Battering Rams at Burnley`s Fortress!
Saturday 1st March 2014 @3pm Kick-Off
It is often said Turf Moor is a fortress but that has never been more so than recently! In the Championship the Clarets have been unbeaten at home this season and that continued on Saturday with a thumping 2-0 home win over automatic promotion rivals, Derby County. It is almost a year now since we last tasted defeat on homesoil in the league and we have certainly come a long way since that 1-0 home defeat to Hull City on the 11th March 2012! The victory against the Rams on Saturday opened up a five point gap between second-placed, Burnley and Derby who still remain in third spot. The Clarets now have 66 points from 33 games. Our other rivals below us also dropped points! QPR could only muster a 1-1 draw at home to Leeds. The Rs are in fourth spot now nine points behind Burnley albeit with a game in hand. Forest too lost at the City Ground getting thumped 4-1 by Wigan and Billy Davies men are now eleven points adrift of the Clarets with Wigan moving up to 6th on 52 points. It would take some desperately poor form now not to be involved in the play-offs at least, with Reading in 7th spot now 15 points adrift of the Clarets! Our focus though has to be automatic promotion and the five point cushion gives some comfort considering we also play our deadly rivals Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park a week today (Sunday 9th March) and will now remain in second spot no matter what the result of that game. It was the perfect day for the Clarets too with news that next week`s rivals were on the end of a 4-0 defeat against Bolton at the Reebok. That will hopefully dent their confidence ahead of the big derby. That`s that derby though what about the other Derby who must be sick of the sight of the Clarets having been unable to taste victory now over Burnley in 10 attempts. Saturday of course was no exception, the 2-0 win coming courtesy of goals from our two central midfielders. David Jones's superb looping volley gave Burnley a deserved lead in the 29th minute and Dean Marney scored in the 68th minute from close range to make it 2-0. Derby fans were somewhat annoyed to see their leading goal scorer, Chris Martin controversially sent off just before half time for an attempted dive in the penalty area after already having picked up a yellow card. In the end though Burnley thoroughly deserved their win consolidating second spot to remain eight points behind Leicester who had comfortable 3-0 home win over struggling Charlton. The Foxes surely are due a bad run of form and we still have to play them at home, but at the moment as long as we continue to put clear blue water between ourselves and the other chasing pack who wouldn`t take the runners up spot? The victory over Forest last week and now Derby are two massive wins make no mistake about that but next week`s game is the one we all want to win the most. The Clarets are now unbeaten in the league in eleven games but boy how we all want to see that move up to twelve next Sunday. Bring it on!!
As expected, Sean Dyche made no changes to the eighteen and indeed named the same starting eleven for the seventh consecutive game. That means then that we lined up as follows:
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly, Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Stanislas, Wallace, Barnes
Full Match Report
It was record crowd for the season in this crucial fixture with an attendance of 17,285 fans. 2,853 Rams fans had made the journey from Derbyshire adding to a lively atmosphere as 2nd placed Burnley lined up against third-placed Derby. West Yorkshire referee, Bobby Madley got the game underway and it soon became a lively affair with both sides seeking to open the scoring. The Clarets though looked the most impressive in these early stages. Former Burnley keeper, Lee Grant breathed a sigh of relief in the fifth minute after seeing Danny Ings pull his shot wide of target and then Arfield and Ings almost combined to set up a shot for the lively winger. The Clarets were on the front foot now with Marney next up to try his luck with a shot following a reverse pass from Trippier. The ball though took a deflection and flew over. The visitors seemed content playing deep and soaking up the Burnley pressure perhaps hoping to catch the Clarets out on the break. Kightly got the better of right back Andre Wisdom after cutting inside following an Ings pass. His cross would have found Sam Vokes but for some last ditch defending. Burnley though didn`t have long to wait before they took a deserved lead. Kightly again punished Wisdom following the defender`s unfortunate slip pouncing to find Danny Ings. The striker then flicked the ball onto Jones who unleashed a superb volley. The ball flew over Grant hitting the crossbar and bouncing into the back of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up in the 29th minute. Things got a little easier for the Clarets when the visitors were reduced to ten men in the 43rd minute. Derby striker, Chris Martin had been in mischievous mood all afternoon and had already picked up a yellow card before deciding a dive in the penalty area might produce the goods! Picking up the ball from Dawkins and getting past Trippier he then decided to take a tumble inside the box! The referee was having none of it and in quick succession; Martin saw first yellow for the second time and then red. The Rams fans and Steve McClaren were incensed with the Derby gaffer apparently having words with the referee at half time all to no avail.
The Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half but McClaren decided to bring on Connor Sammon and he came close to getting the equaliser soon after the restart. It all started after the ball took a deflection off Ben Mee`s back. That allowed the tall Rams striker to pounce and unleash a powerful low shot towards target. The ball though took a deflection and wrong footed Heaton although he still managed to get an arm to it. It continued on its way though rolling towards the line until Heaton pounced on the loose ball and saved the day for the Clarets. Derby somewhat annoyed at their apparent misfortune so far went up a gear for a time and began to put the Clarets under some pressure. On came Chelsea loan striker, Patrick Bamford for the visitors joining Sammon upfront and he came close almost immediately with a rising drive from a tight angle. Dyche by now though was sensing it was time to bring on some fresh legs so on came Ross Wallace for Kightly in an effort to regain the initiative. In the 67th minute Clarets fans could begin to relax a little when Burnley managed to double their lead from their well-rehearsed corner routine. Jones took the corner with Duff duly stepping over the ball allowing Ings to unleash a shot. The ball cannoned off two defenders before falling to Marney inside the six-yard box and he had the simple task of tapping home. Derby knew it was now game over and although they tried to reduce the arrears, it was not going to be their day and the final whistle brought a great sense of satisfaction to all Burnley fans! Bring on Blackburn!
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Arfield (Stanislas - 87),Jones, Marney, Kightly (Wallace - 64), Ings (Barnes - 80), Vokes
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Treacy
Goals: Jones 29, Marney 68
Booked: Yellow Cards for Dean Marney (79) and Ben Mee (90)
Derby County: Grant, Wisdom, Forsyth, Hendrick, Keogh, Buxton, Russell (Sammon - 45), Eustace (Bryson - 72), Martin, Hughes, Dawkins (Bamford - 61)
Subs Not Used: Legzdins, Ward, Whitbread, Thorne
Booked: Red Card for Chris Martin (43) after second bookable offence. Yellow Cards for Martin (19, 43) and Hughes (47)
Possession: 45% Burnley, 55% Derby County (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire)