Comeback All is Forgiven!
Saturday 27th November 2010 @5:20pm Kick-Off
The Clarets not for the first time this season proved to be late comeback kings in their game against Derby County at Turf Moor yesterday. Despite having by far the greater possession, Burnley found themselves a goal down (thanks to a 19th minute Luke Moore goal )until eight minutes from time when two goals in ten minutes secured a 2-1 victory propelling the Clarets once again into the play-offs positions. Burnley are now 6th with 29 points from 19 games although we could drop down to seventh today (Sunday) if Norwich defeat Ipswich in the big East Anglia derby at Carrow Road. League leaders QPR beat second-place Cardiff 2-1 at Loftus Road yesterday so the Rs have not gone further ahead of the Clarets and we remain 12 points behind them. The good news though is that with Cardiff losing, we are now only seven points behind them so automatic promotion could still be achievable if only we could start to string a few wins together and more importantly win our first away game of the season.
Brian Laws position once again looks secure for the moment although you do sense things are bubbling under the surface on that score with some fans always seemingly ready to vent their anger at the gaffer. Let`s not be churlish though and give credit where credit is due. We dominated this match for vast periods especially in the second half and the stats do not lie with 57% of possession clocked up by the Clarets. We also had eight corners to just two for the Rams with 11 attempts on goal (7 on target ) compared to just 2 for Derby County. The truth is Derby County looked a very ordinary side indeed and not one that had been propelled to 4th in the table on the back of five wins in six matches. It is all credit to Burnley I suspect for making them look so mediocre.
It also almost went unnoticed on the pitch but after starting the usual 4-5-1 with Chris Iwelumo up front alone, Laws did eventually revert to 4-4-2 with Jay Rodriguez taking on the role he was born for up front giving some support to a forlorn looking Iwelumo and later substitute, Steve Thompson. Rodriguez would be substituted himself on 73 minutes giving the chance for Burnley fans to take a look at our new loan striker from Manchester City, John Guidetti and with Wade Elliott also moving out wider, the shape of our team looked much better. The proof was also in the pudding as it were after coming from behind in the last ten minutes to secure a handsome win. A superb free-kick from Tyrone Mears after 82 minutes evened up the scores before Jack Cork one minute into added time gave the Clarets a deserved winner after heading home the ball from a sublime cross from Elliott on the wing. Will Brian Laws now heed Clarets fans advice and start 4-4-2 for a change? Only time will tell.
It was a cold and bitter day in Burnley but at least the late victory warmed up the Clarets fans as they headed back home trying not to slip on the grit-free pavements. With Blackburn getting thumped 7-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford. Bolton unable to beat Blackpool at home despite coming back from 2-0 down to draw and with Preston only managing a goalless draw at home to Millwall things were looking up for Clarets fans. All we have to do now is beat Steve Cotterill`s Portsmouth at Fratton Park next Saturday to secure our first away win of the season and our first in 32 matches on the road! Do that and things will indeed begin to look very rosy indeed for the Clarets.
Laws was forced into making some changes for the Derby game. Danny Fox we knew was still ruled out with ankle ligament damage, Paterson was still struggling with a thigh injury and Chris Eagles was out with a back problem. Wallace replaced Eagles on the wing to earn his first starting eleven place since September with Jay Rodriguez initially playing out wide on the opposite flank. Dean Marney replaced Graham Alexander in midfield with Clarke Carlisle leading out the team as captain. Brian Easton continued his run of games at left back in the absence of the injured Fox and our new loan signing from Manchester City, 18 year old John Guidetti was named on the bench along with young Alex Ray Harvey. Andre Bikey now fully recovered from a rib injury was also preferred to Michael Duff in the centre of defence. In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Mears, Bikey, Carlisle, Easton, Cork, Wallace, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Iwelumo
Subs: Jensen, Duff, Edgar, Alexander, Harvey, Guidetti, Thompson
The Clarets started brightly with Wallace getting in a cross from the left wing to find Iwelumo who got up to head the ball only to put it wide of the near post.
Blackburn loan keeper, Frank Fielding then saved a header by Bikey from a corner with the Clarets at this stage now seemingly in control and pressing to open the scoring. Very much against the run of play though and in the Rams first meaningful attack we found ourselves one goal down after just 19 minutes.
