Tigers Listing Ship is Hulled & Sunk
Saturday 31st October 2009 @3pm Kick Off
'Fortress Turf Moor` returned true to form against Hull City on Saturday with Burnley coming out worthy winners in a 2-0 victory despite some rather controversial refereeing decisions that changed the course of the game in favour of the Clarets.
This was an important victory against a relegation-threatened side and the win sees the Clarets in 10th spot in the Premier League table with 15 points from 11 games. How annoying that we lost our 100% home record a week ago to Wigan Athletic. We would now be in 8th spot sharing the points with Villa and Liverpool! Oh well c`est la vie!
The Hull game was by no means a classic match though. The Tigers desperate for a win to save Phil Brown`s neck, clearly came to try and frustrate the Clarets in what turned out to be a pretty scrappy affair (and I could have left the's` off there!). The Hull players seemed to drop to the floor claiming foul at the least bit of contact and the whistle far too often spoilt the natural flow of the game.
Chris Eagles on the wing tried his best to liven up proceedings and Jordan looked good in the back four with the defence in general holding firm and snuffing out the few attacks Hull could muster in a game in which the Tigers never looked like scoring (at least from open play)
The Clarets all told put in a solid performance without being breathtaking but we thoroughly deserved our win being by far the better team even though Match of the Day later revealed we may have been a tadge fortunate with a couple of key decisions. The first was the penalty decision that led to our first goal, it is not clear if Mears was fouled by Hunt or whether Tyrone simply lost his footing but who cares we have had enough decisions not go our way in the past so we are due some good fortune. Penalty king, Alexander made no mistake from the spot. Mike Jones was the referee in charge of this clash and this was his first game since the beach ball controversy in the Sunderland v Liverpool match.
Controversy seems to follow him around and it reached fever pitch when he disallowed what looked like a Hull equaliser from a free-kick by Geovanni in the second-half. It was alleged there was some pushing in the wall so the goal was scratched off much to the relief of Clarets fans. I have now watched the incident frame-by-frame. I am sure you can see an Amber & Black round blowy-up thing in the wall, but then maybe I`m seeing things.
It was too much for Geovanni. He soon found himself on the end of two yellow cards and a sending off making Hull`s task impossible not that they had much chance with eleven men let alone ten.
Graham Alexander making his 100th appearance for the Clarets got his brace and sealed the victory with a well taken shot in the 77th minute.
The victory sets us up nicely for our next game away to Manchester City next Saturday. That will certainly be a tough match with the priority at least to avoid a tonking and hopefully get our first points on the road this season.
The only thing that had captured the media`s attention all week about the Hull game was the plight of the Tigers with news that they were in dire financial straits, had just sacked their chairman, could be about to sack their manager and had now just lost the services of first choice keeper Boaz Myhill due to injury. Hull had not won a game on the road this season in fact they have only won one match away from home since October 2008. They came to Turf Moor firmly in the relegation places third from bottom with just 8 points from ten games.
With all that stacked against them, Clarets fans felt we were bound to lose with Hull determined to prove a point. We need not have worried although it wouldn`t have mattered what sort of performance we put in, the media news and Match of the Day punditry after the game would only be pre-occupied with the Hull saga and so it proved.
Owen Coyle for the start of the match was once more Mr Predictability and with news that Brian Jensen had recovered from his slight ankle ligament injury, Diego Penny once more had to be content with bench warming. There were a number of blunders in the previous game against Wigan at home with a number of players underperforming and rightly criticised. However Coyle once more showed faith in them by naming the same eighteen so we lined up as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles, Bikey, Elliott, Blake, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, McDonald, Guerrero, Nugent, Thompson
It was the Clarets who started this game the brightest with Jensen having to just clear the ball occasionally without being fully tested. He did however save an early shot from Seyo Olofijana after diving to his right. It was the Clarets though who spent most of the time pressing in these early stages with the ball continually it seemed in the Tigers half. Eagles was a handful for the Tigers defence with Blake on the opposite flank also causing them problems.
On 20 minutes though, the Clarets found themselves ahead after being awarded a controversial penalty. A neat, inch-perfect pass by Elliott put Mears in the clear heading towards goal. Hunt on his tail could have had a hand on Mears back but Mears could equally have lost his footing whilst trying to cross the ball in the penalty area. He fell to the ground though and the referee had no hesitation but to award a penalty. Penalty king, Graham Alexander thumped the ball past Hull`s deputy keeper, Duke and the Clarets fans were ecstatic bursting into song with 'You are getting sacked in the morning` aimed clearly at Phil Brown.
The Clarets were now totally in charge against a demoralised looking Tigers side. Hull could only muster the odd attack which usually broke down with the Clarets looking strong on the counter-attack.
