Clarets Exit Carling Cup in Cardiff
Cardiff City Stadium
Tuesday 25th October 2011 @7:45pm Kick-Off
Any hopes of Burnley progressing to the quarter final stage of the Carling Cup evaporated last night in the Cardiff City Stadium. The Clarets went down to a goal from Joe Mason after 40 minutes and despite a brighter effort in the second half, especially in the last 20 minutes were unable to find that elusive equaliser. The 1-0 defeat ensured it would be the Bluebirds in the hat for the quarter final draw on Saturday leaving the Clarets free to now focus on their Championship campaign with any hopes of reaching Wembley this season now having to rely on either reaching the play-offs final or progressing all the way in the FA Cup competition which has yet to start for Championship clubs.
Basically the Clarets had two purple patch periods against Cardiff last night; the first twenty minutes of the first half and the last twenty minutes of the second half but in either period the Clarets were simply unable to find their shooting form and the goals eluded them. Cardiff had the upper hand in the first half against a team who made four changes to the side that beat Coventry City away on Saturday. We managed to hold out though until the 40thminute before an expertly-taken strike from Mason broke the deadlock. The 20-year-old curled a left-foot shot into the bottom corner from just inside Burnley's penalty area to put the Bluebirds 1-0 up. Eddie Howe could see the failings of the first 45 minutes and made two second-half substitutions at half-time and to be honest there were some significant improvements. Yet again though too many of our players were not firing on all cylinders ensuring once again that our consistency remained a worry.
Eddie Howe said after the loss:
'It's disappointing to lose the game. We started the game really well and tested their goalkeeper early on.
'It was a positive start and on another day we could have scored a couple of goals.
'We also finished the game well and applied a lot of pressure with good possession, but we didn't work their keeper enough or hurt them in the second half.'
Although a disappointment, a lot of Clarets fans will probably not be too disheartened by our cup exit and hopefully the defeat will not affect confidence and morale within the team. We can hopefully bounce back strongly and get three points in our Championship clash at home to Blackpool this Saturday.
Jay Rodriguez was a major doubt for this game at one point after it had been thought he may have broken his nose in the previous game away to Coventry but announcements later during the week suggested the facial injury was not as bad as first feared after it had been confirmed there was no break and that Jay Rod would face a late fitness test to evaluate the level of soreness and swelling.
Well he passed that test too and was named in the starting eleven against Cardiff last night. Clarets fans hoping to see more of Zavon Hines were also not disappointed with Howe deciding to start the former West Ham striker at the expense of Charlie Austin in a starting eleven that had four changes to the one that lined up against Coventry last Saturday. Ben Mee made a return to the back four partnering Edgar in the centre of defence with Amougou having to be content with a place on the bench. Alex MacDonald was also given his full debut for the club but the striker played an unfamiliar role on the right side of midfield. The final change was the return of Dean Marney.
Howe`s team selection therefore in summary was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Mee, Easton, McCann, Marney, Treacy, MacDonald, Rodriguez, Hines
Subs: Stewart, Amougou, Bartley, Wallace, Hewitt, Harvey, Austin
It is not totally clear why Howe made so many changes to a team that played so well and beat Coventry away last Saturday in the Championship. Maybe the Carling Cup was not a particular priority even though a quarter final place was at stake. Howe may also have had one eye on the high-profile local derby against Blackpool at Turf Moor on Saturday and felt it would be advisable to maybe rest a few players for this more important clash to be shown live on Sky. The Carling Cup has not exactly been an exciting competition for the Clarets this season despite our progress and to be honest we have struggled against lower league opposition in all three previous games despite all them played on home soil. It is a far cry from the marvellous run we had in this competition beating all those Premier League London clubs in our promotion season. I am not exactly worried to be honest that this particular cup run has come to an end. Let`s face it, any hope of beating a Premier League club in one of the later rounds was unlikely knowing our inconsistency this season and considering the quality difference compared to Owen Coyle`s promotion squad.
Full Match Report
Cheshunt referee, Darren Deadman got the game underway and it was the Clarets who looked the most impressive in the first 20 minutes or so of this clash. We had to survive an early scare though in the fifth minute after Mason managed to drag a shot wide of target with only the keeper to beat.
The Clarets were looking good on the break though often catching Cardiff cold on the counter-attack.
Burnley were awarded a corner after Hudson managed to block an effort from Rodriguez and as the ball came only it was only half- cleared allowing Marney to pounce. He picked out Treacy with a good pass and the former Preston winger let rip with a low angled right footed shot. Bluebirds` keeper, Heaton had to deal with the threat by pushing the ball around the post at full-stretch. From the resulting corner, Ben Mee came close with a header but Cardiff`s second-string keeper earned his salt again managing to get his fingers to the ball pushing it onto the bar.
Cardiff though came into the game more-and-more looking lively moving forward. Grant denied Conway with a fine save before Cowie volleyed over the bar in a spell of pressure from the Bluebirds.
Deservedly though Cardiff took the lead with five minutes of the first half-remaining. A ball from Cowie found Mason in space in the penalty area and the striker cleverly side-footed home past a diving Lee Grant.
The Clarets made changes at half-time with Wallace and Bartley coming on to replace the ineffective MacDonald and McCann. The changes seemed to work to some degree and we looked to be making a bit more of an impression. Our possession though could have been better and we had few chances in attack.
A mistake by Mee in the 55th minute nearly proved costly after letting in Whittingham. His powerful shot though was parried away by Grant.
Hines got a half-chance but could only clip his effort over the bar
Treacy seemed to be chasing shadows and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Austin in the 65th minute. As we entered the last 20 minutes, we looked more determined to get the equaliser and it was now Cardiff who had to cope with the pressure and our new found possession.
Our only real chance of scoring though came from a Ben Mee effort but he should have done better with his header putting his attempt wide despite being unchallenged from a Wallace free-kick. From another free-kick, Rodriguez thumped a long range shot just wide after the ball took a deflection.
Heaton also easily saved another attempted shot from Rodriguez during our spell of pressure.
Cardiff still had their moments though and should have sealed it with a header. Grant misjudged a cross from former Clarets loan midfielder, Peter Whittingham allowing Hudson to attempt a header on goal. Thankfully the ball flew over the bar.
Easton tried in desperation to volley the ball home with four minutes of the game remaining but it wasn`t to be with Cardiff in the end holding on for victory.
Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Gerrard, Whittingham, Cowie, Conway (Kiss 70), Gunnarsson, McPhail, Mason
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Keinan, Quinn, Blake, Earnshaw, Ralls
Goal: Mason 40
Booked: Yellow Cards for McNaughton and Gerrard
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Mee, Easton, McCann (Wallace 46), Marney, Treacy (Austin 65), MacDonald (Bartley 46), Rodriguez, Hines
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Amougou, Hewitt, Harvey
Booked: Yellow Cards for Marney, MacDonald, Bartley, Hines
Possession: 56% Cardiff City, 44% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Darren Deadman (Cheshunt)