Pathetic Disgrace follows Paterson Brace
Saturday 6th November 2010 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley took away a point from Carrow Road after drawing 2-2 with Norwich City on Saturday and under normal circumstances a lot of Clarets fans may well have taken that result before the start of this clash. The truth is though we once again let slip a two goal lead and in the proverbial game of two halves converted an energetic, excellent team performance of the first half into one of pure dross in the second. There can be no excuses for the second half showing and the most disappointed player in the end must surely have been Martin Paterson. Pato had been given his chance in the starting eleven by Brian Laws for the first time since the Preston game in early September. Not only that but this time his talents were not wasted by playing him out wide. He was given the ideal chance to shine up front replacing Chris Iwelumo. He shone like a beacon too scoring two goals in a seven minute spell during the first half to give the Clarets a 2-0 lead at half-time.
There was more to the half than that though. We had Norwich City completely rattled and had by far the greater possession. It was an excellent team performance and so many individuals were on form, not least Martin Paterson. The Canaries fans were incensed with loud boos greeting the home team and manager as they headed for the dressing room. We had them on the ropes; surely we could now go on and win our first league win on the road this season? Hang on though this was Burnley we were talking about and all those horrible thoughts about what happened recently at Bramall Lane came back to haunt us.
You have to give credit to Norwich City who came out a different team in the second half and they now seemed to have a determination about them with substitute, Anthony McNamee giving heart to the side and running rings round a shell-shocked Burnley defence. There was still no excuse though for our woeful performance in the second half. We simply capitulated and spent the whole time it seemed ensconced in our own half unable to break out and mount any meaningful attacks. The pressure for the Clarets fans was unbearable especially when the Canaries deservedly got a goal back after Chris Martin scored for them on 63 minutes.
You just sensed now we were going to chuck away another two points and maybe even three with the Canaries now in the ascendency playing with the belief that the equaliser was just around the corner. The relentless pressure continued but somehow we held on until the second minute of the four minutes of added time before the inevitable happened. Although there was a suspicion of handball, Andrew Crofts popped up to score from close range to break the hearts of the entire weary travelling Clarets contingent who had made the long trek to Norfolk There was just time for Crofts to then be shown a red card after picking up a second yellow and that was it another miserable day for the Clarets. Yes, we didn`t lose and a point against a club in the top six on their home is some sort of achievement. But this felt like a defeat and not for the first time on the road. The last time we could celebrate an away win in the league was against Hull City at the KC Stadium in the Premier League clash back in April. That win was a long time coming too being our only win away that season.
This is now beyond a joke. Are we now so mentally round up about not being capable of winning away, we proceed to continually prove it? Is there a psychological factor at play here in the minds of the players? There is absolutely no excuse for losing a two goal lead and after Sheffield United we now seem to be making a habit of it.
The loss of these points is now beginning to tell, we are fast becoming just one of a number of also-rans hovering in and around the play-offs zone but not being good enough or consistent enough to stand out from the crowd. We are now in 9th spot with 22 points from 15 games, two points behind 6th placed club, Ipswich Town. Yes we are still in with a chance of finishing in the top six but the hope of taking this league by storm after a season in the top flight is evaporating fast. Were we not one of the favourites to go straight back up before the start of the season? So much for punditry then with Middlesbrough currently second from bottom and everybody`s favourite to be Langue champions in the summer.
QPR though beat Reading 3-1 on home soil on Saturday to increase their lead over the Clarets to eleven points and return to the top of the Championship table. Cardiff could overtake them if they beat Swansea at home in the fierce Welsh derby today (Sunday). If they do win we will be a massive 13 points behind them and it increasingly looks like an automatic promotion place is out of our reach barring some miracle that sees Cardiff and/or QPR go on a bad run and the Clarets start a winning one. Shock, horror though that will mean actually winning on the road!
Brian Laws had a few selection headaches ahead of the Canaries clash with virtually the whole squad to choose from except of course for our long-term injured midfielder, Chris McCann.
In the end he made just one change from the QPR game with Martin Paterson being given his chance in the starting eleven replacing Chris iwelumo up front. This was perhaps a surprising choice considering Iwelumo is our leading goal scorer but then big Chris has struggled recently on the road and failed to score away all season. Nevertheless this was a brave decision by Laws and one that would bear fruit. Grezza kept his place in the starting eleven in the holding midfield role and it was perhaps surprising that no room could be found for the obvious talents of England Under 21 International, Jack Cork unless he was still suffering slightly from the stomach bug that affected a number of players recently. He once more was sidelined to the bench. Duff and Carlisle remained at the heart of the defence although it was revealed later that Bikey had suffered a recurrence of a rib injury which explained his absence from the eighteen.
In summary we lined up as follows:
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Alexander, Marney, Elliott, Eagles, Paterson (Iwelumo 81), Rodriguez
Substitutes: Jensen, Edgar, Cort, Cork, Wallace, Iwelumo, Thompson
Both teams came out wearing black armbands in memory of John Benson who sadly passed away recently. John had connections with both clubs. He was a former Canaries player and of course a managerial side-kick to John Bond at both Carrow Road and Turf Moor before becoming our manager in August 1984 after Bond departed. His tenure was not the happiest one in our history but he did his best. He left the club in May 1985, after being sacked following Burnley`s relegation.
