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Wigan Athletic 1 - Burnley 0

DW Stadium

Saturday 20th March 2010 @3pm Kick-Off

Attendance: 18,498

Simply Cruel

This was such a cruel, cruel game for the Clarets. We battled and we battled in our attempt to get our first win on the road this season against a Wigan side that were also desperate for a win in this six-pointer of a game at the foot of the table. This is quite possibly our best performance away from home all season and we played with confidence and determination despite a terrible run of form of late. A number of Clarets fans, including myself, have been somewhat critical of Brian Laws tactics in recent matches and when you have only won one in ten games you do tend to think we are doing something wrong! Laws has certainly wrung the changes and although injuries have been a factor, we rarely seem to have put out the same team in two consecutive matches. It got to the stage where some fans were wondering if all these changes were causing the problem when consistency might help. Some of the selections have seemed a little odd to say the least and there were ominous signs last week when the manager was booed for taking off Eagles. Something I would never condone by the way.

I have to say though in this game against Wigan, his team selection, formation and tactics were spot on and the team played with confidence for the whole of the match before cruelly being denied a point in the dying seconds of the match. I am also pleased to say there was no repetition of the booing we heard in the last game at Turf Moor and there was even a return to singing 'Brian Laws Claret & Blue Army`.

In this match we seemed competent in all areas of the park; Jensen made some superb saves especially in the second half to keep us in the match, our back four looked solid and confident, our midfield were on the ball, driving forward and coming back in support and our attack looked dangerous. Had Paterson`s attempt not rattled against the woodwork in the second half the result could well have been different.

It had been over five months since we had kept a clean sheet in a match and with just one minute of extra time remaining, it looked like we had finally earned a valuable point away from home without conceding. Struggling teams tend to struggle for a number of reasons and that can include lack of confidence, players making costly individual errors, managers making the wrong tactical decisions or just simply luck deserts you. We have had games recently where all four of those reasons would be applicable but yesterday we just fell to the last one. Lady luck deserted us big time in such a cruel way when deep into injury time Wigan got a late goal to win 1-0 thanks to a Rodallega header from a Victor Moses cross. A draw would have been a fair result and I don`t even think the Wigan fans would be churlish enough not to agree with that.

One of the annoying things too this season has been the regular inability of clubs fighting for the big honours in the Premier League to beat our rivals struggling to avoid relegation. We had another example of this over the weekend with Wolves somehow surviving against high-flying Aston Villa at Villa Park and coming away with a valuable point in a 2-2 draw! I do not believe we are that much worse than the bottom six clubs in this division and yet all of them have had their little 2-3 match runs and little bit of fortune. Is it not our turn for a change?

This defeat has kept us in 18th spot on 24 points with just seven games to play. We are still 3 points behind the fourth from bottom club, who are now West Ham. They thankfully got beat 2-0 away to Arsenal but still have a game in hand over the Clarets.

This is turning out to be such a depressing season now and 2010 appears to be the club`s annus horribilis so far with one man and one man only being to blame for this. Thank you for nothing Mr Judas Coyle! How much the Clarets fans need a tonic and what a tonic it would be if we could now beat Blackburn in the East Lancashire derby at Turf Moor next Sunday! A victory still might not be enough to avoid the drop but a loss would be a disaster and we certainly don`t need the crowing of the mob from the wrong end of the M65 claiming a double over us this season and gloating that they have just put the final nail in our coffin.

The Clarets Team Sheet

Our leading goal-scorer, Steven Fletcher returned to the starting eleven after missing the last three matches due to a broken hand and Laws showed his further attacking intent by also naming Nugent up front with striker, Martin Paterson playing a wider role. Enforced changes to the back-four due to injuries to Carlisle and Fox saw the return of Stephen Jordan at left-back and Michael Duff in the centre of defence.

The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Paterson, Nugent, Fletcher

Subs: Weaver, Edgar, Bikey, Cork, Blake, Eagles, Thompson

The Full Match Report

The Clarets fans came in their numbers (about 4000,almost a sell-out) and filled the away end of the DW Stadium but the lack of atmosphere from the other three sides of the ground with loads of empty seats was plainly evident. The church-like atmosphere was only occasionally broken by some pesky Wigan drummer boy giving everybody a headache. At various times during the match, the Clarets fans decided to hijack the drumming and after the 'bum-bum-ba-ba-bum` shouted out 'BURNLEY` much to the annoyance of the Wigan fans who were completely drowned out by the chanting from our end.

Chester referee, Mike Jones having checked there were no beach balls on the pitch got the game underway and it was the Clarets who were first out of the blocks in a lively start. Titus Bramble blocked a shot from Alexander and then Fletcher tested Kirkland with an angled shot.

With just five minutes on the clock and Wigan looking nervous, the Clarets nearly broke the deadlock. A shot by Paterson was charged down by Bramble but the loose ball fell to Elliott who looked certain to score before Gary Caldwell got in the way.

The Clarets were clearly on top at this stage in all areas of the park and after 15 minutes Nugent ran in on goal only to be brought down by Bramble but the blatant foul went unnoticed.

