Pointless and Poor at the Palace as Problems Mount
Saturday 13th August 2011 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets are still looking for their first league win of the season after going down 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday. What was particularly worrying though was that our performance which very poor against a team that on the day looked a very mediocre outfit indeed. We have now played two league games in the new season both against opposition some think could struggle to survive this season. The very disappointing point at home to Watford last Saturday at least had some positives to take from the game most notably the fighting resilience to come back from 2-0 down and the goal-scoring debut from Keith Treacy. Yesterday though we were simply shocking and this time Treacy making his full debut disappeared without trace almost becoming our invisible man. Let`s remember, Palace had just been beaten by newly promoted Peterborough in their opening game so this effort of ours against the Eagles yesterday does set a few alarm bells ringing. Our problems got worse in the last minute too when Marvin Bartley who had come on from the bench in the 72nd minute was shown a straight red card for violent conduct and will now serve an automatic three match ban
The defeat against Palace leaves the Clarets in 19th spot with just one point from two games and we have a mountain to climb if we have any chance of beating Cardiff City at Turf Moor in our next match next Saturday.
There is of course no need to panic yet and we are continually reminded how poorly we started our promotion season under Owen Coyle but put it this way if we continue to play like we did against Watford and Palace we are really going to struggle this season unless we can strengthen in some key areas by bringing in proven, high-quality players with Championship experience.
Burnley basically had one reasonable spell between the Eagles first goal and second goal without really threatening but we looked simply awful in the first 15 minutes and in the last third of the game. Eddie Howe`s tactics too were quite baffling with three recognised central midfielders and three recognised wingers on the pitch. David Edgar must be pleased these days he is seeing some action but must be wondering what he has to do to play in the centre of defence after yesterday being given a midfield role with Burnley initially lining up 4-5-1. Jay Rodriguez was our lone striker up front and in the middle as well as Edgar we had Wallace and Treacy on the flanks with Elliott and McCann in the centre. The controversial departure of Fox to Southampton during the week ensured at least that Brian Easton was given another opportunity to shine at left back.
In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Mee, Easton, Wallace, Edgar, Elliott, McCann, Treacy, Rodriguez.
Subs: Jensen, Duff, Marney, Bartley, Austin
Wiltshire referee, Brendan Malone got the game underway and it was the Eagles who took the early initiative putting pressure on the Burnley back-four and exposing our clear weaknesses in defence.
With just nine minutes on the clock our defence crumbled and Palace took the lead in typical fashion. A cross from Ryan McGivern found an unmarked Jonathan Parr who arrived late to head home a well-taken goal. At this point in time the Eagles were in the ascendency with the Clarets looking under par and clueless. Ambrose could easily have got another couple of goals during this spell had he had more luck with his shots from distance. Gradually though Burnley came back into the game and began to ensure they had their own period of possession although to be honest there were very few clear cut chances to get the equaliser.
On 20 minutes though Burnley came close to evening things up after Trippier finally broke free to set up a telling cross. There was Jay Rodriguez to head down only to see Speroni dive to his left to save the day for the Eagles. Burnley`s confidence was now growing with half-time approaching and to be honest apart from the period leading up to their goal we had dominated the game but without being able to make the possession count. Two free-kicks were awarded to the Clarets in as many minutes and in both cases Wallace took the responsibility for taking them. He thumped the ball just wide with his first effort and his second took a deflection forcing Speroni to make a save.
Palace though always looked threatening on the break and in first half stoppage time the Eagles nearly doubled their lead from a corner. It was Owen Garvan who pumped the ball over from the corner flag and there was Eagles captain, Paddy McCarthy in the six yard box given a free header. It looked like a certain goal but somehow the defender missed and all Clarets fans could breathe a sigh of relief. 1-0 though at half time to the Eagles with Burnley having a lot to do still to get back on even terms in the second half.
The encouraging spell in the first half seduced Howe into thinking he didn`t need to make any changes for the second-half and for a time he looked to have made the right decision as we continued to press for that elusive eqauliser. They nearly got one too in the 48th minute. The strangely quiet Keith Treacy suddenly seemed to find a burst of energy to put over a cross into the danger area where Jay Rodriguez was inches away from making contact with a diving header.
Clarets fans were then up in arms when it looked like Elliott had been brought down in the box by Parr after 53 minutes. The referee, who was having a poor game to be honest aided and abetted by a shocking linesman on the right flank, was having none of it though and waved play-on.
The Clarets though now desperate to get back into the game still looked vulnerable on the break and we were lucky not to go further behind. Easter came close before Grant and Amougou snuffed out the danger and then our defence failed to spot the danger from a Garvan free-kick allowing Tunchev a free-header which thankfully he fluffed.
However on 67 minutes disaster did strike when Palace finally doubled their lead after being awarded a penalty. Ben Mee was the culprit needlessly bringing down Sean Scannell with a trip. Garvan made no mistake from the spot to make it 2-0 to Palace giving the Clarets a mountain to climb now.
To be honest the Clarets never looked like getting past first-base after that and our game deteriorated badly with very few memorable efforts to try and reduce the arrears.
We may have stood a chance had Amougou been able to make contact from a Trippier cross shortly after the Palace penalty but he couldn`t get his head on the ball. Our chances after that were few and far between and you could sense the Clarets faithful getting more quiet and restless by the minute. I think most were thinking the same as me that the team was simply not good enough and lacked quality in key areas. Worrying times indeed!
Howe did try a Plan B after moving finally to 4-4-2 in an effort to get a goal. Austin had already come on to partner Jay Rod after replacing Edgar on 63 minutes and on 72 minutes we finally replaced a lacklustre Treacy by bringing on Bartley. Nothing really worked though and we never looked like scoring. Austin came the closest with an header from a Trippier cross but he could only head the ball wide.
As if to rub salt in the wounds, in added time we lost the services of Marvin Bartley for three games after he was shown a straight red card for raising an arm dangerously with Parr on the prowl. Bartley will hopefully not get a reputation for this but he has now had two straight reds whilst playing for the Clarets. You may recall he was sent off away to Forest last season.
Oh well let`s see what Cardiff brings but these are definitely not good times at the moment and we desperately need something and something quick to restore confidence both for the team and the fans.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, McCarthy, McGivern, Tunchev, Ramage, Wright, Parr, Ambrose (Dikgacoi 49), Garvan, Scannell (Andrew 83), Easter (Zaha 71)
Subs Not Used: Price, Jedinak
Goals: Parr 10, Garvan (pen) 67
Booked: Yellow card for Garvan
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Mee, Easton, Wallace, Edgar (Austin 63), McCann, Elliott, Treacy (Bartley 72), Rodriguez
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Duff, Marney
Booked; Straight Red Card for Bartley, Yellow Card for Wallace
Possession: 50% Crystal Palace, 50% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Brendan Malone (Wiltshire)
Ben Mee looked solid in the first half but went off the boil and blotted his copybook by conceding a needless second-half penalty. Brian Easton put in a decent shift after taking over the left back roll from Fox and substitute, Marvin Bartley looked lively before his day ended in tragedy following a straight red card. Wallace, Elliott and Rodriguez also had their moments but not enough! So it is a difficult one to decide then with so many average performances but well done Brain for at least giving us some hope at left back.