Burnley in Seventh Heaven after taming Lions!
Saturday 19th January 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets returned from the New Den with all three points after beating Millwall 2-0 on Saturday. That certainly brought some warmth for all Clarets fans having to withstand a bitterly cold, snowy day in South Bermondsey. This sweet victory saw the Clarets rise to 7th in the table, their highest position since the start of the season. The four point margin behind sixth placed club Watford though remains following the Hornets 4-0 thumping of Huddersfield at Vicarage Road. Watford too also have a game advantage although not the fifth placed club, Middlesbrough who only have five more points than the Clarets. This result against the Lions therefore keeps Burnley well-and-truly in the play-offs chasing pack and at this stage in our 2008-9 promotion season we only had one point more so the omens look good! The victory against Millwall was more than just the result. It was also a very good performance in all areas of the pitch. A tight defence and a buzzing midfield were key to our success. Junior Stanislas looked to be on fire especially in the first 30 minutes of this game probably driven on by the boos he was receiving from the home contingent as a former West Ham player. It was his skill that set-up Sam Vokes to open the scoring in the 19th minute and score his third goal of the season. Millwall now rattled after going behind began to exert some pressure but our defence held firm to maintain the Clarets lead at half-time. A change by Millwall gaffer, Kenny Jackett saw new loan signing Derby striker Nathan Tyson come on for the start of the second half. For a time he seemed to invigorate the home side with Burnley once again having to look to our defence to keep the Lions at bay. The back four though held firm once again and just before the hour mark Burnley extended their lead. Ings's header following a cross from Kieran Trippier came against the run of play but it virtually ensured all three points. Millwall, with the home contingent of fans now restless huffed and puffed and at times did have chances to pull a goal back to set up a nervous finish but once again the Clarets defence managed to snuff out the threat. Even a Lions goal in the five minutes of added time might have been a danger knowing our past record but we held on to secure all three points and make it a perfect day for all those 579 Clarets fans brave enough to battle the weather and travel disruptions. (Ed`s note: I wasn`t and feel a right wimp now!). It got even better when news filtered through that Blackburn Rovers had also lost after being beaten 2-1 by Charlton at Ewood Park. That result sees Burnley now six points ahead of our deadly rivals so even if they win their game in hand they won`t be able to catch us. Seventh heaven indeed!!
The Team Sheet
Michael Duff did not travel with the team after sustaining a knock in training during the week so David Edgar made a return to his more regular position in the centre of defence. Both Chris McCann and Martin Paterson had also fully recovered from their hamstring injuries and were back in the eighteen. McCann went straight back into the starting eleven but Pato had to be content with a place on the bench. Vokes once again led the line in the absence of Charlie Austin who is now close to a return following his hamstring injury. Brian Stock, returning after a one-match suspension also had to be content with a place on the bench. 19 year old Development Squad centre back, Tom Anderson got his first taste of first team duty after also being named on the bench. In summary then we lined up as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Jensen, O'Neill, Anderson, Bartley, Stock, Treacy, Paterson
Full Match Report
Although the nation was in the grip of cold and snowy weather, there was little doubt that the game in South Bermondsey would go ahead. The New Den has undersoil heating and London had not suffered any further major snow flurries. A pitch inspection by referee Stuart Attwell at 8:30am confirmed that position and with no more snow forecast, the game duly kicked off at 3pm. It was the Lions who got off to the better start but Burnley soon settled down and began to take control. Millwall had not lost at home since September but it was Burnley who began to dominate possession and look the most likely to open the scoring. Our first chance came in the 15th minute following a lively spell in which the Clarets pace and passing game seemed to have bamboozled the Lions. Sam Vokes forced Lions keeper, David Forde into an error and he picked up the keeper`s fluffed clearance himself to cross over the ball. Marney had been charging forward to get in the ideal position but Ings too thought he had a chance to score. In the end there was a bit of a mix up though with both Marney and Ings getting in each other`s way ensuring the Lions could breathe a temporary sigh of relief. It was only temporary because five minutes later Burnley did in fact take the lead! Stanislas was playing a bit of a blinder at this stage and the winger was certainly winding up the home fans who had been giving him some stick due to his former West Ham connections. Time-and-time again he had got the better of his marker, Adam Smith giving Millwall some grief. On this occasion, he went on a mazy run to put over a low cross after Millwall had failed to clear a corner which they thought should have been a throw-in. As the ball came over, Sam Vokes got on the end of it first poking it through the legs of the keeper to give the Clarets a 1-0 lead they so richly deserved.
