Clarets Nearer to Nirvana after Victory!
Tuesday 25th March 2014 @7:45pm Kick-Off
Burnley defeated Doncaster Rovers 2-0 at Turf Moor on Tuesday night to maintain their unbeaten run in the league which now stands at 16 Championship games. The Clarets have now notched up an amazing 26 points from a possible 30 in their last 10 fixtures. The result last night also consolidated Burnley`s position in second spot and they remain ten points clear of their main rival for that second automatic promotion place. QPR are the new team in third spot after they beat Wigan 1-0 at Loftus Road and they now have three points more than Derby who lost 2-1 away to Ipswich. Surprisingly league leaders Leicester could only manage a 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Yeovil in the King Power Stadium last night after a stoppage-time equaliser saved their embarrassment. They still have a game in hand but are now only three points clear of the Clarets. The Foxes of course come to Turf Moor on Saturday setting up an intriguing clash in which a Burnley victory by two goals or more would see them top of the league on goal difference with only seven games to play. Things are looking good but there are still 24 points up for grabs! It`s a tall order though now for Derby to overtake the Clarets being thirteen points behind and even QPR would need to go on an amazing run to beat the Clarets to an automatic place. Whisper this quietly but the seventh-placed club, Nottingham Forest are now 22 points behind Burnley virtually almost ensuring that the Clarets will at least be in the play-offs but we all know how disappointing that would be now.
Doncaster Rovers came to Turf Moor last night with a game plan and against such teams we have struggled a bit this season on home soil. Memories of Brighton and Watford came flooding back last night with the first-half being somewhat scrappy and the visitors at times putting the Clarets under some pressure. The stalemate at half-time though didn`t last long into the second-half in fact just forty five seconds. Burnley were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty after Ashley Barnes was seemingly fouled by James Coppinger although there might also have been a hint of handball. Sam Vokes though said thank you very much and slotted home from the spot in the 47th minute to give the Clarets a 1-0 lead. A lead probably deserved considering we were denied a nailed-on penalty in the first half. To be honest after that goal, Doncaster rarely looked threatening although the game did now open up. It was certainly more comforting though and a relief when Junior Stanislas doubled the lead in the 75th minute after catching out the visitors on the break. In the end then another pleasing three points although there was one bit of bad news which spoilt the party, Dean Marney picked up his tenth yellow card and will now face an automatic two match ban so will miss both the Leicester and Watford games.
There were no real surprises in the team selection. It was known that both Danny Ings (ankle) and Kieran Trippier (hamstring) would be sidelined and Sean Dyche in the end elected to name the same eighteen that were chosen for the Charlton match at 'The Valley` last Saturday. Ashley Barnes continued up front partnering Vokes in the absence of Ings and new boy, Chris Baird made his home debut at right back deputising once again for the injured Trippier. Junior Stanislas also kept his place in the starting eleven. We therefore lined up as follows:
Heaton, Baird, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Stanislas, Jones, Marney, Arfield, Vokes, Barnes
Subs: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Treacy, Wallace, Kightly
Full Match Report
Cleveland referee Tony Harrington got the match underway and it took all of nine minutes before the first real chance materialised for either side with Burnley creating the first shot on goal. New boy, Chris Baird`s low pass found Barnes and he cleverly fed Scott Arfield. The impressive winger though could only curl his left-footed effort from outside the area over the bar but it came close! David Jones shot was then blocked as Burnley stepped up a gear. The Clarets at this stage were looking lively and Stanislas in particular was wreaking havoc down the left flank. A teasing cross from the former West Ham winger led to the on loan Manchester United keeper, Sam Johnstone having to punch away the ball. The visitors though were sticking to their game plan and it almost paid off when Chris Brown after 21 minutes diverted a header from a cross from Mark Duffy wide of target. Burnley though too had their moments with Stanislas in particular making an impression. After cutting in from the left, he let rip with a shot that flew over the bar and then after using his chest to control the ball on the edge of the area, he saw his half-volley saved by the keeper in somewhat of an acrobatic fashion. The home contingent was incensed in the 27th minute when from a Vokes flick-on, Barnes looked to have been fouled in the area after being brought down in the box. The referee was having none of it though and waved play-on much to the dismay of the home fans. The first half by now was becoming a pretty scrappy affair but both teams still had their moments. Burnley tested the visitors` dogged defence with a number of long balls from David Jones, Dean Marney and Arfield but couldn`t seem to create chances from their normally impressive passing style of play. Marney came the closest with a stinging shot that the keeper had to push over the bar using both hands and that was the final action of the half.
Both managers named the same eighteen for the start of this game and both gaffers kept with the same starting eleven for the second half making no changes. Rovers though were soon made to suffer with the Clarets suddenly 1-0 up from a penalty within 45 seconds from the restart. A deep cross from Baird looked set to give Barnes his second goal in as many games until James Coppinger appeared to bring him down at the back post. Sam Vokes is in confident mood at the moment and made no mistake with his spot-kick stroking the ball into the top right hand corner to notch up his 20th league goal of the season and score his second penalty goal in the space of just four days. An offside decision then robbed the Welshman of his brace in the 51st minute. He latched onto the ball from an Arfield pass and thumped the ball into the back of the net at the second attempt only to see the linesman raise his flag. Junior Stanislas by now though was probably having his best game in a Burnley shirt. His wizardry on the left touchline was a joy to watch and then he tried his luck with a curling free kick only to see the ball whizz into the side netting. By now despite only being a goal down, Rovers looked a little weary and shaky at the back. A somewhat speculative volley from Billy Sharp though on the edge of the box after 63 minutes was too high to test Tom Heaton but it made the Clarets acutely aware that this game was far from over. A couple of corners from Jones nearly sealed the visitors` fate but first Duff and then Barnes got on the end of them only to see their attempts fail. The Rovers keeper then pulled off a superb one-handed save to deny Barnes following a pacy counter-attacking move from Stanislas. Relief came though moments later with 25 minutes to go when the Clarets on the counter-attack finally doubled their lead. Rovers had stretched themselves looking for the equaliser and Burnley pounced on the break. Attacking down the right flank, Jones found Stanislas unmarked inside the Doncaster area and slid the ball to him. Junior made no mistake slotting home past the keeper, a goal justly deserved after his impressive performance! The plucky visitors though were still trying despite the uphill battle they now faced at 2-0 down. In the 80th minute, David Cotterill struck the bar from a free kick and then Abdoulaye Meite blazed over the rebound. During the melee though Dean Marney was booked and that meant he was on ten yellow cards and would miss the next two games! Drat!! Rovers huffed and puffed but Burnley were now comfortably in control. A late desperate shot from Brown forced Heaton into a pretty routine save and that was it. Burnley march on with yet another victory and yet another clean sheet! Bring on the Foxes!!
Burnley: Heaton, Baird, Shackell, Duff, Mee, Stanislas (Kightly-89), Marney, Jones, Arfield, Barnes (Treacy-90+1), Vokes
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Lafferty, Long, Edgar, Wallace
Goals: Vokes pen (47), Stanislas (75)
Booked: Yellow Card for Marney (80)
Doncaster Rovers: Johnstone, Coppinger, Husband, Keegan (Furman-82), Quinn, Méité, Duffy (Robinson-70), Wellens, Brown, Sharp, Cotterill
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, McCullough, De Val, Stevens, Ferguson
Booked: Yellow Cards for Méité (42) and Duffy (69)
Possession: 48% Burnley, 52% Doncaster (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Tony Harrington (Cleveland)