It all started in the Rams half of the pitch after Jay Rodriguez mis-directed a header to surrender possession and give Derby a chance on the break. Some quick work in midfield found Luke Moore on a charge and the on-loan West Brom striker cut in and let rip with a right-footed shot from 22 yards out. The ball took a wicked deflection off Clarke Carlisle and sailed into the top corner of the net to put the Rams 1-0 up. It was a bitter blow for the Clarets and they seemed to struggle after that to get back on equal terms. Derby just seemed to sit back now and invite the Clarets to come at them easily coping with most of our attacks which indeed were few and far between in the first half. We looked static and a change in formation was inevitable with Wade Elliott now drifting out wider to support Mears on the right flank. Our game play though was still pretty mediocre at this stage and we could only resort to long-range efforts which were easily contained by the Derby keeper and back four. There was just one memorable attack after going behind. Marney angled a pass to find Jay Rodriguez on the half-hour mark with the Clarets for once stretching the Rams back four. JayRod`s shot at least tested the keeper but he was equal to it and the Clarets sloped off the pitch 1-0 down at half-time with a few boos echoing around the ground aimed at the hapless Laws.
There were no substitutes made by Laws for the start of the second-half but maybe the boos had affected him because there was a change in formation at least with Rodriguez now taking up a more central striking role partnering Iwelumo up front with Elliott now playing out on the right flank. The verbal chants around the ground demanding 4-4-2 appear to have been heeded and almost instantly the shape of the team looked much better.
We looked a lot sharper and crosses were now coming over left, right and centre from both flanks (is that Irish?) in these early stages of the second half. The equalising goal though continued to be elusive. Iwelumo nearly scored after a ball from Wallace took a deflection and then on the hour mark, Rodriguez pounced shooting on the turn to test Fielding. The score stubbornly remained 1-0 to the Rams though despite the Clarets momentum and possession. Iwelumo in his last action of the match, headed a deep cross from Rodriguez onto the roof of the net before Laws took him off to be replaced by Steve Thompson on 63 minutes. Wallace then thumped the ball from 25 yards out but this time it hit the bar to frustrate the Clarets yet again. Was this pressure ever going to pay off?
Derby were now piling their defence with yellow shirts happy to see a frustrated Clarets come at them and with 17 minutes to go, Brian Laws decided to try Plan C by handing a debut to on loan striker, John Guidetti who came on to replace Rodriguez.
Graham Alexander then came on seven minutes later to replace Marney. At long last with just seven minutes remaining we managed to equalise thanks to being awarded a direct free kick. Tyrone Mears stepped up to the mark and from 22 yards out thumped a belter over the wall with the ball curling into the top corner of the net to score his first goal for the Clarets since signing 18 months ago. This was only his eighth career goal and what a time to score it and against his former club as well. A point though at home would still be a disappointment so could we get the winner with time now running out? Burnley were certainly going to try and they continued their relentless pressure although Derby did cause a few scares along the way.
One minute into added time and our dreams came true. A stunning cross from Wade Elliott on the right flank found Jack Cork charging into the danger zone past the near post. He crafted a well-taken header to glance the ball home into the top corner of the net to make it a perfect day after all for all Clarets fans. That goal was only Jack Cork`s second for the club but it meant a seventh home win of the season for the Clarets and a return to the play-offs positions. There was just time for Grant to make his only save of the match deep into added time following a shot on target from Cywka but it would have been a cruel stroke of fate had the Rams scored again following such dominance by the Clarets. Right, bring on Pompey!
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Bikey, Carlisle, Easton, Cork, Wallace, Marney (Alexander 80),Elliott, Rodriguez (Guidetti 73), Iwelumo (Thompson 63)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Duff, Edgar, Harvey, Guidetti, Thompson.
Goals: Mears (82), Cork (90 + 1)
Booked: Yellow card for Thompson
Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Barker, Bailey, Moxey, Green, Savage, Pearson (Leacock 54), Cywka, Bueno (Pringle 14), Moore (Porter 81)
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Hendrick, Kuqi, Doyle
Goal: Moore (19)
Booked: Yellow card for Green
Possession: 57% Burnley, 43% Derby (Source: BBC Sport)
Attempts on Goal; 11 Burnley (7 on target), 2 Derby (2 on target)
Corners: 8 Burnley, 2 Derby
Ref: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)