Burnley Fox Hammers in 2-1 Victory
Saturday 8th February 2010 @3pm Kick-Off
At long last the Clarets can celebrate a victory after beating the Hammers 2-1 at Turf Moor on Saturday; our first league win in 13 games.
This was a massive, massive game for the Clarets and a crucial six pointer against another struggling side hoping to avoid the drop. Our win sees the Clarets propelled up the table and out of the bottom three giving our new manager, Brian Laws his first win after five attempts! Other results mainly went our way also over the weekend and we are now in 15th spot on 23 points but only two points clear of the drop-zone. West Ham and Wolves on 21 points now share the bottom places with Portsmouth on 15 points. Pompey already look doomed. They are in a financial crisis, eight points behind the Clarets and the team we play next at home at the end of February. This of course will be yet another crucial match for the Clarets and one game we must win to increase our chances of survival. If we do pick up three points against the Hampshire club we might be eleven points ahead of them and only have to realistically worry about another two clubs finishing below us. That is for the future though let`s returns to the Hammers game.
We have played much better and lost it has to be said but we were solid and at times very impressive during this game. The Clarets completely dominated the first 20 minutes and we took the lead on 14 minutes after our debutant, left back Danny Fox spotted Nugent in space and delivered a long up field pass to him. Nugent`s marker, Matthew Upson was caught out by the flight of the ball and should have done better but he allowed Nugent to get ahead of him to lob the keeper and put the Clarets 1-0 up. West Ham came into the game more now seeking the equaliser and their new striker Benni McCarthy (getting the usual warm welcome for a former Rovers player) suddenly seemed to wake up. Scott Parker on 33 minutes put McCarthy clear and he looked certain to score after rounding Jensen. However from nowhere came Leon Cort to clear off the line at full stretch. So it was 1-0 to the Clarets at the break. All Clarets fans knew 1-0 would not be enough though and with just 10 minutes of the second half played we doubled our lead following a needless foul by Collison on Mears. The angle looked too tight for a direct attempt on goal from the free-kick but Danny Fox had other ideas. His stunning shot curled into the top corner of the net giving Green no chance. It is perhaps typical of Burnley that we then seemed to take our foot off the accelerator and now allowed West Ham to come at us. The pressure finally paid off for the Hammers and they reduced our lead to 2-1 in the 81st minute thanks to a goal by new boy, Ilan. That goal certainly set up a very nervy last ten minutes for the Clarets. We were due some luck though and we certainly rode it especially in the 90th minute when another West Ham debutant, Mido stretched out a leg and diverted the ball against the post. Clarets fans hearts also sank when the fourth official indicated there would be five minutes of added 'sweating` time! It was with great relief when the final whistle eventually went.
Make no mistake though there were plenty of positives to take home from this game and after a torrid start to the New Year, Clarets fans could once more 'Dare to Dream` that we would still be a Premier League team come the start of next season.
The Clarets Team Sheet
Brian Laws gave new boy Danny Fox his Clarets debut at left back after some concern that he would be given a late fitness test for a groin injury. Laws also decided to go with a more attacking formation with Nugent partnering Fletcher up front. Perhaps the only surprising change was to drop Eagles to the bench with Clarets fans wondering whether he may have picked up a slight knock.
Our new loan signing from Chelsea, midfielder Jack Cork was named on the bench.
Although it was also understood Chris McCann had recovered from the injury that saw him limp off at Bolton, there was no place for him in the eighteen so it looks like Laws was not taking any risks.
Both left backs, Jordan and Kalvenes were also understood to be fit after recovering from injury but both missed out on a place with Danny Fox being given his debut. They were not even named on the bench with Edgar now being viewed as an alternative left back if required. Both could now struggle to get back into contention.
Captain, Steven Caldwell (groin) and deputy Graham Alexander (calf) were both sidelined for this match so Clarke Carlisle once more wore the captain`s armband.
The line-up in summary was as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Bikey, Elliott. McDonald, Blake, Nugent, Fletcher.
Subs: Weaver, Edgar, Duff, Eagles, Cork, Thompson, Paterson
The Full Match Report
There was a late change in the referee for this match with Steve Bennett originally scheduled to be in charge. It was however the imposing figure of Rotherham referee, Howard Webb who took centre stage as both sides marched onto the pitch in front of a lively and noisy crowd. West Ham to their credit had brought a large following and their fans contributed to the intense atmosphere you get at Fortress Turf Moor these days.
