Nowt in Nottingham!
Saturday 8th December 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets missed an ideal opportunity to go above Blackburn Rovers on Saturday after going down 2-0 to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Rovers lost 4-1 at home to Cardiff on Friday night and remained just one point ahead of Burnley. The defeat means the Clarets slump to 17th in the table although still remain within sight of the play-offs with sixth placed club, Watford (who we play at home next Saturday) on 33 points, just five more than Burnley.
In truth the Forest match was a pretty dire affair with neither team creating many chances. Burnley appeared to have the upper hand in the first half without making their effort count and it took a controversial goal by Blackstock in the 59th minute to break the deadlock. Burnley 'huffed and puffed` but never really looked like getting back on level terms and it was effectively game over when Sharp made it 2-0 with just 14 minutes to play.
Worryingly perhaps is the fact we have now won only one of the last six games which just shows how important three points at home next Saturday against Dyche`s former club is going to be! Dychember Day against the Hornets needs to bear fruit as well as cheap tickets if we are to retain much hope of promotion.
It was a straightforward team selection for Sean Dyche with only Ben Mee sidelined for the clash at the City Ground. Mee suffered medial knee ligament damage in the derby game last week and is expected to be out for about 4-6 weeks. Danny Lafferty as expected took over the left back spot with Joseph Mills having to be content with a place on the bench. This was the only change and we lined up as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Stock, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Paterson , Austin
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Bartley, Stanislas, Ings, Vokes
Full Match Report
The Clarets started brightly and within 90 seconds had nearly taken the lead. A Paterson ball found Austin in the clear after Elliott Ward failed to block the danger. Austin looked certain to score but somehow in uncharacteristic fashion he could only muster a weak effort and his left foot shot failed to hit the target.
As the game developed in a bit of a scrap, Forest had to resort to long-range efforts to try and break the deadlock. Lewis McGugan`s effort from long range flew over the top without testing Grant. Indeed the Burnley keeper had little to do in the first half and was not called upon to make one save! Two efforts from Forest came close though. McGugan took a free-kick which was deflected just wide before a Blackstock header slid past the post to safety.
The match had now developed into a poor spectacle with little action at either end. The Clarets had their moments but they looked distinctly average and their passing game seemed to suffer in particular. All Burnley`s best attempts and there were not that many, came on the counter-attack. In one such move, a deep cross from Kieran Trippier gave Paterson the chance to hit a low volley towards target but the ball hit the outside of the post. Our best chance came when Chris McCann burst forward after latching onto a Brian Stock pass. He could only put his shot wide though and Forest once more could breathe a sigh of relief. The Forest keeper, Lee Camp was then tested after Paterson tried a measured shot from a Wallace cross. The keeper managed to save the day even though it looked like the deflected ball might well fly past him into the net. Goalless at half-time then with Burnley just having the edge in a pretty boring, scrappy game so far.
Neither manager made any changes for the re-start and the game continued just as it had finished in the first half with little excitement and no improvement in performance. It would be Sean O`Driscoll`s men though who would break the deadlock just before the hour mark. Andy Reid delivered a ball into the Burnley penalty area and Blackstock rose the highest to direct his header into the top corner of the net. There was however a suspicion that he may have illegally got some leverage off Shackell and certainly Sean Dyche after seeing the replay was convinced it was a foul. Speaking to the media in his post-match interview, he said :
'There was nothing in the game until the first goal and it should not have been allowed. I've seen the incident again and it was clearly a foul by Dexter Blackstock on Jason Shackell.
'It's impossible to leap that high and get that leverage without using somebody else, if I can see it 70 yards away I don't see how an official can't spot it. It changed the whole game because the crowd were then up and there was a bit of belief back in the team."
The goal stood though and the Clarets to be honest never really recovered although they did almost immediately get back on level terms. Austin was unlucky not to equalise two minutes later after some nice approach work from Danny Lafferty. In the penalty area, Austin found space to tee up a shot and it needed the legs of a defender and Lee Camp to keep out the ball as it flew low towards target. On came derby hero, Sam Vokes in the 65th minute to try and beef up our attack and he was soon in the action heading a Austin cross just wide of target.
Disaster struck for the Clarets though with fifteen minutes to go when Forest doubled their lead. Sharp getting behind the Clarets back line coolly steered a left-footed shot past Grant. There was no way back for the Clarets now and they sensed it creating few chances in the last remaining minutes. 926 Burnley fans left the City Ground disappointed wondering what might have been had that first goal been struck off. It was a grim day all round for the Clarets and two players will now also miss the Watford game after picking up their fifth yellow card. Sean Dyche will have to put his thinking cap on now with both Michael Duff and Chris McCann unavailable for the clash against his former club. It looks like David Edgar and Marvin Bartley might be in line for a recall to the starting eleven unless Dyche has more radical changes to the formation and tactics in mind.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Harding, Collins, Hutton, Ward, Gillett (Moussi - 66), McGugan (Guedioura - 74), Reid, Lansbury (Cohen - 59), Blackstock, Sharp
Subs Not Used: Darlow, Ayala, Coppinger, Majewski
Goals: Blackstock 59, Sharp 76
Booked: Sharp 79, Cohen 90
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes - 65), Wallace (Ings - 81), McCann, Marney, Paterson (Stanislas - 73), Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Bartley
Booked: Yellow Cards for McCann 42, Duff 65 and Marney 88
Possession: 53% Nottingham Forest, 47% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Mark Heywood (Northwich)