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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Crystal Palace 0 - Burnley 0

Selhurst Park

Saturday 18th September 2010 @3pm Kick-Off

Attendance: 14,451

Clarets Domination Only Worth a Point at Palace

Burnley earned a point in a 0-0 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday but how they came away without a win is still baffling Clarets fans considering we basically dominated this game having just over 60% of the possession. You can always tell the way games have gone when the opposition award their man of the match award to their goalkeeper and Julian Speroni was certainly on form in this match although when he was beaten he had to be grateful for the woodwork coming to his rescue on more than one occasion.

This was quite simply our best performance away from home for some time and indeed our best shift this season. At times especially in a purple patch during the second half we were simply sublime and if only we could play like that consistently there would be no stopping us this season.

Brian Laws made one change to the side that went down to a late goal in added time against Boro in midweek with captain, Graham Alexander perhaps surprisingly being dropped and having to be content with a place on the bench. Dean Marney returned to the starting eleven with Jack Cork taking over the holding midfield role. Michael Duff also returned to the eighteen being named on the bench. We therefore lined up as follows:

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Marney, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo

Subs: Grant, Duff, Cort, Alexander, Paterson, Rodriguez, Thompson

On a nice day in South London, Isle of Man referee, James Linington got the match underway with the Clarets still looking for their first away win of the season and George Burley`s men hoping they could maintain their winning ways after thumping Pompey 4-1 at home in midweek.

It was Palace who showed early promise though with a couple of attempts in the first 5 minutes. First a close range shot by Kieran Djilali from an Alex Marrow cross went over the bar and then Jensen had to save a shot from Neil Danns. The Clarets though now gradually began to take control of this game with Palace in all honesty only able to try and take advantage on the break.

With the match only 20 minutes old, Ross Wallace picked up a hamstring injury and had to be replaced by Jay Rodriguez. A great chance then for the young striker to make an impression and he certainly rose to the occasion. If luck had been on our side, he may well have had a hat-trick before the final whistle blew.

Chris Eagles was again on form and looked to terrorise the Palace defence. After 25 minutes, Speroni was tested by a long range effort from Eagles; a shot the Palace keeper could only tip onto the bar.

Despite the best efforts from Jay Rodriguez in particular we just couldn`t get the breakthrough goal we needed with Speroni time-and-time again thwarting our efforts with half-time approaching. 0-0 then after 45 minutes with Clarets fans at this stage perhaps a little edgy despite the encouraging performance. There was this feeling that despite the dominance, Palace may well get the opening goal on the break if our luck, which seemed to be deserting us continued to do so in the second-half.

Brian Laws as expected made no changes for the start of the second half and now re really began to turn the screw in an exciting period that was both classy and pleasing on the eye. With some great runs down the flanks, some superb passing and crossing and numerous attempts on goals this period of about 20 minutes had everything except for one thing, a goal for the Clarets! Eagles had so many attempts on goal I lost count. Speroni had to come to the Eagles rescue yet again (no not Chris`s) when Rodriguez attempted a volley following a good cross from Tyrone Mears.

Palace though still had the tendency on occasion with Burnley pushing forward to catch us out on the break and there was always the fear this would lead to goal for the home side despite our dominance. A goal for them would have been a ridiculous travesty of justice but it was always at the back of your mind with Clarets fans unable to relax as we entered the last quarter of this match.

With 11 minutes to play, the woodwork again came to Palace`s rescue. The impressive Jay Rodriguez unleashed a shot from distance that rattled against the underside of the bar much to the relief of Speroni who this time had been well-beaten by the thumping drive.

There was just time for Palace to have one last attempt to break all Clarets fans hearts. Jensen, who had earlier saved well from the feet of substitute Wilfried Zaha now had to deal with a powerful shot from Neil Danns in the last minute of the game. This time the woodwork came to our rescue with Jensen parrying the shot onto the post.

A goalless draw then in the end but despite the frustrations and the feeling we should have won this game, it was an excellent performance from the Clarets and one in which we can be proud. The point still keeps us in contention although we have now dropped back to 8th spot with 11 points from 7 games. We are however still only three points behind second place, Ipswich although at the moment; league leaders QPR are running away with it after yet another win following their 2-0 victory away to Leicester City. They are now five points clear of Ipswich and eight points ahead of the Clarets.

All we have to do now is continue to play like we did against Palace and do so with consistency and we should be there or thereabouts come the end of the season. Can we do so though? Let`s hope so

Match Stats

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Clyne, Davis, McCarthy, Danns, Garvan, Dorman (Bennett 61), Cadogan (Zaha 46), Djilali (Andrew 82), Marrow, Vaughan

Subs Not Used: Price, Barrett, O'Keefe, Counago

Booked: Yellow cards for Marrow, Dorman and Davis

Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Marney, Elliott, Wallace (Rodriguez 21), Iwelumo (Thompson 70

Subs Not Used: Grant, Duff, Cort, Alexander, Paterson.

Booked: Yellow cards for Mears, Elliott, Carlisle, Fox

Possession: 38% Crystal Palace, 62 % Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Referee: James Linington (Isle of Man)

Star Player

This was a great team performance and so many players could be candidates for our star player award. Bikey continues to be superb in the back four with Carlisle providing good support, Mears looks a much happier bunny, Eagles threatened all afternoon and Jack Cork was solid in the holding midfield role and was involved in initiating a number of Claret attacks. Let`s though give the award to Jay Rodriguez who made such a strong impression showing great maturity after coming on from the bench with just 20 minutes played. He looked the most likely to score all afternoon and was only denied by Speroni and the blessed woodwork. On another day and with more luck we would have been celebrating a Jay Rod hat-trick!




