Six Goals Shared in Loftus Road Thriller!
Saturday 1st February 2014 @12:15pm Kick-Off
The Clarets shared the spoils with QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday picking up a well earned point in a six goal thriller. The early kick off game was covered live by Sky Sports and what an entertaining match it would prove to be for the neutrals watching the action. The billing of third-placed Burnley versus second-placed QPR lived up to expectations with end-to-end action leading to a total of six goals with three in each half! The hosts took the lead as early as the 7th minute but by the 25th minute the Clarets were level thanks to well-taken Danny Ings goal. QPR who had the edge in the first-half made it count in the 34th minute when once again they got their noses in front to lead 2-1 at half time. Burnley though came out with all guns blazing in the second half and over an eight minute spell were suddenly leading 3-2 thanks to a brace of goals from Sam Vokes. We just couldn`t hang on though and the hosts equalised in the 79th minute to make the final score 3-3. All Clarets fans would have taken a point ahead of this game and we should not underestimate this performance which at times was simply sublime. The ultimate compliment came from QPR gaffer, Harry Redknapp in his post-match comments. He openly admitted Burnley were a good team led by a good young manager and after this excellent performance how can we disagree? It is just a pity, Leicester once again won to pull further ahead. The Foxes are now 13 points clear of the Clarets albeit having played a game more and look unstoppable at the moment. QPR remain second three points ahead of third-placed Burnley who now have 53 points from 28 games. The worry for Burnley is that both Derby and Forest are both now within spitting distance in fourth and fifth place. It could have been worse for the Clarets with Derby leading 3-2 away to Birmingham but on-loan Manchester United striker Federico Macheda's late goal rescued a draw in the 90th minute to keep the Rams in fourth spot, one point behind Burnley. Forest though beat struggling Yeovil 3-1 at the City Ground to move to within three points of the Clarets. It`s certainly all hotting up for a battle royale for those two automatic promotion slots!
Sean Dyche named the same starting eleven as the one that faced Brighton at home in midweek. Keith Treacy picked up a neck injury missing out against the Seagulls and he remained sidelined again on Saturday with Kightly keeping his place in the starting eleven. Ross Wallace though made his first appearance in the matchday squad since undergoing surgery to fix a 'wear and tear` injury to his knee back in August. He was named on the bench. Danny Lafferty was also back in the eighteen after missing out against Brighton at Turf Moor in midweek. We lined up then in familiar fashion as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly, Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Wallace, Stanislas, Edgar, Barnes
Full Match Report
Wiltshire referee, Roger East got the game underway and the home fans were soon the first to be celebrating with the Clarets falling behind in the 7th minute thanks to a goal from debutant new loan signing, Kevin Doyle. Tom Heaton had just turned over a Johnson header at his near post from a Nico Kranjcar corner but from the second corner, Doyle escaped the defence to rise up and head home into the far corner of the net. The Rs were already sensing blood and both Hoilett and Doyle saw further attempts fly wide. The Clarets though began to find their feet and gradually came back into the game after soaking up quite a bit of pressure in these early stages. A Kightly free-kick needed an intervention from Dunne who got in a crucial header to deny Sam Vokes but in the 25th minute Burnley got the equaliser they were seeking. Harry Redknapp had clearly done his homework on Kieran Trippier deciding to put two left backs on him in an attempt to stop his trademark runs and crossing threat! Benoit Assou-Ekotto was playing in front in Armand Traore to try and thwart the Clarets right back but it all fell to pieces when Trippier taking a quick throw in received the ball back from Marney to put over a sublime cross into the danger area. There was hotshot, Danny Ings to volley the ball home and notch up his 22nd goal of the season. It didn`t take long though for QPR to regain the lead, in fact just eight minutes. It came from a left wing corner to the near post. The ball was flicked on to find Richard Dunne ideally placed and his volley flew high into the top corner of the net. The Clarets never give up though these days and just before half time Kightly might have done better had his second touch from a cleverly worked pass from Ings not allowed the QPR defence to close him down after being put clear. The home side though went into the break ahead and probably on balance deserved their 2-1 lead.
Burnley unchanged came out with all guns blazing in the second half. Attacking right from the re-start, Duff at the far post just failed to make contact on the ball from a Trippier free kick but just nine minutes later, Burnley got the equaliser they so richly deserved in style. The move this time was started by Scott Arfield on the right who released the ball inside to find Marney. Kightly then picked up the former Hull midfielder`s pass to target Sam Vokes, one of three Burnley players in the box. Vokes running forward prodded the ball home to shock the home contingent and make it game on again. What a game it would be too when 1,400 Clarets fans were sent wild again eight minutes later with the Clarets taking the lead for the first time! Just before that though Ings had already come close to getting his second after latching onto an Arfield cross, following some nifty approach work from Trippier. Ings though charging forward could this time only clip the ball over the bar. In the 62nd minute though, with the Clarets now taking the game to the hosts the dominance finally paid off. Ings pounced to rob Assou-Ekotto of possession on the by-line after chasing a pass from Marney. He then had the presence of mind to coolly release the ball to his strike partner rather than go for glory himself and it paid off. Vokes was there to slot the ball home in front of an empty net sending the visiting fans delirious with joy! With the last fifteen minutes of the game approaching, Burnley nearly went further ahead. This time Vokes turned provider for Ings from a flick on. Ings was in the clear and charging down the right got the better of the retreating defender to cut inside and set up a left footed shot. His attempt though frustratingly just curled wide of the far post. That was a let off for the hosts and it gave them the momentum to get back in the game with eleven minutes of play remaining when they drew level to make it 3-3. Ben Mee managed to cut out a cross from Hoilett but the ball took a lucky bounce and this time the low cross from Hoilett found substitute, Maiga who needed just the simplest of touches to slot home and spoil the Burnley fans` day. Even then Burnley nearly nicked all three points with the last kick of the game. Junior Stanislas who had replaced Kightly in the 85th minute tried to lob Green but the audacious attempt stubbornly bounced just wide of the post and that was it Burnley had to settle for a point as this exciting, thrilling and pulsating game finally came to an end.
Queens Park Rangers: Green, Onuoha, Assou-Ekotto, Kranjcar, Dunne, Hill, Phillips (Hoilett - 6), Barton, Doyle, Johnson (Maiga - 68), Traore (Henry - 83)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Carroll, Hughes, Zamora
Goals: Doyle 7, Dunne 34, Maiga 79
Booked: Yellow Cards for Doyle (41) and Dunne (47)
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Stanislas - 85), Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Wallace, Edgar, Barnes
Goals: Ings 25, Vokes 54, 62
Booked: Yellow Card for Kightly (15)
Possession: 54% QPR, 46% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Roger East (Wiltshire)