Clarets Lose Badly to Royals on So Many Levels
Saturday 23rd October 2010 @3pm Kick-Off
This was an awful day to be a Clarets supporter after being thumped 4-0 by Reading at Turf Moor on Saturday. Not only was the match lost but we lost so many other things as well. For one, we lost our proud home record after being unbeaten on home soil this season. We also lost ground on the two top clubs having had an ideal opportunity to put QPR and Cardiff under pressure and mount a challenge for automatic promotion. Before this match we were in 4th place breathing down the necks of the top two clubs. By the end of this disaster we were back to 7th, nine points now behind the Rs in top spot who picked up another point on the road away to bottom club Bristol City on Friday night. Cardiff already six points ahead of the Clarets in second spot play their game on Monday night against Leeds United at Elland Road.
I think I saw for the first time on Saturday why this team is going to struggle to get an automatic promotion place. We were simply dreadful and no matter how much you blame the referee for being equally hopeless it is still a lame excuse for this pathetic showing. You could have easily swopped the ref`s Blue & White hooped shirt for a Claret & Blue one and still suffered this humiliating defeat!
So Burnley have gone down stronger have we? Absolute tosh based on this performance! All this self-congratulatory bullshit about being prudent with the money perhaps needs to be looked at in a more sober light with Portsmouth now out of administration and Steve Cotterill doing great guns with his Pompey side who are now in 13th spot just two points behind the Clarets!
Yes indeed we lost this game on so many levels and now we travel to QPR on Saturday desperate to redress the balance and get back on track. Yeah right!
Something else we lost whilst the referee lost the plot was Leon Cort! He had not been booked in over six years but boy did he make up for it in this match! He was off the pace all afternoon and his clumsy way of trying to make up for his deficiencies cost us dear. After just 8 minutes of play, Cort was beaten for pace by Long and mistimed a somewhat crude challenge in the penalty area which had desperation written all over it. Cort was booked and Reading scored from the spot.
The Royals extended their lead on 64 minutes when Jobi McAnuff scored from the edge of the box but the disaster was complete three minutes later when we were reduced to ten-men. Cort`s nemesis, Shane Long was involved again, once more being clumsily fouled by Cort who saw red and this time got red after picking up a second yellow!
From then on we were just simply woeful although the referee ensured we didn`t stand a chance anyway with some bizarre decisions aided and abetted by some numpty linesmen. All the officials ensured they knew how to put the BERKS in Berkshire!
Reading scored two more goals late on to rub salt in our wounds after first Antonio scored from point-blank range following Long's cut back on 85 minutes before Church completed a miserable day for the Clarets smashing in the fourth in the second minute of the four minutes of added time.
One of those games all Clarets fans will simply just want to forget but also one that set a few alarm bells ringing certainly in my mind.
Brian Laws had selected a predictable eighteen for this clash following news that left-back, Danny Fox was fit enough to play after missing the last match with a thigh problem. At least his deputy for the Barnsley game in midweek, Brian Easton made the bench in recognition of his solid performance on Tuesday night. Other than that there were no major changes to the team or tactics, with Iwelumo once more given the role of lone striker up front and Jack Cork keeping captain, Alexander sidelined on the bench after making the holding midfield role his own in recent matches. Wade Elliott was once more named captain in the absence of Grezza and vice-captain Carlisle. Carlisle was of course sitting out the third and final match of his three-match ban following his sending off at the Den a few weeks back. Michael Duff again had to be content with bench warming with Leon Cort once more selected ahead of him in the centre of defence. The former Stoke defender was partnered by Andre Bikey who of course was playing against his former club with all Clarets fans hoping he didn`t get 'shirty` this time!
In summary therefore we lined up as follows:
Jensen, Mears, Cort, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Grant, Duff, Easton, Alexander, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson
Burnley probably had their best spell and only decent spell in the first five minutes of this match and even then it was pretty sluggish. It was all over from the moment we conceded a penalty in the 8th minute. After that is was tiresome to watch and I can safely say this was the worst game I have seen the Clarets play all season.
Jay Tabb returning from injury in the 'engine room` seemed to invigorate the Royals whilst our midfield looking hapless and clueless. Cort at least managed to block one his shots before blotting his copybook and conceding a penalty. The move too came from Tabb who found Long after releasing the ball in midfield. The pacy Long was far too fast for Cort and he chased into the penalty area only to be clumsily brought down by the central defender. Long took the penalty himself Although Jensen dived the right way, the ball flew into the bottom corner of the net to put Reading 1-0 up.
