FA Cup Victory but at What Cost?
Tuesday 13th January 2009 @7:45pm KO
The Clarets left it late to defeat QPR 2-1 in the FA Cup 3rd Round replay at Turf Moor last night. QPR took the lead after Di Carmine scored on 54 minutes but the Clarets quickly equalised six minutes later thanks to a Thompson goal. The game entered extra time and with one minute remaining Jay Rodriguez scored to ensure the Clarets had their first win of the year following a poor run of form that had seen them go five games without a win in all competitions over the festive season.
The victory however means we now face West Brom at the Hawthorns in the FA Cup 4th Round on Saturday, 24 January after the Baggies beat Peterborough 2-0 in their third round replay at London Road. Not a particularly inspiring tie and yet another game to play in January. I don`t even get my wish of a local game against Posh (I live in Cambridgeshire!). Oh well, I just hope all these games don`t take their toll on our promotion hopes with the next game a crucial six-pointer against local rivals, Preston at Deepdale this Saturday. At least we now face them knowing we have our first win of 2009 under our belt and hopefully confidence will now be restored.
There was some bad news on the injury front though that could affect our chances against Preston. Owen Coyle had intended to play Paterson upfront with Thompson last night and he was named in the starting eleven. Our top goal scorer with 15 goals this season however picked up a leg injury during the warm-up session and had to be replaced by Robbie Blake. Adam Kay was therefore drafted onto the bench replacing Blake. During the match the injury concerns grew with Chris McCann limping off after 19 minutes to be replaced by Alan Mahon. Let`s hope both recover in time for the Derby on Saturday.
With Duff suspended following a straight red-card against Swansea last Saturday, it was no surprise to see Clarke Carlisle return to the centre of defence partnering the skipper, Steven Caldwell. The full line up was as follows:
Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann Gudjonsson, Eagles, Blake, Thompson.
Subs: Penny, Kalvenes, Kay, Mahon, MacDonald, Rodriguez, Akinbiyi
As the game got underway, both sides struggled for dominance and although both sides had lots of possession there was little effort on goal during the first 15 minutes. QPR threatened on 15 minutes with Ledesma racing through on goal before Caldwell got in front of the forward to snuff out the danger.
A shot from distance by Gudjonsson in typical style could only find its way over the cross bar and our first real chance on target came from substitute, Mahon after a sweet pass by Blake. Cerny though was equal to his shot smothering the ball with ease.
Both sides continued to have possession in the first half without really exciting the crowd before Blake in injury time tried a shot from distance that was well-saved by Rs keeper, Cerny. 0-0 though at half-time with both teams wondering if they were ever going to break the deadlock.
No changes to either side for the start of the second half and three minutes into the half, former Rs player, Carlisle came close to scoring against his former club but his header was just wide. Against the run of play though, it was QPR who took the lead after 54 minutes. Mahon slipped in midfield allowing Di Carmine to pounce slotting home his shot under Jensen. The woodwork then saved Burnley from going further behind two minutes later after yet another slip, this time by Elliott. Rowlands set up a one two with Di Carmine before his shot rattled the crossbar.
The Clarets though undaunted got back into the game on the hour mark and equalised after a shot by Gudjonsson was blocked on the line. The ball fell to Thompson, who skipping past a defender shot on target to see the ball go over the line via the underside of the bar. 1-1 and game on!
More disaster for the Clarets then struck after 66 minutes when Caldwell picked up his fifth yellow of the season after a foul on Di Carmine. This ensures he will now miss the Carling Cup second leg tie against Spurs at Turf Moor just like he did for the first leg at White Hart Lane following his two match automatic ban for a red card against Doncaster. Oh bloody great! Like I say, we won this match but at what cost?
A strong header from Thompson from 12 yards on 70 minutes was just wide of target whizzing past the far post. Two minutes later and for Rs fans it was a good job that Cerny got a hand to a Mahon` cross with Thompson on the prowl.
The Clarets were now looking the more confident and the most likely to get the winner but with four minutes remaining, Rowlands found a gap in our defence and chasing towards goal should have done better with his shot but fired over much to the relief of Clarets fans.
In injury time now and Eagles must have thought he had got the winner after getting the ball in the net but he was judged to be offside so extra time it was!
Substitute Alex MacDonald on 97 minutes picked up the ball on the wing and got the better of the full back before shooting straight at Cerny.
Now it was the turn of QPR to get an offside decision with the ball in the back of the net after 102 minutes. A very late flag was raised to deny a furious Rowlands.
Both sides continued to have chances. Eagles had a shot that flew over the bar and then Jensen somehow kept out a deflected shot after 113 minutes of play.
It was left to Rodriguez though with his family watching, to get the all important winner in the dying moments of extra time. The young striker stole the ball off Stewart and running towards the box beat Cerny putting the ball just inside the post.
A victory yes and maybe the FA Cup will be the only chance of winning a cup this season after the mountain we have to climb in the Carling Cup second leg against Spurs next week. However, we will now have played eight games this month come the end of January and in last night`s match with Duff already suspended now have Caldwell missing a game after picking up a fifth yellow. Elliott will also miss the Preston derby after he too picked up a fifth yellow against Swansea.
On top of that there are worrying injuries to Paterson and McCann! So at what cost have we won? A victory at Preston this Saturday will be the only way of dispelling some of the fears.
This fixture certainly did not enthuse the fans with only 3,760 bothering to turn up which tells its own story and I suspect the Clarets fans will not relish a trip to the Hawthorns either in yet another dull tie
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Elliott, McCann (Mahon 20), Gudjonsson (MacDonald 84), Eagles, Blake (Rodriguez 69), Thompson.
Subs Not Used: Penny, Kalvenes, Akinbiyi, Kay.
Booked: Caldwell, Mahon.
Goals: Thompson 60, Rodriguez 120.
QPR: Cerny, Hall, Stewart, Gorkss, Delaney, Alberti, Leigertwood, Mahon (Rose 79), Rowlands, Ledesma (Ephraim 55), Di Carmine (Helguson 85).
Subs Not Used: Borrowdale, Crowther, Connolly, Ramage.
Booked: Delaney, Alberti.
Goals: Di Carmine 54.
Ref: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear).