Burnley`s Us-less Draw
9th February 2008 @ 3pm
A very disappointing and frustrating day at Turf Moor saw another two points dropped in a lacklustre performance by the Clarets against bottom club, Colchester. The Us quite clearly came with a game plan to frustrate the Clarets all afternoon and after coming from behind were determined to keep the score line at 1-1 showing no interest at all in the second half to get the winner.
We simply can`t afford to keep dropping points like this against lowly opposition, if we fail to reach the play-offs by a handful of points it will be our games against the likes of Preston, QPR and now Colchester that will come back to haunt us. A win on Saturday and we would have been in 6th place, instead of that we now have to settle for 9th place on 44 points. Luckily Ipswich in 6th place lost and kept their position so we are now only one point behind them but four of the Top 5 clubs all won and pulled away further. Only West Brom failed to win and the fifth placed club, Charlton who defeated Palace 2-0 on Friday, are now six points ahead of the Clarets with 50 points.
Owen Coyle made a few surprise changes for the game on Saturday. Kyle Lafferty was perhaps lucky to go straight back into the team after a four match ban and Andrew Cole was preferred in the starting eleven to Ade Akinbiyi who returned to the bench. Our other new loan, Mark Randall had to be content with the bench and as expected injuries prevented Mahon, Carlisle, Jones and McCann from being considered.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Varga, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, O'Connor, Gudjonsson, Lafferty, Blake, Cole
Subs: Kiraly, Caldwell, Randall, Spicer, Akinbiyi.
Steve Bratt from the West Midland refereeing his first Championship game involving the Clarets got the match underway. On four minutes, Elliott put in a pass and Andrew Cole making his full debut for the Clarets came close to picking up the ball but a well placed defender managed to clear for a corner.Elliott found himself free again after 16 minutes and picked up Robbie Blake with a superb pass. Blake's looped shot though was collected by Us keeper, Gerken.
It was the visitors that then came close to scoring on 21 minutes with Brian Jensen stranded. Kevin McLeod crossed to find Clive Platt and his shot came back off the upright much to the relief of Clarets fans.
The Clarets though finally took the lead in the 24th minute with Andrew Cole taking advantage of a mistake in the Colchester defence. A poor attempt to clear the ball went straight to Cole and he shot past Gerken from close range.
The home side then seemed to go to sleep rather than take advantage of their lead and Colchester began to pressure the Clarets defence. It was no surprise therefore when the Us got themselves back into the game with an equaliser on 38 minutes.David Unsworth, playing his 500th game of his professional career fouled Scott Vernon with the visitors being awarded a free kick from 20 yards out.
Jackson's shot then hit the wall with the deflected ball beating both the back four and Jensen to make the score 1-1. Almost immediately afterwards, the Clarets themselves were awarded a free kick and a thunderous shot by Robbie Blake from the set piece hit the post. It was therefore 1-1 at half-time with the Clarets looking very lacklustre with a number of players looking distinctly under par. The frustration seemed to be getting to Andrew Cole too who time and time again had been pulled up for being offside.
The second half seemed a very scrappy affair and it was clear that Colchester were now hell bent on frustrating the Clarets and were quite happy to settle for a point. Burnley could not find an answer although marginally they were better in the second half.
Lafferty came close on 55 minutes after cutting inside from the left but his powerful shot did not cause any problems for Gerken.
Time to change things around for the Clarets with Coyle trying desperately to find a Plan B. Steve Caldwell came on for the Clarets to replace Gudjonsson after 61 minutes.
He took over the left back role with Harley now moving into midfield. Ade Akinbiyi soon followed replacing Robbie Blake. Mark Randall also replaced James O'Connor on 73 minutes.
The combination of Akinbiyi and Cole looked to be more effective with Cole in particular looking to have his best spell. Cole came close to getting his second goal with nine minutes left on the clock but just failed to get onto the end of an Elliott cross towards the back post.
In injury time, Akinbiyi appeared to be clearly fouled in the box with his shirt being pulled by a defender but he played on only to see his shot skirt past the far post.
Mark Randall attempted an half volley but Gerken was equal to it and caught the ball from under the bar. This proved to be the last kick of the match in a very disappointing game for the Clarets.
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Varga, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, James O'Connor (Randall 73), Gudjonsson (Caldwell 52), Lafferty, Cole, Blake (Akinbiyi 61).
Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Spicer.
Goals: Cole 23.
Colchester: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Virgo, White, McLeod (Guttridge 75), Izzet, Duguid, Jackson, Lisbie (Vernon 26), Platt.
Subs Not Used: Cousins, Watson, Sheringham.
Goals: Jackson 38.
Ref: Steve Bratt (W Midlands).
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