As the ball headed towards goal though a melee of players, it took a deflection and sailed over the line to put the Clarets 2-0 up at half-time.
The Clarets were now in control and began to dominate proceedings in the second half. Coyle had to make some changes when Carlisle limped off injured just past the hour mark. We had no central defenders on the bench so Chris McCann dropped back and Kevin Macdonald came on into midfield.
Finally after 75 minutes, Clarets fans could relax once and for all when we were awarded another penalty. Bradley Orr became the villain after needlessly handling the ball in the area following an attempt by Eagles to pass the ball to Paterson.
Graham Alexander stepped up again to take the penalty and with ease scored to ensure that the Clarets would be in the play-offs for the first time in nine long years in the Championship. We were not done just yet though. Gudjonsson added a little bit of icing to the cake making it 4-0 with four minutes to play. Basso saved well after a shot from Eagles but it fell to Gudjonsson who slotted home from close range to make it a superb day out for all Clarets fans.
A wonderful day but of course it was going to get even better beating Reading over two legs in the play-offs semi-final, seeing Preston fail to get to Wembley and then going ourselves and beating Sheffield United to gain promotion to the top flight for the first time in 33 years! Happy days!
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