All Clarets fans had eyes on new debutant, Danny Fox at left back while they also had a chance to remind new Hammers striker, Benni McCarthy which club he used to play for!
The Clarets were first out of the blocks and put the Hammers under considerable pressure during the first twenty minutes of the match. We were 1-0 up after just 14 minutes and it was Fox who set up the chance for Nugent to score. His long ball confused Matthew Upson and the England international defender made the fatal mistake of letting the ball bounce. It fell nicely to Nugent who skilfully shot past Upson and lobbed the ball over Green charging out from his goal to deservedly give the Clarets the lead.
The goal though seemed to shake West Ham into action and they gradually came back into the game seeking the equaliser and putting Burnley under some pressure. Fox now showed his defensive qualities. He first cleared the danger from a McCarthy cross on the edge of the six yard box and then beat Carlton Cole to the ball after Mears half-blocked a shot by Collison.
On 33 minutes though, West Ham looked certain to score after Scott Parker put Cole clear on goal with a through ball. Cole rounded Jensen to shoot but just as the ball was about to go over the line Leon Cort at full stretch managed to get back to clear off the line and ensure the score remained 1-0 at half-time.
Laws made no changes for the start of the second half but West Ham introduced the second of their signings in the January window when Mido came on to replace the lacklustre McCarthy.
Cort`s impressive display in defence continued with West Ham still putting the Clarets under pressure in search of the equaliser. He got in a couple of important blocks before Mido fired a drive wide of target.
The Clarets had to do something about this West Ham possession and threat and on 55 minutes the pressure was relieved when we doubled our lead. Mears on a threatening run was pushed in the back by Collison with the referee awarding a direct free-kick. One of the main reasons Laws had brought Fox to Turf Moor was his skill from set-pieces and boy did he prove it from this one! The Scotland international had just one intention to thump the ball into the top corner of the net and that`s exactly what he did, curling the ball beautifully past Green to put the Clarets 2-0 up.
We could now relax a little more but West Ham to their credit made sure we would be kept under pressure and they now had significantly more of the possession. Jensen almost immediately after our second goal saved well to deny Parker after his well-paced shot was heading for the bottom corner. Jensen though got to the ball and palmed it away to safety.
Clarets fans hearts sank after 67 minutes when Cole got the ball in the net from the six-yard box following a header down by James Tomkins. Luckily though he was adjudged to be offside and a few Bubbles burst in the Hammers away end.
Burnley attacks were now few and far between although Fletcher headed just wide before West Ham resumed their attack with Stanislas curling a free-kick against the bar.
It was almost inevitable West Ham would get a goal back and they did with just nine minutes of normal time remaining. A loose ball from a chipped kick by Cole foiled Jensen and set up Ilan, West Ham`s third new signing of the window. The Brazilian striker who had only been on the pitch a few minutes slotted home with virtually his first touch of the match.
Now things really were getting nervous for all Clarets fans and we simply could not get back into the game with West Ham being in our half virtually all the time. All the hard work looked to have been undone in the 90th minute when Mido somehow stretched out a leg to shoot. Thankfully though the ball hit the woodwork and we could all breathe again! The jitters were not helped when it was announced there would be five minutes of added time but the Clarets saw the game out to earn three valuable points and send the Hammers into the relegation zone whilst we moved upwards to 15th spot.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox (Edgar 85), Bikey, Elliott. McDonald, Blake (Paterson 73), Nugent (Thompson 88), Fletcher.
Subs Not Used: Weaver, Duff, Eagles, Cork
Goals: Nugent (14 mins), Fox (55 mins)
Booked: Yellow Cards for Fox and McDonald
West Ham: Green, Faubert, Upson, Tomkins, Spector, Behrami, Noble (Ilan 77), Parker, Collison (Stanislas 62), Cole, McCarthy (Mido half-time).
Subs Not Used: Stech, Kovac, Ilunga, Da Costa.
Goal: Ilan (81 mins)
Booked: Yellow Card for Parker
Possession: 47% Burnley, 53% West Ham (Source: BBC Sport)
Referee: Howard Webb (Rotherham)