Blake and Eagles continued to carve their way through the Tigers defence like butter.
A free kick in Robbie Blake territory tested the Hull defence but Blake`s thunderous shot was blocked by Zayatte. Blake then linked well with Elliott and the Wembley hero unleashed a shot that Duke had to parry away at the near post. Duke had to come to the rescue again this time from Eagles saving a shot that was skidding dangerously towards him.
A rare attack by Hull was thwarted after a quickly taken free kick bamboozled the Clarets defence. The ball came to former Celtic striker, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Jensen had to come out quickly to block the danger.
So 1-0 Clarets at half-time with Hull not looking much of a threat. Not surprisingly the Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half.
There was an early scare for Burnley though within 3 minutes of the restart. Vennegoor of Hesselink got a pass into the danger area and Mears had to tackle Olofinjana in the box. The ball though had not been cleared and it fell to Ghilas who was lurking ten yards out. Jensen however blocked the danger and that seemed to be the wakeup call for the Clarets.
Mears came close to setting up Fletcher after getting in behind the Tigers defence but his cross could have been better and the danger fizzled out.
Hull to their credit did try all they could to get the equaliser but you just sensed they were going to be kept out. Jensen once more snuffed out any danger by saving low to his right following a mazy run by Mendy but everybody in the ground thought Hull had equalised from a direct free kick in the 66th minute when Geovanni thumped the ball into the top corner of the net.
Mike Jones though disallowed it for pushing in the wall and despite Hull protests the decision stood much to the relief of the Claret & Blue contingent. Geovanni doth protested too much and got a booking and a couple of minutes he must have regretted protesting because he then fouled Fletcher from behind, picked up a second yellow and had to leave the pitch reducing Hull City to ten men.
That did just about seal Hull`s fate and maybe you have to feel some sympathy for the Tigers and poor Phil Brown. Poo happens in football and when you are down, it seems to happen the most. Clarets fans will remember the last time we played Hull at home. It was in Hull`s promotion year from the Championship, we lost 1-0 and that match was to be the last one in charge for former Burnley gaffer, Steve Cotterill. Could there now be a cruel twist of fate, with this time Hull`s under pressure manager Phil Brown being the one to suffer the chop? Well, he must have been wondering the same when Burnley scored their second goal in the 77th minute and effectively made it game over for the Tigers.
Fletcher and substitute, Kevin McDonald were both involved in the build up. It was the Scottish under 21 international though who passed the ball square to Graham Alexander who driving forward then decided to have a go himself. He let rip from 22 yards out and the ball sweetly found the back of the net making it the perfect day for Grezza and all Clarets fans.
The Clarets could have increased their lead in a game now where they had complete control but just to rub Hull`s noses in it, their day was summed up when in the final minute the woodwork came to our rescue after a Dawson shot from distance rattled the outside of the post.
That was it, final score 2-0 to the Clarets and another vital three points towards ensuring we remain a Premier League side next season. Now all we have to do is start getting some points on the board away from home starting with Manchester City next Saturday. Go on surprise a few! Get a draw at least!
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Caldwell, Jordan, Alexander, Eagles( Guerrero 85), Bikey, Elliott, Blake (McDonald 72), Fletcher (Nugent 78)
Subs Not Used: Penny, Duff, Gudjonsson, Thompson
Goals; Alexander ( 20 pen, 77)
Hull City: Duke, Dawson, Gardner, McShane(Mendy 59), Zayatte, Geovanni, Hunt (Barmby 70), Marney, Ghilas, Olofinjana, Vennegoor of Hesselink (Altidore 58)
Subs Not Used: Warner, Mouyokolo, Kilbane, Garcia
Referee: Mike Jones(Chester)
The performance of the back-four was also pleasing on the eye and I thought Stephen Jordan, who game after game is now beginning to silence some of his strongest critics (or at least they should be less vocal by now) did particularly well.
It was a good team performance all round I thought. It would be unfair to select anybody as poor, everybody put in some hard graft and they all played well as a team.
I have spent the last few weeks though airing my concerns about Graham Alexander, who I felt was beginning to show his age (now 38) and needed to get his act together. His passing had gone astray and he had started to give balls away in crucial areas of the pitch putting us under pressure on the counter-attack. So what does he do against Hull? He celebrates his 100th appearance for the Clarets by probably having his best game of the season scoring a brace of goals including one from open play, a pretty rare thing for Grezza. It seems my tactics worked and I am glad he took note of my criticism (Cough!!). He won the Sponsors Man of the Match award and although he wasn`t perfect in midfield, still giving the ball away on the very odd occasion, you can`t take away the fact he had improved significantly so we will also give him our 'Star Player` award.