Dont Say the 'R' Word!
3rd February 2007
The Clarets continued to be low on confidence in this match where a series of individual errors led to three goals for QPR as they got all three points in a 3-1 pummeling at Loftus Road.
We just cant seem to break this bad spell and the longer it goes on, the more heads will drop and the more confidence will drain away. We have not won now in 10 League games effectively since we lost Andy Gray to injury.
For the Clarets the return of Andy Gray to the bench was probably the best news of the day when the team sheets were announced. The fans were also bolstered by the news that Steve Jones was also fit enough after injury to be named on the bench. The new signing, Steve Caldwell who became a Claret with 9 minutes to spare on transfer window deadline day was also named on the bench.
Wayne Thomas however it was revealed had picked up a foot injury and along with the injured Frank Sinclair,was not named on the teamsheet.
The other surprising news, which in hindsight didnt have any desired effect, was to name Ade Akinbiyi as captain in the absence of Wayne and Frank.
The Clarets therefore lined up as follows:
Pollitt, Foster, McGreal, Duff, Harley, Mahon, Gudjonsson, James O'Connor, McCann, Lafferty, Akinbiyi.
Subs: Coyne, Elliott, Caldwell, Jones, Gray
The game started lively enough and the Clarets seemed to be pressing well and having a lot of possession. Typical of late however, we fell victim to a sucker punch early in the game and in their first attack, Lee Cook scored after only 13 minutes. The goal however could be blamed on an individual error by Lafferty who was caught in possession by Adam Bolder, who passed for Cook to score from 20 yards.
Here we go again, most Clarets fans thought but to their credit Burnley fought back. For the first time in 609 minutes of play, we actually managed to score when on 18 minutes McCann got a deserved equaliser heading home from 12 yards thanks to a delightful cross by Joey Gudjonsson
At half-time therefore, we seemed to be holding our own and perhaps now could press on and get our first away win since Luton in October and any win since Leeds in November.
It just was not to be though, when a team is down and low on confidence, going behind just adds to that rut and in the second half, we went behind again after only 10 minutes play.The first corner of the half found Blackstock rising totally unchallenged to head home the Rs second.
Heads fell again and this time, Steve Cotterill decided enough was enough and on 65 minutes made a triple substitution with Gray,Jones and Caldwell coming on to replace Mahon, Gudjonsson and Foster. The return of Gray had more psychological value than anything else but it soon became clear that all three of the substitutions were lacking match practice and were unable to lift spirits or influence the game.
Rangers continued to look the most likely to score and in the 73rd minute they did just that to ensure 'game over'
Steve Lomas headed past Pollitt from a corner and again a Rangers player seemed to be in acres of space with the defence asleep. Corners seem to be a problem, we cant score from one and now seem to be letting the opposition score from theirs!
The referee, Dermot Gallagher from Oxfordshire appeared to have a good game and let the match flow. The Premiership referee certainly was not card happy with only Lomas booked in the last minute. However, it would have come as a great relief to Clarets fans when he blew the final whistle.
This was by no means a good result. The problems seem to be increasingly related to confidence levels and individual errors rather than tactics and we really need all the new signings plus Gray and Jones to return to full match fitness as soon as possible.
We have to take stock and somehow get our first win since November on the board, hopefully against the Owls at Turf Moor next Saturday.
This now leaves the Clarets firmly stuck in 15th place on 38 points with a game in hand over most other teams. Assuming we win that one against Norwich at home, we would be on 41 points, 11 points off 6th place but only 10 points off the relegation zone. Mention of that R-word is getting increasingly louder by some of the frustrated Clarets fans. Steve Cotterill needs to turn this round fairly quickly before the increasing number of calls for him to go get far too loud! I am not one of those calling for his neck and can see potential in the squad we have got. Andy Gray has returned and can only get better, as can the new signings. Its the confidence that somehow needs to be improved and that will only come with our first win for sometime. With an horrendous set of fixtures in April though when we play virtually all the top clubs, we need to quickly turn this round before that R-word becomes a possibility
Keep the faith
Up the Clarets
Royce, Mancienne, Cullip, Stewart, Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Timoska, Rowlands, Blackstock, Cook.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Rehman, Nygaard, Ray Jones, Smith.
Goals: Cook 13, Blackstock 55, Lomas 72.
Pollitt, Foster (Caldwell 66), McGreal, Duff, Harley, Mahon (Jones 65), Gudjonsson (Gray 65), James O'Connor, McCann, Lafferty, Akinbiyi.
Subs Not Used: Coyne, Elliott.
Goals: McCann 18.