Burnley Get Summat from London Rd but Not Enough?
Saturday 2nd February 2013
The Clarets had to be content with a point after a 2-2 draw against bottom club Peterborough at London Road on Saturday. This ground has never been kind to Burnley so to come away with anything is a pretty rare achievement. In many ways though, it feels more like the loss of two points after Burnley took an early lead thanks to a goal by the returning Charlie Austin in the first minute! To be honest the Clarets bossed the first half and threatened to increase their lead but once again were made to rue their lost chances with Peterborough coming back strongly in the second half. A quick brace of goals from Posh defender Tommy Rowe in the 65th and 69th minute suddenly made the Clarets look vulnerable and once again it looked like me might return empty handed from this curse of a ground. Martin Paterson though had other ideas after coming on to replace Austin in the 73rd minute. The 956 Clarets fans making the journey to Cambridgeshire were made to sweat though with attack-after-Burnley attack breaking down as the clock ticked down with that elusive equaliser seemingly slipping away. Pato however saved the day in the 85th minute when he hit home Chris McCann's cross to snatch a draw for the Clarets. He nearly became even a bigger hero after coming close to scoring a dramatic winner in the dying stages before Posh keeper, Robert Olejnik saved in spectacular fashion from his close-range header.
A draw though was probably a fair result in the end although at times Peterborough did play like a side propping up the Championship with the Clarets threatening to run riot especially in the first half. The point lifts Burnley one place to 7th spot and with Middlesbrough getting tonked 4-0 at Ipswich it means we are now just four points behind the sixth-placed club. Boro though do still have a game in hand.
As widely predicted, Charlie Austin made a return and went straight into the starting eleven after missing the last six games with a hamstring problem. Sam Vokes drew the short straw and returned to the bench after deputing for our leading goal-scorer in recent games. Michael Duff also replaced Edgar in the centre of defence after fully recovering from his hamstring injury. Our line-up was therefore as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Lafferty, Wallace, McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, O`Neill, Edgar, Stock, Treacy, Vokes, Paterson
Full Match Report
Essex referee, Andy Durso got the game underway on a pleasant, if cold day by the River Nene. To say the Clarets were first out of the blocks is an understatement with Burnley taking the lead as early as the first minute! Austin had missed the whole of January with his hamstring injury but he made it a triumphant return after latching onto a Wallace cross floated perfectly into the penalty area. The former Swindon striker though still had work to do but from ten yards out he managed to stick out a leg and thump his volley past the Posh keeper, Bobby Olejnik. The shell-shocked keeper`s first action was therefore to pick the ball out of the net as Clarets fans celebrated Austin`s 24th goal of the season in some style!! Could Burnley now turn up the heat and go for the jugular against a side looking low in confidence with the home fans finding it difficult to raise their spirits? In effect, we were in control for most of the first-half and rarely looked like conceding. In attack though we did seem to struggle on a poor pitch with the bobbly surface making passing difficult especially in front of their goal with bare patches of soil clearly evident. Danny Ings was becoming a handful for the Posh defence but twice he should have done better after a couple of strong, driving runs into the penalty area. Junior Stanislas also threatened to double the lead and had we scored a second goal, Posh may well have then caved in they were playing that badly. Peterborough were not completely outplayed though and did create a few chances of their own suggesting we needed to be on our guard. George Boyd and Lee Tomlin in particular were beginning to exert some influence on the game. Boyd had apparently missed out on a move to Nottingham Forest on transfer window deadline day after failing a eyesight medical but he seemed to be able to see what he was doing in this clash! The stocky Tomlin was also displaying some nifty footwork despite his stature and his pace was causing the Clarets back-line a few problems. Our strong central defence though was coping well and to be honest Grant was a virtual spectator in the first 45 minutes and did not have one shot to save! The Clarets therefore maintained their 1-0 lead at half-time and looked comfortably in control.
The second-half though would be a different story with Darren Ferguson`s men taking on a new lease of life and Burnley suddenly looking a little uncomfortable.
Almost immediately from the restart Grant was forced into making his first meaningful save. Tomlin a few moments earlier had put a chipped attempt just wide and now it was Dwight Gayle`s turn to try a shot. Grant though was equal to the danger dropping on the ball to save well.
Burnley`s solid defence took a blow in the 54th minute when Duff suffered a calf injury and had to be replaced by Edgar. Edgar seemed to be struggling and Posh began to sense a way through. Ferguson too may have had the same thought, after one minute later making a double substitution with wingers Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Tottenham loanee Alex Pritchard both coming on to liven up proceedings. Gayle was also now beginning to look more threatening and Grant was tested again after an earlier shot had been put just wide. Burnley fans were now getting a bit edgy sensing one goal was not going to be enough. The Clarets badly needed a second goal to ease tension and they did create a few chances. A curled shot from Stanislas flew wide of target. Ings then combined well with both Stanislas and Austin before creating a shooting chance that should have tested the keeper more. The score remained stubbornly at 1-0 and things now got far worse for the Clarets with two Posh goals in five minutes scored by the same player and a defender at that, Tommy Rowe.
His first in the 65th minute was a pretty scrappy affair with Burnley struggling to clear a corner. The ball was bouncing around in the penalty area before the Posh captain managed to hook the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1. Four minutes later and the London Road hoodoo seemed to strike again with Posh getting their noses in front thanks to another goal from Rowe. Burnley were caught out on the break and Rowe charged forward fully 60 yards from his left back position to thread the ball to Gayle. Gayle`s shot took a ricochet and the ball fell nicely back to Rowe on the edge of the penalty area. Rowe couldn`t believe his luck and he drilled the ball home past Grant to make the score 2-1 to Posh.
Burnley had only ever won once in ten attempts at London Road and had lost in four of their last five visits. It looked like that might soon become five out of six! There is more fight in the team these days though under the stewardship of Sean Dyche and Burnley were not going to throw in the towel just yet. Dyche too had sensed the team needed some fresh legs especially up front so on came Sam Vokes and Martin Paterson to replace Wallace and Austin in the 68th and 73rd minute respectively. With just five minutes to go, Burnley finally got the equaliser they deserved. Lafferty released McCann down the left flank and the midfielder waved his way into the box to square the ball to Paterson. Pato made no mistake from two yards out side-footing the ball home to deflate the home crowd and make the score 2-2. Paterson had not scored since November and he almost made it a brace in the four minutes of added time. A stunning save from Olejnik though denied Pato who looked certain to score from a back-header following a Stanislas free-kick. The Posh keeper though somehow managed to tip the ball over the bar for a corner ensuring Burnley had to settle for a point.
Peterborough United: Olejnik, Zakuani, Little, Bostwick, McCann, Rowe, Newell (Mendez-Laing - 55), Knight-Percival (Pritchard - 55), Tomlin (Payne - 84), Boyd, Gayle
Subs Not Used: Day, Brisley, Petrucci, Gordon-Hutton
Goals: Rowe 65, 69
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff (Edgar - 54), Shackell, Lafferty, Wallace (Vokes - 68), McCann, Marney, Stanislas, Ings, Austin (Paterson - 73)
Subs Not Used: Jensen, O'Neill, Stock, Treacy
Goals: Austin 1, Paterson 85
Booked: Yellow Cards for Trippier (34 mins) and Shackell (43 mins)
Possession: 50% Peterborough United, 50% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Andy D'Urso (Billericay, Essex)