Sky High Burnley Hit 6th
21st October 2008 @ 7:45pm KO
The Clarets put in an excellent performance last night at the Ricoh Arena giving Coventry the (Sky) Blues. Our 3-1 away victory sent Burnley shooting up the table to 6th, further staking our claim to merit a play-offs position this season.
In a rather uninspiring first half with quite a bit of sloppy play by both sides, it was Coventry who took the lead with five minutes of the half remaining. A rather controversial penalty was awarded when Mifsud was determined to get something for an innocuous looking challenge by Alexander and seemed to make a meal of it. The referee however awarded the spot kick and Ward put the Sky Blues 1-0 up. It was to prove a busy night for Suffolk referee, Mike Thorpe who booked six players in total, three from each side. Bizarrely it was Duff who was booked following the penalty incident rather than Alexander with Paterson and Kalvenes the other Clarets picking up yellow cards.
However it was 1-0 to Coventry at half-time
The second half would prove a different story with the Clarets dominating for most of the half. Michael Duff smashed home the equaliser after 52 minutes to score his first goal since the opening game of last season.
With ten minutes to go, the Clarets then turned up the heat inspired by two substitutions with Blake and in particular Eagles coming on from the bench Chris Eagles yet again proved he should really be in the starting eleven by first assisting in Robbie Blake`s first goal in 25 games after 88 minutes and then two minutes later scoring himself with a stunning 25 yard shot.
Shell shocked Coventry did not know what hit them as the Clarets notched up their second consecutive victory at the Ricoh Arena. Burnley can now look forward to their match at the Valley this Saturday against struggling Charlton Athletic.
Owen Coyle had selected a predictable team for the Coventry game although Jordan did not even make the sixteen after returning from his one-match ban. Kevin McDonald was also absent.
The Clarets lined up as follows therefore:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Van der Schaaf, Blake, Eagles, Rodriguez
So the Clarets lined up exactly the same as they did in their last match against Birmingham at Turf Moor last Saturday thus giving Graham Alexander his 700th full appearance by co-incidence in the city where he was born.
The match set off at a high pace with both Wade Elliott and Jay Tabb getting in early shots as both teams looked to settle. Chris McCann got in a header from an Elliott cross after 6 minutes but it was over the bar.
The match however now seemed to deteriorate into a scrappy affair with both sides giving the ball away far too often in the first 20 minutes. The atmosphere at the Ricoh Arena was pretty dead and that seemed to be reflected in the midfield scrap and sloppy play unfolding before us.
The Clarets need to be careful too on breaks from their corners. We fell to such a sucker blow against Birmingham on Saturday and Coventry nearly punished us on the break too.
However it was Wade Elliott who now seemed to be in the thick of the action creating a number of chances in the later half of the first half.
It was Elliott who got the better of Danny Fox crossing the ball to Martin Paterson. His header though was covered by Sky Blues keeper Kieren Westwood.
On 27 minutes it was Elliott again pouncing on the ball following some nice build-up play involving Alexander, Gudjonsson, and Paterson. However he shot over the bar from an acute angle.
Coventry though got the lead they wanted in the 37th minute City following a controversial penalty decision.
Mifsud on the edge of the area picked up the ball after some nice approach work by Osbourne and Best who had been given far too much space. He seemed to get the better of Alexander after turning him but then went for the BAFTA award crumbling to the floor. He foxed the referee though who instantly pointed to the spot. Jensen could not save from Ward despite guessing the right direction of his shot. The aggrieved Clarets therefore went into the dressing room 1-0 down at half-time.
No changes for the start of the second half as 542 travelling Clarets fans wondered what the Clarets could do in the next 45 minutes. They didn`t have long to wait.
Burnley were quickly out the blocks and a few minutes into the second half Elliott nearly scored from a free kick after his shot was deflected but the ball was just wide.
From the corner, Michael Duff who had been given a torrid time by Mifsud tried his luck at the other end smashing home at the far post to equalise for the Clarets after 52 minutes. That was his first goal since the opening game of last season against West Brom at Turf Moor.
The goal seemed to stir Coventry into action and we now found ourselves pushed back for a time as the Sky Blues piled on the pressure.
Jensen had to be on the ball stopping Osbourne's shot from distance.
A left-foot shot by Best after he cut inside was thankfully wide of the far corner
Wade Elliott though got in yet another cross after 70 minutes that seemed to confuse the Coventry back four but it came to nothing
It was the Clarets now though who were about to take control of the game with some inspired substitutions.
First Chris Eagles came on to replace Gudjonsson after 71 minutes and he immediately added more attacking options.
However, it was Steven Thompson who had still not scored for the Clarets who nearly single-handedly put the Clarets 2-1 up. He went on a run and cut through the Coventry defence like butter beating four men but then with only the keeper to beat somehow shot wide. That would have been his first goal at this level since he scored one against the Clarets for Cardiff in that memorable 3-3 game at Turf Moor last season.
Things were now about to hot up for the Clarets though with the inspired Eagles turning the game round.
First though, Robbie Blake came on to replace the injured McCann after 79 minutes and then Jay Rodriguez came on to replace the hard-working but now jaded Thompson after 84 minutes as Clarets fans wondered was formation we were now playing. 4-4-2? 4-3-3? We seemed to be changing by the minute but it worked.
With 88 minutes on the clock, Eagles got in a delightful pass to Robbie Blake who racing onto the through ball chipped past Westwood to score his first goal since March 2008 and his first in 25 league and cup games for the Clarets.
The ecstatic Clarets fans had hardly got over cheering that goal when we found ourselves 3-1 up two minutes later.
Chris Eagles got in spectacular strike from 25 yards out with the ball sailing high into the net to make it a perfect night for the Clarets
Bring on Charlton with Clarets fans this morning pinching themselves as they continue to look at the league table. Yep, we are definitely 6th!!
Coventry: Westwood, Osbourne, Ward, Dann, Fox, Tabb (Simpson 40), Gunnarsson, Doyle (Beuzelin 74), Mifsud, Best (Morrison 66), Eastwood.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Hall.
Booked: Osbourne, Simpson, Beuzelin.
Goals: Ward 40 pen.
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Elliott, Gudjonsson (Eagles 71), Alexander, McCann (Blake 79), Paterson, Thompson (Rodriguez 84).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Van der Schaaf.
Booked: Duff, Paterson, Kalvenes.
Goals: Duff 52, Blake 88, Eagles 90.
Ref: Mike Thorpe (Suffolk).