New Year Off To Flying Start at Hillsborough!
New Year's Day,Tuesday 1st January 2013 @3pm Kick
The Clarets got back to winning ways after beating Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 at Hillsborough on New Year`s Day. It was a great start to 2013 for Burnley after the disappointing end to 2012 following the 1-0 home defeat to Leicester the previous Saturday. The victory also came without the services of leading goal-scorer Charlie Austin . Austin had a recurrence of his gluteal muscle injury in the game against the Foxes and asked to leave the pitch with the match just seven minutes old. As expected he did not feature in the Owls game. He now faces a spell on the sidelines and could miss the next Championship game, at home to Palace on Saturday 12th January, as well as the FA Cup match at Oakwell against Barnsley this Saturday. The performance against the Owls on Tuesday was probably our most impressive this season, certainly on the road and those valuable three points keep our play-offs hopes alive. Burnley are now in 12th spot with 36 points from 26 games, just four points behind the sixth-placed club Watford. The Hornets though do have a game in hand! Talk about inconsistency, it was certainly frustrating to lose so poorly against Leicester at home on Saturday but boy did we come back with a bang against the Owls. You have to remember that although Wednesday have struggled this season and before this game were fourth from bottom just three points clear of the drop zone, their performances of late had significantly improved. The Owls had been undefeated in their last four games and more importantly had not conceded a goal in those four matches so to come away with victory was some achievement in front of an expectant home crowd. Burnley enjoyed large periods of possession which in the first half stretched to 63% of the play but with the score 0-0 at half-time there was a sense that once again we could rue our missed chances. We need not have worried. Keith Treacy, who had come on to replace the injured Martin Paterson four minutes before the end of the first half, opened the scoring in the 63rd minute against his former team mates belting a long range effort into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. In the 76th minute, the Clarets increased their lead after being awarded a penalty following a handball in the area by Lewis Buxton. Who took the penalty in the absence of Austin? None other than Ross Wallace and he made no mistake from the spot. The Owls had their moments to try and get back in the game but it was always going to be an uphill struggle for them and Burnley continued to press looking to extend their lead even further. The Clarets continued to dominate but there were no further goals not that it mattered. The 2-0 victory was just what the doctor ordered and ensured 2013 got off to a great start! Now all we have to do is find that extra bit of consistency and try and get a few back-to-back wins under our belt. Annoyingly had we beaten the Foxes at home last Saturday, we would now just be one point off the play-offs and sitting pretty! Sean Dyche has to find that extra something and hope we can go on a confident, extended run. If we do that, the play-offs ambitions for this season could still be realised but it is a very big 'if` based on the season so far,
Charlie Austin, as expected remained sidelined with injury so Sam Vokes was given his first start since the away defeat against Huddersfield last August. Dean Marney also failed to make the eighteen due to a thigh injury so Brian Stock returned to the starting eleven taking up the role of anchor man in front of the back-four. The Clarets in effect lined-up 4-1-4-1 with a flat midfield. Perhaps surprisingly, Wallace played a more central role in the hole with Ings playing out wide right and Pato on the left. In summary we lined up as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Stock, Ings, Paterson, Vokes
Subs: Jensen, Long, O'Neill, Bartley, Stewart, Stock, Treacy
Full Match Report
Referee, David Webb got the match underway on a pitch that left a lot to be desired. We are perhaps spoilt at Turf Moor now with one of the best pitches in the Championship following the investment over recent years, but Hillsborough looked pretty rough with the pitch bare in places and soggy in others! Oh well, my era was the seventies when far worse pitches were played on by players who were by no means wimps! At least the conditions were the same for both sides and it was Burnley who seemed to adapt to them better in the opening exchanges. Paterson was the first to test the Owls keeper, Kirkland and then Vokes saw his shot deflected over the bar. The only downside was a pretty harsh, third minute booking for Danny Lafferty but at least he didn`t let it affect him for the rest of the game. It was a good spell for the Clarets in the opening ten minutes and in the 13th minute; Trippier nearly broke the deadlock with a screamer from 30 yards. The Owls keeper could only watch with relief as the ball flew off the crossbar to safety.
That let-off seemed to inspire the home side and they began to put the Clarets under pressure with three corners in quick succession. Their first chance came when Antonio put over a cross to the far post to find Kieran Lee. Grant though managed to get a glove on the downward header pushing the ball round the post. Although the Owls now looked to be on the ascendency, Burnley weathered the storm and began to take control. The Clarets were now certainly creating enough chances but those fears of not taking advantage began to haunt Burnley fans. Burnley were enjoying over 60% of the possession at this stage but once again could not make the pressure count despite their dominance. A Wallace free-kick in the 25th minute was hit deep towards Danny Ings in the area and he got up to head the ball to Shackell. The captain, unmarked unleashed a volley that flew over the bar but it wasn`t look before we had more chances to break the deadlock. Trippier put over an out-swinging cross from the right only for Vokes having got in behind the defence to somehow fail to connect with the ball with just Kirkland to beat in front of goal. Paterson had not been troubled much with injury recently after seeming prone to it in recent seasons so there were concerns when he had to be replaced following a knock with just four minutes of the first-half remaining. On came Keith Treacy to play against his former colleagues following a loan spell at Hillsborough last season. Burnley continued to press though and Kirkland had to be alert to deny McCann after the midfielder picked up a pass from Vokes. The Owls keeper though got in an effective block and the score remained goalless at half-time.
Neither side made any changes for the start of the second-half but this time it was the Owls who got out of the blocks first. The Burnley defence held firm though even though at times it all looked a bit desperate. Antonio on a run, cut back in to find Lee and it needed Lafferty to block his effort only for the ball to find Antonio again for a follow-up shot. This time though, Trippier threw himself in the way to keep the score at 0-0. The Owls might have been looking livelier now but Burnley nearly stole the show on the hour mark following a 30-yard pile -driver from Wallace that Kirkland at full-stretch somehow managed to push round the post. Four minutes later though, Kirkland could only stand and stare after Treacy fired in a drive that had goal written all over it! The ball flew into the bottom corner of the net sending the away crowd in front of goal into New Year ecstasy. The Clarets buoyed up by their success nearly made it 2-0 a minute later with Wallace testing Kirkland yet again after catching out the Owls defence. Once again though, Kirkland saved to deny the impressive Scot.
The visitors though didn`t have to wait long before increasing their lead and effectively making it game over for the Owls. A cross from Treacy was handled in the area by Lewis Buxton and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty. Ross Wallace, who had been denied by Kirkland all afternoon, raced forward to take the spot kick in the absence of Austin and with confidence he thumped the ball home straight down the middle to get on the score sheet for the second time in three games. Keith Treacy, who was probably having his best game in a Clarets shirt nearly made it 3-0 in the dying seconds of the match after charging forward to latch on to a pass from substitute, Marvin Bartley. He let rip with a shot that looked to be going into the back of the net until the ball flew off the inside post to safety. A great victory then as the final whistle finally went following five minutes of added time and one that keeps our promotion hopes alive. The only concern was the mounting injury list. Austin, Marney, Stanislas and now Pato are all currently suffering from injuries and a number of other players in this clash had been in the wars after picking up knocks including McCann, Vokes and Ings. Sean Dyche though does not appear overtly concerned telling the official site: "Charlie is okay and the injury is settling down,
"It`s a minor hamstring injury and it`s one of them things that has to be taken care of wisely by the medical team. ,
"We will see how he goes and we are hoping Chris and Martin (hamstrings) aren`t too serious either, so we`ll monitor those over the next 24 hours. ,
"Dean Marney (thigh) is not an overly serious one either and we are hoping that will settle down quickly,
"I`m not too worried at this stage but another 24 hours and I`ll know more."
At least, we now have a break from Championship action with our next game the FA Cup third round tie against Barnsley at Oakwell this Saturday. In view of the injuries, Dyche might be tempted to try a bit of squad rotation against the struggling Tykes who remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the Championship table.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland, Buxton, Gardner, Mattock, Llera, Antonio, McCabe, Lee, Helan, Prutton (J Johnson-72), Sidibe (O'Grady-59)
Subs Not Used: Bywater, Taylor, D Jones, Corry, Madine
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Lafferty, Stock (Bartley-90), Wallace, McCann (Edgar-61), Paterson (Treacy-41), Ings, Vokes
Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Long, Stewart
Goals: Treacy 63, Wallace 76 pen
Booked: Yellow Card for Lafferty (3 mins)
Possession: 41% Sheffield Wednesday, 59% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: David Webb (Lancashire)