Burnley Eventually Ensure Brewers Droop!
Tuesday 9th August 2011 @7:45pm Kick-Off
The Clarets are through to the second round of the Carling Cup after knocking out League 2 Burton Albion at Turf Moor last night. They needed extra time to do it though eventually coming out 6-3 winners
Well this was certainly a strange game, almost a game of three thirds!! We were shocking in the first half, showed improvement in the second (only to let slip a two goal lead in the last five minutes of the match) and then looked totally in control in extra time finally dishing out the pain to a fairly plucky and determined-looking Burton side. You have to give the League 2 side credit they tried all night and it to their great credit they came back from 3-1 down to make the score 3-3 after 90 minutes although our defence did help them with some costly blunders. Extra time though was too much for them, they literally did seem to be suffering from Brewers Droop at this point and looked wilted and tired with the Clarets getting second wind and putting in an impressive 30 minutes eventually taking a three goal lead to make the final score 6-3. Job done then although it has to be said we should perhaps have despatched them earlier and avoided the need for extra time. Most Clarets fans probably wanted to go home after 90 minutes but a last minute equaliser by Burton with the score at 3-2 two minutes into added time dashed those hopes. It was a frustrating 90 minutes to be honest and at times we looked very under par and error prone causing some concern for the future considering Eddie Howe started with his strongest looking team.
Martin Paterson of course was unavailable and will be out for some time following a similar thigh injury picked up in the Watford game on Saturday. He would not have been available anyway as he was scheduled to join the Northern Ireland squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against the Faroe Islands this week before he had to withdraw due to injury.
Howe was also without new signing Keith Treacy and striker, Alex MacDonald who are both on International duty this week for the Republic of Ireland and Scotland U21 respectively.
Many Clarets fans (myself included) were expecting some changes to the side for this cup clash but Howe doesn`t seem to be like other recent Burnley managers and tends to pick his strongest squad come what may. There was therefore no starting place for those fringe players and development squad players who missed out in the League opener against the Hornets on Saturday.
Our line up in the end was very similar to the starting eleven that faced Watford in Saturday`s Championship opener at Turf Moor with just Charlie Austin making a start in place of the injured Pato. With teams allowed 7 substitutes in the Carling Cup competition, Howe also decided to give youngsters Joe McKee and Wes Fletcher a place on the bench
We therefore lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Bikey, Mee, Fox, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Elliott, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Easton, Edgar, Duff, Bartley, McKee, Fletcher.
On came the teams with Chris McCann leading out the Clarets in only his second competitive game since being confirmed as this season`s club captain. Burton Albion looked very fetching in their yellow and black stripes kit but it was a pity that only a handful of their fans were there to see it. Mind you the gate was very poor all round and there was certainly a lack of atmosphere for most of the game! No doubt many were put off by the £15 ticket price!
Referee, Craig Pawson got the game underway on a fairly mild night in Burnley and it was soon clear Burnley were not going to have all their own way. The first half to be honest was terrible as far as the Clarets were concerned and we just couldn`t seem to get going with all our attacks breaking down. If anybody looked like scoring it was Burton and they could easily have been 2-0 up at half-time. There were few memorable attempts on goal from the Clarets. In the early stages, Rodriguez failed to convert after Austin pulled back the ball at the near post but it was only really a half-chance. Trippier got in a shot which took a deflection only to see the ball fly over the bar and Wade Elliott who was quite simply having a shocker at this stage did at least manage to bring out a save from Atkins after a shot on target. Wallace also tried a long-range effort but the volley was skied over the bar.
Burnley looked very vulnerable on the break in the first 45 minutes and should have been punished more. The Brewers were just too sloppy when it mattered in and around the penalty area to make their efforts count. Striker, Justin Richards looked their danger man and his pass to Cleveland with the match 20 minutes in could have embarrassed the Clarets but thankfully the shot was dragged wide. With the first-half clock ticking down, in what was definitely the best effort of the half, Maghoma was allowed to break free before belting a low drive towards goal. The ball though just skidded round the post to safety. If anything was going to give Clarets fans doubt we could be promotion candidates this season, it was this terrible performance in the first half.