We should have expected a response from Burnley to at least try and get back into this game but if there was one it went unnoticed. I am struggling to remember one meaningful Clarets attack. Certainly any decent goal attempts were few and far between in the first 45 minutes. It was simply dire!
If anything the Royals looked more likely to score again and indeed came close. Long could only find the side netting with one attempt but a long-range effort from McAnuff brought out a save from Jensen to deny Reading doubling their lead.
Chris Iwelumo at the other end could not get on the end of an Elliott cross although he came close with a header from a free-kick by Eagles but the ball sailed just over the top of the bar.
Matt Mills then looked to have brought down Iwelumo in the penalty area but the referee incensed the Clarets fans by turning down the appeal. This was going to be one of many frustrating decisions that went against the Clarets during the course of the match.
Federici in the Reading goal was having a quiet afternoon but he did manage to save a deflected effort from Rodriguez although it was a pretty tame shot in the first place.
Brian Laws appears reluctant to change things round at half-time these days even when the first 45 minutes display seems to warrant it. So it proved again although at least the Clarets for a time had more urgency about them than in the first half.
Chris Eagles, who so far had been relatively quiet suddenly seemed to perk up and at long last, give Federici something to think about. The Royals keeper`s hands must have been stinging after saving one of his shots. Tyrone Mears then latched on to a loose ball setting up Eagles to attempt a volley which flew just wide. Eagles then linked well with Rodriguez. Jay Rod`s blocked shot fell to Eagles but he should have done better with his shot which was wide of target.
There was perhaps just a sense at this point that we were getting back into the game but that soon evaporated when Reading doubled their lead on 64 minutes. The Royals were awarded a free-kick and Fox could only half-clear the attempt by Harte. His header fell nicely for McAnuff and his shot found the back of the net from 12 yards out although the ball did come off the inside of the post.
That was bad enough but the mountain we had to climb became impossible to scale three-minutes later when we were reduced to ten men. Cort having already picked up a yellow card after conceding the penalty clumsily fouled Long again to earn himself another booking followed by a red card.
Reading now had total control and with 20 minutes to go were denied twice by Jensen in quick succession. He first of all dived at the feet of Long and then moments later tipped a shot by McAnuff round the post. It was only a matter of time though before Reading extended their lead although for a time the Clarets tried hard to get a goal back inspired by the substitutions. Wallace who had replaced Marney on 65 minutes was by now getting in some testing crosses and came close with a shot that volleyed just wide. Thompson and Paterson replaced Rodriguez and Iwelumo on 75 minutes and looked threatening for a time after freshening up our attack.
However we were always going to be vulnerable on the break especially with only ten men and so it would prove.
A cross from Long allowed Antonio to tap home at the far post with five minutes of the game remaining and then in the second minute of added time, Church completed our miserable afternoon by adding a fourth slicing his shot into the top corner of the net.
Burnley: Jensen, Mears, Cort, Bikey, Fox, Cork, Eagles, Elliott, Marney (Wallace 65), Rodriguez (Thompson 75), Iwelumo (Paterson 75)
Subs Not Used: Grant, Duff, Easton, Alexander
Booked: Red Card for Cort (Two Bookable Offences), Yellow cards for Cork and Elliott
Reading: Federici, Griffin, Mills, Khizanishvili, Harte, Karacan (Church 75), Tabb (Antonio 82), McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Howard, Long
Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Cummings, Pearce, Antonio, Church
Booked: Yellow card for McAnuff
Goals: Long (pen) 8, McAnuff 64, Antonio 85, Church 90+2
Referee: Nigel 'Mr Magoo-Should Have Gone to Specsavers` Miller (Tyne & Wear)
Possession: 50% Burnley, 50% Reading (Source: BBC Sport)
I may as well give it to Leon Cort; at least he had the good sense to be sent-off giving Brian Laws an easy decision to make in the back-four against QPR on Saturday! Carlisle and Bikey it has to be
Yes I am in a sarcastic mood and I am also far from happy after this terrible display. We simply have to start behaving like a team who is consistent enough to warrant an automatic promotion place. At the moment we are about as far away from that as one of those afore mentioned black-holes is from the Earth!