Braces, Baggies and Bob`s Underpants
Tuesday 3rd February 2009 @7:45pm KO
The Clarets last night defeated yet another Premier League side in a cup game this season. We can now add the top flight scalp of West Brom to the already impressive list of Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs (second leg) after defeating the Baggies 3-1 in a classic FA Cup encounter at Turf Moor last night in the 4th round replay.
The prize could be a tasty trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the 5th round if the Gunners can despatch Cardiff City at home in their rearranged 4th round replay on Monday 16th February.
This was a thriller of a match for the neutrals with both sides putting on a great display of football and in the end the Clarets thoroughly deserved their victory. A stunning volley by Elliott late into added time of the first half ensured the Clarets would be leading 1-0 at half-time. A superb cross by Kalvenes for Thompson to score his first of the night with the second half just seven minutes old put the Clarets 2-0 up before the Baggies got a goal back on the hour mark. West Brom had fire in their bellies after that goal, trying desperately to get the equaliser but the Clarets defence held firm. In the last five minutes of the game the Clarets goal was being bombarded but somewhat against the run of play, our master magician, Robbie Blake pulled a rabbit out of his red underpants with two minutes to play. He brilliantly set up Thompson in the six-yard box to tap in his second goal of the night to ensure that the Clarets came out worthy 3-1 winners.
The Thompson brace was his second in four days having put two goals past Charlton last Saturday and it took his goal tally to nine for the season (8 for the Clarets and one with Cardiff). Not bad for a striker that recently admitted in a press interview that he didn`t consider himself and out-and-out goal scorer!
With new loan Rhys Williams not eligible for this Cup game, Owen Coyle opted for a 4-4-2 formation rather than use Alexander in the holding midfield role. This meant that Clarke Carlisle missing from the sixteen last Saturday would have to be content with a place on the bench with Duff partnering Caldwell in central defence.
Stephen Jordan was still sidelined with injury so again Kalvenes would deputise at left back.
Chris Eagles had looked jaded and tired recently and in need of a rest. Missing from the eighteen that`s exactly what Clarets fans thought Coyle had given him until it later transpired that Eagles was suffering from a chest infection. Kevin McDonald therefore got the nod in the starting eleven.
Coyle`s attacking intentions were made plain too with Thompson also in the starting eleven after his brace last Saturday. He partnered Paterson upfront.
We therefore lined up as follows:
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Caldwell, Kalvenes, McDonald, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Carlisle, Mahon, MacDonald, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Rodriguez
West Brom had indicated they would field a weakened side and in many ways with so many injuries were forced to do so. Tony Mowbray made six changes to the side that faced Hull in the Premier League in their last match. However weakened the side might have been, it still looked a strong side with Simpson, Bednar, Fortune and Carson all making the starting eleven. It was perhaps surprising that international keeper, Scott Carson was not one of those rested bearing in mind they have an able deputy in Dean Kiely who has just signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until 2010.
West Brom of course have one eye on Premier League survival but if that was their main focus, it didn`t affect their determination to try and win the FA Cup game last night. All credit to the Baggies for that. Despite their predicament, they have always been an attractive side to watch, weakened side or not.
Clarets fans might remember last night`s Cheshire referee Michael Jones. He once sent off Michael Duff for a second yellow. This was in a game against Stoke at Turf Moor a few seasons ago back in September 2004, a match which ended 2-2.
Hopefully there would be no repeat of that nonsense although Wade Elliott would have to be careful needing just one more booking to reach the dreaded 5 yellows and a one-match ban.
As the match got underway, the Baggies looked impressive during the first 15 minutes although the Clarets had more of the possession. It was West Brom full back, Marek Cech who had the first chance after 11 minutes but he couldn`t keep the ball down from his 25 yard free kick and it sailed over the bar.
Carson couldn`t get to a deflected shot from Blake which went wide of the goal. Caldwell from the resulting corner then put his shot wide.
In end to end stuff, Bednar should have done better with 15 minutes played but he fired across goal.
On 28 minutes, the Clarets were awarded a free kick in Robbie Blake territory, 30 yard out. Blake`s thunderous shot was just too high dipping over the goal. Blake was again in the thick of the action three minutes later, his right foot curling shot put just wide of the far post.
