20th February 2007
This was a heartbreaking match, I am normally a very positive person, but Im hurting this morning. It was not so much the defeat as the manner of the defeat. Nobody could criticise the team based on that performance where they dominated the game throughout only to fall to a freakish own goal by McGreal in the second half. This was a game that saw the Clarets pile on the pressure before and after the own goal and at least seven of the players would have rated a score of 7-9 in this match. Its probably because our strike pairing did not feature in those seven, that the result went the way it did. It has to be said that both Ade Akinbiyi and Andy Gray continue to be shadows of their former selves at the moment and this needs to be addressed quickly if we are to reverse our current plight. This was a match though in which again our corner count was in double figures, and again a match where we couldnt score from any of them and although we came close on several occasions,you could just sense this was not going to be our night. When you are down on your luck, poo happens and it dropped off the muckwagon in ample quantities in this match.
Both Caldwell and Thomas started in the back four with Caldwell being named Captain. We now know this will be a permanent change and if Thomas was disappointed, he didnt show it probably putting in his best performance for the Clarets in this match. Duff was dropped to the bench to accommodate the pairing, probably because of a slight knock he picked up in the last Wolves match.
The team lined up as follows:
Coyne, Harley, Thomas, McGreal, Caldwell, Elliott, Gudjonsson, McCann, J O'Connor, Gray, Akinbiyi.
Subs: Djemba-Djemba, Duff, Lafferty, G O'Connor, Jones .
Mike Dean blew for the start of the match and for the first few minutes both teams looked lacklustre with the Clarets not looking comfortable. They soon however settled and came close to scoring on 15 minutes when Gray headed wide. James O'Connor also had a golden opportunity to score a few minutes later following a McCann header from an Elliott cross. He should really have shot first time rather than try and chest it down which allowed Patrick Kisnorbo to recover ground and block his attempt.
By this time the Clarets were dominating the game and Leicester did not have an attempt on goal until 26 minutes when Iain Hume forced an excellent save from Danny Coyne. This was one of many good saves Coyne would make during the match. The Clarets had a couple more chances but the teams went in 0-0 at halftime.
Steve Cotterill made no changes to the team at halftime and the Clarets continued to put together some exciting play with good passing.
Caldwell was looking effective at both ends of the field. He had a great volley attempt from Gudjonsson's corner via an Ade Akinbiyi deflection.Caldwell then ran back to defence making a perfect tackle to prevent Levi Porter from scoring.
Steve Cotterill made his first substitution when Jones came on for Elliott in the 66th minute but disaster struck two minutes later
On 68 minutes a bucket-load of manure fell off the lorry!
John McGreal could not get out of the way of a Wayne Thomas goal line clearance and it bounced off him into the net for a tragic own goal.
How would this now affect the confidence of the players? Would their heads go down? No,they didnt and they really deserve all our applause for not folding at this point after all their previous pressure and terrible misfortune.
Cotterill after the goal freshened up spirits and stamina with a double substitution with Kyle Lafferty and Eric Djemba-Djemba replacing Harley and Gudjonsson respectively.
The Clarets continued to pile on the presure but all credit to Leicester their defence withstood it all.
Lafferty and Caldwell came close but you just sensed that yet again this was not going to be our night and as the final whistle blew ,you could only feel sorry for both team and manager. The truth remains however that we are now in a precarious position. We thankfully only dropped one place to 16th and enough of the lower clubs lost to ensure we are still seven points clear of the relegation zone. But with a tricky match against Colchester away next and an awful April fixture list of games to contend with, we just have to break this awful run somehow. Its now 14 matches,13 in the League without a win and everybody concerned with the club I would think are finding it difficult to avoid mentioning the R-word! The fans certainly are and we are all hurting bigtime!
Burnley: Coyne, Harley (Lafferty 70), Thomas, McGreal, Caldwell, Elliott (Jones 66), Gudjonsson (Djemba-Djemba 70), McCann, J O'Connor, Gray, Akinbiyi.
Subs Not Used: Duff, G O'Connor
Leicester: Henderson, Maybury, Kisnorbo, McAuley, Johansson, Yeates (Hughes 46), Johnson, Jarrett, Porter (Stearman 82), Horsfield, Hume (Hammond 61).
Subs Not Used: Logan, Kenton
Booked: Kisnorbo 43, Hughes 73
There were seven players who could have been considered for this award-
Coyne,Elliott,Thomas,Caldwell,Lafferty,McCann and James O'Connor.
The Sponsors gave the award to Chris McCann but the general consensus amongst the Clarets online community was that James O'Connor shaded it. He had an awesome game as an attacking midfielder.