á Burnley - Grim Start at Hillsborough
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Sheffield Wednesday 4 - Burnley 1


9th August 2008 3pm KO

Attendance: 23,793

Grim Start at Hillsborough

The Clarets have had a miserable start to the new season; going down 4-1 to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough yesterday and leaving Clarets fans little to cheer about after such high expectations and a good pre-season.

Clarets fans were full of hope and expectations in this first match of the new 2008-9 season. That however evaporated within 30 seconds of the start of this match against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.

A shell-shocked defence could not keep out Tudgay as the Clarets fell behind 1-0 despite there being a suspicion of offside.

Worse was to come just 3 minutes later as danger man, Akpo Sodje made it 2-0 with our defence reeling.

To our credit we somehow found the resolve to get one back. Martin Paterson making his full Clarets debut scored with a near-post header after some nice work by Elliott, on six minutes giving some hope to Clarets fans that we could avoid a tonking and get some points after all.

Wednesday however didn`t take long to restore their two-goal lead and it was Sodje again on 17 minutes who did the damage. By now the Clarets, although looking good on the attack were looking very vulnerable to the counter-attack with Sodje and Burton in particular looking lively, dangerous and threatening to tear the defence apart.

The Clarets probably breathed a sigh of relief when Sodje limped off and had to be substituted a couple of minutes after scoring his second goal and the score remained 3-1 at half-time.

The game was killed off in the second half when Tudgay got the Owls fourth and final goal on the hour mark.

Owen Coyle will not be impressed with this performance at all, especially the deficiencies in defence and we often looked to lack options up front with only Paterson really to aim for. Somehow we need to quickly forget about this match and come back quickly against Bury in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night and in our next League game at home to Ipswich a week today.

Did we have too high an expectation? The good pre-season friendly results should perhaps be put in context now. Did we really play teams of the right calibre or were they too easy an opposition from the lower leagues?

Should we have played a Premier League side along the lines we normally do?

Perhaps if we are honest, we knew but didn`t like to admit that our defence was still looking decidingly shaky and error prone. Perhaps in our hearts of hearts, we knew we needed more options up front, maybe a tall striker as target man?

Well if we didn`t, we probably do now after being tonked by let`s face it a pretty mediocre Championship side.

There are maybe worrying signs here. A 5-0 defeat in our last game of last season and now 4-1 in the first of the new season. In the three seasons under Cotterill we never lost by more than 3-0 and never conceded more than three goals. Cotterill was accused of dire football and being too defensive but maybe with little cash at his disposal, he should be credited for keeping the side in the division.

I would have loved to have seen what he could have done with the cash now available to Owen Coyle.

Coyle may be playing more attractive football, but I am sorry I am not one of those who enjoy seeing us go down to a heavy defeat and then trying to convince myself that at least it was entertaining football. At the moment, it appears neither to be entertaining nor solid in defence.

You can forget returning to the days of Stan Ternent too, if getting tonked by rugby scores is the way forward all in the name of entertaining football.

Coyle has some time until the window closes at the end of this month to plug the gaps which are there for all to see. We have to hope he does so because I would be very concerned that this side especially in defence will be good enough to finish more than midtable yet again.

Indeed I would be worried about relegation if we continue to leak goals the way we have been.

Clarke Carlisle was of course suspended for this match after his bizarre sending off against Crystal Palace in the last game of last season, but even so we can`t be relying on one player to boost our defence. However thankfully he does return for the next League match against Ipswich at Turf Moor after sitting out the second of his two match ban against Bury in the Carling Cup this Tuesday night.

With Carlisle suspended and Berisha now out on loan to Rosenborg, these were the only two players unavailable for selection for today`s game.

The only surprise in the starting eleven perhaps was that Jordan was preferred to Kalvenes with the Norwegian named on the bench. It is not clear yet whether that decision was tactical or whether Kalvenes may have picked up a slight knock.

The team however lined up as follows giving full debuts to Penny, Van der Schaaf, Eagles and Paterson:

Penny, Jordan, Caldwell, Duff, Alexander, van der Schaaf, McCann, Elliott, Eagles, Blake, Paterson.

Subs: Kalvenes, Jensen, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Mahon

The Clarets adopted their new formation of 4-2-3-1 but by the end of the game had reverted to 4-4-2. Clearly, the formation is something Coyle will have to look at closely after the defence was cruelly exposed today within the first three minutes of the match.

