Bragging Rights Are Ours in an 11th Spot Finish!
Saturday 4th May 2013 @12:45pm Kick-Off
Although to be honest there was nothing to play for other than pride in our end-of-season game at home to Ipswich on Saturday, it was nice to finish the season with a win. The 2-0 victory with goals from Stanislas and Paterson in the second half after a pretty lacklustre first half ensured our season finished on a bit of a high. The Clarets too at least were higher than Blackburn Rovers come the final whistle of the season on Saturday for the first time since 1980. Burnley just missed out on a top ten finish and had to settle for eleventh spot with 61 points. It really does show what an odd season it has been in the Championship though, Burnley finished just seven points away from the play-offs but also remarkably just seven points away from the drop! I am sure all Clarets fans could easily think where we might have got those extra seven points too had a bit of luck gone our way and certainly if our home form had been better but it wasn`t to be in a frustrating season that had all too few highs and a lot of lows! Never mind with my 'glass half full` balanced on my hat at least we did not suffer the fate of Wolves who along with Peterborough and Bristol City will be competing in League One next season. This, a club that for a time not too long ago was heading the top of the Premier League but has since now suffered two consecutive demotions, the first time ever that has happened to a club relegated from the top flight. We can all look at Blackburn too and consider what a fall from grace they have suffered (ha ha). Rovers also demoted of course from the Premier League last season finished in 17th spot three points behind the Clarets following their 1-1 draw at Birmingham on Saturday so we can at least claim the bragging rights over our deadly rivals. The only Premier League club relegated last season that in the end showed any chance of returning was Bolton but they too messed up on Saturday to just miss out on a play-offs spot. So that`s it for 2012-13, Burnley survive for another season despite a late threat of relegation and we say goodbye to Cardiff and Hull City who finish in the automatic promotion places leaving Watford, Brighton, Crystal Palace and Leicester to fight it out in the play-offs for the third promotion place.
There was a lot of talk that some of the fringe players and young guns might get a chance to shine in this end-of-season clash and there was also thought to be a bit of a centre back crisis with Duff suspended, Edgar on leave, Mee out with a hamstring problem and Long suffering from a groin strain. In the end, Dyche made just two changes to the starting eleven that lined up at Molineux a week last Saturday. Indeed the starting eleven was a strong line up with no attempt to blood any youngsters or radically change formation and tactics. Long was proclaimed fit so he replaced the suspended Michael Duff and lined up in the centre of the back four with Shackell. Once again, Dyche decided to ditch the widemen with Wallace and Stanislas back on the bench. Stock replaced Edgar playing in front of the back four and Ings, Paterson and Vokes led the attack. Howieson and Hewitt also made the bench so at least there was some attempt to consider the young guns. The line-up in summary was as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, McCann, Marney, Stock, Paterson, Vokes, Ings
Subs: Jensen, O'Neill, Wallace, Stanislas, Bartley, Howieson, Hewitt<
Full Match Report
Burnley seemed to struggle in the early stages of this game with Ipswich looking the brighter of the two teams. There was an early scare for the Clarets in the second minute when from a corner taken by Anthony Wordsworth, Patrick Kisnorbo headed just over the bar. The game certainly had an end-of-season, nothing to play for feel about it with both sides struggling to entertain. Burnley created few chances and seemed to be struggling with their passing game. It was fast becoming a dull, lifeless match and during the first twenty minutes only one attempt from Vokes gave Clarets fans anything to cheer about. His header though was well off target. Danny Ings tried his luck with a 25 yard attempt in the 25th minute but it failed to test the Ipswich keeper, Loach. Ipswich were not exactly firing on all cylinders either although they did come close to opening the scoring before Shackell came to the rescue to get in a timely tackle to deny Daryl Murphy. That was it really for the first half! A poor opening 45 minutes with no team really looking up for it, indeed most of the Burnley players looked like they had their minds on other things such as holidays!
Dyche did not make any changes for the second half and to be honest the pace of the game did not improve until the 54th minute after the gaffer had seen enough and decided to bring on Junior Stanislas for holding midfielder, Brian Stock. It was just what the doctor ordered with Burnley suddenly waking up and starting to at long last test the Ipswich defence. Now playing 4-4-2 with Paterson supporting Vokes up front and Ings and Stanislas playing wide, the Clarets gradually began to take control. Paterson was soon testing the keeper with a 25 yard shot but Loach was equal to it and saved well. Burnley were now fired up though and it didn`t take long for them to break the deadlock just past the hour mark. Chris McCann was the architect setting up Stanislas with a pass. Charging forward the former West Ham winger then unleashed a thumping shot that drove into the top right hand corner of the net with the ball taking a slight deflection on its way. The Clarets new found confidence and energy was now clearly on display and the home crowd suddenly woke up too and began to cheer the lads on. The dull, no atmosphere game suddenly reverted to being an entertaining match. Vokes nearly doubled the lead with a header at the near post and it needed a good save from Loach to deny the Welshman. Ipswich though still had their moments too and a superb tackle by Long left Ipswich claiming a penalty that stood no chance of being given. The Blues though now suddenly seemed revitalised and began to give the Clarets defence a few scary moments. Grant did well to get down to save an effort from Ipswich substitute Jack Marriott after his downward header and with a quarter of the game remaining both sides were now playing some entertaining football with the match opening up and giving both sets of supporters something to cheer about. A low drive from Ings needed another good save from Loach to keep Ipswich in the game but their fate was sealed when Burnley doubled their lead with just two minutes remaining. Lafferty latched onto an Ings corner heading the ball back to the near post. There was Paterson ideally placed to get the final touch and head the ball home from close range to secure all three points for the Clarets. There was a nice touch in the last minute when Jensen, out-of-contract in the summer replaced Grant in goal. Whether this will be the Beast`s last hoorah remains to be seen amidst rumours that Lee Grant too could be leaving the club and joining Derby in the summer. Either way, Jensen in his testimonial year got a rapturous applause from the Burnley faithful and it was a fitting end to the game and the season. So bring on 2013-14 I guess. Hope you have enjoyed our Match Report service and of course we shall return for the new season and also bring you shortened match reports of our pre-season friendlies. Up the Clarets!
Burnley: Grant (Jensen - 90), Trippier (O'Neill - 89), Shackell, Long, Lafferty, McCann, Marney, Stock (Stanislas - 54), Paterson, Vokes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Wallace, Bartley, Howieson, Hewitt
Goals: Stanislas 60, Paterson 87
Booked: Yellow Card for Stock 45
Ipswich Town: Loach, Cresswell, Stearman, Kisnorbo, Mings, Smith, Edwards (Hewitt - 80), Wordsworth (Tabb - 83), Hyam, Murphy, Nouble (Marriott - 61)
Subs Not Used: Lee-Barrett, Chambers, N'daw, Martin
Possession: 54% Burnley, 46% Ipswich (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire)