Burnley Put Another Nail In Donny`s Coffin!
Easter Monday, 9th April 2012 @3pm Kick-Offf
The Clarets added to Doncaster Rovers woes on Easter Monday after coming away from the Keepmoat with a 2-1 victory. The bottom club are now eleven points adrift of safety with only four games of the season remaining. It has been a good Easter for the Clarets though after also beating Brighton 1-0 at home on Good Friday. The victory over Doncaster lifts them to 12th spot on 59 points now just six points behind the current 6th placed club, Cardiff. If Brighton beat fellow promotion-chasing Reading at the Amex Stadium today though, they will leapfrog Cardiff and we would then be seven points behind them. Who knows if we win our last four remaining games and pick up the twelve points, we might still be in with a chance of a play-offs place. Only the most optimistic though believe that will happen and more than likely the Clarets will be left ruing the 'what-ifs`. The biggest 'what if 'could well be 'what if only our home form could have been better` especially when you look at how well we have done on the road this season.
Our performances away from home before the start of this season had generally been open to criticism but we will finish the season with at least ten wins following the victory at Doncaster. We have only achieved ten away wins in a season six times in our history, the last being in 2001-02. If we beat Leicester and Blackpool in our last two away games of the season we could increase that to twelve!
The game against Doncaster yesterday was at times flat and scrappy but Burnley had the edge over the bottom club for most of the game. A stunning 30 yard volley from Josh McQuoid broke the deadlock in the 36th minute and for a time it looked like the Clarets were going to walk it with the word 'relegation` now having a powerful psychological effect on the Donny lads and the home fans.
It remained however 1-0 to Burnley at half-time and the home team came out looking a little brighter in the second half. They fought for their lives and to their credit finally got the equaliser in the 56th minute when substitute James Coppinger crossed for Chris Brown to head home at the far post.
Doncaster now had their tails up and began to believe they could go on and get the winner. Their hopes of surviving relegation though took a tumble when Adam Lockwood pushed Danny Ings over in the penalty area and Austin buried the spot-kick with just fifteen minutes of the match remaining.
Burnley played out the remainder of the game without much danger of conceding again giving all Clarets fans an Easter boost. It will be such a shame though if we now go on a good run to the end of the season only to miss out on the play-offs by just a handful of points! Ah if only, if only....
Marvin Bartley, in the end was not fit enough to play after tweaking his hamstring in the previous game against Brighton on Good Friday. Eddie Howe therefore made just one change to the starting eleven with Dean Marney returning to replace Bartley.
Recognised left-back, Daniel Lafferty was named on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury but there must have been some doubt he was fully fit since Ross Wallace, playing out of position kept his place at left back. It looks like Lafferty was in the sixteen as an emergency defender and would only be played as a last resort.
With the injuries mounting up, Eddie Howe again named three young guns on the bench and there was a welcome return for young 17 year old prospect, Cameron Howieson. He missed the last game against Brighton due to illness.
In summary then this was our line-up:
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Wallace, Stanislas, McCann, Marney, McQuoid, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Lafferty, Howieson, Hewitt, McCartan
Full Match Report
County Durham referee, Nigel Miller got the game underway and it was the home side who were out of the blocks first with Burnley, playing in their all lemon chrome kit, seemingly unable to settle.
It was perhaps adjusting to the poor pitch that was the problem for the Clarets and it does beg the question as to why some football clubs feel obliged to share their ground with their Rugby counterparts!
Burnley though did start to come into their own and gradually take control having easily absorbed the initial pressure. Ross Wallace tried a 30 yard screamer in the opening exchanges but the ball flew wide of target. Burnley then tried their well-rehearsed corner routine but this time Danny Ings miscued his effort.
The Clarets now started to enjoy a long spell of possession and certainly looked the most likely to open the scoring. They perhaps though should have done better with the chances they created. Donny keeper, Gary Woods was not being tested enough and was lucky that both Stanislas and Ings made a hash of their scoring opportunities. David Edgar too could only put his header wide following a superb Marney cross.
