Clarets Heads Still High at Hawthorns
Saturday 24th January 2009 @ 3pmKO
If there were any fears that the highs and lows of Wednesday night last week in the Carling Cup semi against Spurs would take their mental and physical toll on the team, they were all soon dispelled as the FA Cup match against WBA at the Hawthorns yesterday got underway. In our 10th cup game of the season so far,the Clarets battled and battled, took the lead, lost the lead, went behind and battled back again at the death to earn a replay at Turf Moor with the match ending 2-2.
It was a mixture of luck for the Clarets after a dubious penalty decision for once went our way when Blake was judged to be fouled in the box and Alexander made no mistake from the spot. Robert Koren equalised thumping home a 25-yard volley before a wicked deflection from a Kim free kick gave the Baggies the lead seconds before the referee blew his whistle for the end of the first half.
What was hard to take about that second goal was the fact that somehow we had played four minutes of added time when only two had been announced.
The next goal in the second half would be crucial now. If the Baggies scored it was probably bye bye to the FA Cup for the Clarets and we would be out of two domestic cup competitions within four days. If the Clarets scored it was game on.
The Clarets in the second half were quite frankly amazing, showing no ill effects at all from Wednesday night. They took the game to West Brom and had most of the possession. Owen Coyle also showed his aggressive positivity by making some inspired substitutions to get that equaliser. At one point we even sacrificed one of the back four to play 3:4:3 after Jay Rodriguez came on to replace Kalvenes with just four minutes of the game remaining.
This brave Burnley side just never know when to give up and they were rewarded with just one minute of normal time to play. Elliott running at the West Brom defence got in a low cross to find Paterson who slotted home.
Well we now have another game to play a week on Tuesday and although we probably needed that like a hole in the head it would have been criminal if we came away from the Hawthorns without anything. I was very proud of the lads despite the pain of Wednesday night still throbbing like hell.
Let`s not forget what we achieved yesterday. WBA are yet another Premier League side and although struggling at the foot of the table have been on form recently scoring five goals and conceding none in their last two games. We very rarely come away with anything from the Hawthorns so this was something special to celebrate after the terrible disappointment of Wednesday night.
Now all we have to do is carry that performance through to Tuesday night when we face Watford at Vicarage Road. A victory will be crucial to getting our promotion aims back on track and could see us return to our rightful place in the Top 6.
The Clarets put out a fairly predictable side yesterday. Kalvenes as expected replaced Jordan sidelined after picking up a suspected twisted medial ligament in his knee during the Spurs game.
Steven Caldwell returned after his one-match suspension for a fifth yellow and partnered Carlisle in the centre of defence allowing Alexander to play in the holding midfield role with Duff at right back.
Steven Thompson was available after being cup tied in midweek but had to be content with a place on the bench with Robbie Blake, the star of Wednesday night rightfully getting a starting eleven place.
The 4-1-4-1 formation meant we had to sacrifice one of the midfielders and Gudjonsson got the short straw having to be content with a place on the bench although it was intimated he might have picked up a niggle in the Spurs battle.
Wade Elliott also found himself playing inside midfield rather than on the wing, a position they have a tried a few times recently.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Duff, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McCann, Elliott, Blake, Paterson.
Subs: Penny, McDonald, Gudjonsson, Mahon, Rodriguez, MacDonald, Thompson
Referee, Mike Dean (Wirral) was in charge of this game. Clarets fans might remember he was the referee in change of the FA Cup game against Blackburn Rovers a few seasons back.
Both teams looked lively at the start of this match, a shot by Eagles in the early stages was put wide and then Jensen saved well from Bednar at his near post.
Chris McCann in the 12th minute came close to scoring but just failed to get a foot on the ball from eight yards out after some nice work from Elliott on the break had set up Paterson who got in a low cross.
Twelve minutes later though and we got the lead in somewhat dubious circumstances. The referee blew for a penalty after Greening was judged to have fouled Blake.
The decision could have gone either way with Blake looking like he may simply have fallen over what looked like a rather clumsy challenge. Nevertheless it`s about time one of these decisions went our way and Alexander made no mistake from the penalty spot to put the Clarets 1-0 up.
Some pressure from West Brom led to an equaliser seven minutes later after a succession of corners. From their third corner of this period, Koran got hold of an half-cleared ball and let rip from 25 yards out giving Jensen no chance.
Undeterred the Clarets immediately looked to go ahead again and Blake then rattled the underside of the crossbar after a pin-point accurate pass by Duff had found Paterson. Paterson had got the better of the last man to pull the ball back across the goal only for Blake to hit the woodwork.
The Clarets were now in the ascendency with Paterson in particular giving the Baggies defence a major headache.
In one of his attacks, Paterson was brought down on the edge of the penalty area and from an Eagles free-kick, Carson spilled the ball which fell nicely to Paterson to shoot just wide.
The game now entered added time which was supposed to be just two minutes. Three minutes played and the referee awarded a free kick to the Baggies after a foul by Caldwell on Kim. Surely there wouldn`t be time for the Baggies to take the free-kick? Oh but there was and from 25 yards out Kim thumped the ball into the back of the net via a cruel deflection that completely bamboozled Jensen who was on his way to the opposite corner.
A cruel blow as Lady Luck once more deserted the Clarets.
How would the Clarets react now? Once more they would have to pick themselves up. Conceding just before the whistle blew, a whistle that should have blown two minutes before the free kick was awarded was going to hurt like hell!
Neither side made any changes for the start of the second half and it was almost game over immediately for the Clarets.
Jay Simpson, the Baggies striker on loan from Arsenal got in a shot that was just inches wide of the angle following a mazy, weaving run. With WBA looking to kill the game off now, the Clarets were under considerable pressure and we were extremely fortunate not to go further behind in the 55th minute.
A ball over the top was picked up by Bednar who got the better of Duff and then got round Jensen with an open goal in front of him. His shot though thankfully hit the foot of the post and that bit of good fortune seemed to spur the Clarets on after riding the early storm.
Chris Eagles though looked the most affected by the exploits on Wednesday night in the Carling Cup and it was no surprise when the jaded, tired-looking player was substituted on the hour mark. Joey Gudjonsson duly came on with Wade Elliott then moving into his more familiar role out wide.
Six minutes later and Owen Coyle decided to strengthen the attack. He brought on an attacker at the expense of a defender with Thompson replacing Duff. The substitution necessitated a change in formation to 4-4-2 with Alexander now in the right back position.
Both sides were now putting on an entertaining game of passing football and the Baggies always looked a danger but on 72 minutes, the Clarets nearly got back into the game. Carson though somehow saved a point-blank header by Thompson after a superb cross by Blake.
It was the Clarets now in full throttle and five minutes later, McCann on a great run found Elliott who with just Carson to beat could only shoot across goal with the equaliser looking a certainty.
An angled drive by Paterson was then saved well by Carson as the Clarets turned up the heat.
With just four minutes to go, it was time for Coyle to go for broke and replace yet another defender with an attacker. Jay Rodriguez coming on for Kalvenes required yet another formation change to an amazing 3:4:3. Would Coyle`s positivity and attacking formation win the day or would it give West Brom the ideal chance to extend their lead on the break?
The 2000 plus Clarets fans who made the journey to the Midlands would get their answer with just one minute of the match remaining and they would be cheering from the rafters.
A fantastic cross by Elliott found Paterson who duly scored to ensure we remained in the FA Cup and had another chance to progress to the 5th round a week on Tuesday, this time via a replay at Turf Moor.
So the Clarets are still in the hat in tonight`s draw and Vital Burnley will bring you details of who we could be playing as soon as possible after our ball comes out.
West Brom: Carson, Hoefkens, Pele, Donk (Zuiverloon 72), Robinson, Kim, Greening (Borja Valero 40), Filipe Teixeira (Brunt 71), Koren, Simpson, Bednar.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Cech, Dorrans, Fortune.
Goals: Koren 31, Kim 45.
Burnley: Jensen, Duff (Thompson 66), Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes (Rodriguez 86), Elliott, Alexander, McCann, Eagles (Gudjonsson 60), Blake, Paterson.
Subs Not Used: Penny, McDonald, Mahon, MacDonald.
Goals: Alexander 25 pen, Paterson 89.
Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).