Eagles Soars and Thommo Scores!
The Cardiff City Stadium
Tuesday 15th February 2011 @ 7:45pm Kick-Off
It was a great night for the Clarets against Cardiff City yesterday. Not many clubs come away with anything from the Cardiff City Stadium so to get a point against the second-placed Bluebirds in a 1-1 draw was some achievement and it keeps our promotion hopes alive. After this result we stay in 8th spot now just five points behind 6th placed Leeds. It was not just the result but the performance too that was particularly pleasing with the Clarets dominating possession (57%) and taking the game to the Bluebirds especially in the second half.
Eddie Howe named an unchanged starting eleven for this clash but Charlie Austin having recovered from his bout of illness returned to the eighteen on the bench.
We therefore lined up as follows:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney, Wallace, Eagles, Iwelumo, Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Bikey, Alexander, Elliott, Bartley, Austin, Thompson
Salisbury referee, Roger East got the game underway and Burnley certainly had to weather the storm in the first few minutes of the match with Cardiff rampant and keen to move within touching distance of League leaders QPR. They were just five points behind them at the start of this game with a game in hand.
Chopra came close in the seventh-minute after getting in a shot from the edge of the penalty area which hit the crossbar. Former Clarets` loan Peter Whittingham then soon after let rip with a left-footed curling shot that had Grant diving at full stretch to keep out the danger.
The Clarets though kept their composure and gradually got more and more into the game with Chris Eagles in particular the driving force leading the counter-attack from about the 20th minute. He shot just wide of the post after 21 minutes and then had two attempts to score on the half-hour mark but was thwarted in his case by Heaton after unleashing first a 30-yard thunderbolt and then an angled drive from inside the area. Eagles then had another attempt blocked by Cardiff defender Mark Hudson with the Clarets now beginning to dominate proceedings. It was perhaps a cruel blow when against the run of play and in first-half added time Cardiff took the lead to go in at half-time 1-0 up.
Bothroyd in the clear and charging down the right flank put the ball over across the six-yard area and there was Chopra to thump home the ball into the top corner. What a cruel blow but Burnley now have a new found resilience under Howe on the road and they were certainly not going to give up without a fight. They nearly even bounced back immediately after the goal with that man, Eagles again in the thick of things. His shot following a Wallace corner was blocked by Bothroyd in the dying seconds of the first half.
Howe made no changes for the start of the second half and Burnley now certainly had the bit between their teeth looking for an equaliser.
Eagles continued as he had left off causing all sorts of problems for the Cardiff back four. He had one effort saved by Heaton before Wallace then got into the action thumping a 25-yard drive wide.
Charlie Austin now fully recovered from his illness last week came on from the bench after 67 minutes to make his third appearance for the Clarets. Iwelumo was the player he replaced.
Cardiff not to be outdone then brought on the high-profile, Craig Bellamy to replace goal-scorer, Chopra but it was the Clarets who continued to dominate
Former Bluebirds striker, Steve Thompson then came on for Jay Rodriguez in the 74th minute to a round of applause from the Cardiff fans. Their appreciation of their former player though turned sour when he scored an equaliser with just seven minutes of the game remaining! First though it was now Cardiff`s turn to soak up the pressure and they came close to doubling their lead after Bothroyd pounced in the area to force Grant into a great save from close range.
Burnley though were not going to be denied at least something from their first visit to the Cardiff City Stadium and their equalising goal came from a Wallace corner to the near-post. Thompson who had timed his run to perfection glanced in a header with the ball sailing past Heaton and into the far corner via a deflection. They don`t come sweeter than that against your former club and Thommo will have been delighted to have scored his third goal of the season for the Clarets. 1-1 then the final score and a great point!
Eddie Howe`s Claret & Blue Army go marching on and the new gaffer has now only lost one game in seven matches since arriving from Bournemouth. That was the final game in hand we had over the other clubs above us. All the teams above us and Burnley have now played 31 games with the exception of Nottingham Forest in 4th who have only played 29. We have an interesting period coming up now with two postponed home games having to be rearranged to a later month because of the FA Cup match against West Ham next Monday night. We should therefore have games in hand again soon but it is probably better to have points in the bag than games in hand for all sorts of psychological reasons. With no home game now until Saturday March 5th we shall have to hope for victory against bottom-club Preston at Deepdale a week on Saturday to keep the momentum going
Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Hudson, Keinan, Quinn (Blake 67), Whittingham, Burke (Koumas 78), Olofinjana, Ramsey, Chopra (Bellamy 67), Bothroyd
Subs Not Used: Marshall, McPhail, Emmanuel-Thomas, Parkin
Goal: Chopra 45+1
Booked: Yellow card for McNaughton
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney (Alexander 90), Wallace, Eagles, Iwelumo (Austin 67), Rodriguez (Thompson 74)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Bikey, Elliott, Bartley
Goal: Thompson 83
Booked: Yellow cards for Fox, Marney
Possession: 43% Cardiff, 57% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Roger East (Salisbury)