The Saga of Oakwell Hell
The Hell that is Oakwell
Tuesday 22nd September 2009 @7;45pm Kick-Off
It has been 77 years since the Clarets last won at Oakwell and this mother of all bogey grounds struck again last night with the Clarets going down 3-2 to Barnsley in a Carling Cup 3rd round clash.
Most Clarets fans will probably not be too upset about our Carling Cup exit; after all we can now concentrate on Premier League survival until the FA Cup completion starts. What will upset the fans though is the fact we had two key players stretchered off in the first-half which is all we need with tough Premier League games coming up.
Martin Paterson went down in the 15th minute after appearing to twist his knee
Owen Coyle had this to say about the injury after the match:
"It seems to be in the knee area and he's in discomfort. We'll obviously look to get that scanned as early as possible and look to see if there's any lasting damage. It's too early to make any claims on that but it was certainly serious enough to bring him out of the game.'
Bad news indeed and we have to hope that the scan does not go the way of Chris McCann who will now be out for up to 3 months after damaging his medial ligaments in the game against Sunderland last Saturday. If Pato is sidelined for a few games at least we have Nugent waiting in the wings, not to mention Thompson and Rodriguez.
It got worse for the Clarets though when Brian Jensen could not continue after a collision with Tykes defender Darren Moore. He too was stretchered off to be replaced by Penny. The decision by Coyle to play Jensen ahead of Penny surprised a few Clarets and in hindsight the gaffer might now be regretting that decision. The news on Jensen though is perhaps less worrying. He appears to have picked up a dead leg and could be fit in time to play against Spurs at White Hart Lane this Saturday.
Coyle speaking about Jensen`s injury said:
'Brian, I want to say is in a better situation than that (Pato), but I can't say for sure. He's got a haematoma, a dead leg, when big (Darren) Moore clattered into him and hopefully they'll both be all right but we won't really know until some point today"
If the injury is worse than first feared and we don`t have two keepers available for Saturday and beyond, Coyle might have to bring in another keeper on an emergency loan basis and it will be interesting to see if Diego Penny would be trusted in the Number One jersey against Premier League opposition.
All in all therefore, an awful night at Oakwell! I think the only time we are ever going to get the better of this ground would be if we toed it out to sea and sunk it with Exocet missiles clad in Claret & Blue!
It had all looked promising for the Clarets too after we took the lead on 21 minutes thanks to a well taken goal by Steven Fletcher but within a minute Macken had equalised for the Tykes to make it 1-1.
The curse of Oakwell continued in the sixth minute of added time in the first half when the dangerous De Silva let rip with a thunderous 25 yarder to put Barnsley 2-1 up at half-time.
In the 52nd minute, an impressive looking Guerrero got to the by-line and cut in to find Eagles who back-heeled it into the net to make the score 2-2. It wasn`t to be though and on 75 minutes, a De Silva cross found Colace who scored to seal the game 3-2 for the Tykes.
You could have almost written the saga yourself as once more Clarets fans traipsed back into Lancashire empty handed from this devilish place called Oakwell. On this occasion 1066 Clarets fans had made the journey across the Pennines no doubt wondering why they bothered after 77 years of trying.
We knew before the match that Owen Coyle would wring the changes for this game and give some of our fringe players a chance to shine. He had though indicated he wouldn`t make as many changes as he did for the second round game at Hartlepool. That day he made ten changes, this time he made six changes to the side that beat Sunderland last Saturday at Turf Moor.
Most Clarets fans were probably expecting Penny to start in this match but it was Jensen who was given the nod. The other players retaining their place were Carlisle and Bikey in the centre of defence and Paterson and Fletcher up front. David Nugent was cup-tied for this game, Chris McCann was of course out with injury (medial ligament) and as expected it was too soon for captain, Steven Caldwell to return after only just returning to training this Monday following a long lay-off with a groin problem. There was however a welcome return for Michael Duff on the bench and there was a chance for both Joey Gudjonsson and Kevin McDonald to stake a claim in the centre of midfield following the injury to McCann.
Our line-up in 4-4-2 formation was as follows:
Jensen, Eckersley, Carlisle, Bikey, Kalvenes, Eagles, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Guerrero, Paterson, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Easton, Edgar, Duff, Elliott, Blake, Rodriguez.
Barnsley also had their fair share of injury problems and their side was weakened further with both former Clarets striker, Andy Gray and new loan signing, Hull defender Nathan Doyle cup-tied.
Experienced and well respected, Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg got the game underway.
In the early stages of the game, it looked like the Clarets could for once get the better of the Tykes with Fletcher in particular looking the most likely to score.
A mazy run from Guerrero led to his shot being deflected just past the post for a corner. As the corner came over from Eagles, Fletcher got in a powerful header which Kozluk cleared off the line.
Fletcher then set-up Eagles with a delightful back-heel and Tykes keeper Preece had to block his shot.
