Burnley Tower Above Blackpool
Saturday 29th October 2011 @5:20pm Kick-Off
The Clarets came out worthy winners in the Lancashire derby against Blackpool at Turf Moor on Saturday. Blackpool may have a tower, but it was Burnley who towered above the Tangerines in this convincing 3-1 victory against Ian Holloway`s men. We did ourselves a lot of credit too in front of a wider audience with Sky Sports also televising this late kick-off game.
It was a dazzling display by the Clarets in the first-half that caused most of the damage with Blackpool hardly getting a look in. In fact we were so much in control, last season`s Premier League darlings had no shot on target during the first 45 minutes of this game. Burnley opened the scoring after 20 minutes thanks to a well-taken headed goal by Charlie Austin following an excellent cross by Junior Stanislas. Nine minutes later, Stephen Crainey who looked suspiciously like the last man handled the ball just outside the penalty area and was lucky to get away with only a yellow card. The Clarets though got ample revenge from the free-kick when Ross Wallace thumped home the ball from the edge of the area to put Burnley 2-0 up.
Holloway obviously had strong words to say to his lacklustre team at half-time and he marched them out onto the pitch early hoping for a positive response in the second half. Whatever he said seemed to work. Blackpool now looked more determined, enjoying some possession and beginning to put the Clarets under some pressure. There were no real goal-scoring scares though for Burnley but it was still a relief when we went further ahead in the 79th minute after the energetic Charlie Austin teed-up Marvin Bartley to ram home the third goal and make it game over for the Tangerines.
To be fair to Blackpool their heads didn`t drop and if anything they had their best spell following our third goal and certainly created most of their chances in the last 15 minutes or so. It was just a pity that Burnley had to concede late into added time giving Blackpool a consolation goal following a blunder by Edgar that allowed Shelvey to pounce on the edge of the area and slot home past Grant. We have now gone 17 home games without keeping a clean sheet something we shall have to rectify soon if we want to keep within earshot of the play-offs.
Let`s be positive though, this is our now our fourth league victory in six games and the win sees the Clarets climb to 15th spot We now have 18 points from 13 games with a game in hand over most of the other clubs. Curiously we are now six points off the play-offs and six points off the drop zone so let`s hope we can now find some consistency and start to move in the right direction! A win against Leicester City at Turf Moor on Tuesday night in our next game would certainly give the team a great boost of confidence as they start their hectic November schedule.
Eddie Howe made two changes to the starting eleven for the Blackpool game following our away defeat against Cardiff City in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night. Charlie Austin returned up front and Junior Stanislas was back in the team after being cup-tied against the Bluebirds.
Ben Mee was preferred again to Andre Amougou and he partnered David Edgar in the centre of the back four. There were no fancy formation experimentation in this game and we played with two up front and two wide-men in a traditional 4-4-2.
The team selection in summary was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Mee, Easton, Wallace, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Stewart, Amougou, Marney, Treacy, Hines
Full Match Report
Premier League referee, Michael Oliver got the game underway on a pretty cold, showery and blustery evening in Burnley.
The Clarets suffered an early blow when in the 8th minute Brian Easton went down injured after taking a knock to the hip. With Easton on the floor, Tom Ince (son of Paul who was in the crowd) got over a low cross to find Shelvey but thankfully in-front of goal he made a hash of things and mis-kicked the ball.
Easton couldn`t carry on so with no replacement left back on the bench, Howe had to send on Amougou to partner Edgar in the centre of defence with Mee taking up the left back position.
Despite the early scare, it was now Burnley in the ascendency and from now on they would virtually dominate the first 45 minutes. Austin latched onto a Wallace pass forcing Evatt into a defensive mistake and as the ball was squared across into the danger area, Cathcart came close to scoring an own goal but instead conceded a corner. Wallace took the corner and in the well-rehearsed step-over routine, the ball fell to Rodriguez, Rodriguez though mis-cued his shot right in front of goal and the danger passed.
Burnley kept up the pressure though and from another corner we took the lead in the 20th minute. Wallace this time took a short-corner to find Stanislas and the former West Ham winger put over an excellent telling cross to the near post. Austin charging in threw himself at the ball to head home into the roof of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up.
A pass from Shelvey nearly led to a second goal for the Clarets. The ball was intercepted by Chris McCann who charged forward only to blast the ball over the bar.
Burnley though soon doubled their lead from a free-kick on 29 minutes. With Austin charging in on goal, Blackpool defender, Stephen Crainey clearly put up a arm to block the ball and the referee had no option but to award a free-kick on the edge of the area. Crainey had been lucky to stay on the pitch since he clearly looked to be the last man but the referee in the end was lenient only handing out a yellow card. There was a little bit of an exchange between Amougou and Wallace before the free-kick was taken and certain expletives were clearly expressed after lip-reading the Sky footage! Wallace though was not going to be bullied into allowing Amougou to take the free-kick and just as well! He let rip with a scorcher with a left-footed shot from 20 yards out that sailed past the stationery Gilks into the top corner of the net.
Evatt then had to fend off a challenge by Austin following a Stanislas cross by heading away the ball at full stretch as the Clarets ramped up the pressure looking for a third goal.
With 5 minutes of the first half remaining Blackpool were again lucky not to be reduced to ten men. Mee took the full force of a dangerous, nasty-looking challenge from Shelvey but thankfully the Man City loan defender was fit enough to carry on. Meanwhile, Shelvey picked up a yellow card which many Clarets fans thought should have been red. Watching the Sky Sports replay on the telly today (Sunday), the referee may well have been lenient because there was a hint that Shelvey may have been trying to pull out of the tackle but was too committed.
2-0 the score then at half-time with the Clarets clearly dominating proceedings.
In the second-half the Clarets didn`t quite have their own way with Blackpool now playing with more purpose. We now seemed to be on the back-foot with Blackpool desperate to reduce the arrears and give them a chance of still getting something from this game. Although they now had a lot of possession, in reality they still posed little threat with no real chances on goal. Lee Grant did have one shot to save, but easily managed to deny Brett Ormerod by pushing his shot into the side-netting.
Burnley looking to relieve the pressure nearly succeeded on 67 minutes following a corner by Wallace. Amougou though just couldn`t get enough direction on his header and the ball flew wide of target.
In the 73rd minute Holloway decided to throw caution to the wind by making a triple striker substitution. On came LuaLua, Bogdanovitch and McManaman for Phillips, Ormerod and Ince and the ploy almost worked immediately.
A flick by LuaLua set McManaman free on a charge on goal only for David Edgar to get in a crucial tackle. It was McManaman again who then nearly made it 2-1 this time unleashing a shot that Grant had to parry away at full stretch.
Clarets fans were a little restless now but relief came in the 79th minute when Burnley scored their third goal to put the game out of reach for Blackpool. It was a delightful build up too. Austin got in behind the Blackpool defence and instead of selfishly trying to shoot himself pulled the ball back into the path of Marvin Bartley. He side-footed home to score his first goal for the club.
A lot of despondent Blackpool fans were now making their exit off the ground but their team still didn`t give up and Edgar once more had to come to the rescue to deny McManaman after getting in a well-timed tackle.
Austin must have been kicking himself though after missing a sitter with just seven minutes of play remaining. A square pass from McCann was perfectly placed to set up Austin but somehow he fluffed his shot from close range. At least by then the three points were already more-or-less secure.
Deep into added time, Blackpool got their consolation goal much to the annoyance of anybody associated with Burnley FC. Keeping a clean sheet is a rare event these days, so to concede in the third minute of added time when a clean sheet looked to be on the cards was very annoying to say the least. It was a mistake too by David Edgar that led to the goal which must have been disappointing for him after making some breathtaking challenges previously to deny the Tangerines. This time though, Edgar fluffed a pass allowing Blackpool to pounce setting up Shelvey who fired past Grant on the edge of the area to make the final score 3-1.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Mee, Easton (Amougou 9), Wallace (Marney 88), McCann, Bartley, Stanislas (Treacy 75), Rodriguez, Austin
Subs Not Used: Stewart, Hines
Goals: Austin 20, Wallace 29, Bartley 79
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, Cathcart, Southern, Ferguson, Shelvey, K Phillips (LuaLua 73), Ormerod (Bogdanovic 73), Ince (McManaman 73)
Subs Not Used: Howard, Eardley
Goal: Shelvey 90+3
Booked: Yellow Cards for Crainey and Shelvey
Possession: 45% Burnley, 55% Blackpool
Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)
David Edgar looked solid for most of this game in the back four coming to our rescue a number of times only to blot his copybook in the final minute of added time when a defensive blunder led to a consolation goal for Blackpool.
I will however go with the flow and give our Star Player award to Charlie Austin, who was both the fans texted man of the match as well as Sky Sports` choice. You might be inclined though to mark him down a little for also missing an absolute sitter in the second half!