How Did We Lose to Boro?
Saturday 12th April 2014 @3:07pm Kick-Off
A 51st minute goal from Middlesbrough`s Jacob Butterfield was enough to seal all three points for the visitors and ensure Burnley`s hoped for automatic promotion celebrations would be put on hold for a bit. There was far more to it than that though and you just have to wonder how we didn`t get something from this game. In terms of possession we had nearly 70% of it and seemed to be permanently camped in their half for most of the game but no matter what we did we simply couldn`t score. Boro on the other hand seemed to just have one meaningful attack and scored from it! The words spoken by Sean Dyche in his post-match interview probably summed up the frustrations Burnley fans felt all afternoon:
'It is a top end performance by our standards, totally dominant, fantastic energy on show and it is incredible the ball didn't end up in their net at some point."
The officials too had a mare of a game leaving Sean Dyche saying after the match:
"Their keeper is man of the match but the officials weren't man of the match. There were certainly two absolutely blatant decisions not given.
'I have spoken to the referee and it always amazes when they say 'it is in your opinion'. I have looked at it 47 times on my laptop so I don't know how it is (an) opinion, that's what I am flummoxed with.'
Boro will be the only club this season to have completed the double over the Clarets and hopefully this second loss at home all season in the league will not be added to. A Clarets win and Derby dropping points on Saturday would have ensured celebrations in the streets of Burnley. In the end we wouldn`t have been celebrating promotion had we won anyway since third-placed Derby easily disposed of nine-men Huddersfield 3-1 at Pride Park to move to within 8 points of the Clarets with four games and twelve points still to play. Just to make the miserable afternoon even worse, fourth placed QPR had already beaten Nottingham Forest 5-2 in the Sky Sports early kick off game. The Rs are now ten points behind so the pressure is still on the Clarets to do the business in what will now most certainly be a nervous end to the season for Burnley fans especially if we fail to pick up enough points against Blackpool away and Wigan at home over the Easter period.
Sam Vokes was the only member of the squad sidelined for this clash and as we all know he won`t feature again this season after picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury and undergoing successful surgery on his knee last Thursday. Sean Dyche made one change to the starting eleven that faced Barnsley in midweek. Kieran Trippier returned at right back replacing Chris Baird who had to be content with a place on the bench. Junior Stanislas too had recovered from his tight hamstring problem and was one of three wingers named on the bench along with Wallace and Treacy. We lined-up therefore as follows:
Heaton, Tripper, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly, Marney, Jones, Arfield, Barnes, Ings
Subs: Cisak, Long, Baird, Edgar, Treacy, Wallace, Stanislas
Full Match Report
The game kicked-off at 3:07pm in remembrance of the Hillsborough disaster 25 years ago and even the one minute silence was disappointingly spoilt by a contingent of the away fans leading to booing by the home fans and there was additional crowd trouble in the away end later on with the stewards getting involved and evicting one or two fans. Dean Whitestone eventually got the match underway on a pretty, miserable cold and soon to be wet Spring day and it was a rather even game in the first few minutes. Neither side created any meaningful chances in this opening spell. Burnley came close though in the 18th minute, Trippier from just inside the Boro half putting over a superb cross to find Ings at the back post with nobody picking him up. Ings hit the ball on the volley but mistimed his shot sending the ball over the bar. Lee Tomlin at the other end shortly after saw his shot deflected just wide of target. Michael Kightly had chance to swear at the woodwork in the 20th minute when his looping header at the far post from a Mee cross flew back across the goal only to hit the bar. Ashley Barnes was there to try his luck from the rebound but he shot over. The Clarets by now were pressing and putting the visitors under pressure. In the 26th minute, Marney put Ings clear and after charging towards the six yard box he returned the favour trying to slip the ball back to Marney. Nathaniel Chalobah though intercepted the ball to concede a corner. Boro still had their moments always seeking to catch the Clarets out on the break. In one counter-attack, Albert Adomah crossed the ball over to the near post only for Danny Graham to shoot over the bar. Arfield and Ings attempted a couple of half-chances with the end of the first half approaching but it was the visitors who finished the half the stronger. Heaton saved a shot from Graham on the edge of the box to concede a corner and he then came to the rescue again tipping over a shot from Butterfield. Two minutes before the break, Ledesma`s attempt flew inches wide and both sides went into the break with the stalemate still intact.
The Clarets came out for the second-half charged up and nearly got their noses up within five minutes from the re-start. Kightly was played in by Marney on the edge of the box and the winger put a dangerous ball across the goal testing the Boro defence. The ball was intercepted leading to a goal-line melee before the visitors managed to clear the ball. Disaster though struck for the Clarets in the 51st minute when the home side was caught out by a counter-attack. Tomlin picked up the cleared ball and from the half-way line showing both strength and pace charged towards the edge of the box shaking off a few defenders along the way. A nutmeg then set up Butterfield and he slotted home to put the visitors a shock 1-0 up. It nearly got far worse for the Clarets when just four minutes later Tomlin`s curling shot flew just wide of the post. Burnley, not for the first time this season, were not going to let their heads drop and now went on the rampage for most of the remaining half. It was a procession of missed chances for the Clarets as frustrations grew and our luck became questionable. In the 56th minute, Trippier cut inside before seeing his shot go over and then a few moments later Ings header flew over from a corner. The Boro defence now really had their backs to the wall as Burnley stepped up a gear. Shackell looked certain to score after getting in a strong header from yet another corner but Graham on the line cleared the danger. Boro keeper, Dimi Konstantopoulos then came to the rescue to deny Barnes. He had latched onto a cross from Duff only to see his header well-saved by the keeper. The Greek keeper was certainly being kept busy now and two minutes later he was again called into action, this time tipping over a Trippier free-kick. In the 79th minute, yet another free-kick, this time by Jones met a similar fate with the keeper once more saving the day. Clarets fans were now strongly sensing this was not going to be our day. The keeper was playing a blinder and now it was substitute, Junior Stanislas who would be denied. The winger`s shot was kept out by the keeper and then Barnes could only drag the rebound wide. Shortly after a low cross was then intercepted by Jonathan Woodgate and the ball flew wide. Our other substitute winger, Ross Wallace was also frustratingly denied by the in-form keeper. It just was not going to be for the Clarets and even during the four minutes of added time, the frustration continued when Ben Mee saw his header cleared by the defence. Oh well, we still have an eight point cushion over Derby but after the Boro game it`s incredulous how we didn`t manage to make the gap wider.
Burnley: Heaton, Tripper, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly(Wallace-80), Marney, Jones, Arfield (Stanislas-80), Barnes, Ings
Subs Not Used: Cisak, Long, Baird, Edgar, Treacy
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Adomah, Ledesma, Ayala, Chalobah, Woodgate, Whitehead, Leadbitter, Tomlin (Williams - 82), Graham (Main - 90), Butterfield (Varga - 72)
Subs Not Used: Steele, Morris, Jackson, Atkinson
Goals: Butterfield 51
Booked: Red Card for Ayala (90+5-second bookable offence) Yellow Cards for Whitehead (78) and Ayala (90+4)
Possession: 68% Burnley, 32% Middlesbrough (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)