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday September 19 2010

Time: 10:28AM

Your Comments

Enjoyed the day and great to meet with CP, RT, VR and mini-VR. A bit deaf this morning and my coat has not yet dried out! Yep,Rocky was behind me!!
turfmanphil
Not being there did we play the 4-5-1 system and if we did is this the problem i just want BL to try 4-4-2 and have someone along side big Chris to feed of him. From what reports i've seen it was the best performance this season but only one point, could these drop points come back and bite us on the bum later in the season.
Fedupclaret
Yep only Iwelumo up front, even when JayRod came on,he played a wider role. Think Elliott should have gone out wide and JayRod partnered Iwelumo up front. Iwelumo again failed really to shine and I can't help feeling a Iwelumo/Paterson 4-4-2 (or other combos involving Thommo/Jay Rod) would give us more options. If you accommodate a twin strike force though, your problem is who do you drop out of midfield. Grezza may find it difficult to get back into contention but then you still have to decide if you want to have an holding midfield role. I would go with Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Bikey, Fox, Eagles, Cork, Elliott, Wallace, Iwelumo,Paterson in 4-4-2. Cork could drop back into holding midfield if required and with Grezza/Edgar on bench you have other options
turfmanphil
Agree tmp we all know why BL doing it and i understand agaist good teams you don't want to concede or is it pressure on BL to get promotion. With Grezza out of the team and Marney or big Kev in i thought it was the ideal time to try 4-4-2 just hope BL can see this before pressure starts to mount on him and the team.
Fedupclaret
An encouraging report tmp which is more or less reflected in today's newspapers. It sounds as though BL is finally sussing out his best side. I'd also like to see Patto or possibly J Rod on his current form, up front with Big Chris, with Cork, Eagles, Marney or Alexander, and Elliott playing behind them. Always felt that this squad will shine in the championship and it's been disappointing to see some of the performances so far, particularly against the Swans and Preston. But now that Eagles and Cork seem finally in the starting line up, things are looking better as they did in both of those matches, once they came on. Really good to hear that the performance was the best yet, are we finally getting there ? The next match could be a definitive answer :-)
WelshClaret
Wouldn't disagree with anything in this report, but as TMP was sat a couple of seats along from me it's hardly a surprise we both saw the game the same way. Was a game of revelations for me. I met Alan Cork at Selhurst Station on the way home and he gave me a Vital scoop concerning his son - more to come on that at a later stage. VR had already named and shamed the laziest pair of trainers at Turf Moor - don't think too many will be surprised by at least one of the names - and then a bloke behind me, who had overheard someone in the gents talking to someone else who had been talking to a politically well-connected Claret, alleging that Fergie didn't like Owen Coyle. However, that was the most interesting thing the morons behind me said all afternoon. It took them a long time to work out whether the clock was counting down or up and which dug-out housed the Burnley subs. Being sat in front of His Rockiness would have been more fun !
RickersTwickers
I would just like to add that you pick the team to beat the opposition or at worst draw with them. 4 4 2 against Palace away would have been a recipe for a disaster ask Pompey who had shipped 4 earlier in the week against Palace. Great workman like performances from the Clarets we gave Cork MOM with an 8+, Eagles 8, Bikey 8, Marney 8, Beast 8, Wade 7, Carlisle 7, Mears 6, Fox 6, Big Chris 6, JayRod got just a 7 from us as he has to score 1 out of 3 or we will need a new manager! Laws got an 8 too.
vinrogue
We don't seem to pick 4-4-2 though against any opposition VR? If you are playing one up front fine but it depends on the lone striker. Fletcher may have been more versatile and he often ran back and was more creative. Iwelumo in that role is not the same and he looked more effective against Preston when he had a strike partner. Paterson is wasted on the wing and he would be an ideal foil for Iwelumo. They could both feed off each other up front and I am convinced we would score more goals and win more games
turfmanphil
Still not convinced about Iwelumo, though it is difficult to judge from out here and only seeing the occasional match on TV. Would like to see Thommo given a chance to see if he would give us something different if we are to continue playing 4 5 1.
canadaclaret
Thommo to be fair has struggled as well in last couple of games he has come on from bench. This is again I think a symptom of 4-5-1. Tall strikers can head down to a strike partner, and strike partners can set up the tall lads. Just hoofing up or crossing over to a lone tall striker all the time does not give us many options and a headed ball's chances of going in the net direct is not as high as a headed ball down being pounced on by a strike partner in close vicinity [Edited by turfmanphil]
turfmanphil
I also enjoyed the day and meeting various Vital fans once again. Not a lot I can add... perhaps just the sense of shock when Dave Burnley, he who has attended a billion trillion consecutive games, stood up with a group of friends and walked towards the exit with only 2 of the 4 extra time minutes gone. Was it me who cried out 'reputation in tatters'? Dave calmly explained to the masses that he wasn't leaving early, just getting closer to the exits as he had a train to catch. I worried about this all the way home, and especially when the bus from my local train station Axminster was held up for 40 minutes by the town's annual carnival, almost making me late for Match of the Day.
Couch Potato
Continuing from the above, it must have been this close encounter with our spiritual leader (Dave that is, not the Pope, who did nevertheless dominate pre-match screens in the Thornton Heath Weatherspoons) that very nearly made me start legging the final 6 miles back home until some folk I recognised wandered up to the bus-less bus stop and seemed happy enough to await the delayed coming.
Couch Potato
CP's reference to ecclesiastical matters seems to be an opportune time to remind those present of the rather spiritual presence of a live fox as our own Danny Fox lay prostrate on the ground receiving treatment. Perhaps the real fox had imagine Danny's injury to be slightly worse than it was and was making an early bid for replacement duties. Given the speed it showed in evading The Beast - or was it the other way round - and the way it scampered around the Palace fans it looked a pretty nifty customer. If only the referee had been Alan Wil(e)y.
RickersTwickers
Would have been better if the game was being played against the Foxes at the Walkers Stadium too! :-)
turfmanphil
Could club historian Ray Simpson please be asked to look up in the Clarets archive when the last occasion was that both Bfc and the Pope were in the nation's capital on the same day?
Couch Potato
I can remember the previous Pontiff visiting these shores in 1982 and recall he visited Crystal Palace. Though that was the sports stadium and not Selhurst Park. Not sure whether that was the same place as our FA Cup trimuph of 1914 - wonder if any of our older readers can help ?
RickersTwickers
I'm afraid you've foxed me on that one RT.
Couch Potato
Anyone who doesn't like 'what if' questions should look away now, because this is going to be a 'what if pontiff' question... Are you ready? What, if, Pontiff, Owen Coyle had still been Burnley manager when you were in London the same day, would you have said to him about his allegedly having been a very naughty boy?
Couch Potato
 

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