Date:Sunday March 30 2008
29th March 08 @ 3pm
The Clarets defeated relegation-threatened Barnsley 2-1 at a rain-sodden Turf Moor yesterday, to move up to 10th on 58 points.
The result just about keeps their play-off hopes alive. We are now three points behind the sixth placed club, Wolves but have played one game more. Basically the message from Owen Coyle that we realistically need to win all our remaining games to finish in the one remaining 6th play-offs spot therefore still applies but at least this was a fairly comfortable win in a battle that looked more like the mud fields of Pashendale than a football ground in Lancashire. The referee seemed to get the ground staff out with forks at half-time, trying to get rid of surface water in one particular bad patch! At the start of the second half, we were treated to the referee playing roller- ball over sections of the pitch! As the ball on occasion hit the puddles and stopped dead, there was some doubt the second half would go ahead and it looked like both captains were asked if they wanted to continue! They did!
Barnsley looked to have one eye on the FA Cup semi-final and in view also of the treacherous conditions, seemed unwilling to risk injury in 50-50 balls. Good news for the Clarets, as goals by Elliott and Lafferty in the first half more or less sealed the Tykes fate despite a comeback goal by Howard two minutes before half-time giving Barnsley some hope.
Clarke Carlisle was sidelined for this match sitting out the first of his three match ban for a red card sending off late in the derby match last week against Preston. Stan Varga, who had recently been given an injection for a foot injury was still ruled out of the sixteen so Caldwell and Unsworth found themselves in the back four along with Alexander and Harley.
Both Akinbiyi and Cole were surprisingly named on the bench, which gave Lafferty the opportunity to shine in attack for once instead of being requested to play on the left-wing. Lafferty was substituted in the midweek match for Northern Ireland after scoring a brace of goals but thankfully the pre-existing thigh problem that led to him missing the whole of the second half against Georgia, was not an issue preventing his selection in the Barnsley match.
Chris McCann was also deemed fit to play and made the starting eleven despite having to pull out of the Republic of Ireland Under 21 squad in midweek.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott , Gudjonsson, James O'Connor, McCann, Blake, Lafferty.
Subs: Kiraly, Randall, Mahon, Akinbiyi, Cole.
Steve Foster, the former Clarets full-back returned to Turf Moor lining up for Barnsley against his former team mates. Their captain, Brian Howard also started despite an earlier injury doubt as did Souza. Odejayi`s ankle problem did not prevent him being named on the bench.
Referee, Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear) got the match underway.
Joey Gudjonsson was first to try a shot at goal and from about 40 yards but it didn`t really test, Tykes keeper Luke Steele.
After seven minutes, Steven Caldwell, had a header cleared off the line following the first corner of the match.
Barnsley nearly scored after 12 minutes but the shot from Nyatanga went inches wide with Jensen scurrying across his goal.
Caldwell got in a powerful header from a Blake free kick after 20 minutes beating the keeper. However the goal was disallowed after it was adjudged that Caldwell had been assisted by riding on the back of the defender.
Burnley`s defence then looked suspect as Nardiello pounced, easily shaking off Caldwell. He shot wide however when a goal looked certain.
It didn`t the Clarets long though to take the lead soon after with 30 minutes played.
A pin-point accurate pass by Blake found Elliott and he coolly slotted home to make it a good week for the right winger having just signed a new three-year contract for the Clarets.
Six minutes later and we were 2-0 up thanks to a fantastic curled shot from Lafferty that sailed into the top corner.
The Barnsley skipper, Brain Howard however scored from two yards out with two minutes of the half remaining to spoil the Clarets joy despite Jensen making a splendid save just before as a cross by Nardiello shot across the goal-line.
2-1 at half-time then on a wet, monsoon day!
Blake had the first chance of the second half but shot just wide after 53 minutes. Steele then saved from a shot from distance by Blake three minutes later, although it took him two attempts.
After 66 minutes with the Clarets seemingly in control, Elliott put his shot wide following some great play between Lafferty and Blake.
Macken`s shot towards the end of the match hit the crossbar and bounced over much to the relief of the Clarets fans.
Joey Gudjonsson then hit the woodwork as his thunderous shot from 35 yards found the outside of the post.
The Clarets defence held firm in the final few minutes as the Tykes tried everything they could to get the equaliser and ease their relegation worries. A well earned victory and we could now all go home and dry out!
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott (Mahon 90), Gudjonsson, James O'Connor, McCann, Blake (Cole 79), Lafferty (Akinbiyi 74).
Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Randall.
Goals: Elliott 30, Lafferty 36.
Barnsley: Steele, Foster, Souza, Nyatanga, Kozluk, Campbell-Ryce (Coulson 78), Howard, Hassell, Leon (Odejayi 63), Nardiello, Macken.
Subs Not Used: Ferenczi, Devaney, Van Homoet.
Booked: Foster, Souza.
Goals: Howard 43.
Ref: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear).
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Date:Sunday March 30 2008
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