Clarets Stun Palace with 3 in 10
Wednesday 11th March 2009 @7:45pm KO
The Clarets started the match against Crystal Palace at Turf Moor last night knowing that if they won, they would be back in the play-offs positions in 6th spot.
There looked little chance of that happening with Burnley 2-0 down after only 35 minutes of play and Clarets fans fearing the worst. There was some joy for the Clarets though in the first half after a Carlisle header brought the score back to 2-1 six minutes before half-time.
Most of the second half was a pretty, nervous frustrating affair with Burnley having the greater of the possession but unable to make it count. Countless referring decisions also seemed to be going against us with one or two appeals for a penalty waved away.
With just seven minutes remaining though, the Clarets were awarded a penalty and Alexander made no mistake from the spot to equalise. 2-2 Clarets, but a point was not enough really to maintain our challenge for a play-offs spot and somehow we now had to find that winning touch and score again.
Boy did we do that, adding two more goals in this exciting ten minute period. Thompson put Burnley ahead with a fierce shot on 88 minutes and then Jay Rodriguez coolly slotted in the fourth to give the Clarets a handsome 4-2 victory. The Championship league table makes happy reading for Clarets fans this morning. We are now in that coveted 6th place spot on 58 points but crucially just two points behind 4th place Sheffield United, a team we have yet to play at home. Preston, our local rivals drop to 9th and they are now one point behind the Clarets having also played one game more.
We must simply now plough on and consolidate our position. If we can start with another three points against Nottingham Forest at home this Saturday, that would send out all the right signals and boost confidence even more.
Owen Coyle had virtually a full squad to choose from for his sixteen against Palace. Rhys Williams returned to the right back position after being ineligible to play in the FA Cup game against Arsenal allowing Graham Alexander to take up the holding midfield role. Both Caldwell and Carlisle have been playing well in the last couple of games and although Duff was available after his one match suspension for a fifth yellow, there was no place for him in the sixteen.
Jordan also failed to make the sixteen, with the in-form Kalvenes once more in the left back position.
There was no starting eleven place either for Chris Eagles, who had been somewhat subdued against the Gunners last Sunday but he was named on the bench.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Alexander, Elliott, McCann, Blake, Paterson, Thompson
Subs: Penny, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Eagles, Rodriguez
Referee, Carl Boyeson from East Yorkshire got the match underway with the Clarets about to play incredibly their 49th game of the season!
The Clarets started the brighter of the two teams and almost took an early lead after Williams charging forward just hit the ball too hard trying to put Elliott through.
Alexander and McCann linked well on the left in the 15th minute finding Elliott on the right wing. He let rip with a powerful shot but it was just the right height for the Eagles keeper, Speroni to save.
Palace striker, Anthony Stokes tried a long range dipping shot two minutes later but Jensen was alert to the danger, tipping the ball over.
Kalvenes on a good run then got in a cross which was knocked on by McCann for Paterson to turn and shoot only for the keeper to save well with the ball in his hands.
A defensive blunder though on 25 minutes cost us dear, with the Eagles going 1-0 up against the run of play. Jensen was too indecisive after a long punt upfield allowed Kuqi to pounce and tap the ball into an empty net.
The Clarets hardly had time to compose themselves before they suddenly found themselves 2-0 down just eight minutes later. A hit and hope drive by Paul Ifil hit the unfortunate Carlisle to cannon into the bottom corner of the net for an own goal. This was now turning into a disaster and most Clarets fans were thinking it was Sheffield Wednesday all over again.
However, Burnley had other ideas and were not prepared to capitulate just yet. A corner to the Clarets in the 39th minute was taken by Blake. Elliott picked up the ball and hit the bar with his shot. The ball though fell kindly for Carlisle to head home from just six yards out. 2-1 and hope at last for the Clarets. Speroni then spilled an Elliott shot towards the end of the half with the ball being picked up by Paterson. Pato`s low shot hit the outstretched arm of Fonte to be deflected away for a corner with a suspicion of handball waved away by the referee.
