R Word? Robbed, Ridiculous Ref, Relegation?
Easter Monday, 1st April 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets were truly mugged by Forest on Easter Monday at Turf Moor! Burnley were effectively just a few seconds away from a 1-0 victory when the referee decided to award Nottingham Forest a penalty late on in extra time having already played well-over the time added on! It was rough justice but more than six minutes into the allotted five added-on minutes, Kevin Long was ruled to have tripped Henri Lansbury in the box and Lewis McGugan coolly slotted home to once again send Clarets fans home from Turf Moor without a win. Burnley have not won at home now since Crystal Palace back in January six games ago but this was a heartbreaker make no mistake about it! We were holding our own against the play-offs (if not automatic promotion) chasing high-flyers and it looked like a goal by Stanislas in the 67th minute was going to be enough to give Forest their first defeat under Billy Davies since his return to the club as gaffer in February and our first win at home since Saturday 12th January! It wasn`t to be and under cruel circumstances, Forest keep up their amazing record under Davies having now gone nine games without defeat! Clarets fans might already have been resigned to another mid-table finish but there is now a new worry. Teams in the relegation zone and bottom half of the tables have been steadily picking up points and now the Clarets have one eye over their shoulder as they contemplate the third from bottom club only being four points behind them with a game in hand! What a disaster it would be if we ended the season in a relegation dogfight and how vital those two points dropped to a penalty goal which was effectively the last kick of the match might be. The draw leaves the Clarets in 13th spot on 51 points, nine behind the sixth-placed club, Brighton who also have a game in hand. We can forget about the play-offs and somehow we have to show some strength and pull away from the threat of relegation before it`s too late. We have just six games of the season remaining now in which to show some mettle and finish as high as possible. The fans don`t need a nervy end to the season and we just have to hope we have enough in reserve and can steadily move upwards into the Top 10. We have an ideal opportunity on Saturday when we face bottom club, Bristol City at home. Anything less than a win and panic could well set in!
Sean Dyche made three changes to the side that did so well to earn a point away to Watford on Good Friday. As expected, Ben Mee returned to the left back spot after completing a one-match suspension. Danny Lafferty did not even make the bench suggesting he may well have picked up a knock. Joseph Mills kept his place on the bench as a reserve left back. Perhaps the most pleasing change was to at long last see Sam Vokes make a start and he partnered Charlie Austin up front in a rare 4-4-2 formation with Danny Ings dropping back to the bench. The third change saw Junior Stanislas make a return to the starting eleven with Kacaniklic having to be content with a place on the bench. Our line up therefore was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee, Stanislas, Bartley, McCann, Wallace, Vokes, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Stock, Kacaniklic, Ings, Paterson
Full Match Report>BR>
Co. Durham referee, Nigel Miller got this game underway on a nice bright day in Burnley. Could the Clarets get the better of Forest and avoid their fourth 'double` defeat of the season? Forest from the off seemed to be rather apprehensive and perhaps less than confident with Billy Davies deciding to make six changes. Forest had only played a game on the Saturday before earning a point at home to Brighton so perhaps it made sense to rest a few! Both Blackstock and Sharp, the scorers at the City Ground against the Clarets in our 2-0 defeat last December both started but Forest lined up 4-1-4-1 with Sharp leading the attack rather than their more aggressive 4-1-3-2. The visitors looked the brighter though as the game got underway and nearly got their noses in front in the fourth minute. The dangerous Lewis McGugan flew down the right wing before crossing for Billy Sharp to rise up above the defence and head on target. Grant though pulled off a great save managing to tip the ball over. The Clarets were under pressure in these opening exchanges and looked to be on the back foot. Wallace however set Austin free in the 11th minute but he could only shoot well over the angle with a pass to Vokes looking the better bet. The Welshman had run towards the far post and was in a prime position. Ben Mee then just failed to make enough contact on the ball from a Wallace corner, and Forest keeper Karti Darlow on his goal line collected the ball with ease. Junior Stanislas, who was beginning to cause some problems for Forest looked lively and when he picked up a sublime pass from Ben Mee, he charged into the box before unleashing a curling shot to the far post. Somehow though, Darlow managed to parry the ball away for a corner. After 27 minutes, a nasty trait demonstrated by Forest throughout the game, paid dividends when surrounding the referee they managed to get Wallace booked. They seemed to pressurise the referee all through the game and he lacked control to do anything about it! Just past the half-hour mark, Grant once again made a claim to being Burnley`s Player of the Year after getting down low to his left to get a glove on McGugan`s long-range effort. That was it for the first-half and Burnley were holding their own despite a few scary moments!
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second half and the game continued in similar vein to the first. The luckless Ben Mee having only just returned from a lengthy injury spell then limped off the field on the hour mark with Joseph Mills coming on to replace him.
Mills instantly looked impressive and played a major part in the opening goal in the 68th minute. It was all started and finished by Junior Stanislas. The former West Ham winger was on a mission and driving forward his run ended with a delightful pass to Mills. Mills cross deceived both Vokes and Austin but there was Stanislas to control the ball and shoot past Darlow although the ball did take a deflection. 1-0 Clarets! Mills having played a part in the goal now came to the rescue at the other end. With Grant this time looking beaten, Mills bravely got to the ball to deny former Arsenal starlet, Henri Lansbury a goal at the far post following a left wing cross. The on-loan Reading defender was now covering every blade of grass and back on the attack Mills then gave Darlow a scare. His shot though rose a little too high after a surging run forwards. The second half was now getting a bit dull to be honest with the referee stop-starting the game far too often with time to treat injuries also taking their toll. Burnley now just needed to hold on though and it looked like they might just do that. Grant prevented Halford scoring with a looping header in the 88th minute turning the ball over. Forest were now desperate to keep up their run and equalise with substitutes Henderson and Cox eager to get on the score sheet. Five minutes of added time to sweat out and blow me right at the death in the final few seconds of the match with six minutes having already been played, that damn Forest penalty to spoil everything! Heartbreaking indeed. The Clarets had now lost 30 points from winning positions and had won just one game in 12 matches. I suppose the glass-half full types might prefer the statistic that also says we have only lost one in six matches too but with the club only four points off the drop zone these are very worrying times.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee (Mills-60), Stanislas (Edgar-90), Bartley, McCann, Wallace (Ings-71), Vokes, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Stock, Kacaniklic, Paterson
Goal: Stanislas 67
Booked: Yellow Cards for Wallace 27, Mills 82
Nottingham Forest: Darlow, Jara, Ward, Halford, Cohen, Moussi, Lansbury, McGugan, Reid (Majewski-76), Blackstock (Henderson-73), Sharp (Cox-73)
Subs Not Used: Evtimov, Harding, Collins, Greening
Goal: McGugan 90+6 pen
Booked: Yellow Card for Lansbury 64
Possession: 46% Burnley, 54% Nottingham Forest (Source: BBC Sport)
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co. Durham)