Win but No Great Shakes
27th February 2008 @ 7:45pm
On a night when the country was about to experience its biggest Earthquake for nearly 25 years, Burnley defeated Coventry 2-0 in a businesslike, solid manner without causing the 'earth to move`
In truth this was a pretty dire match and did little to warm up the Clarets fans on a bitterly cold, blustery night at Turf Moor. The sub-10,000 gate seemed to also reflect the weather with many 'comfy slippers` fans both Claret and Sky Blue preferring to stay at home in the warmth.
Two goals, one in the first half by Chris McCann and another in the second half by of all people, Steven Caldwell (His first for the Club) were enough to see off a very poor Coventry side, which did little to threaten the Clarets defence all night.
This was an important three points though and keeps us in the chasing pack for a play-offs place. We remain in 9th place but are now only two points off the 5th and 6th placed clubs, Plymouth and Charlton respectively. We have also now reached the magical 50 points, often recognised as the magical number of points for safety so we can now plough on and try and secure a Top 6 finish.
Owen Coyle had already announced that Stan Varga would miss this match due to a flu bug and all Clarets fans were wondering if Andy Cole and Ade Akinbiyi would make the sixteen. The good news for the Clarets was that at least Akinbiyi was fit enough to play having recovered from the similar bug afflicting Varga. He was therefore named in the eleven.
Andrew Cole however remained sidelined and it is understood this was to give the star striker more time to recover from his Achilles tendon injury rather than any concerns related to his problems over his arrest and release on bail following an alleged assault on his wife. Cole was at Turf Moor and watched the match from the stands.
No doubt however new Coventry gaffer, Chris Coleman was relieved to hear that we would be without our Cole man!!
Brian Jensen also retained his place and appears to have not been penalised too much for his goalkeeping howler against Plymouth in the previous match that led to their first goal.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott, James O`Connor, Gudjonsson, McCann, Lafferty, Akinbiyi
Subs: Kiraly, Unsworth, Spicer, Blake, Randall
Staffordshire referee, Tony Bates got the match underway and after a number of bad referees at Turf Moor in recent weeks, a number of Clarets fans were wondering if there would be an opportunity to sing 'The referee`s a ...Master Bates!!"
The conditions were not conducive to a good game of football with blustery cold winds plus the pitch itself now looking a little worse for wear. So it would prove as a crowd of 9,779 tried to think of novel ways to keep warm and avoid having to watch a rather boring game of football. One idea was to count the number of visiting Coventry fans, but that didn`t last long after both hands and feet were used up. Anyway, back to the match...
Nothing much at all happened in the first ten minutes of this match with both teams having some possession but without really mounting an attack.
On 13 minutes a cross from Wade Elliott nearly found Ade Akinbiyi in the area but the wind had other ideas blowing the ball into the arms of Sky Blues keeper, Andy Marshall.
Seven minutes later though, we were awarded a corner from which we scored our first goal. Steven Caldwell got a head to the ball from the resulting deep cross.
The Sky Blues failed to clear the ball and Chris McCann powered the ball into the net from close range to score his 5th goal of the season. Protests from Coventry about a Lafferty handball were waved away by Bates and the goal stood. 1-0 Burnley and a chance for the home crowd to warm up a bit!
James O'Connor came close to making it 2-0 five minutes later following an Elliott free kick. Akinbiyi deftly flicked back the ball to the Irish man but his superb volley on the edge of the area was blocked.
Coventry thought they had equalised two minutes later, but the linesman had raised his flag for offside some time before Julian Gray got the ball into the back of the net.
It was the Sky Blues who did most of the threatening towards the end of the first half, and Jensen was on the ball to literally collect it with Gray rushing in on 43 minutes.
So that was it for the first half and no doubt Owen Coyle would be the happier of the two managers having adapted better to the windy conditions.
Coventry started the second half with more determination and again it was Jensen who saved the day blocking a shot from Gray from a 25 yard free kick.
Coyle brought on Mark Randall for Gudjonsson after 58 minutes and this was to prove his most impressive performance to date.
The loan Arsenal midfielder had a chance to score after being on the pitch for only two minutes when he powered in a shot from 30 yards. The ball flew inches over much to the relief of Marshall.
Mifsud came close after 65 minutes for the Sky Blues but his shot from the edge of the area was parried away by Jensen.
It was then Randall who was given another chance to score on 71 minutes, this time from the edge of the area on 71 minutes but his shot was defeated by the upright. Randall then assisted Akinbiyi with a through ball after 77 minutes. Akinbiyi found Elliott and the resulting cross into the six yard box found Lafferty steaming in but he couldn`t get a toe on it.
Robbie Blake came on to replace Lafferty a few seconds later and it was Blake who soon had a chance with a header but it was put out for a corner. Caldwell got on the end of the resulting corner and his powerful header soared into the back of the net to put the game beyond the reach of Coventry with only 5 minutes to play.
Considering the fact we have the second best away record this season, it is a reflection of our relatively poor home form that this win against Coventry completes only our first double over a team this season.
Three points for the Clarets then and back on track for a play-offs spot.
Now we could all go home and warm up. It seems I escaped all the fun and games later on that night and slept through the earthquake whilst staying at Mums overnight in Rossendale! Don`t think it affected the region but as I drove back to Cambridgeshire listening to the radio, I began to wonder with the epicentre close to where I live in East Anglia whether our property and more importantly the better-half had been affected. I had visions of it being a bad day, with the further news they had closed the A1 south of Newark due to an accident. Stuck in a traffic jam therefore for an hour while it cleared, I phoned the better half to ask about the Earthquake, to which she replied, What Earthquake??? That answered that one then, she slept through it too!!
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott, James O'Connor, Gudjonsson (Randall 58), McCann, Akinbiyi (Spicer 89), Lafferty (Blake 78).
Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Unsworth.
Goals: McCann 20, Caldwell 85.
Coventry: Marshall, Hall, Fox, Ward, Thornton, Osbourne, Tabb (Simpson 70), Michael Hughes, Gray, Mifsud, Best.
Subs Not Used: Konstantopoulos, Andrews, Birchall, Dann.
Ref: Tony Bates (Staffordshire).
He also warmed up the windswept,shivering home crowd with an entertaining display of football.