There was to be no more action of the first half and the Clarets would have it all to do in the second half if they were to rescue this game and secure those valuable three points.
No changes by either side for the start of the second half and it started as it had finished, with the Clarets in control and having most of the possession. A free kick by Blake was poorly punched away by Speroni into the path of Williams who could only drag his shot wide.
With the Clarets unable to make their possession count, Coyle began to freshen things up. On came Jay Rodriguez for Martin Paterson on the hour mark closely followed moments later by a controversial refereeing decision. A huge kick upfield by Jensen looked to have set Thompson free on goal before he was cynically upended by Fonte just outside the area. As the last man, he should surely have been given a red card but after talking to his linesman Boyeson decided to chicken out and show the lucky Fonte just a yellow.
Eagles replaced Blake on 69 minutes, with Coyle now trying everything to get that elusive equaliser and salvage something from this game. Eagles certainly tested the Eagles and in the 75th minute let rip with a shot from distance only for Speroni to superbly save and prevent the ball sailing into the bottom corner.
An Alexander free kick from the right then sailed over a crowded penalty area only for Eagles to put his header inches wide with the Clarets fans getting more and more frustrated as the clock ticked down.
We need not have worried though, all was about to change for the good as we entered the last ten minutes of the match needing two goals to win.
Boyeson was having a somewhat torrid time unable half the time it seemed to know or see what was going on and this time his assistant had to come to the rescue. Another ball in the box from Alexander had clearly struck Clint Hill`s arm and we have to thank the referee for at least seeing his linesman jumping up and down with his flag because he certainly didn`t see the incident!
The Eagles tried every un-gentlemanly tactic going to put off Alexander as he lined up to take the spot kick but the whinging and protests had no effect on the wise old man, who coolly slotted home from 12 yards.
2-2 but with a chance to go above Preston going begging and with it a chance to get back into a play-offs spot, this was not enough and we had to score at least once more but the Clarets were now certainly up for it..and more!
With just two minutes to go Rodriguez found Eagles who crossed for Thompson. He magically turned to shoot high past Speroni with the Clarets fans delirious. 3-2 Clarets and a fantastic comeback but there was still more to come.
With four minutes of extra time being played out, Rodriguez foiled the offside trap picking up the ball from a well-placed Thompson pass. Cool as a cucumber, the young striker slotted home with the outside of his right foot to cap a magical night for the Clarets and secure a 4-2 victory.
It is fitting we leave the last word to the gaffer, who after the match said:
'It's game 49 of this season and it would have been really easy for the players to hide themselves away at 2-0 down.
'But they wouldn't roll over; we kept going right to the end.
'I felt so aggrieved to be 2-0 down, but I said at half-time I'd be disappointed if we didn't win it, let alone get a draw.'
Well done Owen and well done lads! Now let`s really show we mean business by thumping Forest at home this Saturday
Burnley: Jensen, Williams, Carlisle, Caldwell, Kalvenes, Elliott, Alexander, McCann (Gudjonsson 72), Blake (Eagles 69), Thompson, Paterson (Rodriguez 61).
Subs Not Used: Penny, McDonald.
Goals: Carlisle 39, Alexander 83 pen, Thompson 88, Rodriguez 90.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, Jose Fonte, Davis, Hill, Oster (Carle 53), Danns, Derry, Ifill, Stokes (Lee 68), Kuqi (Moses 90).
Subs Not Used: Ertl, Rui Fonte.
Booked: Danns, Jose Fonte, Lee.
Goals: Kuqi 26, Carlisle 35 og.
Ref: Carl Boyeson (E Yorkshire).
We certainly can`t drop Thompson; he had a superb game and looked threatening all night scoring a good goal for his efforts.
The centre of defence was also impressive with both Steven Caldwell and Clarke Carlisle looking solid. Carlisle did unfortunately score an own goal but made up for that with an header at the other end to bring the score back to 2-1.
Although the Sponsors Man of the Match went to Carlisle on balance my vote would go to Caldwell, so he picks up our Star Player award.