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Missed Opportunities against Middlesbrough

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Turf Moor

Tuesday 19th February 2013 @7:45pm Kick-Off

Attendance: 12,394


Burnley failed to capitalise against a poor Middlesbrough side at Turf Moor on Tuesday night and in a scrappy game had to be content in the end with a goalless draw. Boro came with one intention to scrap for a point without showing any ambition to win whatsoever despite still being in sixth spot. That was probably the right tactic considering their defensive problems of late. Tony Mowbray`s men had lost their last six away games and had become extremely leaky in defence conceding eleven goals in four games. Despite their problems though, Burnley simply could not break them down even though they had the lion`s share of possession for most of the game. Boro had few chances and rarely threatened until the latter stages of the game when Clarets fans feared they might undeservedly nick all three points. This was an ideal opportunity to get our play-offs hopes back on track but dropping another two points at home in a game we should have won has not helped that cause one bit. Burnley are now in 11th spot, remaining seven points behind Middlesbrough in sixth place with a game in hand. Worryingly for Sean Dyche though is the fact we have now gone four games without a win and we badly need to stop the rot if we are to stand any chance of keeping our season alive

Team Sheet

Burnley fans were hit with some shock news ahead of this game after hearing that both Danny Ings and Ross Wallace would not feature after picking up injuries. Their unavailability lead to a change in formation with Brian Stock returning to the starting eleven in the holding midfield role allowing Marney and McCann to play further forward flanked by Junior Stanislas on the right and Paterson on the left. The 4-1-4-1 formation meant that Charlie Austin was alone up front and there was also a surprise in the back four. Michael Duff was still unfit to play but it was Kevin Long rather than David Edgar who took over the role partnering the skipper in the centre of defence. The bench too had an unfamiliar ring to it and the eighteen in summary looked like this:

Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Stock, Stanislas, McCann, Marney, Paterson, Austin

Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Richards, Bartley, Treacy, Vokes

Full Match Report

Cambridgeshire referee, Kevin Wright got the match underway on a night when Burnley fans expectations were high. A lively Stanislas playing down the right flank for a change seemed ideally suited to the role and he impressed in these early stages giving the edgy Boro defence a bit of a run-around. The Clarets were by far the better team with Boro looking hesitant and shaky in defence but the game soon deteriorated into a pretty scrappy affair. It was soon clear that Burnley needed to punish a poor Middlesbrough side and dent their already low confidence early in the game but they simply could not find that killer punch. Burnley were dominating the game but in reality created few chances to put Boro under some psychological pressure despite being awarded six corners to the visitors zero by the end of the first half. Charlie Austin forced Jason Steele into a save and had that gone in, a brittle Boro defence could easily have folded but it wasn`t to be. Middlesbrough were basically getting most of their players behind the ball and it wasn`t pretty to watch with Burnley struggling to break them down. A through-ball from Marney looked likely to set up Austin before Stephen McManus got the end of his toe on the ball before McCann fired just over the bar. McCann charging forward again was then fouled by McManus after being tripped and it was up to Trippier in the absence of Wallace to take the free-kick. It was not a bad effort either but the ball stubbornly finished up on the roof of the net. Trippier was in top form but he alone could not create the opening we needed and the chances began to dry up as frustration set in both on and off the pitch. The game effectively stagnated with few chances being created at either end. Grant had very little to do and it is difficult to recall a testing save that he needed to make such was Boro`s inability to create attacking moves. Stanislas was trying his best and he certainly looked more effective down the right flank than in recent games down the left. He was putting over some testing crosses and one of those with six minutes of the first half remaining nearly led to breaking the deadlock. Marney got in a glancing header only to see Steele turn the ball round his left-hand post. A frustrating half therefore came to an end with Burnley ruing their missed chances, not for the first time this season!

Sean Dyche did not make any changes for the start of the second-half and the frustrations effectively continued. It was all now one-way traffic in Burnley`s favour but few real chances were being created and Clarets fans were now beginning to sense it was going to be one of those nights. As the game went on Burnley became more edgy and Boro sensed they might be able to sneak a goal although to be honest they too were finding it difficult to create any meaningful passes and their attacks were few and far between with all their opportunities coming on the break. On the hour, Boro nearly rocked the applecart. Kevin Long, making only his second senior start had looked pretty solid in defence but he then tripped Boro substitute, Mustapha Carayol on the edge of the penalty area before Grant Leadbitter took the resulting free-kick and belted a low shot just wide. Sean Dyche now had to try a change of tactics in an effort to break the deadlock and with 20 minutes to go made a double substitution. Moving to a straight back four, off came Stock allowing Vokes to come on and add some firepower up front with the Clarets now playing 4-4-2. Paterson also made way for Treacy and for a time we looked a lot more effective with Treacy in particular taking the game to Boro. Vokes also came close with a header at the near post after latching onto a Marney cross but the ball flew wide of target. Balls were coming over thick and fast now that Treacy was bombing down the left flank and from one such cross Austin shot on the turn only to see the ball fly over the top! Boro had survived again and they now thought their luck was in and might be able to steal all three points in the final few minutes of the game. All of a sudden they seemed to be creating chances with Burnley wilting and looking more frustrated. Ishmael Miller took a swing at the ball and thankfully missed before Curtis Main tried a spectacular shot with the ball landing on the roof of the net. It would have been cruel though had Boro won this game. They were poor despite their frustrating tactics working. Grant had little to do all night but he had to come to our rescue in added time touching a swerving and dipping effort from Carayol over the top of the bar. That was it, more dropped points at home against poor opposition and a game most Clarets fans will not want to remember

Match Stats

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes-70), Stanislas, McCann, Marney, Paterson (Treacy-70), Austin

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Richards, Bartley,

Booked: Yellow Cards for Long (59) and Marney (76)

Middlesbrough: Steele, Bikey, Friend, McManus, R.Williams, Leadbitter, Bailey, McEachran, Halliday (Miller-72), Smallwood (Carayol- 53), Emnes (Main-68)

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Haroun, Ledesma, L.Williams

Booked: Yellow Cards for Bailey (66) and McEachran (90)

Possession: 54% Burnley, 46% Middlesbrough (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Kevin Wright (Cambridgeshire

Star Player

A lot of huffing and puffing but no truly great performances in this one! Kieran Trippier picked up the Sponsor`s Man of the Match Award and true he was effective down the flank and defended well so he also picks up our 'Star Player` award.

Date:Wednesday February 20 2013
Time: 9:03PM

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You just sense we are going to fall short by a few points now. No win in four and droppig points at home against lacklustre, poor opposition not good.
20/02/2013 21:40:00
agree TMP, the optimist in me says, "we're due a run" and will pick up aload of points against difficult teams, including nicking an important away win at EP. the realist says, "SD is still imprinting his mark and next season we'll be a real threat" I'm not gunna predict against any teams, given how cloudy my crystal ball was last time!!!
21/02/2013 01:10:00
I don't think our home form has been up to much for a few years now, in truth, going back to our play-off season. I never think there is much of an atmosphere before, during and after the game and I wonder whether that means the players perform a bit under par. They shouldn't need the crowd to get them going of course but it must surely help the away team. Sorting the vacuous Cricket Field Stand and replacing it with something more modern and filling in the corners of the ground might help. As might a few goals!
21/02/2013 18:37:00
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