Job Done against MK Dons
Saturday 2nd January 2010 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets got a rare away win this season beating MK Dons 2-1 at the stadium: mk to progress to the 4th Round of the FA Cup. We had the upper hand for most of the game and in the end came out comfortable victors without ever really breaking sweat against Paul Ince`s League One side. Two defensive blunders by MK Dons led to both Clarets goals in the first-half.
Alexander scored from the penalty spot after 23 minutes before Fletcher hit a well struck low shot into the net 12 minutes later to put the Clarets 2-0 up. Burnley threatened to completely take over proceedings in the first half but there was no further score
In the second half we again dominated the match in the early stages and we were unlucky not to go even further ahead when Elliott hit the woodwork after just five minutes. The impressive Fletcher then had another chance to get a brace after getting his head to an Eagles cross but once more we were denied by the woodwork with the ball clipping the outside of the post.
The Clarets now seemed to take their foot off the accelerator as MK Dons had their best spell and began to put us under some pressure. Jensen though was equal to the threat and made a couple of excellent saves to deny MK Dons getting back into this game.
MK Dons did eventually get a consolation goal after some sloppy defending by the Clarets but the goal by Morgan in the 89th minute was a little too late to effect the result and the Clarets were through to the next round
The Clarets Team Sheet
Sandy Stewart has confirmed since on the Official Site that Portsmouth denied permission for David Nugent to play which all sounds a little ominous with the Clarets hoping to extend his loan to the end of the season. With Nugent unavailable, Coyle reverted back to his 4-5-1 formation with Fletcher up front alone supported by Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, Elliott and Blake.
Tyrone Mears was suspended for this match after picking up five yellows in our last game away to Everton so there was an opportunity for Richard Eckersley to start at right back making his first appearance for the Clarets since the defeat against Barnsley in the Carling Cup match at Oakwell back in September. Stephen Jordan was also suspended after his sending off for two bookable offences at Goodison Park so Kalvenes again stepped into his shoes at left-back.
In the centre of defence with both Caldwell and Carlisle still sidelined with groin injuries, Duff and Bikey played together for the third game running. Bikey is now off to represent Cameroon in the African Nations Cup so it will be interesting to see if David Edgar now has the opportunity to play. Edgar was again named on the bench yesterday but did not feature.
In effect under the circumstances Coyle put out one of the strongest sides he could in an effort to win this match and in summary we lined up as follows:
Jensen, Eckersley, Duff, Bikey. Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, Blake, Elliott, Fletcher
Subs: Penny, Easton, Edgar, Gudjonsson, Guerrero, Harvey, Thompson
The Full Match Report
This was the first chance for Clarets fans to visit the stadium: mk in our first ever match against MK Dons and I have to say I thought the stadium was impressive. You could see why it might be a candidate to host World Cup matches although it would be nicer when the second tier is completed. The problem with the stadium yesterday was really the atmosphere. The 22,000 seater capacity stadium lacked atmosphere with a gate of just 11,816 fans. Burnley fans could sit wherever they wanted in the away end and we all seemed sprawled out unable to get some intense chanting underway. The MK Dons fans were similarly spaced out with lots of empty gaps.
It also probably didn`t help by it being a bitterly cold day in Milton Keynes and somehow it all seemed a rather subdued affair although I still enjoyed my day out there being able to tick yet another new ground off the list. They really have a nice little set up there and it was also good to see their own fan base now beginning to take off. I also had some good friendly banter with their fans. MK Dons are here to stay and I do wish some childish fans would now move on and stop wittering on about franchise this and that! Some Clarets fans boycotted this match on principle but if they want to cut off their nose to spite their face and not cheer on the Clarets, then that`s their problem!
Anyway rant over; let`s get back to the game. Staffordshire referee Tony Bates was in charge of this one and got the game underway.
The Clarets made a pretty nervous start during the first fifteen minutes of this match but MK Dons did not look threatening either with only long-range shots to show for their effort. Robbie Blake making his first start since the Fulham game last month gave us the first taste of things to come after Coyle moved him out to the left wing. He cut inside to unleash a low shot which flew just past the post.
Fletcher and Blake were now linking up well. On 23 minutes we got the lead after a mistake in defence by Lewington, the MK Dons captain. Fletcher pounced and far too easily took the ball off him trying to run past Doumbe on the way to goal. Doumbe though caught him unfairly with an outstretched leg felling the Scot and giving the referee no option but to award a penalty. Alexander of course coolly stepped up to take the penalty and scored although this time it did go in off the post.
The Clarets were now in the ascendency and looking the most likely to get the next goal with Eagles in particular continuing his good form of late and causing the MK Dons defence all sorts of problems.
There was a scare though when Easter was heading towards goal after being put clear by a through ball from Woodards. Jensen though was alert to the danger and came charging out to get their first.
Blake came close with an effort shortly after but this time Woodards blocked his shot
With the Clarets now continuing to press, it was no surprise when we doubled our lead after 35 minutes. Fletcher picked up a delightfully weighted pass from Eagles from about 22 yards out and in a central position with some deft football got the ball onto his left foot to shoot low into the bottom corner and put the Clarets 2-0 up.
MK Dons to give them their due never gave up and in first-half injury time Jensen had to save a header from Woodards. A shot by Doumbe was then scrambled off the line only for his second attempt to be blocked by Eckersley
Owen Coyle made no changes for the start of the second half and it was the Clarets again who looked the most dangerous. After just five minutes, Fletcher was fouled and Blake took the free-kick. The ball hit the wall but it fell nicely for Elliott who at full stretch shot on target only to see the ball hit the woodwork and fly away to safety.
Paul Ince tried to influence the game by bringing on former Clarets loan, Luke Chadwick from the bench but it was the Clarets who refused to give up control in this game. An Eagles cross from the right found Fletcher but his header clipped the outside of the post.
The game now seemed to swing slightly in favour of MK Dons with the Clarets taking their foot off the accelerator and allowing the home team more possession.
A low shot by Leven was well saved by Jensen and moments later he came to the rescue again after Chadwick was put through by Puncheon. This time Jensen got his face in the way to block the shot.
With ten minutes to go, Michael Duff got in a well-timed block to deny substitute Stirling giving MK Dons some hope but it was typical of Burnley to gift them a goal in the final minute of play to set up a nervy period of injury time with four minutes added on the clock. The goal by Morgan though thumped into the roof of the net after some sloppy defending was not enough for MK Dons and the Clarets finally had their first away win of the season in 11 attempts. The Clarets have yet to win away in a Premier League match this season and have now won just twice on the road all season; their only other away victory being against Hartlepool in the Carling Cup
Still this was a good start to the New Year and it was just a shame the whole day was clouded by news filtering through that we could be losing our manager Owen Coyle to Bolton.
MK Dons: Gueret, Lewington, Doumbe, Gleeson, Easter (Morgan 80), Wilbraham, Baldock (Chadwick 55), Woodards, Puncheon, Howell (Stirling 80), Leven.
Subs Not Used: Johnson, Carrington, Gobern, Powell.
Booked: Doumbe, Easter
Goals: Morgan (89)
Burnley: Jensen, Eckersley, Duff, Bikey. Kalvenes, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald (Gudjonsson 71), Blake, Elliott, Fletcher (Thompson 88)
Subs Not Used: Penny, Easton, Edgar, Guerrero, Harvey,
Goals: Alexander (pen 23), Fletcher (35)
Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)
It was Fletcher who did most of the hard work before being brought down for the penalty that led to our first goal and he then did well to score our second goal. The woodwork prevented him getting a brace and he worked well all afternoon before being substituted late in the game after 88 minutes.