The Wind in the Pillows!
Saturday 21st January 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley and Derby fought out a goalless draw at Turf Moor on Saturday and this was certainly no classic match! For long periods of this game fans were finding it hard not to nod off with only the cold, bracing wind keeping them awake. In fact the swirling wind and blustery conditions were a key factor in ensuring the match was a poor spectacle to watch with both sides struggling to keep the ball down and cross with any accuracy
Having said that though Derby clearly came with a game plan to frustrate and delay the progress of the game whenever they could. They were looking for a draw hoping to sneak one on the break and that probably explains why this is the Rams fourth clean sheet in a row! At times it was a dire match which is a shame because these two teams were both fighting for a play-offs spot in a vital six-pointer and it could have been a pulsating game had the weather conditions not ruined it.
You could count on each hand the goal attempts on target from each side. Burnley had just four and the Rams only one more! The Clarets had more attempts on goal in total, 11 compared to five but the Rams also had numerous corners, notching up 11 in the end to our 6. We simply cancelled each other out in the end and both sets of fans left the ground after the final whistle probably accepting that a draw was the fairest result. The draw was a long time coming for the Clarets though; we had previously gone 21 games this season without sharing the spoils. The last time we drew was in the home game against Southampton back in September last year; a match that finished 1-1. You would have to go back to our away game against Scunthorpe last season almost exactly a year ago for our last goalless draw! At least though we notched up yet another clean sheet in the game against the Rams on Saturday, our seventh of the season and our fifth in six league games!
It is not comfortable to drop points at home but at least we are still in with a sniff of the play-offs positions. Although we drop to 12th, we are still just three points off the sixth placed club. That club now though is Birmingham and they have played one game less.
The Clarets now have a bit of a break with next weekend being devoted to the FA Cup but they will be in action on the following Tuesday night when they travel to the City Ground to play Steve Cotterill`s Forest. It would be good to get back to winning ways against the struggling side. A double over the third from bottom club could keep us in contention and put pressure on those clubs around us. Bring it on!
With Martin Paterson and Junior Stanislas out injured and Sam Vokes loan spell now over, Eddie Howe had some decisions to make in terms of the attack. In the end it was a pretty predictable selection considering alternatives were somewhat limited. Keith Treacy made a return to replace Stanislas on the wing and Charlie Austin partnered Jay Rodriguez up front.
On the bench we also had two additional strikers with Hines and new loan, Josh McQuoid named substitutes.
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Treacy, Rodriguez, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Easton, Bartley, McQuoid, Hines
Full Match Report
Premier League referee, Lee Probert got the game underway on a blustery day in Burnley and it was soon clear that the windy conditions were going to have a big part to play in both club`s fortunes.
Burnley started the livelier of the two teams and were soon on the attack in the first minute. Austin, picking up a pass from Treacy found space to shoot only to see Rams midfielder, Paul Green stick out a leg and block the attempt. Wallace then released Rodriguez, and the striker crossed finding Treacy in front of goal. The former Preston wingman though could only head over the top of the bar. Rodriguez was causing quite a few problems for the Rams defence in this opening stage and he came close to opening the scoring after driving through the visitor`s defence on a run before unleashing a shot that skidded towards goal. The Derby keeper, Fielding was scrambling to his left to try and get to the ball which flew just past the post. It was Rodriguez again who was soon on the prowl, this time just failing to get on the end of a long-ball from Trippier.
What little action there had been in the first half was all coming from Burnley, but the Rams seemed comfortable soaking up the pressure without threatening themselves at the other end. That changed though two minutes before the end of the half when the strangely quiet, Theo Robinson managed to unleash a shot which tested Grant. The former Rams keeper though was equal to the threat and both sides had to be content with 0-0 at half-time.
Wallace had been struggling with what looked like a back injury in the first-half but soldiered on. It was decided though to bring him off for the start of the second-half and bring on new boy, striker, Josh McQuoid. McQuoid had only signed on loan from Millwall the day before and went straight into the sixteen for the Derby clash. It was perhaps a surprising decision to being him on with Zavon Hines also on the bench; a striker who can also play a wider role. These must be worrying times for Hines who seems to have dropped further down the pecking order.
Derby County were clearly frustrating the Clarets now and we simply could not break them down. The Rams were not playing with any urgency and sought to delay the flow of the game whenever they could especially by taking ages to take their set-pieces. They were clearly hoping to wear us out and catch us out on the break.
Austin got in a good header after latching on to a Marney cross but Fielding at full-stretch managed to save the effort. The ball fell to McQuoid and this time the Rams keeper comfortably saved his shot. The wind then nearly helped fluke a deep Treacy cross into the back of the net but the ball hit the inside of the post and back into play only to bounce off Jason Shackell for a corner. Michael Duff got in a flying header from the corner on 65 minutes but the ball flew just over the bar.
Derby have had the recent habit of winning their games 1-0 and that was a worry since it was clear that just one goal was likely to win this match. They had their moments too, more so than in the first half. Duff came to the rescue with a good block to deny Bryson. From the resulting corner, Barker then headed wide much to the relief of Clarets fans who were by now getting a little frustrated and nervous.
Howe freshened things up in the 72nd minute taking off the pretty lacklustre, Keith Treacy and bringing on Marvin Bartley to inject some pace into the midfield. We were more or less now playing 4-3-3 with no recognised wingmen on the pitch having replaced both Wallace and Treacy. It nearly paid-off too. McQuoid playing down the right flank released Austin who let rip with a low shot which flew just wide of the far post before the impressive debutant less than a minute later set Bartley free on a run. Rodriguez got on the end of Bartley`s cross and looked certain to score in the 80th minute but somehow Fielding managed to stick his leg out and prevent Jay Rod`s angled shot breaking the deadlock. So that was it, not a great game and in the end a goalless stalemate. A match best forgotten to be honest and I already have!
The Post-Match Eddie-torial
"We felt we created enough chances to have shaded it and taken the three points, but their keeper made a couple of good saves and we missed a couple of good chances,' said Howe after the game
'We started on the front foot, but you could see how difficult it was for both sets of players with the weather conditions - it restricted the attractive game that we wanted to play. We did have to adapt slightly and that was a real shame. We didn't do enough to break them down in the end.
'The back four are really well drilled and organised, and they are getting better and better. All of them played their part and if you keep clean sheets you don't get beaten so it's a good step.'
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Wallace (McQuoid 45), McCann, Marney, Treacy (Bartley 72), Rodriguez, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Easton, Hines
Booked: Yellow cards for Mee and Marney
Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Roberts, Barker, Shackell, Bryson, Bailey (Hendrick 47), Green, Ward, Robinson (Noble 57), Ball (Buxton 84)
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, B Davies
Booked: Yellow card for Barker and Ball
Possession: 58% Burnley, 42% Derby (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire)
So who gets our Star player award then? I would have to say from where I was sitting it looked like Ben Mee playing his first game since signing a permanent deal with skill and conviction deserved the award. Mee it is then, no not me, him!