Clarets drop to 3rd after disappointing home draw
Tuesday 3rd December 2013 @7:45 pm Kick-Off
Burnley could only manage a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Watford last night and now drop to third in the table. Thankfully lowly Sheffield Wednesday did the Clarets a favour last night though coming from behind to beat league leaders Leicester 2-1 but QPR convincingly beat Bournemouth at Loftus Road 3-0 to leapfrog the Clarets and move up to second. Both rival clubs are now on 38 points from 18 games, two more than the Clarets on 36. If ever there was a game that highlighted the deficiencies in the squad this was it with three key players missing and Sean Dyche forced to name three young guns on the bench. With Duff suspended and both Marney and Ings out injured, Burnley adopting a 4-1-4-1 formation struggled to stamp their authority on this game and looked very vulnerable at times to Watford on the break despite dominating possession. This was probably a point for the visitors that saved Gianfranco Zola`s skin after no win for the Hornets in six games although it might only be a temporary stay of execution. On the negative side, the failure to win yet again now means that Burnley have gone five league games without a victory and they really need to bounce back hard on Saturday at Turf Moor against bottom club, Barnsley and get their automatic promotion hopes back on track.
Danny Ings missed his first game of the season last night after picking up an ankle knock away to Huddersfield last Saturday. Ryan Noble must wonder what he has to do to get a start since he is the only recognised striker in the squad after Vokes and Ings and he must surely have been disappointed to not even make the eighteen. With Michael Duff suspended following his sending off against the Terriers for a second bookable offence, Kevin Long stepped into the breach alongside skipper, Jason Shackell in the centre of defence. Dean Marney also missed out again with a troublesome groin injury. The absentees forced Dyche into making a number of changes and adopt a different formation. As well as Long coming in, Brian Stock was preferred to David Edgar in centre midfield and he lined-up as anchor man. Keith Treacy was preferred to Michael Kightly and with Stanislas and Arfield also in the starting eleven it was clear that one of the wingers would be playing a more central role. That task fell to Scott Arfield, who lined up behind lone striker, Sam Vokes in a 4-1-4-1 formation. The bench also had a different flavour to it with Dyche naming three young guns in his eighteen. Hewitt and Howieson joined Northern Ireland U19 defender, Cameron Dummigan on the bench. Cammie, a right back wearing the No 38 shirt was rewarded for his performance against Sunderland in the Premier League U21 competition at Turf Moor recently by earning his first call up to the seniors. In summary then we lined up as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee, Stanislas, Stock, Arfield, Jones, Treacy, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Hewitt, Kightly, Howieson, Dummigan, Edgar
Full Match Report
South Yorkshire referee, Michael Naylor got the match underway and it was the Clarets who started the brighter of the two teams. Burnley were nearly 1-0 up inside five minutes from an in-swinging corner taken by Stanislas. Treacy though simply couldn`t get enough on the ball. The Clarets now took hold of the game and were clearly enjoying the lion`s share of possession despite being unable to make the pressure count. Watford`s keeper, Jonathan Bond though was rarely tested during this spell of dominance. The Hornets stopper however was called into action following a right wing cross from Stanislas mopping up an attempt from Arfield with the ball finishing up in the grateful keeper`s arms. David Jones may well have scored from a low cross by Trippier were it not for a last ditch tackle that deflected the ball for a corner. Shackell from eight yards out then got in a poor header from the corner that flew tamely over the bar with Watford surviving yet again. With just four minutes of the first half remaining, Ben Mee released Stanislas on a charge and from his cross, Arfield stooped forward to head towards target. The ball though took a deflection off Joel Ekstrand forcing Bond to save well at his near post. The last action of the half led to Bond saving a 30 yard screamer at full stretch after Treacy cut in from the left to unleash a powerful shot from distance. The half clearly belonged to Burnley with Tom Heaton hardly being called into action but with the Clarets not being able to make the pressure count, Zola was probably the happier of the two managers at the break.
Neither manager made any changes for the start of the second half and this time it was Watford who gave the Clarets an early scare. A superb volley from Lewis McGugan following a cross from the left wing looked to be on target until Heaton at his near post was alert enough to snuff out the threat. The Hornets were perhaps now sensing that the luck was turning their way with the Clarets getting frustrated unable to get their noses in front. Mee got in an excellent block to deny Murray after the ball fell at his feet in the box following a deflected cross. It was Mee again this time at the other end who nearly opened the scoring for the Clarets after he managed to get to the far post to reach a cross from Trippier. At full stretch though he just failed to make contact and Watford could breathe another sigh of relief. Mee was playing a blinder now at both ends of the pitch despite suffering a cut that required treatment and a change of shirt! His defensive qualities were tested again after Heaton was beaten by an angled, rising drive from McGugan. He was in the perfect position between the posts to clear the danger. Young Steven Hewitt replaced Stanislas with ten minutes to play but frustratingly Burnley could not find that all elusive goal with Watford always looking a threat on the break. Indeed it was the Hornets who came closest to scoring in the later stages of the game. A shot from McGugan deep into added time thankfully took a deflection and flew wide bringing to an end a very disappointing night for all Clarets fans. If you also count the defeat in the Capital One Cup at home to West ham, that is six games now without a win and it is crucial we get back on track soon. There are no excuses now for the Clarets, we simply have to get three points at home to bottom club, Barnsley on Saturday to keep in strong contention to regain the top spot
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee, Stanislas (Hewitt - 80), Stock, Arfield, Jones, Treacy (Kightly - 69), Vokes
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Howieson, Dummigan, Edgar
Watford: Bond, Faraoni, Nosworthy, Cassetti (Pudil - 81), Ekstrand, Bellerin, Battocchio, McGugan, Thorne, Murray (Fabbrini - 75), Deeney
Subs Not Used: Woods, Forestieri, Acuna, Hall, Iriney.
Booked: Yellow cards for Cassetti (58 mins) and Nosworthy (90 + 2 mins)
Possession: 57% Burnley, 43% Watford (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire)