Back on Top Brings Christmas Cheer for Burnley!
Saturday 21st December 2013 @3 pm Kick Off
Burnley will be top of the League this Christmas after beating local rivals, Blackpool 2-1 in the Lancashire derby at Turf Moor on Saturday. The earlier Sky Sports televised game between our main rivals QPR and Leicester at Loftus Road saw the Foxes come out on top in a 1-0 win so Burnley knew what they had to do come 3pm and set about achieving it! A goal by Danny Ings in the 7th minute set the Clarets on their way but they suffered a setback in the 24th minute when Blackpool equalised. In the second half Burnley never really looked in trouble and a wonder goal from Scott Arfield in the 47th minute ensured all three points went to the Clarets. The victory meant the Clarets leapfrogged both rivals into the top spot. Burnley now have 43 points from 21 games, one point more than QPR in second who are above Leicester in third on goal difference. Things are looking good for the New Year now especially if we can pick up some points in our remaining two games of 2013 away to Middlesbrough on Boxing Day and Wigan the following Sunday. The omens are good for promotion bearing in mind most clubs at the summit of the Championship table on Christmas Day in the last ten years have gone on to win the title.
With no injuries or suspensions to worry about, Sean Dyche was able to name the same starting eleven that faced Leicester in the King Power Stadium a week earlier so we lined up as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly, Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Stock, Stanislas, Treacy
Full Match Report
Wiltshire referee, Roger East got this derby underway and both sides looked charged up in the first few minutes. The Clarets though took the initiative and rocked the Tangerines with a goal from a well-worked corner routine after just seven minutes. Blackpool conceded the corner after a shot from Arfield took a deflection. Duff then dummied Jones low corner to set up Ings who beat Blackpool keeper, Matt Gilks with a low drive from 12 yards out to score his 17th goal of the season. The Clarets though just couldn`t seem to capitalise on their early lead and their goal if anything just stirred Blackpool into action. Tom Ince almost brought Blackpool level within six minutes from the restart after a pretty impressive solo run. Just as he was about to unleash a shot though, Jason Shackell pulled off a superbly timed tackle to deny Paul Ince`s son. The Clarets then had one mighty let off after the impressive Ince had dummied Ben Mee to square the ball to his shipper, Barry Ferguson. Ferguson though made a hash of his attempt from just ten yards out and the Clarets breathed one huge sign of relief. Blackpool though continued to press and they finally got their deserved equaliser from a right wing corner when Cathcart rose highest to plant a header past Tom Heaton from point-blank range. The Clarets had not been beaten at home in the Championship for nine months but Blackpool looked determined now to spoil that statistic. In the visitors` best spell of the half, Burnley`s defence had it all to do. Dan Gosling looked to have put the Tangerines in front just before the half hour mark after side-footing from twelve yards out but Heaton pulled off a spectacular save to get a glove on the ball. In the 35th minute, Heaton came to the rescue again this time turning a 25-yard daisy-cutter from Davies around the post. This was a nervy time for Clarets fans with Blackpool looking the most likely to score the next goal but in the last five minutes Burnley came back at them hard. Ings weaved his way into the danger area and from the edge of the box saw his angled effort beat the keeper but fly just wide of target past the post. Three minutes before the break, Kightly set up Ings with a perfect pass but this time the England Under 21 international`s attempt failed to get the better of Gilks who got down to turn the header round the post. The last few minutes though looked promising for the Clarets and so it would soon prove from the restart.
Sean Dyche made no changes for the start of the second half and within 70 seconds Burnley had regained the lead. Jones picked up a through ball from Arfield and at the corner flag had time to feed Mee. The left back then squared the ball to Arfield who had it all to do on the corner of the box. Looking up the former Huddersfield winger then curled the ball superbly into the far corner of the net with Gilks only able to watch in awe. The impressive winger then nearly made it 3-1 ten minutes into the second half. This time though it was an intended cross but the ball still frustratingly flew of the angle and away to safety. The high energy Arfield was everywhere and from the right by-line he gave Marney this time a chance to get on the goal sheet and he might have done but for a decisive challenge. The Clarets were now totally dominating the game with Arfield in particular leading the charge. A superb cross from the winger found Ings but the striker fluffed his lines and got the angles all wrong with a header that flew just wide of the far post. Gilks then came to Blackpool`s rescue to deny Vokes after getting a glove to the striker`s side footed effort. Four minutes of added time were announced and the Clarets continued to press. Deep into stoppage time, Marney pounced to rob Blackpool of possession before charging forward to release Danny Ings. He was clear through on goal and looked certain to score but a last ditch tackle was enough to deflect his shot over the bar. The final whistle went with Clarets fans now able to celebrate Christmas Day in style knowing their team were once again sitting proudly at the top of the table.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Treacy - 86), Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Stock, Stanislas
Goals: Ings 7, Arfield 47
Booked: Yellow Card for Trippier (68) and Mee (80)
Blackpool: Gilks, Basham, Robinson, Gosling, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Ince, Ferguson, Davies (Chopra - 69), Dobbie (Zeegelaar - 78), Bishop
Subs Not Used: Warner, Barkhuizen, Harris, Blackett
Goal: Cathcart 24
Booked: Yellow Card for Bishop (52)
Possession: 51% Burnley, 49% Blackpool (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Roger East (Wilshire)