Burnley Have Final Sting in their Tail!
Good Friday, 29th March 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
It was Burnley not the Hornets who produced the final sting in this Good Friday game at Vicarage Road. The Clarets produced a late equaliser in extra time to earn former Watford gaffer, Sean Dyche and his men a well-earned point. Burnley had frustratingly twice taken the lead, only to see both of them evaporate within five minutes each time. The Clarets then looked to be on their way to defeat against high-flying, automatic promotion chasing Watford after the Hornets got their noses in front for the first time. Forestieri scored the second of his brace with just 20 minutes to play to put the Watford ahead. As added time approached a 3-2 defeat looked inevitable. Sam Vokes though, who had come on from the bench on 78 minutes had other ideas and he rocked Watford`s automatic promotion hopes with an equaliser in the third minute of added time. It was nothing less than Burnley deserved after a thrilling, entertaining game where the visitors had refused to give up. At times, the game was frantic especially in the first half. Burnley were astonishingly ahead in less than 40 seconds after Austin pounced to strike home from just from six yards out. The Clarets though not for the first time this season could not keep the opposition at bay for long and the home crowd were soon celebrating an equaliser when Deeney thumped the ball home from the edge of the area in the 6th minute. Burnley however were taking the game to Watford and they exposed their weakness in defence time and time again having the desired effect of getting the home crowd agitated. In the 24th minute, Burnley were rightly awarded a penalty after Alex Kacaniklic got his heels clipped by Marco Cassetti after charging into the box. Austin made no mistake from the box to score his 28th goal of the season for the Clarets. Once again though, the away following were soon frustrated with Burnley once again losing the lead within five minutes of scoring. This time though, Watford were somewhat lucky after the referee got in the way of Marvin Bartley`s clearance with the ball cannoning back off him to set-up a Watford charge. Forestieri then got a lucky bounce in the box to thump the ball across Grant and into the far corner of the net to make it 2-2 after just 29 minutes of play. The game settled down a bit in the second half but despite the Clarets being under the cosh at times especially after going behind, Burnley had enough in reserve to battle away and earn a late point. With more games to be played today (Saturday), Burnley are currently in 13th spot on 50 points. The sixth-placed club is still Leicester despite the Foxes going down 1-0 at home to Millwall in their Good Friday battle. Their defeat means Burnley are now just nine points behind them having played the same number of games but if Brighton beat Forest at the City Ground today they will leapfrog the Foxes and Burnley will be twelve points adrift of a play-offs spot. It`s now looking impossible and all we can hope for really is as high a finish as possible. Preferably in the Top 10 and above Blackburn! We have just seven games of the season remaining now in which to try and achieve that starting with Forest at home on Easter Monday.
Sean Dyche was forced into a late change after Michael Duff pulled-up in the pre-match warm up and had to be replaced by substitute Kevin Long. He also made two further changes from the starting eleven that faced local rivals, Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in our last match before the international break. With Ben Mee suspended after picking up a red card for two bookable offences in the local derby, it was no surprise to see Danny Lafferty returning at left back. Michael Paterson was also rested up after being on international duty for Northern Ireland during the break so he had to be content with a place on the bench. Danny Ings took his place in the starting eleven. In summary then we lined up as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Bartley, Kacaniklic, McCann, Wallace, Ings, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Mills, Stock, Stanislas, Vokes, Paterson
Full Match Report
Nottingham referee, David Coote got the game underway with Burnley adopting a 4-4-1-1 line-up. Austin up front was supported by Ings playing just behind him and the tactics soon produced the goods. With just 36 seconds on the clock Ross Wallace`s shot was blocked with the ball falling nicely into the path of Austin to thump the ball home from eight yards out and silence the home crowd. It was the ideal start but it would soon turn sour. Within barely five minutes, Watford had equalised. Deeney went unchallenged just outside the box and he had enough time to control the ball and fire a thumping drive past Grant to make it 1-1 after just six minutes of play. The game was certainly entertaining with both sides going for broke in a thrilling end-to-end