The Clarets De-Forestation Job!
Tuesday 27th September 2011 @7:45pm Kick-Off
Burnley won their first home league of the season in style last night romping home 5-1 victors against a very poor Nottingham Forest side. Beleaguered, Forest manager, Steve McClaren had no answer to Burnley`s complete domination and wakes up this morning knowing that once again his career at the City Ground could be on the line.
The victory did the Clarets a power of good though propelling the club five places up the league to 16th spot with now 9 points from 8 league games. The good news too is that we have a game in hand still over most of the clubs in the Championship and if we won that we would be just two points off the play-offs positions based on the current standings. We do still though have to keep things in perspective bearing in mind that we are also only just two points off the drop zone but let`s not concentrate on any negatives now in light of such a superb performance from the lads last night. This performance was sheer class and the match easily the best we have played all season. You could perhaps sense it was coming after such a good shift in the 1-1 draw against league leaders, Southampton at Turf Moor on Saturday.
Forest though were shockingly poor but we contributed to making sure they looked bad, really bad! The Clarets were 2-0 up within fifteen minutes thanks to a timely brace from Jay Rodriguez. We made it 3-0 just on the half-hour mark. Chris McCann stabbed in the third after some extremely sloppy defending by Forest. Having got rid of our own deadwood in the summer, we went on the Forest felling trail again when Wallace popped up to curl in a beauty just before half-time.
A stunning first half performance then from the Clarets and I certainly can`t remember the last time we went into the break 4-0 up, certainly not in recent times.
I guess it was inevitable we couldn`t keep the same pace and momentum going in the second half but we put in a damn good effort to try and do so! Just one thing soured an otherwise perfect night and that was conceding a goal to ensure that horrible clean-sheet statistic continued. Ishmael Miller's low shot made it 4-1 on the hour mark making in 24 games now for the Clarets without keeping a clean sheet. There were a few scares to be honest in the second half from Forest who looked a little brighter but to be honest we still looked in total control and in the 71st minute we confirmed our dominance by getting a fifth! Austin's looping header from a cross by Easton went in despite the best efforts of a defender on the line.
It was a remarkable night and one that raised all our spirits. The team now at long last seem to be really gelling together. It is early days and we have to hope our chances are not scuppered should we succumb to further injuries or suspensions. We have such a threadbare squad that a loss of another player to either injury or suspension could give Eddie Howe a headache. That was brought home to us with the realisation that both Tracy and Stanislas may have been unavailable for the Forest clash last night but thankfully in the end Stanislas at least made the starting eleven. Let`s pull out all the stops to supplement our squad via the loan market and hopefully also in the January window. For the first time last night, I saw some real potential in this squad in terms of a possible promotion challenge this season. It would be a shame to dent those prospects for the sake of one or two extra players not being brought in to provide cover. There are clearly too going to be some high-pressure games during this season, hopefully crucial ones to keep us in the promotion chase rather than a relegation battle. It will be at times like that, that experience will come to bear and if we could now just supplement the squad with such experience, promotion really could be on.
Clarets fans were relieved to know that Junior Stanislas had passed a late fitness test ahead of the game and would start for the Clarets. Keith Treacy though remained sidelined with the hamstring injury that kept him out of the sixteen that played against Southampton at Turf Moor last Saturday.
With no further injury worries, Howe was able to name the same sixteen for the Forest game so we lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Amougou, Edgar, Easton, Stanislas, McCann, Bartley, Wallace, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Mee, Marney, MacDonald, Hines
Full Match Report
Tyne & Wear referee, Eddie Ilderton got the game underway on a mild, warm night in Burnley and it took the Clarets just fifteen minutes to go 2-0 up against a shell-shocked Forest looking for their second consecutive away win. Junior Stanislas got over a cross for Austin to leap into action and head the ball back into the danger area. A grateful Rodriguez was on hand to tower above Wes Morgan and head home to put the Clarets a goal ahead. Clarets fans hardly had time to catch their breath before ten minutes later it was 2-0. Stanislas was again the architect with another cross. Rodriguez was again in the right place to glance home his header into the far corner past Lee Camp.
The Clarets certainly had the bit between their teeth now but were almost pegged back after 20 minutes when in virtually Forest`s first attack Joel Lynch pounced after a mistake by Wallace led to the former Preston winger losing possession. He floated over a cross and Ishmael Miller should have done better with his attempt despite the attentions of Easton. Kieran Trippier was ripping the Forest defence to shreds down the flank and both Rodriguez and Austin came close to scoring from the defender`s low crosses. Camp then prevented Forest going further behind after saving from Austin following a Stanislas corner. It was only matter of time though before Burnley`s pressure told and that came just on the half-hour mark. The Clarets were awarded a corner and after Amougou`s effort was only half-blocked, McCann pounced to make it 3-0 from close range. McClaren could no nothing to prevent the Clarets surge and was even forced into making a substitution to try and stem the flow but all to no avail. Burnley continued to dominate and one minute before half-time they were rewarded with a fourth goal. Some awful Forest defending led the ball being given away to a thankful Wallace who thumped home past Camp from 20 yards out to make it an unbelievable 4-0 at half-time.
A buoyant set of home fans were then entertained at half-time to some magical moments of dance and pageantry from a shed-load of schoolchildren promoting a new community scheme. It was spoilt only by McLaren sending on his team while the kids were still performing. Bad taste indeed and what a plonker!
Forest though looked a little brighter at the start of the second-half no doubt having been given a rollicking by the former England gaffer and on the hour mark they managed to pull a goal back following Burnley`s complacency. Miller being the more powerful got the better of Edgar to shoot past Grant and give the despondent Forest fans something to cheer about at long last.
The goal was probably the kick up the backside that Burnley needed after taking their foot off the gas and Bartley came close to restoring our lead after a mazy run and shooting over the bar. Forest though nearly gave Burnley the jitters by pulling another goal back after substitute, Robbie Findley hit the woodwork when his volley hit the outside of the post.
The Clarets though began to then dominate again and if anybody was going to score next it looked more likely to be Burnley. That goal came in the 71st minute! Brian Easton got over a cross which was met by a rising Austin to head towards target. It looked like Forest had cleared the danger on the line but it turned out the ball had already crossed the line before Wes Morgan made contact so it was now 5-1. The last time Burnley scored five goals in a game? Yep, that too was against Forest in our promotion season.
It could have been even more embarrassing for Forest though when two of our substitutes, Dean Marney and Zavon Hines linked well to give the former West Ham striker, a chance for his first Burnley goal. His shot trickled towards the corner of the goal and had he hit it a little harder, it may well have crossed the line. Morgan this time though did manage to clear the danger. Forest did have a couple of late attempts in an effort to save some face but both were thwarted; one by the keeper denying Miller and one by the post denying McGugan following a deflected shot in stoppage time.
The emphatic victory though was ours on a wonderful September evening! This win really could kick-start our season and now all we need to do is play like this with some consistency.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Easton, McCann, Wallace, Stanislas (Hines 76), Bartley (MacDonald 80), Rodriguez, Austin (Marney 76
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Mee
Goals: Rodriguez 5, 15, McCann 29, Wallace 44, Austin 71
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Hill, Chambers, Morgan, Gunter (Findley 27), Lynch, Reid (Majewski 46), Greening, Moussi, Derbyshire (McGugan 75), Miller
Subs Not Used: Smith, Tudgay
Goal: Miller 59
Booked: Yellow card for Chambers
Possession: 56% Burnley, 44% Nottingham Forest (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)