Clarets Caught Napping by West Ham in FA Cup.
Monday 21st February 2011 @8pm Kick-Off
The Clarets were heavily defeated in the FA Cup 5th Round clash against West Ham at the Boleyn Ground last night allowing the Hammers to get a nap over them in a 5-1 thrashing. It was strangely a game of two halves and Burnley were actually the dominate team in the first half with Hammers keeper, Robert Green saving their bacon three times in the first 20 minutes . Had we taken the lead in the first half it may have been a different story but we didn`t and we fell to a goal from debutant Thomas Hitzlsperger on 23 minutes. The thunderbolt cruelly undid all the hard work that Burnley had put in during the opening first quarter of the game. Even then it didn`t seem to phase the Clarets and at half-time we still looked very much in the game.
That soon all changed though in the second half after Carlton Cole scored a brace within two minutes to make it 3-0 with still 40 minutes to play. The Clarets fell apart with West Ham now getting by far the Lion`s share of possession and Eddie Howe powerless to do anything in a match that was rapidly developing into easily his worst game in charge since arriving at the club in January. Clarets fans were getting a reminder of last season and what it was like to play against Premier League opposition, even one now struggling in the top flight relegation zone. West Ham put five past us last season at Upton Park although at least then we did put on a spurt in the latter stages to score three in the end. There would be nothing like that this time. A Winston Reid header made it 4-0 to West Ham after 59 minutes and now it looked like a real tonking was in store for the lacklustre, shell-shocked Clarets.
Jay Rodriguez though had other ideas and saved a few blushes by scoring in the 71st Minute but West Ham had the last word completing a terrible night for the Clarets and scoring their fifth goal three minutes into added time with Freddie Sears getting on the score sheet.
Eddie Howe going into this game decided to put Jay Rodriguez alone up front and bring back Wade Elliott. David Edgar also made the subs` bench after his loan deal at Swansea fell through recently. New signings Charlie Austin and Marvin Bartley though were both cup tied and had to sit this one out.
In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney, Elliott, Wallace Eagles Rodriguez
Subs: Jensen, Alexander, Edgar, Bikey, Easton, Iwelumo, Thompson
West Yorkshire referee, Martin Atkinson got the game underway and it was the Clarets who made the more promising start. Rodriguez spurned the opportunity to score on 13 minutes and should have done better with his tame shot. Hammers keeper, Robert Green, moments later could then only parry a fierce Wallace shot on the edge of the penalty area to Rodriguez. Green though then somehow made an instinctive save to deny the England Under 21 international from close range.
We should have taken our opportunities because Burnley were now on the back foot with the Hammers finally getting into the game and getting more of the possession.
The Clarets were now getting ripped apart by the midfield trio of Scott Parker, Mark Noble and Thomas Hitzlsperger and Burnley now found it more and more difficult to get back into the game.
The Hammers dominance paid off in the 23rd minute with a spectacular long-range goal. Hitzlsperger cut in from the right as a gap opened up in front of the Burnley defence to unleash a powerful, dipping 25 yard drive with his left foot. Grant had no chance and the Hammers were 1-0 up.
Burnley were now under the cosh but managed to soak up most of the pressure and indeed at this stage of the match were still in the game. A smart flick from Rodriguez found Eagles but his low shot was saved by Green. Mears then outpaced Wayne Bridge down the wing picking up a pass threaded through to him by Wallace. Cutting the ball back to Rodriguez, James Tomkins intervened with a well-times interception.
Burnley went in then at half-time just the one goal down and they were certainly still in with a chance at this stage having played some attractive football at times. The second half Hammer Horror show though was just about to begin for the Clarets.
Just three minutes into the restart, West Ham doubled their lead following some clever build-up play. Mark Noble found a perfect pass with his right foot to find Cole but the joint leading Hammers goal scorer made a hash of it with his second touch. Grant looked to have smothered the ball but Cole picked himself up to scramble the ball home from close range. The goal incensed the Clarets faithful. Not only did Cole look offside following the pass but he also appeared to have handled the ball after the ball clearly hit his arm just before shooting. The goal stood though and two minutes later the Clarets had a mountain to climb when Cole scored again. There were no controversial circumstances this time though.
Noble again split the Burnley defence and this time Cole picked up the pass with a deft touch beating the offside trap before lobbing the ball over Grant into the roof of the net.
Burnley had no answer now to the Hammers complete dominance and on 59 minutes Reid found space to get in a glancing header from a Hitzlsperger's corner to make it 4-0.
It was now all about damage-limitation for the Clarets with the game lost. Rodriguez though at least restored some pride. After blazing over from 20 yards he then had another opportunity which this time he took to make it 4-1 under somewhat bizarre circumstances. Wayne Bridge should have cleared his lines but instead tried a back pass to Green which went terribly wrong for the England international. Green had little time to avert the danger and his clearance hit the back of Mears with the ball popping up nicely to find Rodriguez ideally placed to nod home in front of an empty net.
It was just a consolation goal though and three minutes into added time West Ham completed a miserable night for the Clarets . Once again the Burnley defence failed to clear allowing Freddie Sears to slot the ball home from 15 yards out.
So the FA Cup dream is over and the only way we will get to Wembley now this season is via the play-offs. At least now we can focus on that without any cup distractions and additional games.
West Ham: Green, Reid, Tomkins, Bridge, Jacobsen, Parker, Hitzlsperger (Barrera 67) ,Noble, Cole (Spector 73), Sears, Ba (Piquionne 82)
Subs Not Used: Boffin, Da Costa, Boa Morte, Hines
Goals: Hitzlsperger 23, Cole 48, 50, Reid 59, Sears 90+3
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney (Alexander 72), Elliott, Wallace (Iwelumo 73), Eagles (Thompson 84), Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Bikey, Easton
Goal: Rodriguez 71
Booked: Yellow Cards for Elliott, Rodriguez
Possession: 59% West Ham, 41% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)