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Burnley Better Bluebirds But Still No Win!

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Cardiff City

Turf Moor

Saturday 20th August 2011 @3pm Kick-Off

Attendance: 13,428


The Clarets are still looking for their first league win of the season after only managing a 1-1 draw against Cardiff City at Turf Moor on Saturday. Once again there were some positives to take from this match both in terms of the team and individual performances but let`s not get carried away. The Bluebirds looked a distinctly average team and were certainly missing key players in midfield. Burnley did boss them for long periods of this game though but once again we could not make the possession count and again we were incapable of keeping a clean sheet despite having gone ahead with just two minutes on the clock. An Earnshaw goal five minutes before half-time levelled things up for the Bluebirds and neither side could find the winning goal in the second half.

The result, although of course it is still early days after just three league games of the new season does leave us in a precarious situation. With just two points from a maximum nine, we are currently fourth from bottom, outside the relegation zone by just one place on goal difference over Watford. Only Coventry and Doncaster have so far got fewer points. It is certainly worrying despite some improvement on Saturday. It is crucial we get our first win on the board soon to restore confidence to both team and fans alike but the trouble is we now travel to high-flying Derby County for our next league game and they are currently in 2nd spot with maximum points from their opening three matches. They are just behind Southampton on goal difference by just one goal.

Of course many fans are pointing to the fact that we went five games without a win in our promotion season. That may be but lightning rarely (if ever) strikes twice and frankly to put a dampener on things there is absolutely no way at the moment in my opinion that the quality in this team or the experience in the side is better than our promotion season under Coyle. If we continue to play like this the best we can hope for is midtable mediocrity and I think that will be an achievement. You would expect nothing more from a side that Howe freely admits is in transition and being rebuilt. I just hope that we are not in a relegation battle because so far I have seen nothing that would rule out that possibility but then I never was one for rose-tinted spectacles and blind faith.

Clarets fans however were boosted in midweek with news of two new arrivals both in the striker department. Young 19 year old Danny Ings arrived on Monday from Bournemouth to be followed later in the week by West Ham striker, Zavon Hines. So what would our line-up be up front against Cardiff City and would Howe give any of his new lads a debut?

Howe had hinted all week that he would be tempted to ease Ings in gently so it came as no surprise when he wasn`t even mentioned in the sixteen. What we didn`t know though was that he wouldn`t have been selected anyway having picked up a serious cartilage injury during training. The grim news we found out after the game was that the luckless Ings would now be sidelined until early 2012 and that his knee would require surgery to fix the problem. I suspect that had Ings been enough fit to play, he would have been named on the bench along with Zavon Hines who was! The reason I think this was the fact that Alex MacDonald was named on the bench as another striker along with Hines suggesting Howe had intended to select two substitute strikers and had built his tactics around that option during the week before the injury to Ings struck. It was Charlie Austin, making a return to the starting eleven and Jay Rodriguez though who led the attack with Howe opting for 4-4-2.

Howe also made some further changes to the side that went down 2-0 to Palace at Selhurst Park a week earlier. There was yet another change to the centre of defence with Duff coming in to replace Amougou. The artiste formerly known as Bikey did not even make the sixteen. Conspiracy theorists started putting about the rumour that his car was not in the car park and that he might be off somewhere but this was categorically denied by Darren Bentley. The club`s media man 'tweeted` the news that he had been dropped purely for tactical reasons so that appeared to put pay to the speculation. Edgar who started last week`s game in midfield might have been hoping for a central defending role too but instead he had to be content with a place on the bench with Marney returning in midfield.

Wade Elliott also found himself back on the bench after a start inside midfield against Palace. Wallace and Treacy kept their place on the flanks and in summary we lined up as follows:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Mee, Easton, Treacy, McCann, Marney, Wallace, Rodriguez, Austin

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Elliott, MacDonald, Hines

Stoke referee, Tony Bates got the game underway on a bright and sunny but rain-threatening day in Burnley.

It was the Clarets who stormed out of the blocks and it was during this impressive opening spell that they took the lead with just two minutes on the clock leaving the Bluebirds shell-shocked and reeling. Our wingers were causing them all sorts of problems but it was Trippier who caused the greatest damage in this opening period. Charging down the flank from full-back position Trippier first left Taylor for standing and then got over a delectable cross that was perfectly weighted for Austin to head down past the keeper`s left hand to claim his third goal of the season.

The double act of Trippier and Austin then nearly made it 2-0. This time though Austin could only head the ball from Trippier`s cross wide of target. Burnley were buzzing at this stage playing some dazzling football, certainly their best so far all season. Austin was on fire and tried a stunning shot from 30 yards out. The Bluebirds keeper, David Marshall did not look at all confident as the ball whizzed towards him despite being successful in parrying the shot away.