Referee, Trevor Kettle got this pot-boiler of a game underway with Burnley brewing up a strategy to get their first away win on the road this season (Sorry Kettle jokes are inevitable!)
Burnley started brightly with Chris Eagles leading the charge. He could only shoot straight at Canaries keeper John Ruddy though after a run through the heart of the home defence. In the 7th minute Eagles looked threatening again, this time darting in from the right to unleash a shot that hit the side-netting.
Paterson then linked well with Mears getting to the by-line before unleashing a cross straight into the path of Rodriguez. A last gasp challenge though robbed Jay Rod of the chance to shoot with the goal wide open. It was all Burnley at this stage and next Dean Marney tried his luck from distance but the shot was deflected for a corner.
The Canaries first meaningful attack woke up the home contingent fans after 20 minutes play. Martin went on an overlapping run down the right before crossing for Lappin to head downwards towards goal. Lee Grant though parried well to save and deny Norwich taking an undeserved lead.
Six minutes later though and the Clarets finally broke the deadlock. With Mears overlapping on the flank, Elliott instead chose to cut inside and pass to Rodriguez. Rodriguez now spotted and found Mears who took the ball to the by-line before pulling back to feed Paterson. Paterson said 'thank you very much` and coolly slotted home from eight yards out to put the Clarets 1-0 up.
A few minutes later just past the half-hour mark we were 2-0 up and again it was that man Pato who took the honours. Paterson this time latched onto a pass from Dean Marney after a well-timed run. Ruddy though first saved his shot but the ball bounced awkwardly for the keeper off his arm and slowly went over the line to double the Clarets lead.
The Clarets were now in complete control with a woeful Norwich only able to put over a few crosses that were easy fodder for Grant to mop up. 2-0 then at half-time to the Clarets but little did we know what was about to happen in the second-half.
Canaries` gaffer, Paul Lambert made what proved to be an inspirational change at half-time bringing on Anthony McNamee to replace the lacklustre Lappin.
Norwich came out with all guns blazing and Burnley just could not seem to contain them. Leon Barnett got in a downwards header from a McNamee`s cross in the 50th minute only for Grant to save well. It was the lively McNamee again just past the hour mark who threatened the Burnley defence. His dangerous cross was headed clear by Mears in spectacular fashion but now we were under relentless pressure with the home side having all the possession and the home crowd sensing all was not lost just yet.
Brian Laws sensed he had to do something and decided to bring on Wallace for Eagles in the 70th minute but it had precisely no effect with Norwich pulling a goal back just a minute later.
Chris Martin scored with a simple finish from close range after a Crofts cut-back.
The pressure continued with the Clarets unable it seemed to mount any meaningful attack and get out of their own half. It was desperate at times and woeful to watch.
The influential McNamee got the better of Fox with 15 minutes on the clock remaining. Cutting inside past the left back, he let rip with a shot that skidded low towards target The ball though hit the inside of the post before flying across the face of an open goal with the Clarets fans now having palpitations.
Laws had seen enough by now so on came Cork for Marney and then a few minutes later, Iwelumo replaced Paterson who had seen little of the ball during the whole of the second half. The changes once more had little effect as Norwich continued to batter the Clarets defence. They were now desperate to get the equaliser being spurred on by the noisy, expectant home crowd.
Four minutes of stoppage time were announced and you could hear the groans and sense the nervousness and worry on all the Clarets fans faces. The inevitable happened with two minutes of added time played. It was Crofts who pounced to score from six yards out to snatch a point. It should have been disallowed though with replays clearly showing he had controlled the ball with his upper arm before shooting. To be honest though, Norwich were worth a point and we should have held our heads in disgrace after letting slip a two goal lead in such dramatic woeful fashion.
The only saving grace is once again we now have two home games on the trot with Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night followed by Watford the following Saturday. There can be no excuses this time, we simply have to win both games but can we? The lads must be really disheartened after chucking this one in at Norwich and the inability to win on the road just like last season is now putting tremendous pressure on us to win at home.
The formula to win at home and draw away used to be a good maxim but we need something extra these days with the Championship such a difficult division to get out of. Will we ever win away this season? The more this goes on the more you doubt it!
Norwich: Ruddy, R Martin, Barnett, Ward, Smith (Fox 53), Crofts, Hoolahan, Smith, Lappin (McNamee 46), Holt, Jackson (C Martin 63),
Subs Not Used: Rudd, Askou, Gill, Johnson
Goals: C Martin 71, Crofts 90+2
Booked: Red Card for Crofts (second bookable offence)
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Alexander, Marney (Cork 78), Elliott, Eagles (Wallace 70), Paterson (Iwelumo 81), Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Cort, Thompson
Goals: Paterson 26,33
Possession: 54% Norwich, 46% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Trevor Kettle (Berkshire)
You have to give the award to Martin Paterson who at least based on the first 45 minutes fully justified Brian Laws decision to play him ahead of Chris Iwelumo. This was the first time he had started since the Preston game and it was also his first start upfront as a striker this season.
There was only one way he could justify his selection and that was to score and he did, not once but twice in a lively, energetic performance. Just a pity he did not get any service in the second-half to try and make it a hat-trick.
Pato now has to be given a more regular starting eleven place in my opinion and we seriously have to consider using him up front in partnership with Chris Iwelumo or Jay Rodriguez in 4-4-2. We have to try something different especially on the road. So many of our players seem to have been wasted out on the wing over the last few seasons when in effect they were natural strikers.