Burnley See Off Vale in Good Start to Season.
Tuesday 14th August 2012 @7:45pm Kick-Off
Burnley got the new season off to a bang last night after comfortably beating League 2 Port Vale 3-1 at Vale Park in the first round of the Capital One Cup. This was especially impressive considering the Clarets had three players on international duty and three injured. They had to come from behind though after Vale opened the scoring in the ninth-minute. Chris Shuker took a free-kick just outside the edge of the penalty area and the ball floated inside the left-hand post. The Clarets though did not have to wait long before getting back on level terms. Just one minute later, a Wallace corner found McCann unmarked and he headed home from six yards out.
The first half was now developing into a lively affair with both sides having chances but it was Burnley who got their noses in front in the 29th minute following a defensive blunder by Vale. Dean Marney latched onto a poor back pass by Vale defender Joe Davis rounding their stranded keeper, Chris Neal to set up Charlie Austin who had the simple task of slotting home into an empty net from the edge of the penalty area. Burnley continued to press and went further ahead in the 42nd minute taking advantage of yet more bad defending by the Vale back four. It was Marney himself who scored this time from 14 yards out after charging into the danger area to unleash a left-footed shot that flew high into the net inside the keeper`s left-hand post.
A comfortable lead then at half-time and no need for the Clarets to break sweat in the second-half. Port Vale tried to get back into the game and they had their moments but Burnley simply shut up shop and soaked up all the pressure with some ease to progress into the next round.
There was some concern ahead of the game that we would have no recognised strikers in the squad. Danny Ings had just sustained a torn cartilage and would be out of action for 3-6 months, Martin Paterson was on international duty with Northern Ireland (along with fellow Irishman Danny Lafferty) and Sam Vokes had been called up to the Welsh squad. That left effectively Charlie Austin who missed training on Monday to be with his wife after the birth of a child. In the end Austin did make the team with Stanislas being used as an emergency striker. Alex MacDonald was also named on the bench. Two further players were also unavailable due to injury with Marvin Bartley (ankle) and Treacy (slight groin) out of contention. Even if Treacy had been fit he would not have been available since he too had been called up, in this case for the Republic of Ireland squad before having to withdraw due to injury. In the end then Eddie Howe selected the following team also giving a debut to new signing, Brian Stock :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, McCann, Stock , Wallace, Marney, Stanislas, Austin
Substitutes: Jensen, O'Neill, Long, Mee, Duff Hewitt, MacDonald.
Burnley had to endure an early shock after Vale took the lead with just nine minutes on the clock. It came from a free kick that seemed to bamboozle the Burnley defence. The swinging delivery from Shuker should have been easily cleared but nobody got a touch on the ball and it continued on its merry way towards goal before sailing into the far corner to beat a hapless diving Grant.
It did not take long though for Burnley to restore their composure and quickly quieten the Valiants fans. In just over a minute, the Clarets had equalised. A Trippier cross found a much livelier looking McCann who forced a save from the keeper to win a corner after his header was touched over the bar. From the resulting corner taken by Wallace, McCann timed his run to perfection to head home and draw the teams level.
The goal spurred Burnley on and they began to take control although they had to draw breath when Adam Pope headed over from a Vale corner to spurn a rare scoring opportunity for the Valiants. The Clarets though were now building well from the back and enjoyed a sustained period of possession. Wallace came close with a long range effort that tested the keeper before Burnley were gifted a goal just under the 30 minute mark. Vale defender, Joe Davis, a Burnley lad and son of former Clarets player, Steve made the blunder with a terrible back pass that was far too short for the keeper to reach before Marney pounced. Marney then simply laid the ball back to Austin who said 'thank you very much` slotting home into an empty net from 18 yards out to score his sixth goal of the summer. Austin then nearly made in 3-1 after latching onto a Trippier cross but his header flew wide. That third goal though looked almost inevitable and it came with just three minutes of the half remaining. Brian Stock was playing just in front of the back four allowing McCann and Marney to roam free and the tactics paid off when Marney decided to charge his way into the box weaving past defenders to unleash a left-footed shot that flew into the roof of the net past the keeper.
Eddie Howe had no need to make any changes for the start of the second half and the team seemingly comfortable and in control decided to take their foot of the gas allowing Port Vale to sense the game might not yet be over. To give them their due the home side began to look and lot brighter and more determined and they began to take the game to the Clarets. Indeed had Lee Grant not been in superb form, there still might have been a banana skin waiting to catch the Clarets out.
Shuker thumped a shot just wide of target and Louis Dodds then nearly found the top corner of the net before Grant came from nowhere flying through the air to save. Burnley were now under a little bit of pressure but they managed to stand their ground and soak it up. Grant had to come to the rescue again though just managing to scramble a Jennison Myrie-Williams effort round the post. A fourth goal would have relieved the pressure and it looked like we might get it when during a break Burnley had three players charging forward with just one defender to beat. Marney charging forward should have done better with his pass though and although it found Stanislas, he was out slightly too wide to make his shot count and Neal easily saved his tame effort. Vale were not going to give up and encouraged by the failure of Stanislas to score once again began to put together a few attacking moves. It was going to be a nervy last few minutes for Clarets fans despite the two goal advantage. Our defence though looked strong with Edgar and Shackell commanding in the centre although it needed Grant to pull off one more spectacular save with eight minutes remaining. Vale might have thought they would have had time to get an equaliser had the attempt by Dodds gone in but his header was not good enough to beat Grant. In the end then the Clarets held on and will now be looking to see who they face in Wednesday's second-round draw. This was all-in-all an encouraging performance considering we had to put out a makeshift team but now the fun begins in earnest with the Championship campaign getting underway this Saturday. Owen Coyle`s Bolton will certainly be a sterner test than last night but at least we go into that game at Turf Moor on a high following this comfortable victory.
Port Vale: Neal, Yates, McCombe, Davis (McDonald - 46 ), Loft, Myrie-Williams, Shuker (Burge - 50 ), Morsy, Dodds, Vincent (Williamson - 81 ), Pope
Subs Not Used: Johnson, Duffy, Murphy, Lloyd
Goal: Shuker 9
Booked: Yellow card for Morsy
Burnley: Grant , Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Mills, McCann, Stock (Duff - 86 ), Wallace, Marney, Stanislas, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Long, Mee, Hewitt, MacDonald
Goals: McCann 11, Austin 29, Marney 42
Booked: Yellow cards for Mills and Wallace
Possession: Port Vale 52%, Burnley 48% (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)