Say No More, Altrincham Two and Burnley Four!
Saturday 9th July 2011 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley played their first pre-season friendly of the summer on Saturday coming away from Altrincham with a 4-2 victory. This truly was a game of two halves at Moss Lane! Burnley for a start fielded two completely different teams in each 45 minute spell allowing most of the squad to get rid of a few cobwebs in their first competitive game since May. The fortunes of each Clarets eleven though were also vastly different and in fact Blue Square Bet North side Altrincham won the second half 2-1 against their Championship rivals four leagues above them.
In the first half, it looked like the Clarets were going to run away with things. They were rampant and were completely in charge scoring two goals within the first 17 minutes. Alex MacDonald opened the scoring on 8 minutes before Paterson who was on fire throughout the half, ran down the flank to set up Eagles to make it 2-0. It looked to be game over for Alty when Pato got on the goal-sheet himself after being put through and beating the keeper on 31 minutes to make it 3-0 . 3-0 it remained at half-time and to be honest it could easily have been five or six nil in the first half. Altrincham must have wondered what hit them and were probably thinking it would be a rugby score against them by the time the final whistle blew! Some of the older Alty fans were probably recalling the last time Burnley played them which was in a FA Cup clash at Turf Moor back in 1981, a game which saw the Clarets thump the Robins 6-1! Here we go again, they must have been thinking but how wrong they were!
Had we stayed with the same starting eleven as the first-half we may well have gone on to win by a similar score but Eddie Howe`s completely different eleven for the second half seemed to find it difficult to settle down and get going. Some early defensive blunders by Jensen and Cort surprisingly allowed Alty back into the game who suddenly found they had reduced the arrears to 3-2 with just five minutes of the second-half played. Could the unthinkable happen? Well actually no despite a few scares along the way with our team B putting in a pretty woeful, lacklustre performance.
The nerves were steadied though for the Clarets in the 63rd minute when Big Chris Iwelumo finally proved he could score after a torrid time last season. He got in a well-taken header to make the score 4-2. That goal in effect killed the game with Alty`s spirit evaporating after going further behind again whilst the Clarets just decided to take their foot off the accelerator and stroll to victory without breaking sweat! It was a pretty dull and scrappy last half-hour and in the end all you could say was it had been a good workout for the lads. Say No More!!
Well OK I will! You may like to know what the two line-ups looked like and indeed which of our squad members were not involved. We already knew Charlie Austin would not feature. Howe though has assured fans there is nothing for us to worry about; he was just giving the former Swindon striker a little bit more time to fully recover from his dislocated shoulder. The gaffer has also indicated we might see Austin in action in our next pre-season friendly against Bury at Gigg Lane on Tuesday night (July 12th). One face that was missing was Clarke Carlisle and it now looks certain that he is heading for Preston on a season-long loan. He is reportedly in talks with Phil Brown to discuss terms. Richard Eckersley of course was also absent. The right back has crossed the pond and is currently on loan at Canadian club Toronto FC playing in Major League Soccer.
So our first-half line-up was as follows:
Lee Grant, Tyrone Mears, Michael Duff, Andre Bikey, Brian Easton, Alex-Ray Harvey, Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Alex MacDonald, Chris Eagles, Martin Paterson
...and in the second half they were all replaced as follows:
Brian Jensen, Kevin Long, Leon Cort, David Edgar, Danny Fox, Marvin Bartley, Dean Marney, Wade Elliott, Wes Fletcher, Jay Rodriguez, Chris Iwelumo
Subs not used: Dominic Knowles, Mehdi Lazaar, Joe McKee.
There were also reports including a mention on Radio Robins that Burnley had a trialist goalkeeper on show but it would appear that some Clarets were unable to spot former Bournemouth stopper, Jon Stewart on the bench so it all remains a mystery whether he was at the game or not! Howe though it is reported today is keen to sign him as our third-choice keeper.
The referee by the way was Anthony Taylor (Manchester) and 1,253 fans watched the game. There was also a sizeable number of Clarets listening into the match on a local net radio service provided by Radio Robins so many in fact the system could not cope and crashed!!
The second-half choice is not that easy but Wade Elliott was impressive. The devil is in me today though, let`s give it to big Chris for finally proving to the Clarets faithful that he had not completely lost his goal-scoring touch.