Clarets Extract More Wolves Teeth
Saturday 14th February @3pm KO
Burnley put in an excellent, impressive performance against top of the league, Wolves at Turf Moor on Saturday and came away with all three points in a 1-0 victory. The score line however does not do our degree of domination and possession in this game justice and indeed the expression St Valentines Day Massacre would still be both appropriate and not far from the truth. In similar ways to our last match against Birmingham at St Andrews, we could have been 2 or 3 gaols up easily in this match had we taken our chances. This time however, Wolves rarely looked like getting an equaliser with most of their attacks on the break falling down or subject to woeful shooting.
Although we could and should have taken more chances and racked up more goals, the chances of doing that were also ruined by the referee who appeared to have left his contact lenses on the train. He may as well have worn an Old Gold shirt in a performance that was quite frankly one of the worst I have seen at Turf Moor in some time.
The goal by Chris McCann after just six minutes was though thankfully enough in the end to seal victory and take the Clarets up two places in the table to 8th position. We are now still just three points behind local rivals, Preston in 4th place plus a game in hand with Cardiff, Sheffield United and Bristol City also fighting for a play-offs spot in between the two Lancashire teams.
The victory also got us to the psychologically important 50 points, virtually ensuring the club will still be in the Championship this season (although promotion would be the better option!)
This game was the third in a sequence of four consecutive games against Midlands clubs, with the Clarets hoping to now consolidate this successful spell against Coventry at Turf Moor this Tuesday night (17th Feb). Another three points on Tuesday night will ensure an unbeaten run of five games and propel the Clarets into the play-offs positions.
This excellent victory yesterday though ensured that the Wolves went away with their tails between their legs, licking their wounds and wondering how they had now gone nine league games with only one win.
Stephen Jordan although recovering well from his knee injury as expected was not risked so the left back position was once more filled by Christian Kalvenes.
Owen Coyle in fact selected exactly the same sixteen that were named in the last game at Birmingham with the same starting eleven so once more Chris Eagles had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez
So would the Clarets at long last break this winning streak that Wolves have had at Turf Moor these past three seasons with the Old Gold mob getting maximum points?
The answer would be yes, but what a time to do it with the men from Molineux heading up the table.
Northumberland referee, Clive Oliver got the game underway and it was Wolves who started the liveliest.
After four minutes of play, Jensen saved easily from Karl Henry who should have done better with his tame shot.
It didn`t take long after that for the Clarets to take the lead. Wade Elliott got in a brilliant cross to find Chris McCann at the back post who headed home from a few yards to score his 6th goal of the season.
Wolves nearly equalised from a free kick on 21 minutes with Michael Kightly coming close. It was the Clarets though a minute later that nearly doubled their lead but Burnley were denied after Hennessey double-saved first from Caldwell and then Paterson.
With the Clarets now pressing and looking the most likely team to score next, Elliott came close after 30 minutes with a header that went just over the bar following some dazzling magic and a superb cross from Robbie Blake.
Burnley had to be content though with a 1-0 lead at half-time with Clarets fans hoping we wouldn`t rue those missed chances.
No changes for either side as the second half got underway and once more it was the Clarets soon calling the shots with Blake in particular on the left running rings round a ragged Wolves defence.
It was Blake who found Elliott after 55 minutes with a deft reverse ball but Wado could only shoot straight at the Wolves keeper with the ball rebounding to Paterson.
Pato would have been disappointed to see his shot hit the side-netting as Wolves once more could breathe a sigh of relief.
The Clarets tempo at this stage was phenomenal and a minute later Paterson was again in the thick of things in attack. Picking up the ball, he got round the keeper but seemed to push the ball a little too far making a very tight angle for himself as he tried to shoot.
Nevertheless, it was fortunate for Wolves they had a man on the line with Stearman clearing the danger to give the Clarets a corner.
As the ball came over, Foley appeared to grapple with Paterson in the six-yard box and hold back his progress. However not for the first time strong appeals by the Clarets for a penalty were waved away by Mr 'Magoo` Oliver.
Kevin McDonald came on for Kalvenes after 69 minutes and he was quickly into the action after more Blake wizardry set up the Scot with a good shooting opportunity. He maybe should have done better though with the ball sailing over the bar.
McCarthy`s men had one or two chances to give the Clarets fans a few nervy moments and with 12 minutes of play left, Stearman got in a header that was just wide.
Wolves had tried to change things round in attack on the hour mark in an effort to get what would be an undeserved equaliser but the Clarets were equal to it. Championship leading goal scorer, Ebanks-Blake with 20 goals so far this season was snuffed out by the excellent Clarets defence for most of the game and Sam Vokes also had a pretty quiet afternoon before being replaced by the equally ineffective, Chris Iwelumo.
Wolves tried everything they could to get the equaliser in the last few minutes of the game but when you analyse it, they rarely looked dangerous with the defence looking solid and coping well with what little pressure Wolves could muster.
About the only thing referee Chris Oliver got right all afternoon was blowing the final whistle, but when it came it was the Clarets fans who would go home jubilant.
If top of the league Wolves are the best team in the Championship, then we should have no difficulty in pushing for promotion this season especially if we can continue to play at this fantastic pace with such attacking flair. Well done lads, what a great result!
Burnley: Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Kalvenes (McDonald 69), Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Thompson (Rodriguez 90), Paterson (Eagles 83).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Gudjonsson.
Goals: McCann 6.
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Foley, Stearman, Berra, Ward, Kightly, Henry, Quashie (Edwards 60), Jarvis, Ebanks-Blake, Vokes (Iwelumo 59).
Subs Not Used: Higgs, Collins, Keogh.
Ref: Clive Oliver (Northumberland).
However one other player in particular also shone on the pitch and that was the magician Robbie Blake. He picked up the Sponsors Man of the Match award with yet another dazzling display of creative football. Robbie therefore is also our Star Player.