Former Clarets player, James O`Connor was making his first team debut for the Owls after signing for them in the summer on a Bosman and there were other connections between the clubs in this game. In addition to former Clarets player, Brian Laws now of course the manager at Sheffield Wednesday, in goal for the Owls was Lee Grant, a former Clarets loan albeit very briefly! Chris Eagles of course was also returning to Hillsborough having played for the Owls in one of his loan spells from Manchester United. Indeed it was during this loan spell that Eagles scored against the Clarets in the 2-1 home defeat in 2005.

On paper therefore, there was plenty to whet the appetite in an intriguing opener to the season.

Clive Oliver was the referee for the day. He last refereed a game involving the Clarets in our controversial 1-0 home defeat last season by Bristol City.

The Clarets though had little chance to settle down as the referee got the match underway with the side suddenly finding themselves already 1-0 down with only 31 seconds on the clock.

Sodje on the right was allowed to roam free in acres of space before squaring the ball to Tudgay. Tudgay's shot took a deflection which foxed Penny and the ball sailed into the back of the net. There was perhaps a suspicion of offside but the trap did not work and the goal stood.

What a terrible start with the miserable debut for Penny about to get even worse.

Deon Burton got the better of Michael Duff on the left touchline and chipped the ball to an advancing Sodje who thundered the ball high into the net to put the Owls 2-0 up after just 4 minutes.

Penny had touched the ball just twice, to get the ball out of the net!

A terrible shaky start looked like a tonking could be on the cards.

The Owls at this point were slicing through the Clarets defence like butter with Sodje and Burton threatening to cause havoc.

Somehow though, in the sixth minute the Clarets found the resolve to pull one back.

A throw in by Alexander was picked up by Elliott and his cross found Paterson who headed the ball into the net at the near post. A debut goal for Paterson and the fourth time he has scored at Hillsborough in his career.

For a time, it looked like the Clarets might get the equaliser with Eagles in particular looking dangerous in his attacking central midfield role.

The game was now very open but the Owls looked dangerous on the break with our former midfielder, James O'Connor looking lively and in the thick of things.

Our defence though continued to look weak and shell-shocked and the 4-2-3-1 formation seemed unable to cope as we continually failed to pick up players during the Owls attacks.

Burton nearly made it 3-1 after just 10 minutes of play being given the luxury of a free header. Thankfully however he put the ball over.

Chris Eagles in the 17th minute found himself on a superb mazy run being denied finally by a challenge.

However seconds later Clarets hearts sank after another woeful display in defence allowed Sodje to get his second goal of the afternoon.

Jermaine Johnson got the better of three defenders before crossing the ball. He didn't connect properly but the ball bobbled into the path of Sodje who had the simple job of scoring at the far post.

The tonking now looked back on as the Clarets confidence ebbed away and it probably came as some relief when Sodje picked up an injury and limped off with a knee problem with only 21 minutes played.

Leon Clarke came on to replace him and bizarrely Sodje would probably have picked up Man of the Match for his role in those first 20 minutes.

The loss of Sodje seemed to upset the relentless attacking flair for the Owls and the first half calmed down after such an eventful start.

There was time though for Blake to be yellow carded for dissent after he decided rather foolishly to angrily kick the ball away into the crowd.

3-1 at half-time then and Coyle would certainly have a few strong words to say in the dressing room, especially to our back four.

The Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half and it was now clear that the next goal would decide the outcome of the match. Pull one back, game on! Concede another, game over!

Chris McCann soon had two chances to try and make it 'game on'. First Elliott found McCann with a sideways pass on 47 minutes and his shot from 25 yards lead to Owls keeper, Grant pulling off a spectacular save. Some clever work by Eagles then allowed McCann to get in an header but the ball went wide.

The Clarets at this stage were probably playing their best football of the afternoon but it wasn't to last.

Coyle tried to change things round a bit and brought on the more attacking midfielder, Joey Gudjonsson to replace Remco van der Schaaf on 59 minutes but five minutes later it was game over as the Owls scored yet another simple goal to make it 4-1 with questions again asked of the defence.

This time it was Clarke causing the defence problems and his pass across the 18-yard line found Tudgay who had an easy shot to beat Penny and get his second goal thus sealing a miserable day for the Clarets.

You have to feel sorry for Penny; letting in four goals on his debut would have done nothing for his confidence.
It is difficult to blame him though for any of the goals and the back four had more to answer for.

Penny however did ensure we did not concede another goal pulling off a double save in the 74th minute.

He firstly raced out of his goal using his legs to deny Sean McAllister and then almost instantly dived to his right to prevent Tudgay getting a hat-trick with his long range shot.

