Oh We Don`t Like To Be Beside the Seaside!
Saturday 21st April 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
Attendance: 14,141 (2116 Clarets)
It was a miserable day out for the Clarets at Bloomfield Road yesterday after being comprehensively beaten 4-0 by a buoyant Blackpool team. The three points confirmed Blackpool would now be in the Championship play-offs for the second time in three years and the scoreline ensured that the Clarets` proud record of not being beaten by more than two goals all season would now be shattered. It was a day also that decided virtually all the promotion, play-offs and relegation places in the Championship. Reading already promoted were confirmed Champions and look likely to be joined by Southampton in the second automatic promotion runners-up spot. The Saints five points clear of the Hammers just need a win at home to already relegated Coventry next Saturday to ensure automatic promotion and may not even need that if West Ham fail to win their game in hand away to Leicester this Monday night. West Ham or Southampton, Blackpool and Birmingham are also now assured of three of the four play-offs places leaving Cardiff and Middlesbrough to fight it out for the final 6th place spot with just one game of the season remaining. In terms of the drop, Portsmouth and Coventry will be plying their trade in League 1 next season joining already relegated Doncaster Rovers.
For the Clarets the defeat against Blackpool meant sadly that we also failed in our attempt to equal our record of eleven away wins in a season; a feat achieved only four times in our history in 1992, 1973, 1961 and 1947. A heavy disappointing defeat then but the scoreline in many ways flattered the Tangerines. Our first half performance was pretty impressive and we enjoyed the lion`s share of possession. Very much against the run of play though and in virtually their first and only attack of the half, Blackpool got their noses in front after Dobbie latched onto a short free kick to drill home from 30 yards out on 21 minutes.
As the second half got underway, Burnley still had all to play for but that was soon shattered after Blackpool increased their lead on 47 minutes. Stephen Crainey's looping cross was met by Taylor-Fletcher who headed home. It was then game over for the Clarets when the Tangerines made it 3-0 with 28 minutes still to play. Dobbie and Ince linked well to set up Crainey. His shot in the area slipped through Grant`s hands into the back of the net. By now the Clarets heads had dropped and they offered nothing. A whitewash and severe tonking was on the cards. The final nail in the coffin came in the 80th minute when Dicko added a fourth goal after latching onto a square ball from Ince. Thankfully no further damage was done but this is one game all Clarets fans will want to forget as quickly as possible.
This was not a good way to lose our last away game of the season especially against our local rivals. There is something uncomfortable knowing that Blackpool have managed to achieve what Burnley failed to do last season i.e. reach the play-offs after relegation and just one season in the Premier League. Burnley could still finish in tenth spot if they beat Bristol City at home this Saturday in the final game of the 2011-12 season but that would be just a small crumb of comfort after a pretty frustrating season especially on home soil.
We have not managed to better last season`s 8th spot and that was described as a failure so what now for the Clarets? Well things are not getting any easier. We are expected to lose Jay Rodriguez in the summer and maybe other key players and this is set against a backdrop of falling season ticket sales, dwindling parachute payments, the Fair Play revenue rules kicking in and the Elite Player Performance Plan or EPPP affecting our youth development. The club have already sent out the usual warning signs that money is tight and budgets for new players may well be the sticking plaster variety again. The Championship is getting more-and-more difficult to escape from. We seem to be now being out done even by clubs coming up from League One these days, Norwich and Southampton have shown the way recently and now we look set to have at least one Sheffield club come up along with a newly invigorated Charlton Athletic.
I have seen nothing really this season to give me much encouragement that next season will be any better. Will we ever get to the situation where we become a cut-above- the rest and can achieve the same as clubs like West Brom, Cardiff and Reading over the years? Always there or there abouts?
That is only ever going to happen if we invest more than usual to build a squad of the right quality and right depth. Of course that doesn`t guarantee success if you look at clubs like Leicester this season but the opposite is also true. If you don`t, the chances of success will be greatly reduced!
Knowing this club, a significant investment in players is simply not going to happen and on the face of it we look like returning to being a club that continues to plead poverty with the team trying to punch above its weight to avoid midtable mediocrity or worse relegation. The only time we appear to have got out of this rut was of course our promotion season when Coyle was blessed with more funds than any previous or subsequent manager.
I am sorry but returning to the pre-Coyle days would not be good enough and would effectively mean all those hopes and dreams of Wembley 2009 would well and truly have been shattered.
The only bright spot on the horizon as far as I can see is our youth development side with so many young guns earning their spurs and signing pro deals. Their success this season is plain for all to see and the list of names reads like a production line of raw talent. Archie Love, Joe Jackson, Cameron Howieson, Luke Conlan, Steve Hewitt, Wes Fletcher, Shay McCartan and the rest suggest 'the future is bright; the future is Claret` assuming of course EPPP doesn`t bugger things up! Can we afford to wait that long though?
With no further injuries to worry about following the midweek draw away to Leicester, Eddie Howe decided to name an unchanged sixteen for the clash against Blackpool.
We therefore lined-up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, Marney, McCann, Bartley, Stanislas, Austin
Subs: Jensen, McQuoid, Ings, Howieson, Jackson
Chris McCann, who went off with a knock in Tuesday night`s game was also fully fit and played a more forward midfield role as Burnley lined up 4-2-3-1 with Austin alone up front
Full Match Report
Over 2000 Clarets made the journey to the seaside for this local derby against Blackpool in a sell-out game that promised to deliver so much. Just a pity that for Clarets fans it didn`t live up to expectations and we came away from Bloomfield Road standing in a 'Pool of blood` after receiving a bloody nose!
We have done so well on the road this season in our lucky lemon chrome away strip so perhaps the writing was on the wall when we tuned up in our home kit of Claret & Blue! Our home form this season has been pretty grim so wearing the home strip probably gave the team a sense of insecurity although after an early scare they soon got into the game as the first half progressed.
The Clarets though did make a nervous start and were lucky to survive a couple of penalty claims in the opening exchanges. It was certainly a lively first five minutes though with both teams going hell-for-leather. By the seventh minute Burnley had already clocked up three corners and it was the Clarets who created the first real chance. A cross from Ross Wallace was met at the near post by Chris McCann who turning unleashed a shot that forced Gilks into a save.
At the other end Lee Grant was tested by a drive from Tom Ince that skidded towards target before the keeper saved the day.
Very much against the run of play though. Blackpool then got their noses in front in the 21st minute and it came from a free kick after Marney was adjudged to have tripped Dobbie.
The free-kick was taken short by Crainey to set up Dobbie who from fully 30 yards out unleashed a low shot that whizzed into the bottom left hand corner of the net to put Blackpool 1-0 up.
Burnley`s response though was instant and they almost immediately equalised one minute later. Wallace and Trippier had been looking a threat down the right flank for most of the game so far and this time they linked well again. Trippier took control of the ball and cut-in to unleash a left footed shot that heading towards the bottom corner of the net looked certain to cross the line until Gilks came from nowhere to get down and save the day for the Tangerines.
All the attacking moves now seemed to be coming from Burnley and McCann came close with a header from a Lafferty cross. The ball though flew just wide of target. Trippier was causing all sorts of problems for the Blackpool defence and with half-an-hour gone Austin latched onto one of his crosses to test the Blackpool keeper. Gilks though looked comfortable in thumping the ball away to safety.
Blackpool had the last word though in first half stoppage time but this time Lee Grant was equal to Dobbie`s shot after the on-loan Swansea striker had once more latched onto the ball from a free-kick.
The Clarets had been unlucky to go into the break 1-0 down and at this stage were matching Blackpool whilst at times outplaying the Tangerines.
Eddie Howe made no changes for the start of the second half and any hope of pressing for the equaliser soon evaporated when Burnley found they were 2-0 down within two minutes from the restart. It was Crainey who did the damage after putting over a cross from the touchline. The cross though was too deep for the Burnley defence and Taylor-Fletcher getting the better of the central defenders pounced, running free to head the ball back across Grant. It looked like Duff had got back to save the day for the Clarets but the ball crossed the line before he could clear. 2-0 to Blackpool and now the Clarets looked demoralised.
