Date:Sunday December 31 2006
There are plenty of other Clarets websites that no doubt will spend time analysing the specifics of this match but the bottom line to be honest is that this was a poor performance by anybody's standards. We seem to be on that roller coaster ride downwards again as the team hits relegation form with only 6 points from a possible 30 in the last ten matches. Our slide from the Top 6 continues and we are now placed 11th with a gap opening up now with six points between ourselves and 6th placed Colchester.
We have also just suffered the indignity of losing to two of the clubs in the relegation positions before we played them with back to back losses away to Barnsley and now Hull.
What is it about Christmas? How many seasons now have we seemed to lose form and confidence about this time and started to plummet down the league?
The questions are coming back to haunt us again now
1. Is Steve Cotterill up to the job?
2. How much is just down to bad luck eg losing Andy Gray?
3. Will we get back on track by spending on new players in the January Transfer window?
4. Will we sell any of our key players and become midtable mediocrity kings again?
It has to be said Steve does seem to have made some strange tactical decisions recently particularly in relation to the substitutions and most notably his team selection for yesterday. People are also questioning why Mahon, Garreth O'Connor and Spicer dont seem to feature too often.
Kyle Lafferty dropped to the bench for the trip to the KC Stadium. Micah Hyde came in to the midfield with Steve Jones reverting to a striking role.
John McGreal also returned from injury to take his place on the bench.
BURNLEY: Jensen, Foster, Thomas, Duff, Harley, Elliott, McCann, J O'Connor, Hyde, Jones, Noel-Williams.
Subs: Lafferty, Branch, McGreal, G O'Connor, Mahon
Its not clear why Lafferty was dropped but the tactics didnt seem to work with Hull taking the lead after only six minutes thanks to a Dean Marney goal with Craig Fagan making it 2-0 from the penalty spot after only 23 minutes.
This situation and generally lacklustre performance from the Clarets stirred the manager into action with a double substitution on 30 minutes. McGreal replaced Foster to strengthen the defence and Kyle Lafferty came on to replace James O'Connor.
Although the defence seemed to steady and there were no futher goals conceded this was more down to the efforts of 'The Beast' and Jenson was probably our man of the match by the end of the game.
Steve Cotterill made a further substitution on 46 minutes with Mahon coming on to replace McCann.
Referee,Laws continued to be our bette noir with lots of huffing and puffing leading to three of our players receiving yellow cards. The most serious was Duff who on five yellows now will miss the Reading FA Cup match on 6th January. Thankfully he survived the rest of the match without reciving a second yellow but it probably preyed on his mind. Thomas and Elliott were also booked together with three Hull players. The ref to be honest seemed to lose control of this match and could only in the end resort to a spate of yellow cards!
The game in the second half just seemed to peter out with no memorable real chances or shots on goal by the Clarets.
We really do seem to be missing Andy Gray but having said that, we cant be a one man team and we need to do something in the January window to strengthen the squad and start scoring goals again. A stiker now looks a priority if we are to maintain any hopes of the play-offs. This is especialy true now since Gray wont be back in the team till at least February. The rumours were rife yesterday that the Clarets may be bringing Neil Shipperley to the Turf for £250k. This was reported in the Guardian and I believe by Sky Sports TV.
Let's hope the drop down the table recently has not affected some of the positive noises coming from the Board concerning possible investment in players in the January Transfer Window.
Something needs to change quickly and we need to start scoring and winning again before our heads and confidence drop even further.
We have a chance to reverse these trends against Stoke at the Turf in our New Year's Day match tomorrow. This will not be easy looking at Stoke's recent form and current League position but we need some belated Christmas cheer, something we have not really had at this time for most of the Noughties!
Hull: Myhill, France, Turner, Delaney, Dawson, Marney, Ashbee, Livermore, Barmby (Forster 75), Parkin (Elliott 79), Fagan (Featherstone 89).
Subs Not Used: Duke, Ricketts.
Booked: Delaney, Barmby, Marney.
Goals: Marney 6, Fagan 23 pen.
Burnley: Jensen, Thomas, Duff, Foster (McGreal 30), Harley, Elliott, James O'Connor (Lafferty 30), McCann (Mahon 46), Jones, Hyde, Noel-Williams.
Subs Not Used: Garreth O'Connor, Branch.
Booked: Duff, Elliott, Thomas.
Ref: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).
Date:Sunday December 31 2006
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