A Point off Play-Offs after Beating Leeds!
Tuesday 6th November 2012 @7:45pm
Burnley left it late against Leeds United at Turf Moor last night but a 83rd minute goal by Charlie Austin, his 20th of the season was enough to secure all three points and give new manager, Sean Dyche his second victory in four days after only arriving at the club last week. Not a bad start then for the new gaffer and we could not really ask for anything more with a maximum six points from his two games in charge so far not to mention two successive clean sheets! Leeds, who had recently become draw specialists, had been beaten only once in ten games so it was even sweeter to inflict defeat on them last night especially since they had also achieved the double over us in the last two seasons. This was a strange game in many ways. Both teams seemed to struggle in an effort to gain dominance and at times the match seemed to deteriorate into a midfield scrap with few flowing passing moves. Head tennis seemed to predominate at times and there were few chances at either end to excite the respective fans. Still a win is a win and the victory sees the Clarets nicely placed in 10th spot with 23 points from 15 games just one point now behind the sixth-placed club who just happen to be deadly rivals, Blackburn Rovers. Rovers could only muster a 2-2 draw away to Huddersfield last night! All of a sudden after a season that looked to be heading for mid-table mediocrity if not worse, the Clarets have suddenly found some new found confidence under the new manager and now promotion talk is back on the agenda. Let`s hope we can now keep this up and continue our march up the table. Dare I say it? Are there really going to be exciting times ahead? I sense there might be! In the space of a few days, the new manager seems to have turned things round and got the team gelling as a unit whilst plugging those deficiencies in defence which were clear for all to see. It is still early days of course and that dreaded word inconsistency may still come back to haunt us but nobody can complain so far about the new regime and nobody could have asked for more. To beat Leeds is the feather in the cap of any manager, especially a Burnley one considering the defeats we have suffered at the hands of the Yorkshire club over recent seasons. The win at Turf Moor last night has lifted everybody`s spirits including my own so bring on Ipswich at Portman Road next Saturday! Finally let`s finish by talking about goal-scoring phenomenon, Charlie Austin? Have we ever had such a prolific scorer? Probably not since the days of Payts , has a Burnley striker been finding the back of the net with such relish. Austin`s 20th goal of the season last night set up a new club record of the fastest 20 goals in a season and he now looks well on the way to at least 30 goals before the season comes to a close. We shall just have to hope he scores them all for Burnley and he looks set to do so providing we can hold onto him in the January window which will be no mean task with all the Premier League clubs now sniffing about! Somehow though the club has to show some ambition and pull out all the stops to try and keep him, especially if we are looking like strong promotion candidates by Christmas
Sean Dyche made just one change to the starting eleven that lined up against Wolves at Turf Moor last Saturday. Chris McCann returned to the side replacing David Edgar in midfield after recovering from a hamstring tweak. That seemed a little harsh on Edgar after such an impressive performance last Saturday but at least he now knows he might have more chance of getting into the side if an opportunity in midfield as well as the back four presents itself. Wallace too also started as expected despite being stretchered off in the game against Wolves. He had fully recovered from his ordeal after being hit by a flailing arm across his jaw line in the second half last Saturday and being given oxygen before leaving the pitch on a stretcher as a precaution. In summary then, Dyche`s eighteen was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee , Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stock, Paterson, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Lafferty, Edgar, Stanislas, Bartley, Vokes, Ings
Full Match Report
Sunderland referee, Geoff Eltringham got the game underway on a drizzly night in Burnley with the Clarets starting brightly. Leeds simply could not settle in these early stages. Burnley looked impressive once again in all departments and began to win the battle for possession in the first half. Our domination in midfield began to take a hold with Chris McCann and Dean Marney causing Leeds all sorts of problems with the two charging forward and setting up attack-after-attack. Marney, making his 100th appearance for the club almost opened the scoring in the 7th minute after latching onto a parry by Leeds keeper, Paddy Kenny following a thunderous driven shot by Wallace. Kenny though recovered well to block Marney`s attempt from close range.
Leeds had hardly threatened although did twice send a warning shot across our bows courtesy of former Blackburn striker El Hadji Diouf. His first attempt was a deflected shot which was dragged wide of target and then following a Leeds break, his second attempt was a shot that flew over the top. Burnley though simply upped the ante when Paterson tested the Leeds keeper after half-an-hour with a long-range effort before Marney came close after picking up a pass from Stock. His shot though could only find the side netting. Just before the break, Burnley had two chances to break the deadlock. First Kenny denied Trippier after the right back unleashed a pile-driver from distance and then from a corner an attempt by Austin took a deflection to finish up just wide of the post. So a goalless first half but one in which Burnley had looked the most assured without being able to open the scoring.
Dyche made no changes for the start of the second half and once again the Clarets were soon back in their stride. A McCann shot and a Wallace direct free kick both tested the keeper but the game now seemed to get bogged down in the middle of the park with both sides finding opportunities limited as Leeds frustratingly continued to contain the Clarets. Burnley now struggled with their passing game and their efforts all seemed to be from long-range.
Dyche was forced into making a change just before the hour mark when Ben Mee sustained a foot injury. He tried to carry on but it was soon evident he couldn`t continue so on came Lafferty to replace him.
With Burnley unable to make their possession count, Leeds sensed they could take advantage and began to press more and more. In the 62nd minute they had their best chance so far to open the scoring. Diouf laid off the ball to Aidan White and the diminutive midfielder could have finished better but instead gave Grant the chance to push his attempted shot round the post. Leeds now began to put the Clarets under some pressure and enjoy some of their own possession. There were some nervy moments but the Burnley defence to their credit held firm and the Clarets then nearly took the lead with fifteen minutes to go. A driving run from midfield by McCann had the Leeds defence backtracking and with a sweet pass he found Austin. Under pressure though, the former Swindon striker could only shoot weakly towards goal with the ball heading too close to the keeper to be any danger. He came close again with a header following a cross by Marney but once again Kenny mopped up the attempt. The game looked to be heading for a draw but with eight minutes to go Burnley finally broke the deadlock and of course it had to be Austin who scored! What a goal it was too!! Wallace on the half-way line started the move finding McCann. Slipping the ball past the full back, he found Trippier who put over an inch-perfect cross allowing Austin to power a downward header past Kenny into the back of the net and silence the rather vocal away following! Burnley have not been able to relax though in recent games against Leeds after so many times taking the lead only to be pegged back by equalisers and winning goals in the dying minutes. So once again it would prove to be a nervous finish. Jason Pearce nearly spoilt the party late on but thankfully this time Grant pulled off a great save and Burnley held out for a well-earned and satisfying victory.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee (Lafferty - 59), Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stock (Vokes - 64), Paterson, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Stanislas, Bartley, Ings
Goal: Austin 83
Booked: Yellow Card for Marney (90)
Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier,Drury (Pugh - 81), Pearce, Austin, White (Varney - 86),Brown, Tonge, Byram, Becchio, Diouf
Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Kisnorbo, Green, Norris, Gray
Booked: Yellow Card for Drury
Possession: 46% Burnley, 54% Leeds United (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Geoff Eltringham (Sunderland)