Howe had to do something with the engine room lacking any sparkle so on came Bartley to replace the ineffective Marney for the second-half. At long last the Clarets seemed to look a little brighter although again we seemed to be passing the ball backwards or sideways far too often without making any real impression. Atkins was having far too much of an easy time to be honest but at least McCann stirred the keeper into action with a shot. Austin too should have done better with a shot after a nice one-two with Rodriguez but his effort was wayward and far too high. Fox then got over a diagonal ball to set up our best chance of the night so far. Trippier controlled the ball well to set up Wallace who turned to shoot with his left foot. The ball screamed towards target only for the keeper at full stretch to push the ball wide. Austin then nearly scored from the resulting corner but again his effort was too high but at least now the momentum was with the Clarets and the pressure soon began to tell with Burnley finally breaking the deadlock on 56 minutes. James tripped Austin in the penalty area and the referee had no option but to award a spot kick. Jay Rod made no mistake from the penalty spot to make it 1-0 Clarets bringing a sense of relief to the Burnley faithful.
Austin then incredibly missed from close range after being set up by Rodriguez following an Elliott cross but we soon doubled our lead to save his blushes and again it was from the penalty spot. This time Wallace charging into the box after picking up a pass for Rodriguez suddenly found his feet taken from beneath him by Bolder. Another penalty and another goal from Rodriguez despatched in convincing style on 66 minutes. The Clarets should have been cruising now but somehow they let Burton come back at them and with eighteen minutes to go they reduced the arrears after a neat one- two between Taylor and Zola. Zola charged forward slicing his way through our defence before unleashing a shot to make it 2-1. Charlie Austin though made it 3-1 with seven minutes left after a stunning shot made up for his earlier blunders in front of goal.
Surely that was it; we could now all relax and see out the last five minutes in style. Er no not quite, back came the Brewers again. Bartley blotted his copy book making a mistake in a dangerous position and Zola pounced to make it 3-2. Elliott then tripped Taylor to give away a silly free kick from 25 yards out. Grant should have snuffed out Webster`s effort but his weak parry set up Maghoma for a simple tap via an Edgar deflection to level the scores in added time and set-up extra time.
With Austin now off having been replaced by Edgar our striking options looked even fewer now but we sound restored our lead within 43 seconds of the start of the first period of extra time thanks to a great solo effort from Wallace after picking up the ball in the middle of the pitch. Charging forward, he unleashed a belting left-footed shot that sailed into the top corner of the net to make it 4-3 Clarets. It was game over for the Brewers when we restored our two goal lead two minutes later thanks to a well-taken low drilled shot from Rodriguez; his first hat-trick for the Clarets senior side.
There was still time to rub salt into Burton`s wounds though and it was Rodriguez again who caused the damage. This time he latched onto an inch-perfect pass by Elliott and confidently thumped the ball home again to make it 6-3 in the 106th minute. He could have had a panful of goals on the night to be honest but in the end had to be content with just four. At long last we could all go home, job done after a very nervy start!
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Bikey, Mee, Fox, Wallace, McCann, Marney (Bartley 46), Elliott, Rodriguez (Fletcher 108), Austin (Edgar 90)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Duff, Easton, McKee
Goals: Rodriguez (pen) 57, (pen) 66, 93 and 106, Austin 83, Wallace 91
Booked: Yellow cards for Grant and Elliott
Burton Albion: Atkins, Webster, Stanton, James, Corbett, Palmer (Phillips 81), Taylor, Maghoma, Bolder, Richards (Yussuf 62), Zola (McGrath 103)
Subs Not Used: Poole, Austin, Blanchett, Pearson
Goals: Taylor 72, Zola 85, Maghoma 90+2
Booked: Yellow cards for Webster and Bolder
Possession: 64% Burnley, 36% Burton Albion (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)