A point yet no point against Hammers at Turf Moor
Saturday 24th March 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley frustratingly gave up a two goal lead against high-flying West Ham at Turf Moor on Saturday in a clash of the Claret&Blue which finished 2-2. Although West Ham looked the better side at times, the Clarets dominated the first half thanks to two goals from first Marvin Bartley after 25 minutes and then Martin Paterson eleven minutes later.
A two goal cushion at half-time looked to be enough but there was always that doubt at the back of Clarets fans minds that should West Ham get a goal back we might buckle and so it would prove. We looked to be soaking up anything West Ham could chuck at us until Nolan pulled one back for the Hammers in the 68th minute. Within two minutes they had equalised after Nicky Maynard flicked on Mark Noble's free-kick for Tomkins to make it 2-2. We had no response and not for the first time this season looked in danger of losing a game after being comfortably in control and enjoying a two goal lead.
It was now all about holding on as West Ham turned the screw and began to have the lion`s share of possession. We never really looked like getting our noses in front again but at least we managed to hold on for a point. In the end then a disappointing draw and a point did little to cheer up the home fans who have now had to endure seven games without a win. With the season effectively over and nothing to play for but pride, it was perhaps surprising we held our own and got a 2-0 advantage over a team still in the hunt for automatic promotion by the end of the first half. The fact West Ham came back the way they did, just sums up our disappointing season somehow.
Burnley remain in 16th spot with now 50 points still ten points behind the sixth placed club. That club is now Blackpool who we still have to play at Bloomfield Road next month. Blackpool have also played a game more than the Clarets and with eight games of the season still remaining and 24 points to fight for could there still be a miracle waiting round the corner?
It remains to be seen if any Clarets fans are still drinking their glass-half-full or not. They have tended to be rather quiet recently with blind faith taking somewhat of a pounding. Most are probably now resigned to joining the more pessimistic fans who have for sometime seen the writing on the wall as the club headed once more towards mid-table mediocrity. By any standards though 16th place or below if that`s where we finish is simply not good enough for a club plying its trade in the Premier League three seasons ago. All the hype about the club being set up for years to come after the promotion has simply not materialised and despite the parachute payments we now look to be in a worse position than when Cotterill left and even dare I say it, Brian Laws. In Eddie Howe we trust but he better hurry up and reward that trust!
Rodriguez was sidelined with injury for this clash despite playing in midweek against Ipswich but Ings returned to the sixteen starting up front with Paterson.
Danny Lafferty was also absent after picking up a hamstring problem in the midweek game at Portman Road. Ben Mee was back at left back.
Stanislas would not get the chance to start against his former team in view of his woeful performance on Wednesday night and had to be content with a place on the bench.
There was also a place on the bench for midfielder, Steven Hewitt
In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Bartley, Ings, Paterson
Substitutes: Jensen, Hewitt, Stanislas, McQuoid, Austin
Full Match Report
On a mild sunny day in Burnley, Chris McCann led his team onto the pitch with most Clarets fans wondering what sort of side would turn up after the shocking performance against Ipswich in midweek. The Clarets ahead of this game had gone six games without a win and their play-offs hopes had been all but extinguished so would there be any spark against the Hammers considering it now looked like our season was effectively over with only pride to play for? Would Sam Allardyce`s men (playing still for an automatic promotion spot) run riot and add more misery during our poor end of season run in? We would soon find out and to be honest the first half was a joy to watch with Burnley looking bright and at last showing some pride and commitment. It was in fact a pulsating first half with both sides entertaining the fans in an open, end-to-end game. The Clarets though had the upper hand over the first 45 minutes basically because unlike the Hammers they took their chances.
Referee Mark Haywood from West Yorkshire got the game underway and in some early Hammers pressure, Carlton Cole spurned two opportunities to put his side ahead. His best chance came when he ran round Grant after being put clear by a Nolan through-ball. He left himself too tight an angle though and his scuffed shot was off-target hitting the side-netting.
With the Hammers missing their chances it was up to Burnley to show them how to take them and in the 25th minute they did just that to get their noses in front. Bartley weaving into the box latched on to a flick from Paterson to get the better of Tomkins and slide the ball past Hammers keeper, Robert Green. It looked a tame deflected shot that Green should have saved but they all count and Burnley were 1-0 up!
West Ham nearly hit back almost immediately and they looked to have got the equaliser one minute after our opener when Nolan headed home. The referee though felt the West Ham captain had pushed Bartley and scratched the goal out with the Hammers already in a mass celebration.
Burnley, it has to be said were enjoying a bit of luck in the first 45 minutes with West Ham`s wayward shooting letting them off the hook. Cole once more should have done better after hitting the post and our charmed life continued when the follow-up shot from Nolan was blocked by Grant on the line.
