Model of Inconsistency Hits in Poor End to 2012
Saturday 29th December 2012 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley could not finish the year on a high and had to suffer a 1-0 defeat to Leicester City at Turf Moor on Saturday. That dreaded word consistency, or rather lack of it struck again with the Clarets once more failing to get in touch with the play-offs positions having been given an ideal opportunity to do so. Burnley had been hoping to get another three points in their second home game of the festive period following their 2-0 win over Derby County on Boxing Day and move to within one point of the play-offs. Before the start of the Foxes clash, the Clarets had been just four points behind the sixth placed club, Watford looking to finish in the Top 10 at least ahead of the New Year. In the end though, it was a miserable day and performance from the Clarets. Leicester City despite their position in the table were no great shakes and better teams in the Top 6 have certainly visited Turf Moor this season. The problem for Burnley was that we made them look good and surrendered far too much possession. The Clarets according to BBC Sport had just 39% of the play and even that was hardly riveting with few chances created.
Of course, David 'Always Scores Against Burnley` Nugent had to be the one who sealed all three points for the Foxes and his goal in the 31st minute was enough to bring 2012 to a sad end for the home crowd.
It was not a good start for the Clarets who lost Charlie Austin as early as the 8th minute after a reoccurrence of a gluteal injury that had made him a doubt in the first place! Did Sean Dyche make the right decision in risking him? Speaking after the match, Dyche told the club's official website:
'It was a strange one. Charlie cleared himself because he thought he was fine and unfortunately, as sometimes happens, once the reality of the game starts, the whistle blows and the adrenaline runs, he has felt a tightness in his glutes, so we've had to get him off straight away.
'You have to go with their feeling but we got Charlie off sharpish so hopefully he will settle down quickly. It's something we have to let settle down and see how long that will take.'
If it wasn`t the wrong decision to start Austin, it certainly looked to be the wrong decision to bring on Paterson to replace him with Sam Vokes waiting in the wings. Dyche seems to be infatuated with Paterson despite a number of recent below par performances. I have never felt comfortable with Pato playing the wider role and he has been totally ineffective in that position for some time but this time Dyche at least dropped him to the bench. However when Austin went off he then brought on Pato and gave him the striker`s role. Fair enough but Pato is not really a target man and looks even more isolated than Austin in that role with his lack of height a distinct disadvantage. Paterson to be honest is best used in a 4-4-2 formation supporting a taller front man and not a 4-4-1-1 formation. Making him a target man never works and so it proved again on Saturday. Sam Vokes should have come on to replace Austin and arguably should have replaced Austin from the start rather than risk provoking an injury that clearly had not settled.
Burnley 'huffed and puffed` in this game but they simply had no end product and the Foxes punished us leaving Turf Moor with a double over the Clarets this season. The loss makes the task of mounting a promotion challenge difficult in the New Year and although remaining in 13th spot on 33 points from 25 games we are now seven points behind the sixth placed club, Watford and they have a game in hand over the Clarets
It was perhaps a surprise to see Paterson dropped to the bench. Many Clarets fans could not understand why Dyche had insisted in starting him despite some pretty lacklustre performances of late. Keith Treacy replaced him on the wing after being rewarded with his first start for Burnley since February. This was the only change to the starting eleven from Boxing Day. Junior Stanislas was again absent from the eighteen still suffering from a hamstring problem but there was a return to the bench for right back, Luke O`Neill. In summary then our line-up was as follows :< BR>
Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Treacy, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, O'Neill, Bartley, Stock, Paterson, Vokes
Full Match Report
The Clarets did not have a chance to get into their stride before disaster struck in the 8th minute. Austin who had passed a late fitness test pulled up again and had to be replaced. The early loss of their key striker seemed to badly affect Burnley and they just couldn`t seem to settle. They had a good chance to take the lead though in the 17th minute after Paterson latched onto a long ball down the right flank before crossing for Danny Ings to head wide. The Foxes though too had some early chances and Lee Grant was soon in action after getting down to his left to keep out an effort from Ben Marshall. Leicester keeper, Kasper Schmeichel then had no problem keeping out an effort from Paterson following a strong run from midfield by Dean Marney although he might have had more difficulty saving it had the low angled drive had more power behind it. The game now turned in the visitor`s favour and they began to enjoy the lion`s share of possession putting the Clarets defence under some pressure. On the half-hour mark, they got their noses in front and of course it had to be Burnley nemesis, David Nugent who did the damage! From a long throw, Wes Morgan was allowed to control the ball and feed Nugent and he deftly toe-poked the ball home at the near post. The Clarets had few chances to try and get even and the frustrations began to tell. Their best chance to equalise came seven minutes before half-time following a move started by Chris McCann. His run from midfield eventually found Ings who laid the ball off for Paterson down the left. Crossing over the ball into a packed box, there was Dean Marney at the far post to head the ball to Ings. Ings though from just twelve yards out blasted his half-volley over the top and the Clarets went into the dressing room 1-0 down at half-time.
Neither side made any changes for the start of the second-half and it was the Clarets who had the earlier chances. Paterson just failed to get on the end of a Treacy cross and there was also a half-hearted penalty claim when it looked like Marney may have been fouled by Marshall after picking up a loose ball. The referee judged though it was an accidental collision and waved play-on. Burnley simply could not make any headway and as the hour mark approached it was time for Dyche to make his first substitution when Vokes came on for Wallace. Many fans thought Vokes should have been playing from the start and certainly after Austin departed. His introduction briefly lifted spirits and he nearly equalised a few minutes later. An inch-perfect pass from McCann set Paterson free and it needed the legs of the Foxes keeper to keep out his low angled drive. From the resulting corner taken by Treacy, Vokes got up to head just wide of the far post. Leicester then once again enjoyed a period of possession forcing a number of corners after being on the back foot and playing deep. Grant was alert at his near post when he got a hand to a Ritchie De Laet header from one of the corners pushing the ball wide of target. 10 minutes later Grant saved the day again in superb fashion after turning away a thumping drive from Lloyd Dyer. The Clarets never really looked like getting on level terms as the clock ticked down with most attacks coming to nothing. A near post effort by Paterson needed Schmeichal to parry the ball away which he did with some ease to concede a corner which came to nothing. The Foxes were then unlucky not to double their lead and kill off the game when substitute, Marco Futacs shot on the turn only to see the ball hit the bar and fly away to safety. In stoppage time, it was Paterson again who nearly rescued a point after latching onto a throw which was flicked on at the near post. Pato fluffed his chance though when instead of belting it from twelve yards out he could only hook his shot into the gloves of a thankful Schmeichal.
That was it, the end of a miserable game at Turf Moor and one that got even more miserable for the home fans when news filtered through that Blackburn had beaten Barnsley 3-1 at Oakwell to move back to within one point of the Clarets with a game in hand. Oh well let`s hope 2013 brings more cheer starting with victory over the Owls at Hillsborough on New Year`s Day.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier,Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace (Vokes - 57), McCann, Marney, Treacy (Stock - 83), Ings, Austin (Paterson - 8)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, O'Neill, Bartley
Booked: Yellow Cards for Duff (68 mins), Trippier (90 mins) and Vokes (90 mins)
Leicester City: Schmeichel, De Laet, Konchesky, Morgan, Moore, Drinkwater, Marshall, Dyer (Gallagher - 83), James, Knockaert (Waghorn - 61), Nugent (Futacs - 86)
Subs Not Used: Logan, M Keane, King, Schlupp
Goal: Nugent 31
Booked: Yellow Cards for Dyer (68 mins) and Drinkwater (90 mins)
Possession: 39% Burnley, 61% Leicester City (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire)