Burnley Go Fourth in the Fog
Saturday 29th November 2008 @ 3pm KO
The Clarets comprehensively beat Derby County at a fog-bound Turf Moor yesterday to go fourth in the table thanks to a second brace in two games for Paterson and a goal by Kevin McDonald, his first for the club.
All three goals came in the stunning first 23 minute spell of the game, when Burnley were simply breathtaking.
The Rams looked more Ram-shackled by the end of that spell and they had no answer really in the rest of the match.
The 3-0 defeat of the Rams should probably have been and could have been more if the Clarets had not taken their foot off the gas in the second half. Perhaps with the match already won, they had designs on keeping some stamina in reserve for the Arsenal game at Turf Moor in the Carling Cup quarter final this Tuesday night. As the foggy mists swirled in over Turf Moor in the second half, there was always the thought at the back of the mind that the Referee could abandon the game but the fog never got dense enough for that and with the Clarets already 3-0 up it would have been injustice if the game had to be replayed.
Coyle decided to change the sixteen round quite a bit for the start of the game. Gudjonsson was dropped to the bench after some indifferent games giving the chance for Kevin McDonald to make a starting eleven appearance.
Paterson as expected after his brace against Barnsley in the last match was selected in preference to Steve Thompson, who after returning from a one-match suspension found himself on the bench. Coyle was clearly therefore not tempted to play both in a strike pairing upfront as I had hoped. Mind you after the first 23 minutes, what do I know?
Wade Elliott was not named in the sixteen and for the second time in five days missed out due to injury (groin strain). Both Duff and Alexander were in the starting eleven as Coyle reverted back to the 4-1-4-1 formation in preference to the 4-4-2 recently forced upon him due to injuries and suspensions in the back four.
With Alexander taking up the holding midfielder role in front of the back four we therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, McCann, Blake, Paterson
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, Mahon, Akinbiyi, Thompson
The Clarets started the brighter. After 4 minutes Paterson put his shot wide after picking up the ball in the box following a drive by Blake.
Only two minutes later though and we were ahead. A half-cleared corner found the head of Caldwell. The ball went straight into the path of McDonald who let rip with a half-volley giving Rams goalkeeper, Carroll no chance with the ball whizzing past the stunned keeper into the net to put Burnley 1-0 up.
The Rams were looking like their horns had been blunted again after 10 minutes when Eagles tried a little bit of deft footwork coming close to scoring with his flicked kick.
After 14 minutes though the Clarets fans were applauding our second goal with the shell-shocked visitors wondering what had hit them.
Michael Duff started the move with a throw in with the build up involving some nice play between McDonald, Eagles and Blake before Paterson finished off to score his third goal in two consecutive games.
Derby County had hardly mustered an attack and were continuously on the back foot defending strike after strike by the Clarets although they did have a half chance on 20 minutes when loan debutant, Luke Varney shot wide of target.
Two minutes later though and we were 3-0 up after Eagles got in a brilliant cross into the six yard box to find that man Paterson again who slid the ball into the net to score his fourth goal in two games and his second brace.
The Clarets by now were on fire and no doubt Clarets fans were expecting more goals and a right tonking of the Rams at this stage. A Blake free-kick on 24 minutes checked the alertness of Carroll with Clarets fans at this stage predicting a riot.
Derby nearly added to their woes by scoring an own goal after Powell got a wicked deflection which sailed over the Rams goal. Burnley were unable to make it four though as the whistle went for the end of the first half.
No changes to the Burnley team for the start of the second-half. The descending fog ensured we would have to play with an orange ball now and Clarets fans quickly had chance to see it hit the side netting following a valiant attempt by Eagles after being put through by McDonald.
As often is the case though in these matches the side ahead by this margin in such emphatic manner, often take their foot off the gas and this would be our fate for the rest of the afternoon simply handling anything Derby chucked at us, which was wasn`t much and cruising in the end to an easy victory. Why bust a gut, risk injury or suspension and use up all the stamina with important games coming up, not least of which is Arsenal in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night?
Derby did have a few periods in the second half when they could have got at least a consolation goal but they either fluffed their attempts or the Clarets defence held firm.
After 60 minutes Miles Addison shot from 20 yards out but it hit the outside of the post and you could sense this wasn`t going to be a Derby Day!
Robbie Blake brought out a superb save from Carroll from a free-kick on 63 minutes and the Rams keeper had to collect the ball at the second attempt.
Derby kept trying to get back into the game hoping to take some pride back to their park!
In what was probably Derby`s best chance all afternoon, Addison on 70 minutes looped the ball but it could only find the top of the Burnley net as another chance went begging for the de-horned Rams.
Rams left-back, Jordan Stewart's tried a shot on 82 minutes but it was too high and the last real action of the day was left to substitute, Steve Thompson who had replaced Eagles after 81 minutes.
Thompson tried a dipping volley shot with two minutes of normal time remaining but the ball was just wide and that was it really. A solid, impressive performance by the Clarets setting us up well for the Arsenal challenge on Tuesday night and our next game away to 5th placed Sheffield United this Saturday.
We will leave the last words to Owen Coyle who said in his post-match interview:
"We have been in terrific form at home and in the opening period of the game our energy and movement meant we had four or five options. We looked a young, vibrant team, full of energy. It was important we went into the Arsenal game on a positive note and this sets us up in a nice position in the Championship.'
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, McDonald, McCann, Eagles (Thompson 81), Paterson (Gudjonsson 86), Blake (Mahon 76).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Akinbiyi.
Goals: McDonald 6, Paterson 15, 23.
Derby: Carroll, Connolly, Powell, Stewart, Addison, Kazmierczak, Tomkins, Green, Commons (Ellington 46), Hulse, Varney.
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Villa, Nyatanga, Barazite.
Booked: Green, Kazmierczak, Hulse.
Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset)
However, to my mind though the most impressive player on the pitch was Kevin McDonald. A joy to watch in midfield and he scored an excellent goal. On this performance he should have earned a more regular place in the starting eleven but with Elliott soon to be returning from injury the competition for places in midfield is really beginning to hot up. Gudjonsson must be rueing hitting a bad patch! There is little room for a bad game these days let alone an injury or suspension, so hot is the competition, especially in midfield. Bes Berisha returns from loan soon too!
Anyway well done to Kevin let`s hope he can keep his place and that he continues to play like he did yesterday. He looks lively and yesterday influenced the game in many ways. A really good entertaining attacking midfielder.
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