Rs Was a Dull Drab 0-0 Draw and Howe!
Saturday 14th January 2011 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets with our new likely manager, Eddie Howe looking on from the Directors box, could only muster a goalless draw against League leaders, Queens Park Rangers at Turf Moor on Saturday. In truth this was a miserable game played under drab, windy and rainy conditions with both sides struggling to produce any meaningful goal-scoring opportunities.
On the plus side though, we did keep our first clean sheet since Lee Grant replaced Brian Jensen 13 games ago following the 4-0 hammering by Reading at home back in October. Grant`s first league game co-incidentally was in the match also against QPR but this time of course at Loftus Road back in October. A game that finished 2-2 so neither team will have the bragging rights this season.
The only really joy for Clarets fans was being comforted by the appearance of Eddie Howe in the Bob Lord Stand and he was applauded into the Directors box by Burnley board members and fans alike with a frenzied media flashing away from the touchline. The former Bournemouth gaffer and his assistant Jason Tindall, who were both at the game yesterday, are widely expected to be officially announced as our new management team on Monday.
There was also some good news later for Stuart Gray. Gray took charge of his fourth game on Saturday after being named caretaker manager following the demise of Brian Laws three weeks ago and the club have since announced he will be staying at the club He will definitely be part of the new management team and will probably be reverting back to his previous job as first team coach.
Gray decided to play it safe for the QPR game and there were few surprises in the eighteen he named for this match. In effect this was effectively the same line up and formation he selected for our last game at home against Port Vale in the FA Cup. The only difference was that Kevin McDonald was named on the bench replacing Dean Marney:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox. Alexander, Eagles, Cork, Elliott. Rodriguez, Iwelumo.
Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Easton, Edgar, McDonald, Wallace, Thompson
Chester referee Mike Jones got the game underway and it was QPR who came out with all guns blazing. For the first 20 minutes or so of this game, Burnley struggled to get out of first gear and our defence in particular looked shell-shocked. The Rs just seemed to be far too pacy for the Clarets and at this stage were playing a pretty impressive passing game. Grant came to the Clarets rescue after just eight minutes of play, diving to his left to punch a shot from Shaun Derry, on target for the bottom corner, round the post.
Faurlin then got in on the act on 15 minutes curling a pass to former Clarets on-loan defender, Bradley Orr. Orr, who had got in behind our defence perhaps should have done better with his attempt but Grant stood firm to snuff out the danger.
It was all QPR at this stage with Burnley seemingly unable to get out of their half and mount a decent attack of their own. Grant was in sparkling form and he needed to be under all this pressure. He saved a deflected shot from Rs danger man, Adel Taarabt before the impressive QPR captain and midfielder earned a free kick after Duff was adjudged to have fouled him, harshly picking up a yellow card for his efforts. Grant this time had to parry away a far post header from Clint Hill.
Thankfully though now the Clarets gradually began to get more into the game with the Rs it seemed now resorting to a long-ball game. Chris Eagles and Wade Elliott started the recovery and began to at long last tease the QPR back-four. We only really though had one good chance on goal and that came from Jay Rodriguez. Kenny had to dive at full-stretch to palm away Jay Rod`s shot. The local born striker though now began to find his touch although sadly not the target. He pulled a shot wide after cutting in from the left wing and then on 35 minutes came close with an header from an Eagles cross.
The game though was pretty dire to watch by now, not helped of course by the windy and wet conditions with both sides finding it difficult to create chances as the first half came to a close.
The second half however started a little bit more upbeat but it wasn`t to last. Taarabt was still the danger man though and he had a couple of attempts from free-kicks. His first was thumped just wide and his second was chipped onto the roof of the net from just outside the box.
Our first real chance in the second half came on the hour mark. Alexander was the architect laying off a good pass for Rodriguez to charge into the box to get in a low cross. Paddy Kenny though got a boot to it and the ball was cleared.
By now most fans on both sides were probably finding it hard to keep awake as the game deteriorated into a midfield brawl not helped by the officials with the referee and both linesmen (or in one case lineswoman) seemingly determined to award some bizarre decisions and allow a number of QPR players to keep diving in an attempt to be awarded free-kicks.
It was now effectively stalemate with both defences on top and mopping up any threats on goal of which there were few and far between in open play at either end. QPR looked dangerous from set-pieces though and they seemed to be getting quite a few despite a number being dubiously awarded for what seemed like blatant dives. One free-kick found Orr at the back post and his header fell to Kaspars Gorkss who was ideally placed a few yards from goal. He thankfully though fluffed his shot and the danger passed. Clarke Carlisle then lunged forward to keep out a shot from Tommy Smith with both sets of fans now sensing a 0-0 draw was going to be the final outcome.
Carlisle though might have made it 1-0 with the clock ticking down after Kenny dropped the ball from a corner. The ball though fell just too far for Carlisle to pounce and QPR could breathe a sigh of relief.
In the end, the final whistle came has a bit of relief after such a dull, disappointing game and Clarets fans would have been glad to get home. We can all at least now look forward hopefully to significant improvements under the new management regime.
Our promotion dreams are still not dead but the loss of two home points does now mean although we stay in 10th spot, we are now six points behind sixth placed club, Watford having played the same number of games. There is however still a lot to play for and if Eddie Howe can mastermind a few back-to-back wins in the near future, we could soon be challenging for promotion again with a lot of the clubs above us having played more games.
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Alexander (Edgar 86), Eagles, Cork, Elliott, Rodriguez, Iwelumo (Thompson 68)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Bikey, Easton, McDonald, Wallace
Booked: Duff, Alexander, Fox, Cork, Thompson
QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Gorkss, Connolly, Derry, Taarabt (Hall 90+3), Faurlin (Clarke 81), Moen, Hulse (Helguson 81), Smith
Booked: Faurlin, Orr
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Borrowdale, Cook, German
Possession: 45% Burnley, 55% QPR (Source: BBC Sport)
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)
I would have to give our Star Player award to one of the central defenders, especially since they have both taken some stick recently. This was a much better performance in defence after a dodgy start during the first 20 minutes of the game. So will it be Michael Duff or Clarke Carlisle then? Duffo gets it on the flick of a coin!!