It seems Fletcher has a liking for this competition after scoring a brace in the last round against Hartlepool and he made it three in two Carling Cup games to give the Clarets the lead after 21 minutes.
On the edge of the penalty area, Fletcher beat his marker; Darren Moore and controlling the ball well made a sharp turn to fire into the bottom corner of the net with Preece well-beaten.
Could we now take control of this match and break the Oakwell hoodoo once and for all?
We soon had our answer and the answer was no because within a minute the Tykes were level!
Bikey disputed a throw in to Barnsley thinking he had been fouled by Jon Macken but the referee turned his appeals away and as the throw-in came into the penalty area, Ian Hume headed against the post. However, Macken was on the ball and with quick reactions stabbed home to equalise.
Things were now going to get even worse for the Clarets. We had already lost Paterson after 15 minutes when he was stretchered off after appearing to twist awkwardly and injure his knee. On 34 minutes the stretcher was in action again. This time it was Brian Jensen being carried off. He had clattered into Darren Moore with both going up for the ball from a free kick. He fell clutching his left leg and thigh in agony.
On came Diego Penny who many thought would have started this game and he too was soon in the thick of things. Richard Eckersley who had been having a torrid night was caught in possession and with Hume steaming towards goal; the Peruvian International keeper had to fearlessly dive at his feet to save. Adam Hammill picked up the rebound but thankfully was adjudged to be offside after putting the ball into the net.
The injuries to Pato and The Beast had taken their toll time-wise and the fourth official signalled that there would be eight minutes of added time. In typical 'Horror at Oakwell` fashion, Barnsley took the lead with two minutes to go. It was Eckersley again who made an error this time being caught out by Hammill. Although the winger`s progress was halted on the edge of the penalty area, De Silva pounced picking up the loose ball and letting go with a pile driver from 25 yards out. Penny had no chance as the ball sailed into the top corner of the net to pile more misery on Owen Coyle and his team. So it was 2-1 at half-time to the Tykes with two Clarets players stretchered off. Don`t you just love this pit of a place? It could have been even worse for the Clarets. Richard Eckersley who was not having a good night also picked up a yellow card and it looked at one stage that he might have got a second yellow and been sent off for a foul for the second Carling Cup game running.
Clattenburg though showed why he was a respected top-class referee and Eckersley got away with a last-chance warning.
Owen Coyle clearly though thought it was bad enough being 2-1 down with two injured players off the pitch than take the risk of being reduced to ten men. It was no surprise therefore when Eckersley was substituted by Michael Duff who came on for his first Clarets game of the season just before the start of the second-half. This could have backfired too as we had now used up all our substitutes with the earlier two enforced changes in the first-half and extra time if required to settle this game could have taken its toll on the players.
Clarets hopes were once more raised seven minutes into the second half when we got an equaliser.
Eagles and Guerrero had been running rings round the Barnsley defence all night and it was fitting that the two now combined to set up the equaliser and make it 2-2. Guerrero went on one of his characteristic mazy runs down the left wing and from the by-line cut-in to square the ball to Eagles who back-heeled a tap in to score his first goal for the Clarets this season.
Although Burnley now began to start pressing more, Barnsley still looked dangerous on the break. Hume got in behind Bikey but he put his shot just wide but that was enough to once more kick-start Barnsley into action.
With just 15 minutes to go, Barnsley`s pressure finally paid dividends. De Silva who had been a thorn in the Clarets side all night charged down the right on a break and put over a cross. There was Colace who got in a powerful header to make it 3-2.
Fletcher had a couple of chances late on to force extra time but Preece was equal to both attempts and the game finally came to it`s inevitable conclusion, a Barnsley win!
After last season`s success in this competition, it is perhaps disappointing to go out at this stage especially to a side like struggling Barnsley but let`s remember one thing; we had no chance of winning this, it was at sodding Oakwell!!
Burnley: Jensen (Penny 34mins), Eckersley (Duff @Half-time), Carlisle, Bikey, Kalvenes, Eagles. McDonald, Gudjonsson, Guerrero, Fletcher, Paterson (Rodriguez 15mins)
Subs Not Used: Elliott, Edgar, Blake, Easton.
Barnsley: Preece, Kozluk, Moore (Thompson @Half-time), Foster, Hume, Colace, Hammill, Butterfield, De Silva, Gray, Macken.
Subs Not Used: Rusling, Devaney, Sodje, Bogdanovic, Haimour, Heslop.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Co.Durham)
Coyle believes his loan signing from Independiente del Valle will ultimately be a massive success in England.
'Fernando, I believe is going to be a top player but he's 19 years of age and his English is limited. We have a teacher working with him because it's important he learns the dialect in terms of talking on the pitch and understanding the game so we can make the relevant points to improve him individually and in turn us as a team. I think anyone who would have paid the admission money alone would have been delighted with how pleasing he is on the eye. That's the type of entertaining players I want at the football club. And if we can harness that and bring it within the team shape then we'll have some very good players on our hands.'
High praise indeed!