Burnley were now desperate to try and get a goal back and give Blackpool a fight but it just didn`t seem to happen for them. We had a few rare moments though. Gilks had saved a Wallace free kick only for the ball to fall to Bartley but he could only shoot over the top.
Howe had seen enough and in the 58th minute brought on Danny Ings to try and bolster our attack. With Bartley making way, Howe changed tactics moving to a 4-4-2 formation but it had little effect. Indeed Ings first task had been to chase back and demonstrate his defensive skills after getting in a good tackle to deny Dicko who was in the clear and charging towards goal.
Within four minutes of the substitution though, we went further behind to make it effectively game over. This time it was an error by Grant that did the damage. Crainey burst into the box to unleash a shot that flew straight at the keeper. It should have been easy fodder for the Burnley stopper but he let the ball slip out of his hands into the back of the net! There was no way back now for the Clarets Blackpool were having by far the better half with Burnley now simply losing their composure and having no answer to the Tangerines who now sensed blood and a soon to be confirmed play-offs spot.
The corner count though for Burnley had been mounting and indeed they finished the game with a total of 11 compared to Blackpool`s 5 but they simply could not make any of them count with Gilks looking in fine form and the Seasider`s defence hardly troubled. In the second half to be honest we were not playing well and had been totally swamped by a rampant Blackpool attacking force.
We had a few chances to reduce the arrears and avoid being beaten by more than two goals for the first time this season but we never really looked like making any sort of comeback. Gilks nearly handed Burnley a goal on a plate when a miss-kick almost set up Ings for a consolation. Austin and Lafferty also came close but in both cases they put their headers wide.
Our game though was now unbelievably sloppy and it was no surprise when Blackpool scored a fourth with ten minutes left to play.
A through ball from substitute veteran striker, Kevin Phillips to Ince looked to be offside and that`s what Trippier thought who was already appealing instead of trying to intercept the ball. The referee though gave Ince the benefit of the doubt and he laid the ball off square to Dicko who had the simple task of slotting home to complete a totally miserable day for the Clarets. Blackpool even had more chances to rub salt in our wounds late on but thankfully Phillips messed up a shot allowing Grant to save before Ince was also denied by the keeper in the three minutes of stoppage time.
The Post-Match Eddie-torial
Eddie Howe said after a miserable day at the seaside:
'It turned out to be a difficult afternoon and it could have been so different,
'I thought we did so well in the first half. We were well in the game, got numerous crosses in and their keeper made some good saves.
'We came in a goal down having had enough chances to have scored two of three ourselves. Not only did we think we should be ahead, but within a few minutes of the restart we were two goals down and from then on it's very difficult.
'It was a tough second half form there and we conceded some poor goals today, which has been unlike us and I think the scoreline is hugely flattering to them. We contributed to our own downfall and we have to learn from that.
'It's a shame we didn't get the result for the fans. They gave us tremendous backing today, as they have all season. We'd only lost one in seven before today, so we were confident we could send them home happy again here.
'That first half shows the margins between the top sides in this league, but to be successful you have to be consistent and that's the key message for us going into next year.'
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Ferguson, M Phillips (K Phillips 77), Angel, Dobbie (Sylvestre 70), Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 57), Ince
Subs Not Used: Harris, LuaLua
Goals: Dobbie 21, Taylor-Fletcher 47, Crainey 62, Dicko 80
Booked: Yellow Card for Evatt (37)
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Bartley (Ings 58), Stanislas (Jackson - 88), Austin (McQuoid - 88)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Howieson
Booked: Yellow Card for Stanislas (38)
Possession: 51% Blackpool, 49% Burnley
Ref: Chris Sarginson (Staffordshire)
It is however still very difficult to choose a 'Star Player` with none of the players really rating above five. Trippier, Marney, Wallace and Austin were probably the best of a very poor bunch with most of them going AWOL in the second half. Wallace gets it only because I have to give it someone!
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