Walking in Deadman`s Shoes
8th November 2008 @ 3pm KO
Burnley make no mistake were thoroughly outplayed in this game and Clarets fans could have no complaints about the result after the 2-0 defeat by Wolves at Molineux.
England Under-21 international, Michael Kightly was the man who did the damage getting a brace of goals. Not bad for someone who until recently was plying his trade with non-league side, Grays Athletic.
The only complaint the Clarets could have was against the Cambridgeshire referee, Darren Deadman. Clarets fans will remember this referee gave Ipswich a controversial penalty against the Clarets a few seasons back, his only game so far involving the Clarets. What could he do this time to rile the Clarets faithful?
How about 6 yellow cards and one sending off for a second yellow? That was just for the Clarets alone so how many did the fair referee give Wolves? Er..none!!
What is also so annoying is that a lot of the bookings were harsh at most if not downright outrageous and they could have significant implications for the club. We will now pick up an automatic fine for having so many bookings in one match (adding to our poor disciplinary record and warning from last season) and it means that Clarke Carlisle the unfortunate player to be sent off yesterday will now miss the dream tie against Chelsea on Wednesday night.
I suppose it`s just as well he will miss that match rather than a League game since let`s face it the chances of beating Chelsea will be slim anyway and our League games are far more important to the club if we are to maintain our challenge for promotion.
We can be comforted by one thing, at least there is no shame in being beaten by the rampant league leaders and despite only our second defeat in 16 games, we are still in the Top Six and have dropped only one place to 5th.
The Clarets have had their best start to a season since 2001-2 and despite yesterday`s defeat when we clearly had an off-day, the 'New Dawn' dream continues.
Before the match, there were concerns that a bug doing the rounds at Turf Moor could sideline Clarke Carlisle and also Remco Van der Schaaf and youngster, Alex MacDonald all suffering from a virus that recently laid low, Blake and Duff. Remco and Alex would probably not have featured anyway but there was particular concern about Carlisle considering that another of our back four players, Christian Kalvenes would definitely be unavailable due to a leg injury.
We need not have worried with Carlisle proclaimed to be fit and in the starting eleven. Indeed, Owen Coyle was able to name the same starting eleven and sixteen he selected for the recent match against Norwich so we lined up as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Thompson
Subs: Penny, McDonald, Paterson, Rodriguez, Duff
Surprisingly maybe, Coyle chose to remain with the 4-4-2 formation and resisted the temptation with Duff available to revert back to our recently successful 4-1-4-1 with Alexander in the holding midfield role instead of right back. I sense the problem now is accommodating the midfielders especially Eagle and Blake in 4-1-4-1.
Who do you drop bearing in mind Elliott,McCann and Gudjonsson have also been playing well recently? In hindsight since the latter two had an off day yesterday, we might have been better with 4-1-4-1 but even though the option was available to Coyle throughout this match we stuck with 4-4-2.
Molineux has been a bogey ground over the years with Wolves winning 39 times against our 11.We have however won two games at Molineux in the last three seasons, both of them televised. Clarets fans could perhaps be forgiven therefore for wishing this match had been televised, it might have been a good omen against a side that has won six games at home this season and only lost one against high-flying Reading. It wasn`t to be though as the bogey curse returned with the aptly named Deadman, the chief bogey man at the helm.
The Clarets fans though were certainly there in numbers and making themselves heard. There were probably over 1500 Clarets fans that had made the journey to the West Midlands and they were determined to be the loudest contingent in the crowd of 23,711 football supporters.
What a pity we couldn`t get some reward for the effort.
It would never be easy though against a team that contained the twin strike threat of Iwelumo and Ebanks-Blake and the impressive, Kightly. Sam Vokes was also on the bench just to rub it in. Chelsea loan defender, Mancienne who made his Wolves debut last week, would also show his class in this match and he can`t even get into the Blues side which adds to our concerns when we face Chelsea in the Carling Cup this Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge.
