Disappointing Draw against Seagulls at Turf Moor
Tuesday 28th January 2014 @7:45 pm Kick-Off
Attendance: Att: 11,054
The Clarets had a disappointing night at Turf Moor only managing to secure a point against Brighton in a pretty dull goalless draw. The Seagulls clearly came with a game plan to kill the game and succeeded with the Clarets unable to break down their tight defence. It was virtually one-way traffic in the second half but even the introduction of former Brighton striker, Ashley Barnes and a move to 4-3-3 in the 75th minute failed to give the Clarets the three points they desperately needed. The night was made far worse with news filtering through that all three main rivals for automatic promotion had also won. The results last night keep Burnley in third spot but both Leicester and QPR have now pulled further ahead above them. The Clarets have 52 points from 27 games and are now three points behind QPR and we face them at Loftus Road this Saturday making a victory even more crucial if we wish to keep in touch of the top two. Leicester look unstoppable at the moment and secured their eighth successive victory last night beating Birmingham 2-1 at St Andrews. The Foxes in top spot are beginning to pull ahead of the rest and are already now 11 points clear of the Clarets albeit having played a game more. If that was not bad enough Derby came back from 2-0 down at home to lowly Yeovil to win 3-2 and move to within one point of the Clarets. We just don`t seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment and rival clubs for promotion are catching us up or pulling further ahead. Two successive home draws against teams we should really be beating have not helped and we really need to get that killer instinct back before it is too late. It will be a crucial test of our resolve in the early kick-off televised game away to QPR on Saturday and somehow we have to dig deep and pick up all three points to stay in realistic automatic promotion contention.
Ben Mee returned to the starting eleven against Brighton after being sidelined for the last few games with a niggling thigh injury. Sean Dyche however was forced into making some additional changes. Danny Lafferty might have been expected to return to the bench with Ben Mee fit again but he didn`t even make the eighteen. It turns out he felt his thigh during training and wasn`t risked. Keith Treacy was another noticeable absentee. He was suffering from a neck injury and his place was taken by Michael Kightly. Our line-up then was as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Kightly, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs: Cisak, Stock, Long, Edgar, Stanislas, Hewitt, Barnes
Full Match Report
Following one minute applause in honour of Burnley legend, Arthur Bellamy who sadly died this week, the game got underway with the hosts starting the brighter of the two teams. Some delightful passing play down the middle of the park eventually led to David Jones just failing to set Ings free and in the 16th minute, Burnley nearly got their noses in front. It all started from one of their well-rehearsed corners. Kightly and Ings were involved in a clever one-two and the midfielder latching onto an Ings back heel then unleashed a shot from a tight angle which flew off the base of the near post. The ball was still loose though and eventually Vokes pounced with a well-taken shot that needed a defender to head away the danger. Despite the Clarets pressing hard in the first 25 minutes of play, the visitors nearly took the hosts by surprise when LuaLua looked certain to score in the 27th minute after getting the better of Michael Duff. Heaton though had great presence of mind to get in a superb block stopping LuaLua`s progress towards goal with his legs. That seemed to stir the visitors into action and they looked the most likely to break the deadlock with half-time approaching. The score line remained goalless though, as a somewhat frustrating half came to an end.
Sean Dyche made no changes for the start of the second half and now the Clarets were trying everything they could to break down a solid, Brighton defence. Burnley were playing against one of the meanest defences on the road though and it was quite clear the visitors were happy to play deep and defend to the hilt in order to secure a point. A free kick from Jones from the by-line on the left hand side allowed Vokes to get in a header but the ball flew past the far post. Then on the opposite flank, Arfield tried his luck with a rising shot from the right side of the box but the keeper was equal to it. It was virtually one-way traffic now in Burnley`s favour but Brighton`s resilient defence just wouldn`t budge an inch. You could see why the Seagulls have conceded just 10 goals on the road in the league this season, the best record in the Championship! Duff came close to getting a touch at the far post following some crafty footwork by Ings in the box from a short corner to get over a cross but once again the frustrations continued. A distance shot from Jones was inches away from target after flying just over the bar. Vokes then came close after getting between the two centre backs for once to test the keeper following a deep cross from Trippier. Kuszczak though managed to parry the ball away. It just wasn`t happening for the Clarets and it was time to try another tack. With just 15 minutes of normal time remaining, Dyche decided to bring on Ashley Barnes in place of Michael Kightly and change to 4:3:3 formation in an effort to break the deadlock with Ings and Barnes playing alongside Vokes in the centre. Could Barnes open his account against his former club? The short answer would be no but Burnley still pressed for that elusive goal. The Clarets frustratingly hit the woodwork for the second time in the game when a cross from Jones led to Brighton`s Jake Forster-Caskey getting the final touch to turn the ball against his own post. It would have been rough justice if Brighton under pressure for most of the game were to get a late winner but that nearly happened when Orlandi latched onto the ball only to see Heaton once again get in a great block. Burnley had one final chance to break the stalemate in the dying seconds when an overhead kick from Barnes came close but it just wasn`t going to be our night and when the final whistle finally came after four minutes of added time (which probably should have been more) it brought to an end a very frustrating and disappointing match for all Clarets fans! On a positive note, a point is a point and we are still unbeaten at home for the last 11 months in the league! The problem is the other promotion-chasing teams around us are all picking up points at our expense and somehow we need to get back to winning ways and quickly before they get out of sight.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Kightly (Barnes-75), Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Stock, Long, Edgar, Stanislas, Hewitt
Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Upson, Ward, Andrews, Ince, Forster-Caskey, LuaLua (March-79), Ulloa, D. López (Orlandi-67)
Subs Not Used: Brezovan, Calderon, Dunk, Agustien, Obika.
Booked: Yellow Card for Ulloa (90)
Possession: 51% Burnley, 49% Brighton (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)