Another Capitol Win for Clarets
15th November 2008 @ 3pm KO
Burnley flush with success after beating the Nation`s top football club in London on Wednesday night had enjoyed a few days well earned rest down South before yesterday travelling a few miles across West London to face Chelsea`s neighbours, Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
The match against the Rs might not have been surrounded by all the glamour and media attention of playing and beating Chelsea but the outcome of this game would be far more important in the long term if the Clarets were to maintain a Top 6 spot and their push for promotion this season.
Owen Coyle was concerned that this match could be an anti-climax as did many Clarets fans. The expression 'After the Lord Mayor`s Show" was coined by Coyle in a pre-match interview and echoed by the fans.
We need not have worried, the Clarets put in yet another splendid performance coming back from a goal down after 14 minutes to defeat QPR 2-1 with a goal from Blake in the first half followed by the winner from substitute, Alan Mahon in the second.
At the start of this match, QPR were just one point behind the Clarets in 7th place hoping to climb above Burnley in 5th place. The victory now sees some clear blue water open up between the two clubs with the Clarets now 4th on 29 points with hopefully a relatively easy three points to come in our next match against bottom club Doncaster Rovers next Saturday at Turf Moor.
What a week it has been! In the space of a few days we have beaten the millionaire darlings of the Premier League and now supposedly the richest club in the UK!
Owen Coyle stuck by Ade Akinbiyi and Alan Mahon, naming them on the bench after their performance against Chelsea in midweek. Steve Thompson, cup tied against Chelsea returned to the starting eleven for this match so Martin Paterson found himself once more on the bench (so hot is the competition for places this season) and poor Jay Rodriguez was unfortunate to be the one to miss out completely.
Hero and penalty shoot-out saviour against Chelsea, Brian Jensen was about to make his 200th appearance for the Clarets in all competitions.
Kalvenes however was still ruled out with a persistent leg injury and Steven Caldwell had to sit out a one match ban after picking up a second yellow and being sent off late in extra time against Chelsea.
Clarke Carlisle however stepped into Caldwell`s shoes, himself returning after his one match ban against the Blues.
The unavailability of Kalvenes and Caldwell however meant that once more, Coyle had no option but to play 4-4-2 instead of 4-1-4-1 although maybe the 4-4-2 formation is now proving just as successful for the Clarets based on recent results. Graham Alexander was named captain for this game as the Clarets lined up as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Thompson.
Subs: Penny, K McDonald, Akinbiyi, Paterson, Mahon
The Clarets won this battle 4-2 last season coming back from 2 goals down with Andrew Cole scoring that memorable hat-trick and linking up superbly with Ade Akinbiyi who also scored.
Could we win here yet again bearing in mind Loftus Road has been quite a happy hunting ground in recent seasons?
We would soon find out.
Referee Keith Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire) got the match underway with the Clarets playing in their away kit and facing a 4-4-2 QPR line up with the dangerous Lee Cook chomping at the bit.
The Clarets were first out of the blocks though and Peter Ramage was booked in the first minute after hacking Chris Eagles to the ground. Clarke Carlisle soon found he had to change his blood stained shirt after a cut nose he suffered in the Wolves game opened up again.
In the first 10 minutes, it was the Clarets who were the more dominant side and they played some attractive football during this spell dispelling any concerns that the team could be jaded after the euphoria of Chelsea.
It was disappointing therefore that QPR took the lead on 14 minutes after they suddenly found their feet.
An attack down the right flank led to the ball being fed inside to Dexter Blackstock.
Jensen desperately diving to the bottom corner could not prevent Blackstock`s curling shot crossing the line and giving QPR first blood.
Buoyed by their lead, it was now QPR who began to turn the screw in probably their best spell of the game as the corner count mounted with Clarke Carlisle twice having to head over the Burnley goal. Jensen also saved well from Tommasi, getting a glove to the Italian midfielder`s header.
Burnley`s resilience however and determination to equalise began to take hold though with Chris Eagles in particular hungry on the ball. Wade Elliott though seemed to have trouble keeping his footing, slipping around all over the place as his choice of footwear became suspect.