scrap. Watford were top scorers in the division but they also conceded a lot and you could see why with Burnley exposing the Hornet`s weakness in the back four quite a few times. The keeper too also looked somewhat shaky at times. A Wallace corner soon after the Watford equaliser nearly gave Burnley the lead again but this time Austin`s header was blocked. Alex Kacaniklic though in the 24th minute charged into the box only to be fouled by Marco Cassetti and the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot! Austin already fired up coolly thumped the ball home high down the middle to notch up his 28th goal of the season. The Clarets nearly made it 3-1 soon after when McCann latched on to a botched attempt by the keeper to clear a Wallace cross. His volley though sailed over the bar and within three minutes of retaking the lead disaster struck again for the Clarets! It was somewhat fortunate for the Hornets that the referee got in the way of an attempted clearance by Bartley. Watford though could now break and it finished with Forestieri latching onto a ball fed into the box to thump the ball home past Grant. Even then, Burnley did not let their heads drop and eight minutes before the break they nearly got their noses in front for a third time when Wallace`s curling direct free kick looked to be on target before sailing over the angle. Watford though always looked threatening and there were two more scares for the Clarets before the break. The usually dependable Kieran Trippier was at fault for the first when on the stroke of half-time instead of clearing his lines he conceded possession on the edge of the penalty area setting up Deeney. Grant tough was alert to the danger and got in a superb block. The second scare came in first half stoppage time! This time the woodwork came to our rescue. Deeney beat the offside trap and attempted to clip the ball over the keeper. It nearly worked too until the face of the crossbar thankfully got in the way! So that was it for the first half, surely the second forty five minutes couldn`t be as hectic could it?
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second half and for a time things seemed to calm down. Burnley suddenly came under a lot of pressure however with a number of testing corners and free-kicks. In the 57th minute, Lafferty at the far post came to the rescue after intercepting a ball thumped over into the six yard box by Briggs. The Clarets though were not resting on their laurels and continued to push forward in search of a third goal. Just before the hour mark, Burnley had the ideal chance to take the lead for a third time. A poor clearance by Bond allowed Kacaniklic to pick up the ball and find Ings. Ings set-up a delightful return pass but the winger could only fire weakly at the thankful keeper when really he should have curled the ball into the far corner of the net. Burnley would probably have gone on to win the match had that gone in but instead it seemed to give Watford the impetus to put the Clarets under pressure again. It was Grant who had to be thanked again midway through the second half after he got down well to deny Deeney when the headed attempt from a deflected cross was blocked by the keeper. Dyche decided to change tactics in the 62nd minute bringing on Stock to replace Bartley and move to a more defensive midfield. It didn`t really help and the Clarets play looked a little sloppy now with few chances being created. In the 71st minute it looked like game over for Burnley when Watford scored a third goal to break the deadlock and raise the home crowd`s flagging spirits. It was Forestieri again who did the damage this time curling the ball across Grant into the bottom corner of the net from a wide position. Now Dyche had to go for broke to try and rescue something from this game and in the 78th minute he made a double substitution bringing on Paterson and Vokes for Kacaniklic and Wallace. Burnley now had a three-pronged attack with Ings dropping back into midfield. Once more we had an open game on our hands and either side could have been next on the score sheet. Thankfully it was Burnley although we left it late! Deep into added time, substitute Sam Vokes raced forward to collect a flick on from Austin before hammering the ball home to rescue a point for the Clarets.
Watford: Bond, Ekstrand, Hall, Briggs, Cassetti (Doyley-49 mins), Chalobah, Abdi, Battocchio, Anya (Vydra-69 mins), Deeney (Geijo-90 mins), Forestieri
Subs Not Used: Bonham , Hogg, Yeates, Pudil
Goals: Deeney 6, Forestieri 29,72
Booked: Yellow Card for Briggs 23
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Bartley (Stock-62 mins), Kacaniklic (Paterson-78 mins), McCann, Wallace (Vokes-78 mins), Ings, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Mills, Stanislas
Goals: Austin (36 secs, 24 pen), Vokes (90+3)
Booked: Yellow Cards for Lafferty 34, Long 54 and McCann 63
Possession: 47% Watford, 53% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Referee: David Coote (Nottingham)