At this point you could see why Doncaster had struggled this season but very much against the run of play they almost caught Burnley out in the 20th minute. Chris Brown laid off the ball to Simon Gillett and he unleashed a strong low drive which fully tested Lee Grant. Grant had to get down and push the ball round the post to save the day for the Clarets.
The match at times was now pretty scrappy but Burnley remained fully in control and were edging Doncaster out.
Rovers though continued to create chances. Edgar had to block a Gillett attempt and then Robert getting into a good position lifted his shot over the bar. Burnley though shifted up a gear and with just nine minutes of the half remaining got their noses in front. Josh McQuoid, who had not previously scored for the Clarets since arriving on loan from Millwall in January, opened his account in impressive style. A clearance by Grant found the lively winger and he unleashed a shot from 30 yards out. The ball flew past Woods into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 to the Clarets.
Eddie Howe with his team ahead did not make any changes for the start of the second-half. Donny gaffer, Dean Saunders though brought on James Coppinger in an effort to change their fortunes. The plan seemed to work and they looked a lot livelier. They also bravely went after the equaliser adopting a very attacking 4-2-4 formation.
It could have game over though for the home side had Austin or Stanislas scored from an early attacking move. A through-ball from Marney found Austin who could have scored in his own right. Instead he decided to pass the ball back to Stanislas who delayed far too long before shooting.
The miss seemed to give Doncaster renewed hope and in the 55th minute they got the equaliser they so desperately wanted. The lively Coppinger was the architect of the goal. His cross was met by Brown who rose to meet the ball at the far post and head home.
overs were now in the ascendency buoyed up by their equalising goal and for a time it looked like an embarrassing defeat could be on the cards for the Clarets. The home side nearly made it 2-1 four minutes after equalising. Tripper had been caught in possession and fouled his man. Robert then swung in a threatening free-kick to find Giles Brown. His header though flew straight to a grateful Grant who mopped up the ball to save the day yet again for the Clarets.
It was then Trippier at the other end who nearly created Burnley`s second goal. His excellent cross found Austin who looked certain to score from a strong downward header on target. Woods though had other ideas and pulled off a superb save after diving low to his left.
Burnley now continued to pile on the pressure and with 15 minutes to go were rewarded with a penalty after Lockwood tripped Ings in the area giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.
Who would be our penalty kick taker with Jay Rodriguez sidelined with injury? We soon got our answer with Charlie Austin determined to get closer to our leading goal-scorer.
He confidently rose to the occasion slotting home after sending Woods the wrong way to notch up his 16th goal of the season. Austin is now just five goals behind Jay Rod with four games remaining.
In the 89th minute, Howe decided to blood yet another of the young guns bringing on Shay McCartan to make his first-team debut. Stanislas made way for the youngster.
There was just one last bit of action in the four minutes of added time announced by the fourth official and thankfully it was the impressive Lee Grant who came to our rescue again. A shot from George Friend looked to be spoiling Burnley`s Easter until Grant pulled off another good save tipping the ball over the bar to secure all three points for the Clarets. The win against Doncaster was our first in the town since November 1991 and it looks like it could be some time before we have chance to try again with Donny now looking virtually certain to be playing their football in League 1 next season.
The Post Match Eddie-torial
Eddie Howe said in his post-match interview:
'I thought we were excellent.
'First half we got into some great positions with some great counter-attacking football. We shot from distance an awful lot, much to my frustration on the sideline because I felt some of our decision making in the final third could have been better.
'I think if it was we'd have won by a more comfortable score line, but in the end it's a really good win.'
Doncaster Rovers: Woods, O'Connor, Friend, Lockwood, Hird, Stock (Barnes-22), Gillett, Brown, Hayter, Robert (Oster-87), Bennett (Coppinger-46)
Subs Not Used: Sullivan, Bagayoko
Goals: Brown (55)
Booked: Yellow Card for Lockwood (74)
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Wallace, Stanislas (McCartan-89), McCann, Marney, McQuoid, Ings, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Lafferty, Howieson, Hewitt
Goals: McQuoid (36), Austin (75 pen)
Booked: Yellow Cards for Austin (50), McCann (83)
Possession: 45% Doncaster, 55% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Nigel Miller (County Durham)