The Clarets looked to be in complete control now but a sequence of bookings and bad tempered exchanges seemed to disrupt their concentration and we lost the momentum. Cardiff embarked on some dodgy challenges and suddenly found they had three of their defenders booked with McNaughton, Gerrard and Hudson all picking up yellow cards. Gerrard`s foul in particular and his reaction afterwards incensed the home crowd after he charged into Austin from behind with the ball going out of play. Mind you, we were lucky not to lose Marney after he came close to picking up a second yellow for a high tackle but at least we were giving both their full backs a torrid time.

Treacy, despite by Howe`s admission still not being fully match fit, looked impressive in the first half and in the 30th minute gave the hapless McNaughton the slip yet again to get in a low shot which agonisingly bobbled across the face of goal.

Cardiff though now seemed to be coming back into the game more and more and they were rewarded with five minutes of the half remaining. Taylor got over a cross to find Earnshaw who had been given far too much space in the box to control the ball and with his typical poaching skills the Welsh international shot home to level from eight yards out.

It was 1-1 then at half-time and Eddie Howe decided to make no changes for the start of the second half. Burnley again started strongly with Wallace skimming a shot just wide from distance. The Clarets continued to press in the second half with Wallace involved in a number of the attacking moves. A sublime cross from Wallace cross field found Treacy bearing down on goal. Taking the ball inside past McNaughton, he let rip with a shot that need an outstretched leg from Hudson to block the attempt.

Howe decided to freshen up proceedings just past the hour mark and on 65 minutes on came debutant, Zavon Hines to replace Charlie Austin. The Clarets though just could not get the breakthrough and Cardiff always looked a handful on the break. Hines though did look to have some pace and at times threatened the Bluebirds defence cutting in a number of times from a wide position before bearing down on goal.

Cardiff came close to nicking it though on a couple of occasions. Our former loan, Peter Whittingham attempted a long-distance shot putting the ball just wide and then Ben Mee had to come to our rescue heading away a dangerous looking attempt from Kenny Miller.

We should have stolen all three points though with eleven minutes to go after some nice work down the flank from Brain Easton. His sublime cross looked certain to be converted by Chris McCann but somehow he managed to put his downward header wide of target when it looked easier to score.

In the end Burnley had to be content with yet another disappointing point and their second consecutive one at home this season in the Championship. Yes, this was a much improved performance but no, it was not one that would give you much optimism that we could be on for promotion this season. In order to be confident of that, we would have to play like we did in the first 20 minutes of this game for a full 90 minutes and at the same time try and plug the gaps in defence. We have conceded in every game so far this season and we have to tighten up significantly in that department if we want anything other than an average season.

Match Stats

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Mee, Easton, Treacy (Elliott 77), McCann, Marney, Wallace (MacDonald 84), Rodriguez, Austin (Hines 65)

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar

Goal: Austin (2)

Booked: Yellow card for Marney

Cardiff: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Gerrard, Whittingham, Cowie, Conway, Miller, Earnshaw (Gestede 75), Mason (Blake 69)

Subs Not Used: Heaton, Keinan, Quinn

Goal: Earnshaw (40)

Booked: Yellow cards for McNaughton, Hudson, Gerrard and Miller

Possession: 55% Burnley, 45% Cardiff City

Ref: Tony Bates (Stoke)

Star Player

Kieran Trippier was awarded the Fans texted Man of the Match award but I am not sure about that. Yes, he does look good going forward at times and got in two good crosses that Austin latched onto; one of which of course was headed home after just 2 minutes of play to put the Clarets 1-0 up! I just wonder sometimes though whether he has the desired defensive qualities at this level and he does seem prone at times to a bit of panic that puts the rest of the defence on the back foot. I would certainly not rate him at this stage anywhere near as good as Tyrone Mears but let`s move on.

One player who deserves a special mention is Michael Duff; he looked solid at times and seemed to be marshalling those around him something which perhaps Chris McCann should emulate as captain.

It was a really good cameo too from new striker Zavon Hines after he came on from the bench in the 65th minute to make his Clarets debut. I thought he looked sharp and full of pace offering something different up front. He seems to like charging in from the wing at times cutting in with determination and skill towards goal. Very impressed!

Our Star Player though surely has to be Charlie Austin. He continues to improve and looked on song in this game playing with grit, skill and determination. He scored his goal well after latching onto the Trippier cross and heading home with just two minutes on the clock. I thought he deserved to stay on to be honest in the second half. Jay Rod having a poor, lacklustre day up front should have been the one to be replaced in my opinion.