The Clarets having soaked up all the pressure now had a sting in the tail, doubling their lead in the 36th minute. Timing his run to perfection, Paterson got in behind James Collins to latch onto a cross from Ben Mee and steer the ball past Green and make it 2-0 Clarets.
The Hammers would not lie down though and they came back strongly. Jack Collison unleashed a 40 yard screamer only to see an impressive Lee Grant tip the ball over the bar. Matt Taylor then came close following some uncertainty in our defence but he could only poke the ball off-target.
Burnley responded well yet again though and almost went into the break 3-0 up following an in-swinging cross by Ross Wallace. With nobody able to get a touch, the ball hit the foot of the post with Green well-beaten.
Eddie Howe had no need to make any changes for the start of the second-half with Burnley seemingly in control and Hammers gaffer, Sam Allardyce clearly rattled. Big Sam responded by making a double substitution for the restart. Nicky Maynard and Sam Baldock came on to replace Taylor and Cole in an effort to improve their firepower up front.
The game continued in a similar vein though and once again the Clarets looked to be giving the Hammers a run for their money. David Edgar could have done better with his shot after getting in the box and then Paterson blasted over the bar as Burnley continued to press forward.
You could see why West Ham were still in the hunt for automatic promotion though and they never gave up trying to get back into the game. Full back, George McCartney brought out a save from Lee Grant after shaking off our defence and you just sensed if they got a goal back we could lose our lead.
Everything the Hammers tried though seemed to lead to nothing but just as Clarets fans were beginning to relax the away team got the goal everybody feared. It was a defensive blunder too by Michael Duff that let them in to score. He misjudged the bounce and let the ball fall to Gary O`Neil. His through-ball found Nolan who charged past both Duff and Grant to lob the ball into an empty net.
Our defence now began to play like plonkers and it came as no surprise when just two minutes later, West Ham were level
The back-four had no answer to a Noble free kick and there was Tomkins to pounce and side-foot the ball home to make it 2-2.
From a relatively comfortable position and two goals to the good we were now in danger of losing the game with West Ham now sensing blood and Burnley looking shell-shocked. There now seemed to be an endless battery of attempts on our goal with the defence looking shaky and Burnley unable to get out of their own half.
Maynard got round the back of the defence to thump over a low cross only for the ball to be scrambled away before Nolan could pounce. In the last few minutes of the game and with Clarets fans nerves jangling, West Ham had three attempts to nick all three points. John Carew failed with his attempt and then Baldock fired wide of target following a knock-down by Carew. It was Baldock again who came close in the dying seconds but thankfully he could not get the better of Grant.
Apart from one-half chance by Austin towards the end that came to nothing, the second-half had been virtually all West Ham and begrudgingly you have to admit they deserved their point in the end and were unlucky not to win.
The Post-match Eddie-Torial
Eddie talked about his disappointment of losing a two goal lead after the match:
'I'm very disappointed as we were excellent and very brave. We took 10-15 minutes to settle but we had a lot of confidence.
'They are a strong, physical side, but the third goal was crucial in the game and they got it.
'We have to say people are growing. We wanted to have a show of spirit and play for the club. I'm disappointed by the result but I'm very enthusiastic about the performance.
'We're kicking ourselves because I believe we had the capability of being good enough this year. We've surrendered some leads and that's something we need to focus on.
'We've competed really well against the top sides and given good accounts of ourselves in the big games. It's perhaps more the games against the teams down the lower end when we've struggled and dropped points when we should not have done so.
'It's such small margins as we could easily have been knocking on the door. We will have to learn that quickly for next year and keep the group together and have a good push for promotion.'
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Bartley (Austin - 81), Paterson (Stanislas - 90), Ings (McQuoid - 86)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Hewitt
Goals: Bartley 25, Paterson 36
Booked: Yellow Card for Duff
West Ham United: Green, McCartney, Tomkins, O'Brien, Collins, Nolan, Collison (Carew - 82), Taylor (Maynard - 46), Noble, O'Neil, Cole (Baldock - 46)
Subs Not Used: Potts, Lansbury
Goals: Nolan 68, Tomkins 70
Booked: Yellow Cards for Tomkins, Collinson and Maynard
Possession: 45% Burnley, 55% West Ham (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire)
Marvin Bartley won the fans texted man of the match and he was lively throughout also of course getting on the score sheet although perhaps he should have made the goal look more convincing after the ball took a deflection from short range.
I think probably on balance I would also make Bartley our Star Player although both Lee Grant and Michael Duff came close. Duff just missed out because of one unfortunate blunder. Grant for once didn`t make any and pulled off some splendid saves all afternoon.