Burnley Dent the Pride of Lions
The Den Stadium
Saturday 1st October 2011 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets did us proud on Saturday after beating Millwall 1-0 at the Den Stadium. It was the first time since April we had managed to secure two back-to-back wins in the Championship and more importantly the first time we had kept a clean sheet in 24 attempts! The victory ensured our march up the table and we are now 14th going into the International break with twelve points from nine games. Burnley are now five points away from the drop zone with a game advantage over all three bottom clubs which is some relief after a disappointing start to the season.
The victory will certainly relieve some of the pressure on Eddie Howe and the team. After three excellent consecutive performances now against Southampton and Forest at home and Millwall away we can perhaps relax a bit more and concentrate on keeping up the momentum when we return from the break hopefully refreshed and ready to take on Reading at Turf Moor on Saturday 15th October. Let`s hope so and that this time we do not do a Boro after our good win against Derby at Pride Park before the last International break at the end of August.
It was a goal by Jay Rodriguez in the 37th minute that was enough to secure all three points at the Den stadium. In truth, we were somewhat lucky at times especially in the second half when we had to withstand quite a bit of pressure. However our performance in the end was good enough to give Burnley their second away win on the road this season and ensure it would be the Lions and not the Clarets who would have their pride dented. Our victory plunged Millwall deeper into trouble and they are now second from bottom giving their gaffer, Kenny Jackett a major headache. He also had to endure hearing his team booed off at half-time by the home crowd although his team did at least redeem themselves a little in the second half.
It was the first time since August 2001 we had managed to come away from South Bermondsey with all three points and that seemed to make the victory even sweeter. Let`s face it, travelling to and from this ground is very much an ordeal due to the antics of a certain minority of their so-called fans! You don`t feel comfortable wearing colours, there is a heavy police presence on the train into South Bermondsey from London Bridge and then you are shepherded down fenced-off alley ways that make it look more akin to going into a concentration camp than a football ground. You are even fearful of opening your mouth is case some yob recognises your Lancashire accent and calls over his equally dumb chums to cause some bother! There are many, many genuine decent Millwall fans` don`t get me wrong but it`s a shame some of the mindless morons spoil it for all football fans with yesterday being no exception. Very sad!
Anyway stuff all that, let`s just bask in the Indian summer weather celebrating another victory whilst enjoying the break!
Following news that Junior Stanislas had recovered from a dead-leg and was fit to play against Millwall, Eddie Howe named an unchanged starting eleven for the third successive time.
There was also some good news regarding Keith Treacy who had missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. He too was also declared fit after passing a late fitness test although he had to be content with a place on the bench. He was the only change to the sixteen with Alex MacDonald sadly the one to make way for the former Preston winger.
In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Easton, Wallace, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Mee, Marney, Treacy, Hines
Full Match Report
On a sweltering, hot and humid day in London; the hottest on record for October, it was left to Wiltshire referee, Simon Hooper to get the game underway. The first half was not a particularly exciting spectacle with both sides probably suffering from the hot conditions although it was Burnley who looked the most likely to open the scoring. Their problem was not moving forward into the final third so much, but wasting the final ball time-and-time again!
Millwall to be honest looked pretty ineffective and that was summed up to some degree by the fact that their closest effort came in the first minute when a huge kick by their keeper, David Forde bounced all the way down the pitch towards Lee Grant. Grant had to punch the ball away with Danny N` Guessan breathing down his neck and in so doing gashed his chin after clashing with the attacking midfielder in mid-air. It seemed to take ages while they fixed Grant`s wound but at least he could carry on bearing in mind we already had Brian Jensen sidelined with injury.
Rodriguez and Wallace both threatened after breaking away but in the end the attacks came to nothing. Stanislas, who grew up near Millwall, looked pacy on the ball and in one attempt left Robinson for dead, after beating him to a McCann through-ball. Charging forward though he just failed to get the ball to Rodriguez who was in an ideal position and the attack broke down yet again. In the 37th minute though the Clarets were awarded a corner, their second of the afternoon and from it we took the lead in our first real chance of the game.
Wallace took the corner and at first it looked like it had been wasted until Clarets fans realised it must have been one practicised on the training ground. With the ball bobbling along and not hit with much umph, Edgar was used as a decoy after charging forward and looking a likely recipient. The ball though was put behind him to find Rodriguez ideally placed on the edge of the box. He didn`t really make much contact but there was enough on the ball to send it in the right direction and confuse Forde who had to scramble back across his goal in an attempt to save it. He could not keep it out though and the ball squeezed into the bottom corner of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up
That was enough to ensure it would be the Clarets who would go into the dressing room at half-time ahead and also make sure it would be the home team`s gaffer who would have the most to think about no doubt still hearing the echos of the Lions fans booing in his ears!
Jackett brought on striker, John Marquis for the start of the second half to liven up the Lions attack and it worked with Millwall now looking more determined to get back into the game. All of a sudden the Lions attack was giving the Clarets defence a bit of a run-around. Marquis thought he had equalised after putting the ball in the net but he hadn`t spotted the assistant referee (much to the relief of all Clarets fans) vigorously waving his offside flag ! Millwall came close again when Howard thumped in a free-kick from long range. Grant though was equal to it and saved well. The Clarets though were now under some pressure and just couldn`t seem to get possession and get out of their own half.
The pressure was telling but at long last we got a chance to double our lead when Stanislas picked up a pass from McCann. However the former West Ham starlet could only curl his shot wide of the far post and that once again seemed to galvanise Millwall into action.
Grant came to our rescue again saving a volley from Feeney after turning the ball away to safety and Millwall fans then thought they had earned a penalty after Edgar appeared to have brought down Marquis. The referee thought differently though booking the striker for diving!
Still the pressure continued though and it was time for Eddie Howe to change things around and introduce some fresh legs. Marney came on for Bartley in the 73rd minute and then six minutes later, Treacy made a welcome return replacing the tiring Stanislas. Rodriguez also dropped deeper in an effort to keep the Lions at bay.
If anybody was going to score next though, Millwall still looked the best bet! Bouazza let rip with a shot that whistled over the bar before Marquis looked certain to score with his header until an Edgar block coupled with yet another great save from Grant snuffed out the danger.
Burnley tried everything to hold on with Brian Easton coming off worst with a yellow card for time-wasting. There was just time though for some of the moronic Millwall fans to give their club a bad name again after someone chucked a plastic bottle at Trippier as he attempted to take a throw in!
Play was delayed while they sorted that one out and then we had to endure four minutes of added time trying to hold on to the three points. But we did hold out and for once ground out a result in style despite perhaps a point being a fairer outcome.
Now all we had to do was run the gauntlet back to London Bridge station with the numpty-tendency from the usual Lions one brain-cell brigade trying to chuck things at the fencing as we headed back to the station with a gleeful grin on our faces! God, what a place!
Millwall: Forde, Robinson, Barron, Mkandawire, Ward, Trotter, Henry (Bouazza 71), Feeney, Howard, Simpson (Marquis 46), N'Guessan
Subs Not Used: Mildenhall, Dunne, Abdou
Booked: Yellow cards for Howard and Marquis
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Amougou, Easton, Wallace, McCann, Bartley (Marney 73), Stanislas (Treacy 79), Rodriguez, Austin
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Mee, Hines
Goal: Rodriguez 37
Booked: Yellow cards for Trippier, Easton, Bartley
Possession: 53% Millwall, 46% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)
Lee Grant was certainly effective and put in a confident and convincing performance in goal, keeping the Lions at bay and making it a frustrating afternoon for them. It is the best I have seen him play for us. He would be a strong candidate for the award. Kieran Trippier is also worthy of a mention. He continues to impress and again had another good afternoon both defensively as well as charging down the flanks and setting up opportunities.
One player though shone out from the rest and for once did not have one of his Bikey moments! Stand tall, Andre Amougou you are our Star Player! Amougou looked sharp and dominated the back four. Strong defensively and moving forward, he also gave confidence to those around him and made sure in no uncertain terms if they messed up. His experience is just what we need and amazingly the thought of him being a good potential captain also entered my brain!
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