The Point in Disappointment!
Tuesday 17th February 2009 @7:45pm KO
The Clarets last night fluffed the opportunity to pick up three points and move back into the play-offs spots after failing yet again to beat another average side playing at Turf Moor. Well we got a point against Coventry in a 1-1 draw but we left it late after equalising in the final minute and at the end of the day this was a very disappointing result and a frustrating one. We just can`t seem to maintain consistency and we still have not managed this season to win three consecutive league games (as one of our posters, Claretacchio pointed out)
We rise to the occasion when we play Premier League sides and the top sides in the Championship but when it comes to playing against sides at the foot of the table or those languishing mid-table we seem to struggle. All we had to do was play like we did in our last match against Wolves at Turf Moor last Saturday and the result should have been a foregone conclusion.
Instead of that we seemed under par and error prone with the final pass going astray time and time again as attack after attack broke down. The Clarets had by far the greater of the possession in this match but couldn`t seem to make the pressure count with wayward passes, shots off target and the Sky Blues keeper playing a blinder when it mattered. This was a pretty scrappy affair all round to be honest.
Leon Best had scored for the Sky Blues one minute before half-time thanks to a defensive blunder by Stephen Jordan and it looked like that was going to be enough for the Sky Blues to take all three points until one minute from time.
Chris Eagles, who was one of the players who had come on from the bench as part of a triple substitution after 71 minutes was our saviour! Charging towards goal, he chipped the ball over Coventry keeper, Westwood to score. Clarets fans hopes were then raised when the fourth official announced there would be four minutes of added time, but try as we might that elusive winner was not to be and the Clarets had to be content with a point.
The good news at least is that we keep our run going with now five games without defeat and we also keep in contention for the play-offs with other results going our way last night. Swansea and Bristol City both lost so we are now 7th on 51 points, 2 points behind 4th placed Preston with Cardiff and Sheffield United in between both with games in hand over the Clarets. It is still very tight up there which makes losing 2 points at home even more frustrating when if we had won we would now be in 5th place equal with Preston on points. Oh well, we just have to soldier on and hope our next game away to Norwich this Saturday bears fruit.
Owen Coyle last night made just one change to the sixteen selected to play Wolves on Saturday. As expected Christian Kalvenes was sidelined after picking up a thigh strain against the league leaders. However Stephen Jordan was fit enough to return and replace him at left back after recovering from the knee injury that had kept him out of the side since the Spurs game at Turf Moor last month.
Loyalty to teams that do well is the trademark of Owen Coyle so once more, Chris Eagles recognised as probably our main star player had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Paterson, Thompson, Blake
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez
Tyne & Wear referee, David Foster got the game underway on a misty night in Burnley
Although the Clarets started brightly it was the Sky Blues who had the first shot on target after 11 minutes with a free-kick attempt by Daniel Fox. Brian Jensen though had no problem gathering the ball.
Jordan linked well with McCann on 17 minutes to find Thompson lurking on the edge of the box but his shot was well saved by the in-form Coventry keeper.
The match now deteriorated into a midfield scrap with no side being able to get the better of their opponent`s defence. A number of shots from distance by both sides were hit more in hope than expectation. Thompson though on 28 minutes should have done better with a header by keeping it down.
Jensen then parried away a long-range shot from Doyle but it would be Coventry who would eventually take the lead slightly against the run of play with just one minute of the first half to go.
Stephen Jordan completely misjudged the flight of the ball with an attempted header allowing Jordan Henderson to get in behind him and chip a cross into the box. Leon Best looking more like the Phantom of the Opera (he was wearing a mask to protect his fractured cheekbone) was there at the far post to head past Jensen and put the visitors 1-0 up at half-time.
Despite the lacklustre performance and being a goal down, Coyle was not tempted to make any changes for the start of the second half and Chris Coleman also kept the same Coventry eleven as the second half got underway.
It was the Clarets who now began to dominate the game and turn up the pressure.
Paterson could only find the arms of Westwood with a curling shot and also found the keeper equal to his next shot a minute later, the impressive save resulting in a corner.
As the corner came over, Alexander picked up the ball on the edge of the box and tried a daisy-cutter. It was saved at the second attempt by the busy Sky Blues keeper with Paterson breathing down his neck in the six-yard box. It just wouldn`t go in despite the Clarets possession and domination.
Elliott, who was running the Coventry defence ragged put over a cross on 53 minutes but Paterson, could only head over the bar and two minutes later our best chance so far fell to Thompson.
Blake had found Thompson in the box with just the keeper to beat but he blasted his shot over when a goal looked a certainty.
A Micheal Duff header after 60 minutes was partially scrambled away into a mass of players in the six yard box but again the ball didn`t fall kindly to a Clarets player and the danger was cleared.
It was now all Burnley and to be honest I don`t recall Coventry having a decent shot in the second half so much was our dominance.
Paterson sliding in just couldn`t make contact with a low crossed ball from Elliott. It looked like it was going to be one of those nights but on 71 minutes, Coyle decided to have one last throw at the dice by making a triple substitution so on came Kevin McDonald, Chris Eagles and Jay Rodriguez for Jordan, Blake and Thompson.
The game seemed to liven up with the injection of fresh legs and five minutes later Rodriguez nearly pounced on a cross from Eagles but the Coventry defence got to it first putting the ball out for a corner.
Westwood looked at ease saving an Alexander free-kick after 79 minutes and then on 84 minutes it was Paterson again who failed to score, this time with a header straight at the Sky Blues keeper.
It looked to be over for the Clarets with 90 minutes looming on the clock until Rodriguez found Eagles with a header. He chased towards the goal with Westwood a barrier in front of him, however he cleverly chipped the ball over him to score and secure an all important point for the Clarets.
Burnley: Jensen, Williams, Duff, Caldwell, Jordan (McDonald 71), Alexander , Elliott, , McCann, Paterson, Thompson (Rodriguez 71), Blake (Eagles 71).
Subs Not Used: Penny, Gudjonsson.
Goals: Eagles 90.
Coventry: Westwood, Wright, Dann, Turner, Fox, Henderson, Bell (Eastwood 81), Doyle, Gunnarsson, Morrison, Best (Simpson 73).
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Hall, Sawyer.
Goals: Best 44.
Ref: David Foster (Tyne & Wear)
It is difficult to single out one outstanding player from this game. In truth a number looked under par and error prone and most would get an average rating by me.
Both Duff and Williams looked solid enough in defence.
Our Star Player though is Wade Elliott.He gave the Coventry defence a torrid time and looked to be the most likely to score.