Wigan had hardly been in our half but on 18 minutes they nearly took the lead after the Clarets gave away a silly corner after miscommunication between Alexander and Jensen. Caldwell got in a header from the corner that Elliott had to deal with at the back post. The deflection off Elliott hit the post and away to safety much to the relief of Clarets fans.

The match up to half-time then became very tense with a scrap in midfield that led to very few goal-scoring opportunities by either side. Michael Duff in particular was keeping out most of the threat down the middle and the Clarets at the other end whilst playing some nice moves in the middle of the park just couldn`t get the ball to the front men. Both sides desperate for the three points had to be content with 0-0 at half-time but the Clarets would have been the happier of the two.

The second half got underway with the Clarets once more in command with McDonald in particular looking lively. He linked well with Fletcher on the break but Elliott`s cross could not pick out anybody in a good position with Paterson only able to get in a weak shot that gave Kirkland no problems.

James McCarthy got himself in a dangerous position at the other end but stumbled in the box to set-up a Burnley counter-attack. A punt up the pitch found Nugent with a great chance to score but he shot too early with the ball wide of target.

There was a tense, bad atmosphere on the ground it seemed and the tensions were mounting on and off the pitch. It was not helped when some fool in the Burnley end chucked something at Kirkland. He fell to the ground having appeared to have been hit in the head with some sort of missile. When will these idiots realise it only brings shame on the club? I just hope they get the culprit and ban him.

Alexander came close with a curling shot from 20 yards out after the ball fell to him from a free-kick but his effort was just wide.

Wigan though were steadily beginning to get back into this game and enjoy some possession in our half. A shot from substitute, Jason Scotland flew just wide and from a corner, a header by Rodallega had to be cleared off the line by Elliott.

It looked like the Clarets would take the lead though when Nugent slipped a pass into the box for Paterson to unleash a fantastic volley. The ball though frustratingly hit the bar and that seemed to stir Wigan up who began to put our defence under more pressure especially our left-back, Stephen Jordan.

Brian Jensen had to make two excellent saves to keep us in this game with just a few minutes left to play. He first palmed away a volley from McCarthy and then at full stretch managed to tip over a shot by Mohamed Diame. With Wigan pressing Burnley survived yet another goalmouth scramble and the Clarest fans were beginning to believe that at long last we might get something on the road for the first time since the point at Eastlands back in November.

We nearly made it three points when Blake who had earlier come on to replace Fletcher put Nugent clear. He just couldn`t get the ball past Kirkland though and that looked to be it with four minutes of added time now being played out.

With one minute of added time to play though, disaster struck for the Clarets. A cross from substitute winger, Victor Moses found the head of Rodallega and the ball flew past Jensen into the net to break all Clarets fans hearts and spirit. We deserved a draw at the very least but some sod up there does not like us!

Match Detail

Wigan: Kirkland, Caldwell, Scharner (Scotland 33), Bramble, Melchiot, Figueroa, Thomas (Moses 74), McCarthy, Diame, Moreno, Rodallega

Subs Not Used: Stojkovic, Gohouri, Amaya, Gomez, Sinclair

Goal: Rodallega (90+3 minutes)

Booked: Yellow Card for Bramble

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Duff, Cort, Jordan, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Paterson (Eagles 82), Nugent, Fletcher (Blake 68)

Subs Not Used: Weaver, Edgar, Bikey, Cork, Thompson

Booked: Yellow Cards for Mears, Duff and McDonald

Possession: 52% Wigan, 48% Burnley, (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)

Star Player

This was a good team performance with everybody pulling their weight and looking up for this game. I think everybody would have got a score of six or above in this game.

The back four looked remarkably solid considering injuries had forced two changes. Our opponents seem to sense that the left back position is always our weakness with Kalvenes, Jordan and Fox taking it in turns to often be punished down that flank. Jordan though standing in for the injured Fox, had a really good game against Wigan despite having a hectic time for most of the match. He should maybe have done better to contain Moses and prevented him from getting in the cross that led to their goal but all-in-all a very solid performance. Some Clarets fans rated Jordan with a low score; they must have seen a different match to me!

Centre back, Michael Duff making his first start since the game away to Bolton in January was excellent and hardly put a foot wrong the whole afternoon so he gets our Star Player award!




