Date:Sunday March 16 2008
The Clarets true to form failed to move into the Top 6 on Saturday and lost ground going down 3-1 at home to play-offs rivals, Wolves whilst most of the other clubs in the chasing pack picked up points.
Wolves had two goals in a two minute spell during the first half. Seyi Olofinjana had a simple goal given to him on a plate after 14 minutes and then Michael Gray pounced on a dreadful back pass from Clarke Carlisle two minutes later to give the Clarets fans the feeling it just wasn`t going to be their day!
Gabor Kiraly made that feeling a certainty by allowing a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake shot to squirm under his body to put the Wolves side 3-0 up early in the second half.
Let`s not make any bones about it, Wolves were not that impressive, they were an average team that were flattered by the score line with goals being handed to them on a plate. Even Wolves gaffer Mick McCarthy said:
"Maybe we got a slice of luck which made a difference"
Aye that`s true, the luck being we decided to play like plonkers and not for the first time this season, and always it seems when a Top 6 spot beckons and three points are crucial.
Even when Ade Akinbiyi pulled a goal back, on 76 minutes everybody knew it was just a consolation goal.
To be honest there is only one word to describe the Clarets performance and that word is rubbish (cleaned that one up too!)
We were quite simply awful, no passion, no pride and it now looks increasingly like no play-offs!
We seemed to be at the circus with chief clown, Gabor Kiraly directing proceedings after picking up Jensenitis, supported by a back four of Coco the Clarke and the Three Stooges! What is wrong with our defence? Too many games this season, they have looked to panic, to make errors and let in soft goals that should have been cleared two minutes before going in! We might not have played attractive attacking football under Cotterill, but I am sure we used to have a more reliable defence than this. A defence comprising of the same players with the exception of Varga!
One could also ask why the Captain, Steven Caldwell is failing to make the starting eleven ;it would now appear, even the bench. It seems every time he`s injured or suspended, he has to hope & pray for one of the others in the back four to fall victim to a silly refereeing decision or injury before being given a chance. Is it right that a team captain is continually sidelined like this?
Coyle preferred to stick with the same back four that defeated Charlton in midweek. Cole was sidelined with a calf injury but Akinbiyi was fit and made the starting eleven. There was also a return for midfielder, Gudjonsson with Mahon, Randall and Spicer all named on the bench.
We therefore lined up as follows:
Kiraly, Alexander, Varga, Carlisle, Harley, Elliott, Gudjonsson, James O'Connor, Lafferty, Akinbiyi, Blake
Subs: Jensen, Spicer, Mahon, Randall, Unsworth
Our best spell in the first half came in the first four minutes of the game. Wade Elliott got in a first-time cross which found Akinbiyi. He got in a good shot but just missed the target at the near post.
Ten minutes later though and Wolves had the lead
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake found Olofinjana with a deft pass and he seemed to run through our defence with far too much ease to shoot past Kiraly.
It just got even more ridiculous two minutes later when Carlisle tried a tame, woeful back pass to his keeper.
Kiraly seemed to panic with his clearance hitting the advancing Gray to bounce off him into a wide open goal! 2-0 Wolves
A Blake corner after 26 minutes found Kyle Lafferty, but his shot heading for the target was well defended.
Wayne Hennessey on 33 minutes managed to tip an Alexander shot round the post as the Clarets tried desperately to get back into this game. Apart from few half-chances the Clarets could offer nothing else in a very disappointing first half.
The second half saw the Clarets killed off after only 55 minutes after an awful mistake again by Kiraly.
Ebanks-Blake played a one two with Andy Keogh and shot from the edge of the area. It didn`t seem to be a particularly strong shot and was aimed straight at the keeper.
However Kiraly allowed the shot to squirm under him and into the net to make it 3-0 Wolves. Jensen was dropped for similar errors, so it will be interesting to see which keeper will now start against Preston in our next match.
Coyle, needing inspiration from somewhere now moved Blake to the left allowing Lafferty to play his preferred central role. With 18 minutes remaining, Lafferty flicked the ball to Akinbiyi but he fluffed his shot and the ball went straight at Wayne Hennessey in the Wolves goal.
Lafferty came close himself two minutes later, turning to shoot just wide of the far post.
We did however get that consolation goal on 76 minutes. Akinbiyi`s header at the back post was well saved by Hennessey but he pounced again making no mistake at his second attempt.
Coyle was clearly angry at yesterday`s performance, but not as angry as Clarets fans that are now getting very fed up of this team folding every time they have an opportunity to get into the Top 6 and stamp their authority!
Coyle had this to say about this pathetic defeat:
'We totally gifted the game to Wolves, there is no doubt about it,'
'We can't continue to hand gifts to the opposition week after week. Mental strength is a big quality in football and we did not have enough players with it. We needed people to be mentally stronger and there was softness about the goals we conceded.'
Softness? That`s a friggin understatement.
Just not good enough Burnley and it will be games like these we will remember when we count the cost at the end of the season should we fail to finish in the Top 6. This now looks increasingly likely unless we can win our last seven games of the season, starting with an away win at local rivals, Preston in our next match. What a time to play this lot, a resurgent Preston North End who could in theory now finish above the Clarets, being only 8 points behind us, five if they beat us at Deepdale next Saturday.
Hull, Plymouth, Palace and Ipswich all picked up maximum points yesterday so the Clarets drop down to 10th on 55 points with Wolves just one point behind us with a two games in hand.
We need a New Dawn alright and we have to stop being subjected to these woeful performances at home which truly are becoming an old yawn!
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Varga (Unsworth 71), Carlisle, Harley, Elliott, Gudjonsson (Mahon 56), James O'Connor, Lafferty, Akinbiyi, Blake (Randall 75).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Spicer.
Booked: James O'Connor, Lafferty.
Goal: Akinbiyi 76.
Wolves: Hennessey, Foley, Darren Ward, Collins, Elokobi, Olofinjana (Eastwood 86), Henry, Potter, Gray (Gibson 70), Ebanks-Blake (Kyle 83), Keogh.
Subs Not Used: Rob Edwards, Stack.
Goals: Olofinjana 14, Gray 16, Ebanks-Blake 56.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
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Date:Sunday March 16 2008
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