Draw but No Draw?
10th February 2007
The Clarets managed a point against fellow strugglers, Sheffield Wednesday at the Turf in yesterday's game but this 1:1 draw is unlikely to draw more fans to the Turf! We badly needed three points from this match after now going 11 matches in the League without a win. We have now only managed two points from the last 18 points going begging.
The team down on it's luck and low in confidence just cant seem to play as a team and still seems prone to individual errors. The most noticeable bad performance today came from Harley who never seemed to be there in defence when needed as the Owls continued to punish us down the flank he should have been covering.
Others players continue to struggle through lack of fitness and match competitiveness with Ade Akinbiyi at the moment appearing to be a shadow of his former self. New boy Gudjonsson also appeared to lack sparkle today.
Andy Gray was given the opportunity to start in the match and there were encouraging signs he was getting back to full fitness but he's certainly not there yet.
The team started as follows:
Coyne, Duff, Caldwell, McGreal, Harley, Elliott, James O'Connor, Gudjonsson), Jones, Akinbiyi, Gray
Subs: Thomas, Foster, Lafferty, Djemba-Djemba, McCann
Thomas, apparantly back after injury and Foster were both kept on the bench, giving the opportunity not only for Caldwell to make his home debut but also take the Captain's armband. Caldwell was of course, also Captain at his previous club, Sunderland before having the title stripped from him by incoming new manager,Roy Keane. Caldwell acquitted himself well in this match and was one of the few encouraging signs.The other news filtering through was that Mahon had injured himself during training, with a groin strain now expected to keep him out of consideration for two weeks. Jones however was selected to start despite recent injuries and having to pull out of last week's International for Northern Ireland
The first half failed to produce any goals but there were claims for a Clarets penalty when new Owls signing Lee Bullen clearly handled the ball in the area after 34 minutes of play. We should have known though that the referee would not see the obvious since Burnley are now on an incredible 53 games without a penalty!
Steve Jones also needs to be cooler in front of goal having completely fluffed an earlier chance after good work from Elliott and Akinbiyi.
The second half saw no change to the team and Burnley finally took the lead on 55 minutes to break the deadlock. Good work from Gray and Akinbiyi allowed Elliott to smash a low shot home after Ade Akinbiyi's flick-on. The shot went straight through the veteran Owls keeper, Crossley and bounced into the net.
Typical of late though the fan's delight was shortlived and the Owls managed to get an equaliser only three minutes later when Deon Burton, a major threat to the Clarets all afternoon, headed home from a corner from Chris Brunt.
This seemed to spur the Clarets into action but none of the pressing came to anything and with 15 minutes to go Steve Cotterill made a double substitution with the lacklustre Gudjonsson replaced by Djembe-Djembe and the tiring Gray replaced by Lafferty. A futher substitution saw McCann come on for Jones after 82 minutes.
By then though the match had 'draw' written all over it and once again the fans were disappointed when the final whistle went. In all honesty there had been signs of improvement in a number of areas in this match but the team are still clearly suffering from players out of sorts and not firing on all cylinders. Gray showed signs of improvement as mentioned before, Coyne had a very good game in goal and kept out many attempts and Caldwell kept a cool head and looked decisive in the back four.
James O'Connor was made Man of the Match by the Match Sponsors which surprised many and if anybody I would have given our Man of the Match award to Danny Coyne.
That win will come but it has to come quickly. The point in the end was a fair result in a game which was played in good spirit with only James O'Connor booked. This result leaves us in 14th place on 39 points and now 8 points away from the relegation zone with a game in hand.
Burnley: Coyne: Harley, Duff, McGreal, Caldwell, Elliott, Gudjonsson (Djemba-Djemba, 75), J O'Connor, Jones (McCann 82), Gray (Lafferty 75), Akinbiyi.
Subs Not Used: Thomas, Foster
Booked: J O'Connor 46
Wednesday: Crossley, Bullen, Lunt, MacLean (Tudgay 88), Burton, Brunt, Small (Clarke 88), Watson, Simek, Folly, Spurr.
Subs Not Used: Gilbert, Beevers, Adamson
Ref: N Miller