Burnley at the Double, Leeds the Way!
Saturday 15th March 2014 @3pm Kick-Off
The Clarets showed their resilience and skill to come from behind against Leeds United at Turf Moor on Saturday and secure another vital three points in their automatic promotion push. Leeds certainly gave Burnley a scare despite their relative poor form and put in a good shift at the Turf taking a deserved lead in the 27th minute thanks to a powerfully headed goal from the dangerous and impressive striker, Ross McCormack. At times Burnley looked careless in defence with the visitors looking good moving forward. Not for the first time though this season, the Clarets stuck to the task and proved again they were not going to be phased after going behind. Burnley pressure lead to an equaliser in the 38th minute when Jason Pearce diverted Kieran Trippier's cross into his own net to ensure the Clarets went into the break on level terms. In the 67th minute, Scott Arfield met Ben Mee's cross to fire home at the second attempt and give Burnley a 2-1 lead; a lead they managed to hold onto despite a few scary moments. Remarkably the 2-1 win ensured the Clarets picked up their first double over Leeds since the 1926-27 season! More importantly though the victory consolidated Burnley`s second placed position in the Championship table and they are now ten points clear of third placed Derby who could only manage a 0-0 draw away to Reading. QPR in fourth now look to be the major threat having a game in hand, but they still remain 10 points behind the Clarets despite their easy 3-0 home win over struggling Yeovil. The Rs play their game in hand on Tuesday night when they face a tricky visit to Hillsborough to play an improving Owls side who thumped Birmingham 4-1 at home on Saturday. Even if they win though, they will remain seven points behind the Clarets by the time the Saturday games kick-off next weekend. The Clarets also have a much better goal difference over QPR which in itself is worth an extra point and it looks like at the moment automatic promotion is Burnley`s to lose! The win over Leeds now means we have gone fourteen league games without defeat having won four out of the last five which is simply stunning form. Burnley face two struggling sides next too. They have a trip to third-from-bottom club, Chariton on Saturday next weekend followed by a Tuesday night game against relegation-threatened Doncaster at Turf Moor. They have an ideal opportunity to really put the pressure on our rivals for automatic promotion and a minimum of four points from those two games should be the target. Can we dare to dream with just ten games left to play? I suspect we all want to but we certainly can`t relax just yet but after every game so far it`s getting a bit more convincing!
Leading Burnley goal scorer and Championship Player of the Year contender, Danny Ings was sadly ruled out with ankle ligament damage following the injury he picked up in the midweek game away to Birmingham. The striker will seek further medical advice next week to establish the length of recovery required. Ashley Barnes therefore stepped up to the plate to earn his first start since joining from Brighton in January. The only other change to the eighteen was the return of Danny Lafferty on the bench. The Clarets therefore lined up as follows :
Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Wallace, Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Barnes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Edgar, Long, Treacy, Stanislas, Kightly
Full Match Report
Wiltshire referee, Simon Hooper got this match underway in front of a record gate for the season. 18,109 fans watched this War of the Roses clash with 3,597 Leeds fans having crossed the Pennines to watch their team. The atmosphere was therefore electric and Turf Moor was buzzing on all four sides of the ground! Sean Dyche continued to show faith in Ross Wallace giving him a second start of the season despite a pretty lacklustre performance against Birmingham at St Andrews the previous Wednesday night. The Scot too nearly rewarded the gaffer with a goal after just five minutes after getting in the first shot of the game but his effort flew wide of target. A similar fate befell David Jones when he curled in a free-kick from the right. Leeds though were also creating chances. Matt Smith tried his luck but Heaton saved comfortably just before an almighty blunder by Jones looked certain to let in McCormack. Jones, just like he did against Blackburn messed up a backpass to the keeper allowing McCormack to pounce and chip the ball coolly over Heaton. It looked a certain goal but thankfully the ball came back off the post to give the Clarets one huge let off! Even then Shackell had to come to the rescue to block McCormack`s second attempt. That bit of luck galvanized the Clarets into action and they began to exert some of their own pressure. The wing play in particular was causing the Leeds defence problems and after 19 minutes, Arfield charged into the penalty area from the left to put a ball across the six yard box before Butland put it behind for a corner. Just eight minutes later though Burnley went a goal behind and probably on the balance of play the visitors deserved to be ahead. Smith at the near post flicked on a long throw allowing McCormack to head home past Heaton to put the visitors 1-0 up. On the half-hour mark, Burnley nearly got on level terms following a corner from Wallace. The ball flew deep to Trippier and he volleyed a pass first time to Barnes but the former Brighton striker couldn`t keep his header down. The equaliser soon came though. In the 38th minute, Marney picked up the ball from inside his own half and went on the rampage before releasing the ball over the top of the defence allowing Trippier to pounce after cleverly getting past his marker, Connor Wickham. Controlling the ball well he then put over a superb cross across the face of goal trying to find Sam Vokes at the near post. Pearce though beat Vokes to the ball but could only turn the ball into his own net through the legs of his keeper. The Clarets were now lifted by their equalising goal and could have made it 2-1 before the break. Vokes picking up a through-ball from Arfield managed to poke it past the advancing Butland but was a little too short of pace to get the ball back before it went out of play. All even then at half-time and pretty much a fair reflection of the game so far.
Neither side made any changes for the start of the second half. Burnley came out looking more determined and they began turn the screw. Leeds though too were still creating chances with Wickham in particular becoming a handful for the Clarets defence. On the hour mark, Dyche decided to freshen things up bringing on Stanislas to replace Wallace and eight minutes later, Burnley were ahead for the first time in the match. The Clarets had already come close when Arfield`s ball across goal was cleared behind for a corner by Butland following some nice approach work from Vokes and Barnes. In the 68th minute though, Ben Mee on the overlap picked up the ball from Stanislas and he pulled the ball back into the path of Vokes. Vokes fluffed his kick but it finished up at Arfield`s feet at the far post. His first left-footed attempt was blocked but he managed to get a second chance and this time using his right foot he made no mistake thumping the ball into the corner of the net to send the home fans wild with delight and silence the loud visiting contingent. The Clarets were now motoring buoyed by their superb comeback and nearly made it 3-1 soon after. This time Vokes set up the impressive Stanislas but the winger could only drag his shot wide. It was going to be a nervous last few minutes with Burnley now holding on and Leeds desperate for an equaliser, throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at the Clarets defence. Burnley had to deal with a succession of corners as Leeds stepped up a gear but it was all desperate stuff. The Clarets still had their moments though and with eight minutes to go, Barnes latched on to a cross from the right by Stanislas only to see his header fly just past the post. Leeds were not giving up though but the three minutes of added time was not enough for them and Burnley held on to gain three more valuable points.
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Wallace (Stanislas-60), Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Barnes (Treacy-93)
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Edgar, Long, Kightly
Goals: Pearce o.g (38), Arfield (67)
Booked: Yellow card for Jones (42)
Leeds United: Butland, Byram, Pugh, Austin, Lees, Pearce, Murphy, Mowatt (Poleon - 66), Smith, Wickham, McCormack
Subs Not Used: Cairns, Hunt, Warnock, Brown, Wootton, Stewart
Goal: McCormack (27)
Booked: Yellow card for Pearce (86)
Possession: 57% Burnley, 43% Leeds (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)