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Last Time We Met...Swansea City

The Clarets last faced up to the Swans earlier this season in a clash at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday 28th August 2010. It was not to prove a rewarding day and we came away with nothing going down 1-0 in front of 15,135 fans. It was also our first defeat of the season having drawn one and won two of our opening three games in the Championship plus earning a victory away to Morecambe in the Carling Cup 2nd round tie.

As expected, with no further injury or suspensions to worry about, Brian Laws reverted to the eighteen he selected for our previous League match at home to Leicester, a game we also won 3-0. Laws had made nine changes to that team in our Carling Cup 3-1 victory over Morecambe at the Globe Arena in midweek but none of the fringe players did enough to earn a starting eleven place against Swansea.

We lined up then as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Alexander Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo, Paterson

Subs: Grant, Cort, Cork, Edgar, Eagles, Rodriguez, Thompson

Somerset referee, Steve Tanner got the game underway

This was an entertaining match for the neutral with plenty of action and incidents to boot but it was a frustrating one for Clarets fans. We basically lost this game in the first half. After a bright start we lost the plot when Swansea took the lead with just 8 minutes on the clock. It was a sloppy goal to concede as well. The impressive Nathan Dyer set up full back, Alan Tate who had got in behind a woeful Clarets defence to put over a cross along the six-yard line. Despite Cotterill missing with his swing attempt the ball fell to Sinclair who thumped home the ball into the roof of the net.

How we escaped further damage in the first half is beyond me. We were simply woeful and could easily have been 4-0 or 5-0 down by half-time if the Swans had taken their chances.

The opposition teams we have played recently seem to have sensed that our weakness is down the right flank and that if you put left back, Danny Fox under pressure you might reap the rewards. Swansea were no exception with our former loan winger, Nathan Dyer causing all sorts of problems. Tyrone Mears in contrast at right back was given a relatively easy ride. Danny Fox was not totally to blame, he does need more support from the midfielders chasing back sometimes and at times our midfield in the first half looked plodding and clueless.

Dobbie and Cotterill both failed to convert chances set up by Dyer and after 23 minutes the lively and busy Dyer was at it again this time passing to Pratley who bursting into the box let rip with a shot that rattled off the woodwork with the rising ball hitting the top of the bar.

Our first chance didn`t come really until the half-hour mark when Martin Paterson forced a save after curling a ball towards the top corner. De Vries though snuffed out the threat after flying through the air to get to the ball. Brian Jensen then got in another crucial save at the other end with the Clarets desperately trying not to concede another goal. Sinclair was denied this time.

Iwelumo was then given our best chance to equalise after Wallace put over a perfect cross. He could only head badly wide of target though but at least we were now having a bit more possession. Marney towards the end of the half dragged his shot wide and before that the unmarked Paterson would have been in an ideal position to score had Elliott managed to get the ball to him without being crowded out. 1-0 down then at half-time and not an impressive one for the Clarets

Whatever Laws said at half-time seemed to work and we looked a far more confident team in the second half especially in the last half-hour of the game. We just couldn`t get that elusive equaliser though despite our best efforts and there was also the bizarre spectacle on the hour mark of two players being sent off within two minutes! First of all, Swans midfielder, Darren Pratley, already on a yellow card felled Tyrone Mears to earn his marching orders for a second bookable offence on 58 minutes.

Burnley`s hopes of being given an easier task to get the equaliser with Swansea now down to ten men were soon dashed when two minutes later Mears foolishly found himself also walking towards the tunnel. He too was also on a yellow card when a clumsy tackle on Nathan Dyer gave referee, Steve Tanner no option but to show red again.

Although Burnley looked far more energised and determined in the second half Swansea still looked dangerous on the break and we had to thank Jensen again after Cotterill got in a through-ball to Sinclair who once more had got the better of the Clarets defence. Jensen raced out of the box to get in a perfect tackle to keep the score at 1-0.

After the red cards, fresh legs in the form of Jack Cork, Steve Thompson and Chris Eagles added some sparkle to our play but with Iwelumo playing on after picking up a late hamstring injury, you just sensed this was not going to be our day.

Thompson got on the end of a Fox cross and his glancing header seemed to fool De Vries but luckily for the Swans keeper he managed to rescue the situation at the near post. Eagles was now causing the Swansea defence all sorts of problems as well but somehow they held on. Thompson put a shot just wide and into the last minute of five minutes of added time our last chance to equalise fell to Wallace from a direct free-kick. His shot frustratingly for the Clarets fans dipped just over the bar and that was it our first defeat of 2010-11.

If only we could have played the first forty five minutes like we did in the last thirty minutes of this match, the result may well have been different but then that is Football!

If that was bad, things were not that much better against Swansea in our promotion season of 2008-9. This time though at least we managed a point in a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium although it felt like a loss considering we were 1-0 up until late into added time. It got worse for the Clarets though when in our traditional New Year slump we went down 2-0 at home casting doubt on our play-offs hopes.

The game at the Liberty Stadium was played on Saturday 20th September 2008 with 13299 fans in attendance. Swansea were the new boys having been promoted as Champions from League 1 the season before and it was also the first time we had ever played Swansea on their new ground which had been opened in 2005.

Coyle selected the same starting eleven as the last two matches for this game and it would have been the same sixteen but for the news that Ade Akinbiyi had picked up a back injury and had not travelled. Jay Rodriguez took his place on the bench.

The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:

Jensen, Jordan, Carlisle, Caldwell, Anderson, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, McDonald, Paterson, Thompson

Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, Mahon, Blake, Rodriguez

Alexander was again in the holding role just in front of the back four. The Clarets had now gone five matches undefeated since moving Alexander into that role.

The Clarets lined up 4-1-4-1 with Paterson up front supported by Elliott and Thompson and indeed we did seem to play more 4-1-2-3 on occasions.

Swansea unbeaten at home this season so far made four changes to the team. Surprisingly, hot shot 1-goal-in-2-match striker, Jason Scotland found himself relegated from the starting eleven and on the bench. Speculation was that he may have picked up a knock although he was to feature later on in the match playing the last 20 minutes of the game.

West Midlands referee, Andy Hall was in charge of this game

The ref turned out to be a homer, letting goal scorer, Bodde get away with murder throughout the game and booking four of our players to only two of the Swans.

As the match got underway, it was the Swans who started the more lively putting the Clarets under pressure in the first five minute spell.

From the Clarets first corner of the game though, Caldwell picked up an injury from a stray boot that required extensive treatment with the fear he might have got concussion. However thankfully the Clarets captain could continue and the match got underway again.

Wade Elliott got the better of two Swans defenders but the ball was then headed behind for a corner. At the other end of the pitch Bessone perplexed Russell Anderson only for his cross to be cleared by Chris McCann.

Paterson came close on 22 minutes with our first attempt on goal but his right footed shot was saved by Swans keeper, De Vries.

A 30 yard drive by Chris McCann was unable to thwart the keeper as a rather scrappy first half came to a close.

Owen Coyle made one change for the start of the first half with Gudjonsson replacing Kevin McDonald.

By a strange coincidence Swansea also replaced their MacDonald with Mark Gower but in a bizarre incident in which they failed to inform the referee of the change, the first action of the second half saw Gower cautioned accordingly.

The Clarets though with 59 minutes on the clock then took the lead. Elliott in space put in a glorious cross to the back post. Gudjonsson was there to head home and open his account for the season.

Steve Thompson, getting some stick from the home crowd because of his Cardiff connection nearly shut the Swans fans up to make it 2-0 but his shot was saved by De Vries.

Striker, Jason Scotland finally came on to play after 73 minutes giving Coyle another chance to see what effect his former player at St Johnstone would have on a game.

He soon got his answer as the 29 year old Trinidad & Tobago International brought out a good save from Jensen for a corner. In Swansea`s best spell of the game, Bodde hit the cross bar with a header from the corner and a few minutes later, Gomez nearly got the equaliser from a free kick but the ball dipped onto the roof of the net.

Blake for Paterson on 75 minutes and then Mahon for Thompson after 80 minutes came on with the Clarets now changing to 4-5-1 in an effort to hold on.

The Clarets looked to have weathered the storm and were heading for victory as four minutes of injury time were surprisingly announced.

A defensive blunder by Jordan though as the clock ticked down saw Angel Rangel pass to Bodde who made no mistake four yards from goal thus breaking the hearts of 622 Clarets fans who had ventured into Wales to see this game.

The Clarets had no time to respond and the final whistle went with a relieved Swansea side maintaining their unbeaten home record and the Clarets ruing yet another two points lost and for the sake of holding on for just another 60 seconds.

The return game at Turf Moor was played on Saturday 10th January 2009 and it was a match all Clarets fans would want to forget.

We lined up as follows that day:

Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan, Eagles, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Blake, Paterson.

Subs: Penny, Carlisle, Mahon, MacDonald, Thompson

The only potential interest in the Swansea team for Clarets fans was whether we would get chance to see our former loan star, Nathan Dyer currently on loan from Southampton play for the Swans. Well there would be a chance as he was named on the bench.

Do you ever get those pre-match feelings that things are not going to go our way? I just had a feeling against Swansea we would be lacklustre with the stuffing taken out of us after the grueling midweek 4-1 Carling Cup Semi-Final 1st leg defeat away to Spurs .

On a cold, bitter afternoon at Turf Moor, Northumberland referee Michael Oliver got the game underway.

It was the visitors who had by far the better start with the Clarets looking jaded and clueless. Swans, Mark Gower had a shot deflected wide for a corner after 11 minutes.

The back-four then needed a good waking up after Darren Pratley got behind them on 14 minutes only to find Jensen bravely stopping his advance.

'For heaven`s sake, Burnley start playing like you did in the first half against Spurs, this is bloody Swansea` I found I kept saying that to myself countless times as Swansea time and time again went up on the attack. Jensen was alert again on 21 minutes this time mopping up a low cross by Pratley.

It was nearly 30 minutes for heaven`s sake before our first real chance when Paterson got in a great cross only for McCann`s header to be deflected wide. That seemed to stir us into action and one minute later Eagles woke up but could only fire over. He then got in a superb cross on 31 minutes with Paterson just failing to connect.

This was the only time in the match that I thought we might stand a chance of getting a result with the Clarets beginning at long last to take control .That thought though evaporated four minutes later when the referee spoilt the game with a pathetic penalty decision and sending off.

Michael Duff looked to have his hands around Jason Scotland`s midriff but the striker`s progress didn`t seem to be impeded and by the time the challenge came in, his hands were no longer round the big Trinidadian. If it was a foul it was an innocuous one, and if it was a penalty it certainly didn`t warrant a red-card. Misery complete for the Clarets fans though, off goes Duff and in goes Scotland`s spot kick.

Roberto Martinez's side saw out the rest of the first half with some ease now they had the extra man advantage and as the referee blew for the end of the first half, I hope he took on board the booing and disgust of the Clarets fans as he walked off (probably not!)

Swansea started the second half as they had ended the first half, enjoying most of the possession and using their one-man advantage. Thankfully Gower inside the area could only shoot straight at Jensen on 50 minutes.

Thompson came on for Blake after 56 minutes with Coyle trying to freshen things up and then Swansea brought on our former loan winger, Nathan Dyer eight minutes later.

Burnley had one or two moments in the second half without really looking that convincing. Elliott got in a near-lethal cross on the hour mark but again Paterson just failed to make contact.

By now the neutrals watching this game on Sky Sports were probably asleep as the game deteriorated into a scrappy, lifeless affair.

With the ball bouncing around in the box, McCann was unlucky not to get a connection on the ball with 74 minutes played but 10 minutes later and the Clarets miserable afternoon was complete with Scotland getting his brace for the Swans. Gower had made a good run down the left crossing the ball for Scotland who easily slotted home from close range.

The Clarets though did still try and get something from the game but it just seemed hopeless and it was typical that attempts by Eagles and Paterson late in the game both sailed over the angle.

It was almost a relief when the final whistle went and those Clarets fans still on the ground could go home and warm up trying to forget we had now gone five games in all competitions without a win with both our Carling Cup chances and play-offs hopes now looking bleak. Well at least things could only get better and thankfully by May they had in style.

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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday April 10 2011

Time: 8:28PM

Your Comments

Very frustrating day at the Liberty Stadium this season. My first visit there! Didn't sound as frustrating though as the previous game there even if we did pick up a point back then.
turfmanphil
 

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