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 22 2010

Time: 11:44AM

Your Comments

Football can be such a frustrating game. You feel like kicking something but you are still powerless to do anything and have to cope with your emotions! Something I am useless at! If someone asked me for the best moment in this match, I would say the first 93 minutes! The worst apart from that damn goal was seeing Kirkland hit by something from some moron in the Burnley end who thinks he is a fan! I hope they get the idiot and chuck the book at him
turfmanphil
Or her?
Couch Potato
Gutting. 60 seconds earlier Nuge could have got the winner ( although it would have been a very good finish) and then we end up losing. Thought we were the better team first half and Wigan were better in the second half meaning a draw would have been a fair result in my opinion. Agree regarding whoever threw the coin - It is ridiculous in any circumstance but in this case what had Kirkland done to ignite the situation? and why did a large number of Burnley fans feel the need to hurl abuse at Kirkland because he needed treatment after being hit by the coin? Hardly his fault. Unfortunately it is not the first time this has happened - I am sure we will be punished at some point. To end on a positive note - I thought Duffman was superb. Again! I would argue he has put in our best performances of all of our centre halfs this season and I am really pleased for him.
Claretdale
I was halfway out of my seat as Mr Bird got louder and louder with that Nugent attempt, and in that split second numerous thoughts entered my head . . . first away win. . . . . 3 massive points . . and then he pronounced quietly that Kirkland had saved it. A minute later I felt as if a horse had kicked me in the groin .
WelshClaret
Talk about heartbreaker!
Grimsby Claret
Agree with Phil's summing up which hits the spot for me. You make your own luck over a season but we surely deserved a point at least on Saturday. Pato's strike against the bar was top quality and I have to say, once again, that Michael Duff continues to prove me wrong and must now be a certain starter for the rest of the season. The coin situation is a bit of a worry and as Dale points out it has happened a few times now and is something football doesn't need.
RickersTwickers
Unlucky dudes, totally biased I thought we shaded it good exciting game though, good luck for the remaining 7 games
worbo
Yep we are cursed! bring in an exorcist before the big match ;-)
8clarets8
I hope Burnley stay up (apart from anything else, 8 out of 20 Prem teams in the NW is worth shouting about) but I just can't see it happening. The truth is that some of our teams may be crap compared to the top few, but they all have got good players and supporters of the smaller clubs often feel unlucky. The bottom line is, you have to score when you get the chance or you're on the way down.
Bristol White
I disagree that we were unlucky. I disagree that it's been a horrible season. We weren't unlucky because we hardly created any chances - the Pato attempt would have been fantastic because it was a half chance at best. Their goalie had little to do. Caldwell had a free header and hit the post full on and then the Beast saved several good chances for Wigan in the second half. We aren't getting quality balls into the box and our attempts from dead ball situations are abysmal. Having said all that we tried really hard, the defence looked better (Duff looks a lot calmer under pressure than the others) and Wigan weren't much better than us - affected by the pressure too I suspect. It has not been a horror season because we are in the Premier League and we have had some memorable games, even the ones we haven't won. We went to Anfield at the beginning of the season and we were well beaten but we had a brilliant day. We wore our shirts with pride on the walk to the ground and dozens of Liverpool fans made a point of coming up to us to shake our hands and wish us well, except for the games against them of course. A lot of them knew our history and were really rooting for us. At Old Trafford, again an honourable defeat, the Man U fans leaving near the end stopped to applaud our fans who were still singing in the corner of the ground. Robbies goal against Man U. Beating Everton the week after. Fantastic moments that can't be taken away. I am certain that if we go down we will be a power in the Championship and come back again with a lot more idea of what to do in the Prem. I also think it will benefit a lot of our younger players being in the Championship to develop without the constant pressure of struggling in the Prem. A final note of optimism - no matter what happens and where we are we are still not Blackburn (or Bolton)so what's to be sad about? (A note on Coyle. Dad always said, when people appeared to get away with murder, literally sometimes, that it always catchers up with them evetually in one way or another. I have since found this to be true. Coyle will get his.) Up the Clarets!!
ozjean
I may have my facts wrong, but did Owen Coyle not leave St Johnstone just before their Scottish Cup Final. I don't suppose you were crying for St Johnstone then. Of course we were glad to get Coyle (but could have said that about many people in place of Megson). I don't think that Burnley would have sacked Coyle for relegation this season but if you weren't challenging for promotion by the middle of next season, he would have got the same treatment that Phil Brown just got from Hull. And at least you knew it was happening whereas when Allardyce left Bolton it was supposedly to take a break of a few months and then he rolled up in Newcastle 2 weeks later. I wouldn't have blamed him for going to be a bigger club but honesty would have been nice.
Bristol White
Honesty in football is like seaching for the Holy Grail!! I think this is the whole point about Coyle, he spouted bollox about loyalty to this club and then jumped ship to a relegation rival in a sideways move at the worst possible time. Bit different than making a massive career move from St Johnstone! He simply did not want the 'R' word on his CV so made his regular 2 year change, even though had he stayed he would still have been worshipped by the Clarets fans whether we had been relegated or not!
turfmanphil
Are Celtic going to be looking for a manger this summer? Watching Gers win a cup with only 9 men on the pitch may have made the Celtic Board think it's time to have a quiet chat with a new gaffer next time he's visiting his Mum, for Easter maybe, or perhsp not till summer holidays. But everyone get ready to hear about how Bolton is a massive club close to someone's heart and just because they don't fill the stadium every week doesn't mean he'd take even a second look at one that did, even though it has a special place in his heart.
Couch Potato
This is what you get when you hire Brian Laws as manager, to me Sean O"Driscoll seemed the right choice for the players in your squad, all you needed was him and two decent centre halfs that can clear a ball instead of doing anagrams
Lily_White
O'Driscoll or Grayson? Leeds fans this week are saying that Grayson could be about to fall into play off misery again.......not so long ago he was the 2nd coming for the Turf way ahead of Laws.....funny old game
VinRogue
 

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