Millwall responded quickly and in the 27th minute nearly equalised after James Henry tried a shot which dipped onto the roof of the net. Burnley now had to soak up a bit of pressure but the back four coped well although they were also given the odd let-off. Liam Trotter should have done better with his volley after picking up a cross from Martyn Woolford but his shot was weak and the ball flew tamely into the arms of Grant. Burnley had in effect bossed the first 30 minutes with Grant hardly tested but the atmosphere was now certainly lively with the natives getting restless and frustrated as the Clarets defence continued to hold firm in the last quarter of the half. Burnley though kept their nerve to lead 1-0 at half-time.
Sean Dyche decided not to make any changes for the start of the second-half. Kenny Jackett though had to try something and brought on his new loan signing, Nathan Tyson up front to replace Woolford. The Lions now looked more threatening in attack. Millwall continued where they left off, giving the Clarets defence something to think about but once again Burnley`s back four soaked up all the pressure. Andy Keogh in the six yard box sliding in to make contact with a low Henry cross somehow failed to score. There was another let-off soon after for the Clarets when Danny N`Guessan was only a few inches away from making contact as the ball across goal following a cross. Burnley were riding their luck a little at this stage but they battled hard looking to catch out the Lions on the break. Gradually they looked to be getting back into the swing of things and just before the hour mark they doubled their lead albeit against the run of play. Burnley`s passing game was incisive had been sublime all afternoon with the Lions having no answer to it. Ings had just made a hash of one such great build-up after mis-kicking following a McCann cross but he soon made amends in the 59th minute following some nice approach work down the right flank. The move ended when Trippier put over a cross to find Ings in an ideal position to head home from six yards out. Sam Vokes had also cleverly distracted the Lions defence after placing himself at the near post to divert attention. Millwall now had to throw everybody forward in an attempt to get back in the game allowing Burnley the luxury of pouncing on the break. Junior Stanislas had run his socks off but was now hobbling and appeared to be holding his hamstring. On came Treacy to replace him in the 70th minute. With 20 minutes to go, Burnley nearly made it 3-0! Trippier once again was the architect but this time his excellent cross failed to find anybody to make the right contact and the danger passed. Treacy latching onto a superb through-ball from Ings failed to get the better of Forde and there was now just the slightest of fears that these missed chances could give Millwall a way back into the game. The Lions had their chances too and had they taken them with just fifteen minutes to play, Burnley might have found it hard to hold on. Shackell got in two superb blocks within seconds of each other to deny Trotter and when the ball fell to Keogh, Grant stuck out an arm to block his volley. Edgar came to the rescue too after heading clear from under his own crossbar before Trippier blocked a shot from Trotter in front of goal. There was no way back for the Lions even with five minutes of added time which finished up more like six.
Burnley had secured another away win, their fifth of the season and more importantly had also now kept a clean sheet in their last three Championship games. In fact this season, after being a bit of a bone of contention, we have now clocked up nine clean sheets, a remarkable seven under Sean Dyche. Dyche, a former Millwall player will certainly be a happy man after this victory against his former club. Since leaving the club he has had a habit of winning on this ground both as a player and manager and that record continued yesterday. Talking about the victory he said:
'I want us to win as many games as possible and who knows where that can take us? That's the challenge, quite simply.
'We're in the hunt right now but we can only take it one game at a time. It was a very good performance against Millwall and a very good win for many different reasons.'
Millwall: Forde, J Smith, A Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Trotter, Henry, Woolford (Tyson-46), Keogh, N`Guessan (Marquis-66), Abdou.
Subs Not Used: M Taylor, Wright, Racon, Osborne, Dunne
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas (Treacy-70), Ings (Paterson-90+3), Vokes
Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Anderson, Bartley, Stock
Goals: Vokes 19, Ings 59
Booked: Yellow Cards for Vokes (77) and Ings (80)
Possession: 52% Millwall, 48% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire)