Burnley`s Losing Ten up against Brum`s Twelve!
Saturday 26th January 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets failed to get their fourth consecutive win in the Championship after going down 2-1 to Birmingham at Turf Moor on Saturday. Most Clarets fans though will be agreed, that the main reason we lost this one was down to the appalling performance from Lincolnshire referee, Darren Drysdale. He had not been in charge of a match involving the Clarets since September 2006 and I will be happy if we don`t see him again for another six years; he was dreadful and may as well have been wearing a blue shirt. The last time he featured in a Burnley game we went down 3-2 to Southampton at home and also had Wayne Thomas sent off for a pretty blatant foul. This time, Dean Marney with the score at 1-1 went in for a strong tackle and was penalised just on the hour mark being also shown a straight red card. The decision however was more equivocal amongst fans this time round. Some Clarets fans appear to believe the decision was the correct one whilst others remain very doubtful. From where I was sitting in the Bob Lord Stand, I could see nothing that would warrant a straight red and perhaps we just simply leave the last word to Sean Dyche who said after the game:
'Apparently Marney's red card was for excessive force so I think you've got to tackle softly now, I don't think you're allowed to tackle the ball. You cannot take a great tackle out of the game because it will kill football."
This decision certainly killed this game. This was a very entertaining game up to that point and if anything Burnley were looking the far better team playing some delightful attacking football after clawing their way back from being 1-0 down on 21 minutes. A Wallace penalty on 56 minutes had levelled the scores following Davies opener for the Blues but just four minutes later disaster struck for the Clarets after being reduced to ten men following Marney`s straight red. To give Burnley some credit, I thought they still kept the game alive and played some attractive football. They could easily have got their noses in front but they got the stuffing knocked out of them when Brum made it 2-1 thanks to a well-taken Marlon King goal in the 90th minute! There was no way back despite five minutes of added time and this result leaves the Clarets still in 8th spot on 42 points from now 29 games. Unfortunately because many games were not being played in the Championship due to FA Cup weekend, we have now played a game more than most clubs, including six placed club, Middlesbrough who already have five points, more than the Clarets.
Both Charlie Austin and Michael Duff failed to recover in time from their hamstring injuries for this clash so Sean Dyche finished up fielding the same starting eleven to the one that lined up against Millwall at the New Den last Saturday . Dane Richards returned to the bench and so did Kevin Long after recovering from injury. Our line-up then was as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas , Ings , Vokes
Subs : Jensen, O'Neill, Long, Stock, Richards, Treacy, Paterson
Full Match Report
Lincolnshire referee, Darren Drysdale got the match underway on a day when thawing snow after a deluge of the white stuff the night before made it difficult for fans to get to the ground. Only 11.576 fans made it in the end but it was the Burnley contingent who would be the most entertained by their team in the opening exchanges. Wallace and Trippier down the right flank were linking well and creating chances. The crosses kept coming over but Ings headed off-target a couple of times and Stanislas too might have been more accurate at the far post after heading back across goal. In typical fashion though, Burnley were made to rue their missed chances and against the run of play the Blues took the lead in the 21st minute. Birmingham had hardly mustered one threat on goal but a corner from Rob Hall was met by Davies and he nodded the ball past Lee Grant to put Birmingham 1-0 up.
For a time that seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Clarets but they soldiered on hoping that long balls to Sam Vokes might be the answer. With five minutes to go though, Burnley suddenly turned up the heat and the midfield engine room began to take control. Both Marney and McCann began surging forward from the middle of the park to test highly-rated keeper Jack Butland but the score stubbornly remained 1-0 to Birmingham at half-time.
Dyche tried a change of formation for the start of the second-half. Wallace was now playing a more central role behind Vokes with Ings now out wide on the left and Stanislas switching flanks to the right. Four minutes into the second-half, Ings picked up a flick-on from Vokes but his shot thumped against the bar with just the keeper to beat. Vokes then brought out an excellent save from Butland after trying to steer the ball past the keeper following a Stanislas cross. With Burnley now seemingly in control, they at last equalised thanks to a penalty decision in the 56th minute. Stanislas was brought down in the penalty area by Robinson and the referee who had been somewhat favouring the Blues up until now at last gave the Clarets a decision their way! Ross Wallace made no mistake from the spot thumping the ball past Butland to bring the scores level. The Clarets should perhaps now have gone for the jugular but somehow a lacklustre Birmingham came back into the game. Grant was relieved to see an unmarked Davies head straight towards him but Burnley`s task got so much harder a few minutes later when they were reduced to ten men with thirty minutes still to play. Marney slid in to tackle Robinson. It was hard tackle but one that seemed controlled and fair. The referee though already being given a torrid time by the home crowd instantly produced a red card to effectively kill off a very entertaining game. Marney was on his way and now the Clarets would in theory be under the cosh! The ten men though found some spirit and with grit and determination nearly took the lead against the odds. Ings in particular looked effective driving forward but again there was no end product. Birmingham though sensing they could now win having a one-man advantage decided to up the ante by bringing on the man-mountain known as Zigic! The change nearly worked after the tall gargantuan latched onto a Chris Burke cross but his header hit the post. Burnley looked set to hold onto a point which would have probably been the fairer result but in the final minute of normal time up-stepped Marlon King to break Clarets fans hearts. It was Zigic who this time turned into playmaker flicking the ball onto King. It was a classy goal to be fair; King`s volley flying past Grant into the far corner of the net! That was it, Burnley could not find any response in the final five minutes of added time and their great Championship start to the New Year had come to an end.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace (Stock - 78), McCann, Marney, Stanislas (Paterson - 82), Ings (Treacy - 90), Vokes
Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Long, Richards
Booked: Straight Red Card for Marney(60), Yellow Card for Wallace (27).
Goal: Wallace 56 (pen)
Birmingham City: Butland, Caldwell, Davies, Caddis, Robinson, Burke, Gomis, Elliott, Reilly (Zigic - 69), King, Hall (Redmond - 54)
Subs Not Used: Doyle, Hancox, Mullins, Morrison, Lovenkrands
Goals: Davies 21, King 90
Possession: 49% Burnley, 51% Birmingham (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)