Burnley Cherry Pick Up Vital Point Down in Dorset!
Saturday 15th February 2014 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets picked up a point in a pretty dour, scrappy 1-1 draw against Eddie Howe`s AFC Bournemouth in the Goldsands Stadium down in Dorset on Saturday. The stalemate after a rather tepid first half was finally broken in the 51st minute when Rantie put the hosts in front. The Clarets resilience and an earlier double substitution though paid off just sixteen minutes later when substitute Keith Treacy rifled home from a defected cross by Ross Wallace. There were mixed feelings at the end, a point is a point but would it be good enough to keep our automatic promotion rivals at bay? In the end our prayers were answered on Sunday when QPR lost 3-1 at home to play-offs chasing Reading. Burnley remain in second spot with 60 magical points from just 31 games and that now means that the Rs even if they won their game in hand would still be a point behind the Clarets. Leicester, who did not play over the weekend still of course remain in top spot but they are now just seven points ahead of Burnley although do have a game in hand. Derby in 4th spot and Nottingham Forest in 5th were also not in league action over the weekend although Forest did have a FA Cup fifth round tie away to League One, Sheffield United and lost 3-1! Leicester and Forest play each other at the City Ground on Wednesday night this week so virtually any result could be an advantage to the Clarets. Forest are currently six points behind the Clarets with that Foxes game in hand and we play them next this Saturday at Turf Moor. Derby just above their bitter local rivals in 4th spot are currently five points behind the Clarets with a game in hand also and they travel to a resurgent Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night. As things currently stand the good news is that if Derby and Forest win their games in hand this week, Burnley will still remain above them by the time next Saturday`s games kick-off. The Clarets would have to lose against Forest on Saturday to be in any danger of losing second spot. QPR could not overtake the Clarets even if they beat Charlton away on Saturday and Forest would have to win their tricky game in midweek against Leicester on Wednesday night as well as beat the Clarets on Saturday! Similarly Derby could only put pressure on the Clarets if they win their midweek and Saturday games and Forest beat Burnley on Saturday. We have a clear advantage over all the chasing pack at the moment with our goal difference also being worth a point! Burnley have a plus goal advantage of 22 goals, the second best in the Championship, QPR have plus 13, Derby plus 18 and Forest plus 20! Leicester lead the way with plus 24. It`s all in our hands at the moment!
It was business as usual in relation to Sean Dyche`s team selection ahead of the Bournemouth game. He named the same starting eleven for the fifth game in succession and made just one change on the bench after the midweek win at Bolton. The Clarets were back to having three wingers on the bench at the expense of a defender. Treacy returned keeping Wallace and Stanislas company with Danny Lafferty drawing the short-straw and missing out. We lined up then as follows :
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield, Jones, Marney, Kightly, Vokes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Wallace, Stanislas, Barnes
Full Match Report
The adverse weather conditions on the South Coast following an overnight storm at one point looked to threaten the chances of the match being played. In the end though, the pitch remained in perfect condition and Oxfordshire referee, Graham Scott had no hesitation in calling game on! The hosts though took full advantage of the blustery conditions and made the brighter start as the match got underway. Eddie Howe thought our weakness could be handing pace in the back four and tested that to the full after naming the lively Tokelo Rantie and Lewis Grabban in his starting eleven. It was midfielder, Matt Ritchie though who gave Heaton the first test in the 20th minute. His 25 yard effort was well-covered by the keeper though with the ball flying straight into the middle of his chest! A crucial block by Jason Shackell then denied Rantie on the edge of the box a clear shot on goal. The Clarets seemed to be having trouble controlling the ball on the bobbly pitch and created few chances in the first half. With the game deteriorating into a pretty dull, scrappy affair, Burnley simply just couldn`t get into their stride. Michael Kightly should have done better after a defensive blunder put the winger clear along with Scott Arfield in a two-on-one situation. The on loan winger though over-hit the ball and the danger passed. The first half came to a close in a 0-0 stalemate but Sean Dyche decided to not make any changes for the start of the second.
Five minutes from the restart, the hosts broke the deadlock from an Ian Harte in-swinging corner on the right. Rantie got in a low header that found the far corner of the net to put the Cherries 1-0 up. That goal seemed to stir the Clarets into action. Following some nice approach work and perfect passing, Ings had an ideal chance to equalise on the right side of the box but scuffed his shot. It was time for Plan B though and on the hour mark, Dyche made a double substitution changing around his wingers. On came Treacy and Wallace to replace the tiring Kightly and Arfield in an effort to inject some pace into the game. The tactic worked almost immediately and the Clarets were back on equal terms just six minutes after the change in wingers. A Dean Marney back-heel found Wallace on the right corner of the box and the winger charged forward towards goal. His shot though took a deflection off a defender`s boot and the ball looped up before falling to Treacy ideally placed and unmarked at the far post to half-volley home into the roof of the net. The Clarets now scented blood and began to look for a winning goal but instead it was Bournemouth who nearly got their noses back in front following a rare mistake from the skipper, Jason Shackell. Grabban pounced and headed towards goal before unleashing a shot from a tight angle. Heaton though was equal to it, turning the ball away for a corner. The keeper had to save the day again from the resulting corner. Tommy Elphick, the Cherries skipper saw his well-struck header turned over by Heaton. The hosts then had a strong claim for a penalty after Trippier appeared to bundle over Grabban. The referee though decided it was outside the area and instead awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the box. Cherries substitute, Yann Kermorgant curled the ball over the angle and in the end a 1-1 draw was probably a fair result.
AFC Bournemouth: Camp, Francis, Harte, Arter, Elphick, Cook, Ritchie, O'Kane (MacDonald - 45), Rantie (Kermorgant - 70), Grabban (Pitman - 86), Pugh
Subs Not Used: Allsop, Surman, Pitman, Smith, MacDonald, Kermorgant, Fraser
Goal: Rantie 51
Booked: Yellow Cards for Pitman (87) and Kermorgant (90)
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield (Treacy - 61), Jones, Marney, Kightly (Wallace - 61), Vokes (Barnes - 82), Ings
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Wallace, Stanislas, Barnes
Goal: Treacy 67
Possession: 52% AFC Bournemouth, 48% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Graham Scott(Oxfordshire)