McCann linked well with Blake with a quarter of the match played after charging down the middle of the park. The one-two with Blake nearly came off as he headed towards goal but he was denied by a last gasp tackle.
However, with 34 minutes on the clock, the Clarets got their deserved equaliser in classic Blake fashion!
Robbie Blake looked ready to pounce on the edge of the box, and pounce he did after Gudjonsson spotted him there and threaded the ball to him. In characteristic fashion, he collected the ball, spun and wellied the ball into the top left hand corner of the net with Cerny wondering what had happened.
The Clarets now began to turn up the heat in the last few minutes of the half. In the 40th minute after a sequence of neat passing, Eagles tried a shot from 30 yards and was just inches too high.
A few seconds later and Blake found McCann who let rip only to be denied by Cerny's gloves.
QPR caretaker Gareth Ainsworth might have been the happier of the two managers at half time purely because they somehow survived the Clarets late onslaught but the game was now very much even Stevens with all to play for in the second half.
The Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half, for the umpteenth time this season and it was perhaps a testament to how well Eagles was playing that QPR made one change for the start with Connolly being replaced by Delaney.
Once more Burnley set off the brighter of the two teams and within the first minute of the second half, McCann in the six yard box was denied a scoring opportunity after a desperate last-ditch tackle by the QPR defence. Eagles curled shot on goal was then only a hair`s breadth away.
With Burnley maintaining the pressure, some nice link play between Alexander and Elliott in the 50th minute released the winger for a charge on goal. Cerny however parried his shot away.
Something then seemed to motivate QPR into action with the Clarets suddenly having to withstand some pressure at the other end for the first time in the second half.
Blackstock got the better of Carlisle and has the Clarets defender tried to recover the situation, strong appeals for a penalty were turned away by the referee after Blackstock tumbled to the ground in the area.
Jensen then made a great save to deny Di Carmine after running out from his goal with QPR on the rampage.
Bad luck hit the Clarets in the 56th minute with Chris Eagles going down after making a challenge in his own area. He had to be stretchered off with Clarets fans hoping against hope this wasn`t going to be yet another season long injury. Thankfully after match reports confirmed he had only twisted his ankle and not as Owen Coyle first feared picked up a serious hamstring injury.
Alan Mahon came on to replace Eagles and was soon to be the hero of the afternoon.
With 60 minutes played, Alexander linked with Elliott to find Blake on the right wing who crossed over to the far side of the area. Mahon picked up the dropping ball to score with a superb left foot shot and put the Clarets 2-1 up to produce yet another great comeback!
Blackstock tried to get QPR back into the game on 70 minutes but his header was just off target.
The game was now being played at breakneck pace with end to end football. Blake got in a thunderous shot from a tight angle but Cerny saved at his near post. That was more or less Blake`s last action of the match and on 79 minutes he got a standing ovation with McDonald coming on to replace him.
Five minutes later and Coyle brought on more fresh legs, with goal scoring hero of Wednesday night, Ade Akinbiyi coming on to replace Thompson shortly after Gudjonsson was denied by another Cerny save.
Could we hold on now as the minutes took ages to tick away? Well the Clarets fans nerves were still jangling after the fourth official announced five minutes of stoppage time.
There was just time for Brian Jensen, to cap an excellent 200th appearance with yet another superb save, his best of the afternoon. Substitute QPR striker, Patrick Agyemang must have thought he had saved the Rs day after unleashing a shot from 18 yards out. Jensen however somehow got to it and turned the ball over much to the relief of the Clarets faithful.
At long last the final whistle went to cap a great week for the Clarets and secure our second win against QPR at Loftus Road for the second season running.
QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Hall, Connolly (Delaney 46), Ephraim (Agyemang 63), Rowlands, Tommasi (Mahon 53), Cook, Blackstock, Di Carmine.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Ledesma.
Goals: Blackstock 14.
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Carlisle, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Gudjonsson, Eagles (Mahon 56), Blake(McDonald 79), Thompson (Akinbiyi 84).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Paterson.
Booked: Gudjonsson, Jordan, McDonald.
Goals: Blake 34, Mahon 60.
Ref: Keith Woolmer
So who do we give our Star Player award to?
Go on Alan you get it, we haven`t been able to put your photograph up in some time!