No Killer Instinct at St Andrews!
Saturday 22nd December 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets once again paid for their inability to make pressure count in their match against Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday and in the end had to be content with a 2-2 draw. The Clarets dominated the first 30 minutes of the game against a Brum side stricken with injury problems but simply could not convert the possession into goals. Birmingham even lost Peter Lovenkrands to injury in the pre-match warm-up to add to their woes and finished up starting with seven teenagers in their team whilst making six changes to the side that drew 2-2 at home to Palace in their previous game. Burnley failed to take advantage though allowing the Blues to get their noses in front in the 30th minute thanks to a goal from Curtis Davies. The Clarets though turned things round in the second half thanks to two goals within a minute from first Ings and then Wallace. With our heads up and Brum looking shaky we should have gone on to win this game convincingly after coming from behind to take the lead but once again we let them off the hook. Instead of trying to go further ahead, we closed shop allowing Birmingham to come at us, putting ourselves under pressure. Staging a late rally, Birmingham always looked the most likely to score the next goal with Burnley holding on for dear life. A mistake by Michael Duff in the last minute of normal time allowed Zigic to pounce and level things up so in the end it felt like two points dropped rather than a point gained!
Burnley really only have themselves to blame for not coming away with all three points against a pretty mediocre Birmingham side whose only tactic seemed to be hoof it up-field or cross it over for the 6ft 7in tall Zigic! The only bright note for the Clarets was that the point was enough to take us above Blackburn for the first time this season but only because their game at Ewood Park against Brighton was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch! Burnley have climbed to 14th spot on 30 points, one more than Rovers in 17th place who now have a game in hand over the Clarets. If Burnley still harbor any ambitions of reaching the play-offs, they are going to have to start picking up more points and put a run together. Already they are seven points adrift of the play-offs positions with Watford in sixth spot now on 37 points. They now have two home games coming up over the Christmas period and nothing less than six points will suffice against Derby on Boxing Day and the tricky game against high-flying Leicester at Turf Moor on the following Saturday 29th December.
Both Michael Duff and Chris McCann, returning from a one-match suspension after picking up five yellow cards went straight back into the starting eleven with Sean Dyche in the end making three changes to the side that drew 1-1 in the previous game at home to Watford last Saturday. Both Kevin Long and David Edgar could perhaps feel they were unlucky not to make a start after putting in good performances last week but in the end both had to be content with a place on the bench. Dyche was also forced into a change at left back after news broke that Danny Lafferty had picked up a tight hamstring and was unfit to play. With Ben Mee already out injured with medial knee ligament damage, Dyche had no option but to draft in on-loan defender, Joseph Mills to make his first start since the game away to Cardiff City back in October. Brian Stock also failed to make the eighteen for the first time this season and it is thought he too may have been injured after being spotted in the treatment room with Lafferty this week. Danny Ings, playing just behind Austin however retained his place so once again we had a more attacking feel to our line-up. The full line-up then was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mills, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Paterson, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Long, Bartley, Stanislas, Treacy, Vokes
Full Match Report
Tyne & Wear referee, Eddie Ilderton got the game underway on a damp, soggy day in Birmingham and the Clarets were soon in their stride with Paterson in particular looking bright and dangerous in these early stages. Burnley looked the only team likely to score during the first fifteen minutes but that elusive goal deserted them time-and-time again despite Pato`s best efforts! A cross by Trippier allowed Paterson to side foot his shot on the volley but the attempt was easily kept out by the Blues keeper and England prospect, Jack Butland. Paterson though had a better chance after picking up a through-ball from Danny Ings. However with only the keeper to beat he pulled his effort wide of target. Butland then denied Pato after managing to stick out a hand. Pato had been put clear following a superb pass from Wallace and once again found himself in a one-on-one with the keeper. This time though the keeper pulled off a great save to deny the hapless striker yet again. Chris McCann also found himself in the action and had two chances to break the deadlock but in both cases put his effort over the bar. Burnley simply could not score and those worries about not making the possession count began to surface once more. The Blues gradually sensed they were being let off as they grew in confidence and there were also a couple of bookings for McCann and Mills after some rather desperate tacking. Mills was consistently under pressure and was having a bad time out there! His booking too, his fourth yellow card of the season would also prove costly. After winger Rob Hall was brought down by the on-loan Reading left-back, the resulting free-kick was only partially cleared. The ball fell to Hall and he crossed the ball over for Davies to head home in the 30th minute. After all the Burnley pressure, we were now typically 1-0 behind and the Blues could sense blood. Burnley still had chances to make amends before the break and from one of them Duff at the far post just failed to score following a flick-on from Dean Marney. Birmingham too though were now firing on all cylinders and Grant had to keep out efforts from both Redmond and Hall before the break. The score though remained 1-0 to the home side at half-time and Burnley would have to dig deep in the second-half if they were to rescue anything from this game.
It was Birmingham who were first out of the stocks from the re-start with Redmond having an early chance to increase the Blues lead after cutting in to fire across the face of the goal. The Clarets though now began to show some determination and resilience gradually getting back into the swing of things and exerting some pressure of their own in an effort to get the equaliser. Burnley even got the ball in the back of the net after Austin hit the target but play was pulled back for an earlier foul on Trippier with the referee deciding not to play advantage. Buoyed up though by their improving performance, they didn`t let their frustrations get the better of them and they were rewarded with two goals within a minute just past the hour mark. A flighted cross from Marney into the six-yard box allowed Ings to win the ball and steer a low shot into the far corner of the net past the keeper. Ings had only made his first start of the season in the previous game at home to Watford and now he had racked up his first goal since the last game of last season! The 375 Clarets fans though who had made the journey to Brum had hardly time to stop celebrating before they went wild with ecstasy a minute later! Ings won possession back from the re-start and was then fouled by Davies 25 yards out from goal. Wallace took responsibility for the free-kick and curled a left-footer into the back of the net to stun the home following and send Clarets fans ballistic!! What a comeback, now all we had to do was hold-on and try and increase our lead. Birmingham though had other ideas and freshened up the team bringing on some experience in the form of Chris Burke and former Clarets winger, Wade Elliott. With the clock ticking down, it looked like Burnley might just hold-on with just one minute of normal time remaining but it wasn`t to be. Sadly Michael Duff made a cosily error in defence after failing to intercept a through-ball from Burke. The mistake allowed Zigic to pounce and composing himself he steered a low shot inside the post to rescue a point from the home side.
Birmingham City: Butland, Caldwell, Davies, Packwood, Hancox, Mullins, Morrison (Burke-71), Reilly, Redmond, Zigic, Hall (Elliott-75)
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Pablo, Delfouneso, Gomis, Hawker
Goals: Davies (30 mins), Zigic (89 mins)
Booked: Yellow Cards for Morrison (50 mins), Hancox (56 mins), Davies (67 mins) and Mullins (73 mins)
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mills, Wallace, McCann, Marney (Vokes-90+1), Paterson (Treacy-63), Ings (Bartley-86), Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Long, Stanislas
Goals: Ings (66 mins), Wallace (67 mins)
Booked: Yellow Cards for McCann (14 mins) and Mills (29 mins)
Possession: 50% Birmingham City, 50% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)