Date:Sunday August 21 2011
Time: 2:53PM


We desperately need our first win under our belt before confidence plummets! Not a good time to be going to Pride Park is it? We will need that Burnley moment and 'against all odds' spirit against the buoyed up Rams!!
21/08/2011 14:57:00
Can't argue with you tmp, you've been to the matches and seen them first hand, and as yet I haven't. But I'm still not as pessimistic as you seem to be, but that could be my rose tinted glasses and the Blind Faith LP moving around at 33rpm on my turntable. Trippier, Mee, Easton,Treacy, Austin and Hines, that's 6 new players introduced into the side so I think we can expect a bedding in period at the very least. The reports I've heard are encouraging regarding the new players and they could still surprise a few of us once they get the team act together. The Radio Wales pundits which included Kevin Ratcliffe remarked that there was the making of a good side at Burnley this season and we could be a 'surprise package' ! Time will tell of course, and you're right that we need a good win and soon, to get the feelgood factor and confidence moving in the team. What better place to start than at Pride Park with a 3-1 away win ?
21/08/2011 16:50:00
Taken only 22% of available points, Have to say yesterdays first half was exciting to watch, that was of course until the physical side of Cardiff was brought to bare ! hopefully that wont be our Achilles heal, the really sad thing is with fox,cork and Eagles this team would have had the making of a championship winning team ! still early days but the we still need players and good ones at that, Howe confirms he will be pushed into the transfer market again for ANOTHER striker given this issues with Danny Ings, please dont post the usual Easton is good enough tosh, we need a good left wing back not a left back and we need one PDQ
21/08/2011 17:02:00
Good performance unlucky not to take all three points and should of if McCann header was on target, this could be our problem this season teams kicking us of the park. After watching there goal on the box Mee defo at fault for there goal and like Welsh says this team will need time to gel together. Hope the rumour floating about that Bikey is of to Leicester is wrong because time is running out to get signings.
21/08/2011 17:15:00
We should not be in transition and rebuilding at this stage we should be showing ambition and trying to get this club promoted. That is where this club continually fails to deliver and whether this team is good enough to achieve it is not the point we shouldn't even be even having to debate it! Sick to death of blind faith optimism, sick to death of seeing Saints do better than us and get our players, sick to death of looking for a few scraps of optimism when the bottom line is simply..we are not good enough!
21/08/2011 18:11:00
Totally agree tmp we should not be rebuilding now should have been the end of the last season.
21/08/2011 18:35:00
We will soon be picking up points on the evidence of Saturday, I have every confidence, we will finish in the top half, perhaps higher?.
Grimsby Claret
21/08/2011 19:31:00
At what point do you stop being a critic and start being a constructive editor tmp? You are constantly looking for the negativity in evrything and anyone who looks for a positive is a happy clappy or wearing rose coloured specs. From where I sat yesterday I thought Eagles, Cork and Fox would have struggled against a side hell bent on a scrap. I saw a young full back more eager than Mears and someone who got the fans txt vote but you are loathe to admit it. Yet you praise Duff who hoofed the ball out anywhere on perhaps a dozen occassions, mostly into row z and at times when a more balanced player would have controlled the ball. Cardiff where in the play offs last season, came to fight and we got a point, I would have liked 3 points but will live with good performances from Austin, Trippier and a few others. I often feel tmp you write the way you do to get hits on the site, perhaps it works, I know a few posters who are getting fed up with the negative constant criticsm. My only saving grace is I still do not have broadband and it maybe even 10 more days of me not getting a chance to comment.....oh well at least the nurse is ok
21/08/2011 19:50:00
Happy for those who have the optimism. I would too were we a team emerging from League One, not one that was in the Premier league two seasons ago. HC compares us to Man Utd on another thread, saying we are rebuilding, that Howe has swept away the old team, and the new players will be good "next season". Two questions - 1. Did he want the players to leave? 2. Will we, Like Man Utd, keep our players, when they are all performing as brilliantly as predicted? I think we all know the answers to both questions.
21/08/2011 21:13:00
You see what you see VR..I see a season of midtable mediocrity, I base that on years of seeing the same old thing of basic failure and until the philosophy changes we will continue to be the small town club with small town mentality punching above our weight waiting for a manager to come along who can work miracles on a pittance. Coyle managed it and then realised we couldn't even meet his ambitions so he fecked off. Heavens above we have gone in the space of two months from a club needing two or three players to strengthen to a club in transiton/rebuilding! It stinks just like it has for the last two seasons. PMH has it about right! I believe there will be some changes soon, I hope so and cant wait
21/08/2011 21:33:00
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