The main injury worry for Wolves would be their gaffer, Mick McCarthy who having just had bone fragments removed from his foot was hobbling around on crutches. Clarets fans may have hoped that the normally active and demonstrative manager in the technical area might not have been able to gee up his players to the same extent, but that didn`t work either!
The Clarets were under the cosh as soon as the game started in what seemed an endless charge by Wolves with the Clarets unable to get out of their half. There must have been 8 corners or more against us in the first 25 minutes of the game as Wolves piled on the pressure. They thoroughly deserved their lead on 31 minutes when danger man and England Under-21 international, Michael Kightly got his first when he made no mistake with his second attempt after his first shot had rebounded back off the post. The Clarets protested to the referee that the linesman had his flag raised, but their joy was short-lived when the ref went over to the linesman! He booked Jensen instead and the goal stood.
Blake was playing deep behind Thompson but to be honest it didn`t matter with our central midfield failing to turn up and the Clarets pinned back. Gudjonsson and McCann hardly featured in the first half, Eagles seemed subdued by his standards and only Elliott looked to have some fight in him against Wolves temporary left back and weakest link, Ward.
It was a relief when the referee blew the whistle for the end of the half with the Clarets somehow only 1-0 down at half-time. It was time to regroup and time for Coyle to have some strong words with the lads in the dressing room.
Coyle resisted making any changes for the start of the second half, a ploy he seems to continually choose no matter how well we have played in the first half. The team talk at half time though must have worked with the Clarets suddenly looking much brighter and at long last showing Wolves fans that we did merit being in 4th place after all.
Finally Chris Eagles began to demonstrate some of the class he has shown in recent games and in just under three minutes of the restart, after cutting inside he brought out the first save of the afternoon by Wolves keeper, Ikeme who grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
The game was far more even now and Coyle took the opportunity to freshen up the side by bringing on Jay Rodriguez to replace Thompson after 63 minutes. This may have surprised Martin Paterson sitting on the bench, concerned about the pecking order in attack but it didn`t take long for him to also come on, replacing Blake four minutes later.
Jensen the hero against Reading at Turf Moor recently, pulled off another great save to keep us in the game. He made a superb one-handed save to deny Iwelumo after the striker got in a header from point-blank range.
The next goal though would be crucial and sadly for the Clarets it would be Wolves who scored it after once more we lost possession and conceded a goal on the break. How many times has that happened to us this season?
Stephen Jordan was at fault this time in the centre circle. He should have made contact the first time and keep the pressure on but he allowed the ball to bounce giving Kightly the chance to pounce and release Ebanks-Blake. He returned the favour with a sweet cross to Kightly who gave Jensen no chance scoring his brace and putting the game beyond the reach of the Clarets with just 15 minutes of play remaining.
A miserable afternoon for the Clarets and a black day in the Black Country was sealed with the sending off of Clarke Carlisle on 80 minutes, picking up his second yellow for a foul on Ebanks-Blake. With an incredible five minutes of added time to be played, there was also still time for another booking, the Clarets sixth yellow card ensuring that automatic fine.
Kevin McDonald, who had replaced Gudjonsson after 74 minutes, picked up a booking in the dying seconds of the game to add to our woes.
So Chelsea next up this Wednesday night at Stamford Bridge in the carling Cup and if we are to win against all the odds, we will now have to do it without the suspended Carlisle and the cup-tied Thompson.
Wolverhampton: Ikeme, Foley, Stearman, Mancienne, Ward, Kightly, Henry, Jones, Carlos Edwards (David Edwards 84), Iwelumo (Keogh 78), Ebanks-Blake (Vokes 87).
Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Collins.
Goals: Kightly 31, 75.
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, Gudjonsson (McDonald 74), McCann, Eagles, Blake (Paterson 67), Thompson (Rodriguez 63).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Duff.
Sent Off: Carlisle (80).
Booked: Jordan, Jensen, Carlisle, Blake, McCann, McDonald.
Ref: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).