Point at Leicester not enough to keep Burnley top!
King Power Stadium
Saturday 14th December 2013 @12:15pm Kick-Off
The Clarets came away from the King Power Stadium on Saturday with a valuable point after holding third-placed Leicester City to a 1-1 draw. It was certainly a game of two halves with the Clarets looking somewhat underpar in the first half and lucky to go into the break just 1-0 down. It was inevitably David Nugent who got the hosts goal after the Foxes were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty. He scored from the spot in the 14th minute. Nugent always seems to score against the Clarets and Saturday`s game was no exception. You have to say even though Sky Sports agreed it was not a penalty which you can clearly see on the replay, the Foxes deserved their lead after a pretty woeful display in defence by the Clarets. The rest of the half we were lucky to survive the Leicester onslaught and not go in further behind. In the second half though, Burnley came out fighting, at last showing some resilience and determination. A lot of the visiting fans were still milling about in the concourse when Burnley got the equaliser just 90 minutes from the restart. Ings controlled Trippier's low cross from the right before shooting from close range to score his 16th goal of the season. Burnley were now looking like they meant business and in the end could have won it but that elusive second goal would just not come their way and in the end both teams had to settle for the draw. The early kick-off due to Sky Sports covering the match live ensured that point kept Burnley at the top of the table at least until the QPR match kicked off3pm. It was bad news for Burnley though in the end with QPR beating Blackpool 2-0 at Bloomfield Road to leapfrog the Clarets into the coveted top spot. The Rs now have a two point cushion going into the Christmas period. Burnley are now second with 40 points from 20 games.
It was a relief to hear that Danny Ings was fit enough to play after picking up another knock in the previous game at home to Barnsley and there was a very welcome return for Dean Marney too after missing the last four games with a troublesome thigh injury. Marney was the only change to the starting eleven and the eighteen looked pretty familiar as follows :
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Marney,Jones, Kightly , Vokes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Stock, Treacy, Stanislas
Full Match Report
Burnley looked very nervous from the start of this game with Leicester starting the far brighter of the two teams. The Foxes determined to put their two recent defeats on the bounce behind them were soon putting the Clarets on the back foot and creating the early chances. As early as the second minute, it required an impressive double block from Trippier to deny Lloyd Dyer. A 20 yard effort from Anthony Knockaert then gave the 840 travelling Clarets fans the jitters until Heaton saved the day after finding himself in the perfect position. The Foxes pressure continued with Burnley unable to string two decent passes together and by the 14th minute we were 1-0 down albeit under somewhat controversial circumstances. A poor defensive blunder by Shackell initially led to Burnley losing possession. Luke Vardy found himself in the box being chased down by both Ben Mee and Jason Shackell. Without any contact seemingly being made, Vardy stumbled to the ground and the referee pointed to the spot. The replay on Sky confirmed it was not a penalty but Burnley paid the price with David Nugent taking the spot kick and slotting home to put the Foxes 1-0 up. To be honest it was nothing less than the Clarets deserved based on their lacklustre performance so far and Leicester`s dominance. Burnley`s first chance in this game did not come until the 26th minute. Trippier put over a right wing cross and Ings then beat Foxes keeper, Kasper Schmeichel with a flicked header but the ball stubbornly hit the foot of the upright and bobbled away to safety. If Clarets fans were hoping that first real attack would spur their team into action they would be sadly disappointed with the Foxes continuing to turn the screw. Four minutes before half-time, the Foxes should have doubled their lead and it all started with Nugent looking suspiciously offside! The referee, who was annoying the Clarets fans big-time by now, again did not do himself any favours by not pulling up play allowing the former Burnley loan striker to square the ball to Vardy. Thankfully after making his way into the box his shot flew wide of target after trying to cut the ball back across Heaton. He should have done better and he knew it after falling to his knees in anguish at the miss! It was the Clarets though who had the last say of the half suggesting the second half might hold more for the visiting team. In stoppage time, Trippier latched onto his own blocked free kick to feed Ings who turned to fire across Schmeichel only to see the ball fly wide of target. It was a half though for Clarets fans to forget and one that gave plenty of food for thought for Sean Dyche. Could he plot a recovery? We would certainly have to play far better in the second half if he was.
Burnley did not make any changes for the start of the second-half perhaps surprisingly after such a poor first half performance but we need not have worried because within 90 seconds from the restart we had equalised. Kightly set up Trippier and the full back`s low cross fooled everybody before the ball fell at Ings feet. Some nice control allowed the hotshot striker to slot the ball home with some ease and it kind of took everybody by surprise not least the visiting fans who couldn`t believe the improvement in performance so early from the restart. In fact some fans not that eager to get back for the game after such a jittery first half display missed the goal altogether and will now probably regret not getting back quick enough from the concourse. The Clarets were now in control for the first time in the match and nearly got their noses in front just six minutes after getting the equaliser. A poor back pass allowed Vokes to pounce with only the keeper to beat. Schmeichel though proved his worth to deny the former Wolves striker after making an impressive one-handed save. The home side though was now clearly rattled, making mistakes and looking vulnerable. The referee`s woeful display continued to rile the Burnley fans after waving away two penalty shouts in quick succession. Vokes looked have got the better of the last man before the Foxes defender appeared to handle the ball. Despite the appeals from Vokes the referee was having none of it and from the resulting corner another appeal was turned down for a foul that looked clear cut or at the very least similar to the penalty awarded to Leicester in the first half. Kightly seemed to be floored as the ball dropped towards him but once again the referee waved play-on. Burnley continued to look the most likely to score the next goal but towards the end of the match the Clarets defence were tested more and more. Their best chance came with 13 minutes remaining on the clock. Trippier was beaten for pace by Lloyd Dyer and charging past the full back he cut back to clip the ball to Vardy. Stooping forward, Vardy made contact with his head just six yards out but thankfully the ball flew wide of the far post. Our defence had bucked up somewhat in the second half and was now soaking up all the pressure Leicester could chuck at them. Heaton again showed his form after pulling off a good parry to deny Dyer after his cross took a deflection. The Clarets held on and in the end were well worth a point after a superb, resilient second-half performance. Not many teams this season come away with anything from the King Power Stadium, the fact we did is all credit to Sean Dyche and his men. Just a pity QPR later spoilt the party to go above us into top spot after beating Blackpool 2-0 at Bloomfield Road.!
Leicester City: Schmeichel, de Laet (Wasilewski - 70), Konchesky, Drinkwater, Morgan, Moore, Knockaert, James, Vardy (Schlupp - 83), Nugent (Taylor-Fletcher - 69), Dyer
Subs Not Used: Logan, Hammond, King, Miquel
Goal: Nugent 14 (pen)
Booked: Yellow Card for de Laet (28 mins)
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Marney,Jones, Kightly (Treacy - 72), Vokes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Stock, Stanislas
Goal: Ings 47
Booked: Yellow Card for Marney (81 mins)
Possession: 54% Leicester, 46% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Andy D'Urso (Essex)