West Brom then lost one of their star players to add to their injury woes. Jay Simpson, on loan from Arsenal hobbled off on 36 minutes to be replaced by former Owls winger, Chris Brunt. Simpson must be fed up of Turf Moor this season; he also played there for Arsenal when we defeated the Gunners 2-0 in the Carling Cup.
In the last five minutes of the first half, West Brom seemed to move up a gear with first Jensen having to make an excellent save from Bednar on 40 minutes turning his shot away for a corner.
Two minutes from the break and Jensen came to the rescue again, getting his feet to a Donk header to save the day.
However in first half injury time, it was the Clarets who took the lead despite the Baggies pressure. Donk attempted to head clear from defence but the ball fell to Elliott who with Carson stranded then struck a sweet superb volley that dipped over the keeper into the left-hand corner of the net from 20 yards out.
So 1-0 Clarets it was at half-time!
No changes by either side for the start of the second half and once more the game continued in as high a tempo as the first half. Early pressure from the Baggies saw Bednar head just wide in the first minute before he then somehow missed the ball with a wide open goal in front of him following a Teixeira pass across the box.
The Clarets though then applied the sucker punch going further ahead on 52 minutes.
Kalvenes with a superb individual effort put over a brilliant cross for Paterson to get in a header that was blocked. The ball though fell to Thompson who made no mistake from close range. 2-0 Clarets!
The Baggies were not done yet though and to their credit pulled a goal back eight minutes later.
A side footed shot by Zuiverloon sailed into the far corner of the net when the defence in the box should have been more decisive and cleared the danger. 2-1 now and game still on with the Baggies tails raised high!
West Brom now looked even more dangerous, putting the Clarets under pressure. First Cech followed by Bednar tried shots which flew over the bar. The Baggies possession looked to be telling and it was a nervy time for Clarets fans.
The Clarets were not going to give up though and they had quite a few chances themselves on the break. Carson saved well from Paterson after he had forced his way into the box to shoot. With 67 minutes played, Blake got on the end of a Paterson back-heeled pass but he could only shoot straight at the keeper.
Two minutes later and Carson nearly ensured it was game over after spilling the ball from a Blake free kick. Paterson picked up the ball and rounded the keeper but couldn`t turn enough to score.
Kevin McDonald had been struggling a little in this match and on occasions couldn`t seem to find his range, Coyle therefore took the opportunity to bring on some fresh legs with Gudjonsson coming on to replace the Scot.
Back came West Brom as this thrilling cup tie entered the final 10 minutes. Jensen saved well, diving at the feet of Zuiverloon, to deny him a brace and the equaliser.
It would be another brace that would seal this match though and this one would ensure it would be the Clarets playing in the FA Cup fifth round. With three minutes on the clock, Blake weaved his magic to find Thompson in the six yard box. His simple, yet delightful tap in made it a special night for Clarets fans who could now celebrate a superb 3-1 victory as they headed home seeking some warmth (that is assuming their inner glow wasn`t enough!)
So the first of a sequence of Midlands`s games was off to a great start and the Clarets will now be hoping to consolidate their recent return to winning ways against Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday in the Championship followed by Wolves at Turf Moor a week later. We also have to play Coventry at Turf Moor soon once we know what date we will face them after the FA Cup confusion and postponements.
The FA Cup though will now be taking over our Wembley dreams again, but can we get past the last sixteen and Arsenal or Cardiff? Bring it on!!
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Duff, Caldwell, Kalvenes, McDonald (Gudjonsson 80), Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson (Rodriguez 90), Thompson (MacDonald 90).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Carlisle, Akinbiyi, Mahon.
Goals: Elliott 45, Thompson 52, 88.
West Brom: Carson, Zuiverloon, Donk, Pele, Cech, Kim, Dorrans, Simpson (Brunt 36), Filipe Teixeira (Hoefkens 57), Fortune, Bednar.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Robinson, Koren, Martis, Morrison.
Goals: Zuiverloon 60.
Ref: Mike Jones (Cheshire).
Yes, indeed a magical night but our Star Player award has to go the best magician on the pitch last night and that has to be once again Robbie Blake who at the moment is probably having his best spell for the Clarets, certainly in his second stint for the club.