Ade Akinbiyi replaced the strangely lacklustre Blake on 77 minutes as the Clarets reverted to 4-4-2 but by now it was far too late.

No further damage was inflicted on the Clarets and with a number of Clarets fans already heading back in disgust over the Pennines; the referee finally brought an end to the proceedings with the Clarets licking their wounds.

So a very, very disappointing start and one that Coyle has admitted involved some basic schoolboy errors.

"I thought our defending was nothing short of na´ve, Wednesday didn't have to work hard because they were soft goals.

'Clarke Carlisle returning next week will help us enormously.

'Martin Paterson, Stephen Jordan and Wade Elliott did well but you won't win the league with only three players, said Coyle after the match.

We have to improve significantly and we have to tighten the defence if we are to stand any chance of showing significant improvements this season and avoiding the midtable mediocrity tag yet again. There are also concerns in attack, Paterson is playing well but we need other options up front.


Sheff Wed: Grant, Spurr, Hinds, Beevers, Wood, Tudgay, McAllister, O'Connor (Watson 88), Johnson (Smith 69), Burton, Sodje (Clarke 21).

Subs Not Used: O'Donnell, Esajas.

Booked: O'Connor, Beevers.

Goals: Tudgay 1, Sodje 4, 17, Tudgay 65.

Burnley: Penny, Alexander, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Paterson, Van der Schaaf (Gudjonsson 59), Eagles, Blake (Akinbiyi 77).

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Kalvenes, Mahon.

Booked: Blake.

Goals: Paterson 6.

Referee: Clive Oliver (Northumberland).

Star Player

Chris Eagles looked impressive but Martin Paterson gets our Star Player award

He worked his socks off all day! Slight worry he is often out wide and we have nobody else to aim for yet but impressive performance today plus a goal on his debut

The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday August 10 2008

Time: 8:45AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Feel numb this morning and rather worried! The more I think about it, the more I am sure Coyle has to get some new players in defence before the window closes
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 08:48:00

"leaving Clarets fans little to cheer about" - not our coach :D we had sheffield fans and sexual police women to taunt :P
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 10:14:00

I didn't think you played that badly, it was just that we were on top of our game yesterday. Sodje caused all sorts of problems for your defence. He would have scored a hat trick or may be four if he hadn't gone off injured. O'Conner had a very good game and was good to see your travelling fans applaud him when he was took off.
will it ever happen
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 12:05:00

"it was just that we were on top of our game yesterday" I'd disagree with that, didn't think you was that good, i just thought we were bad, think you would have got about one maybe two at a push if we would have had a d efence who could defend. "was good to see your travelling fans applaud him when he was took off." was good to see him applaud the clarets fans aswel :)
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 14:47:00

you were ripped apart mate so just accept you were beat by a far better side on the day..put your dummy back in and move on!
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 15:27:00

Thats what he said, we were ripped apart because basically we were crap in defence and gave away four soft goals. Schoolboy errors Coyle called it. Had we been playing Birmingham we would probably have been stuffed 8-1 thats the point we are trying to make! You may have been a far better side on the day but it doesnt mean you are more than an average side. We are concerned because we have been beaten by an average side, one that with virtually the same team finished 16th last season and only 3 points away from the drop
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 15:35:00

What worried me was that we could destroy Penny's career. A first start in a new team, a new country, a new continent, I would have thought that Coyle would have emphasised over and over again how the back 4 would have to protect the keeper 'till he found his feet. We may now have a keeper with no confidence, desperate to get away, we are not a big enough club to squander these resources. Poor management, but even more poor was the performance of an experienced and theoretically competent back four. How bad they were is that Thomas would have vastly improved them. Is this the danger of having an ex centre forward as manager. For the rest of the team the performance was adequate, really at our level if you score away from home you should get something. Worrying times!
clever trevor
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10/08/2008 16:50:00

Totally agree Clever T, welcome to Vital Burnley by the way! Cotterill may have played dire, defensive football but he kept us in this League during times when he could only have dreamt of the money Coyle now has! Coyle really has to show he can sort out this defence and get it plugged before end of Summer transfer window, otherwise I think we are going to leak goals and struggle no matter how good we are up front. God forbid if we ever return to the tonking days of Stan Ternent and bask in the glory of entertaining football while we get stuffed 7-2 or 7-4
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 17:00:00

Don't appear to be able to post anything although just signed up and am logged in any help on-line,as I did just write a longish piece and it dissapeared?
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10/08/2008 17:51:00

Sorry about that SP, will check out whats going on and get back to you. I assume you mean posting in the forums since you can clearly respond to articles and have been logged as voting in new poll? keep trying and let me know if you stil have problems. Although you are signed in on front page you may find you also have to sign into forums as well with same login/password details
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 17:55:00

Sorry now appears to be OK! Back to my rant then, having been kicked of Clarets mad for expressing views that many seemed to agree with regarding J.B. ( NUFC ) I am now pleased to be able to place my thoughts on here and more importantly to see that there are more than one administrator and not just some over inflated egotist running the show. To the point then, firstly pre-season games did flatter us but the home game just proved that even against a lack lustre squad our defence was shakey and we hardly were dominant or confident and could easily have blown it. We saw only too often last season that our frailties were in defence and the players concerned are hardly upto it particularly SJ,GA and SC letting DU go was daft even though he was slow he had nouse much in the way John Mc could muster his defence and win the ball. Yesterday was a sad indication of what we all know so how come nowt has been done and why is OC surprised cos I am not. Having watched four of our contempories on Sky I can not see where we will find points, we may score goals but conceding like last season is not an option we can afford, unless something is done now we will be sharing a league withAccy prety damn soon. Personally I am not bothered about ground improvements I just want to watch a decent side at this level never mind going up / or more likely down we should be consolidating instead we are speculating on what could be,when in fact the likelyhood looks pretty desperate to me. \\I had such enthusiasm for the season until now but now I am just dismayed, I just hope we can get some decnt loanee,s in and quick.
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10/08/2008 18:07:00

"beat by a far better side on the day" - on the day yeah, thats why Clarets feel so strongly, because we've been beaten by a side that is nothing more than average. But just because you had a scoreline of 4-1 doesn't mean you was outstanding like some of your fans claim, you was little better than average at the end of the day and we were very poor. With that defence yesterday I'm suprised you didnt have more.
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 18:28:00

Hi turfmanphil, thank's for getting back to me I don't at this point know how to operate the site and get into forums I will just have a go,almost as inept as our defnce eh? Cheers
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 18:35:00

Welcome to VB, SeftonP! Glad to see you look to be OK now, just hit the Big Club Forum Link under Site Journalists top right to gain entry into forums
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10/08/2008 18:44:00

Chuffin Eck !!!!.....not exactly a good start...Well the viewpoint from here in the US....We have a crap defence !, too flat footed, the titanic could turn quicker than Caldwell, Glad JOC got applauded off ! how was Remco ?... and Eagle ?
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 19:53:00

Sounded like the tactics changed with Gudjonsson replacing the more defensive midfielder, Remco in second half! Eagles appears to have had a good game although it sounds like he has a free reign to roam around in centre midfield, possibly confusing Elliott
Report Abuse
10/08/2008 22:38:00

3 out of the 4 goals were due to poor defending, although Sodje's 1st and Wednesday's second was a very well taken half volley - no chance of stopping it !! From a Wednesday POV, I thought Eagles was better for you than he was for us and looked threatening, Pattison looked dangerous (possibly needs somebody to go with him ?), Blake was strangely quiet and I heard a number of you guys speakin' highly of Van Der Schaaf before the match - I thought he was very poor. Maybe needs time to adjust ? I can understand your concerns, if a 4-1 opening day defeat was at the hands of the likes of Birmingham then it wouldn't be as bad as we (Wednesday) really are a mid-tabled side. Though I do honestly think the score-line might have been greater had Sodje not gone off injured, the introduction of Clarke really did stop us in our tracks (granted he set up the 4th Goal) and your defence didn't know what had hit them. Good luck for the future. See you again in Feb. UTO !!!!!
Report Abuse
11/08/2008 11:54:00

Welcome seftonparka. To get to the forums follow what TMP says and click on the big green box that says forums to the right of the above article or go to the tabs at the top and use the one on the far right 'vital football menu'. From there select club forums and then choose the forum for which club you want. Most of us have been kicked off CM and it happened to me last week. Regarding the game I believe the second goal was decent, but 2 of the others were deflected and one came from a mis-hit shot falling to him on the back post. Poor first game for us and it could be a blessing to show where we still need improvements to the team. A lot of new players too, so they may take a few games to get up to speed with this league. Look at Derby. They lost at home to Donny and have signed a new team. We only need to worry if we keep getting these results in 5 or 6 weeks time. Well done to Wednesday and a good start for you.
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12/08/2008 14:31:00


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