Jay Rod Spares Burnley Blushes in Despairing Draw
Tuesday 15th March 2011 @7:45pm Kick-Off
Burnley were unable to take advantage from one of their games in hand last night after failing to beat struggling and manager- less, Coventry City at Turf Moor. In yet another woeful performance following Saturday`s grim 3-0 home defeat to Millwall, it looked like another loss was on the cards with Coventry clawing their way back from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 in the second half with 15 minutes remaining. Rodriguez had cleverly lobbed the keeper in the 18th minute to put the Clarets 1-0 up at half time but Coventry levelled when Lukas Jutkiewicz headed home after 61 minutes. Burnley`s game had fallen apart by now and it was no surprise when Coventry fighting for their lives to stave off the threat of relegation took the lead in the 75th minute when Gary McSheffrey curled a shot into the top corner of the net.
The Clarets though had just enough petrol in the tank (which by now was almost on empty) to somehow get back on level terms despite a rampant Coventry looking determined to get only their second win in 16 games. Rodriguez diving at the far post nodded home a corner taken by Fox to level the score on 79 minutes. His brace on the night now makes him our top scorer with 12 goals in all competitions after leapfrogging both Eagles and Iwelumo (both on 11 goals each).
I would like to have said after that we could have pressurised and gone onto to win the game but again we just did not seem to have the will to go for victory and if anybody was going to score again, it looked like Coventry. In the end though the game petered out and we had to settle for a very disappointing draw against a team struggling in 19th spot and one having just sacked their manager, Aidy Boothroyd on the eve of the clash following a poor run of form
The result leaves the Clarets once again on the margins of the top six. They remain in 7th spot, three points behind Forest in sixth spot with a game in hand. Forest though have a better goal difference. We have therefore missed another ideal opportunity to make our mark and put pressure on our promotion rivals. One point from two home games both of which on paper should have been very winnable is clearly not good enough and more alarmingly our form is simply woeful at the moment with far too many players only firing on one cylinder. Eddie Howe simply has to change things round and can no longer afford to show loyalty to a team that despite having won five out of six games before these last two home matches is now failing to deliver on so many levels in all departments. A frustrated set of Clarets fans last night were calling for the return of Andre Bikey in the centre of defence and he must be wondering what he has to do to get a recall. Lee Grant continues to perform with inconsistency and it must surely be Jensen`s time to return in goal unless the rumours he is carrying an injury are true. What has happened to Chris Eagles too? He is just not at the races these days and even Jack Cork is struggling in midfield and has become error prone unusually being substituted last night after 77 minutes. There is just no logical explanation for the sudden loss of form both at team and individual level but it needs to be rectified and quickly starting hopefully with a fresh approach at Bristol City this Saturday ahead of the international break.
As previously indicated, Eddie Howe decided to name an unchanged eighteen for the Coventry match despite the horror show on Saturday at home to Millwall. We therefore lined up as follows:
Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork, Marney, Wallace, Eagles, Rodriguez, Delfouneso
Subs: Jensen, Alexander, Edgar, Bikey, Elliott, Bartley, Iwelumo
South Yorkshire referee, Michael Naylor in charge of only his second Championship game got the match underway on a miserable damp and dank night in Burnley.
If Clarets fans were hoping for a bright response they did not get it with Coventry having the best opportunities to score in the first few minutes of this game. In the third minute Jutkiewicz hit a volley on the turn that Grant had to save one-handed and turn round the post. Coventry then broke following our first real attempt after 7 minutes of play. Eastwood picking up the ball unleashed a shot that rose in the air with the ball eventually ending up in the side netting.
With 19 minutes played though Burnley broke the deadlock to go 1-0 ahead after a Mears slide-rule pass found Rodriguez 40 yards out from goal. Getting the better of the last defender, centre-back Richard Keogh, he then sweetly and coolly lobbed the advancing keeper from the edge of the box.
The Clarets then tried in vain to get a second goal but nearly came unstuck on 30 minutes when Eagles appeared to bring down McSheffrey inside the penalty area. The Sky Blues were furious by the referee`s decision just to award a free-kick after it was deemed the challenge was outside the area.
Delfouneso desperate to make an impression in a new version of a Claret & Blue shirt after arriving on loan from Villa nearly got his second goal for the Clarets after his debut goal against Hull. He cleverly found some space to test Westwood from 18 yards out. The keeper though got his fingertips to it. 1-0 then to the Clarets at half time!
Coventry came out determined to equalise in the second half and the warning signs were there when on 53 minutes, Grant was tested from a low Clingan free-kick. Burnley seemed to be asleep and unable to mount any attacks in the Sky Blues half. Eastwood then put Jutkiewicz clear on goal but Duff and Grant saved the day conceding a corner.
Jutkiewicz would have the last laugh though finally getting an equaliser at the second attempt in the 61st minute. His first header hit the crossbar but from six yards out he headed home the rebound to make the score 1-1. It was nothing less than they deserved to be honest. The Clarets nearly went behind five minutes later from a corner but thankfully the unmarked Wood in the six yard box could only put his header wide of target. It was all Coventry now and Grant had to deny Baker at the near post touching the ball around the post.
In the 76th minute Coventry finally deservedly took the lead. McSheffrey chipped the keeper from the right side of the area and the ball floated into the net to make it 2-1 Coventry and disaster for the Clarets.
We never really looked like coming back into this match but somehow we did. Howe replaced Cork with Iwelumo in the 77th minute and two minutes later it was 2-2. The goal came from a corner taken from the left flank by Fox. Rodriguez at the far post dived in to head the ball and hit the target via a Gunnarsson deflection.
Could we now go for broke in the last ten minutes? The short answer was no with Coventry just as likely to score as we were! McSheffrey drilled a short corner low but it deceived everybody as it flew across goal only needing a touch! Substitute, Wade Elliott could not keep his volleyed shot down and that was virtually the last action worth talking about. The final whistle brought to an end a dire, depressing draw from the Clarets point of view and significant improvements are going to be required if we are to stand any chance of promotion this season.
Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Cork (Iwelumo 77), Marney (Elliott 40), Wallace (Bartley 65), Eagles, Rodriguez, Delfouneso
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Alexander, Edgar, Bikey
Goals: Rodriguez 18, 79
Booked: Yellow cards for Carlisle and Elliott
Coventry: Westwood, Keogh, O'Halloran (Hussey 57), Wood, Clarke, Clingan, Gunnarsson, Baker, Eastwood, Jutkiewicz, McSheffrey
Subs Not Used: Quirke, Cameron, Bell, McIndoe, O`Donovan, Ruffles
Goals: Jutkiewicz 61, McSheffrey 75
Booked: Yellow cards for O'Halloran and Baker
Possession: 45% Burnley, 55% Coventry
Ref: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire)
Clarets fans at long last got to see Marvin Bartley in action for more than a couple of minutes after he came on in the 65th minute and to be honest without being spectacular he got in some nice touches and showed promise.
I guess with so many individuals once again having an off day though it is only right to give our award to Jay Rodriguez for his efforts and of course his brace. He also picked up the fans texted Man of the Match award.