9th April 2007
The Clarets notched up their third win in six days after beating Cardiff 2-0 at Turf Moor on Easter Monday. This would have been one of the best Clarets Easter periods for sometime had it not been tinged with the sad news of legend,Brian Miller passing away on Saturday morning. There was an emotional one minute silence before kick-off and its credit to both set of fans that they ensured it was complete silence as we paid our respects.
The Clarets team selection was unchanged from the Brum match with the same starting eleven and bench with Paul McVeigh playing just behind Andy Gray in a 4-4-1-1 formation. John Spicer,supersub hero and scorer at St Andrews had to be content with a place on the bench.This was the same starting eleven we had had now for three matches but could the lads make it three consecutive victories?
Cardiff had our former loan, Peter Whittingham in the team and all eyes were on Chopra with Clarets fans trying to forget that chilling match against Watford a few seasons back at the Turf when he banged in four goals against us.
Referee, Richard Beeby, not a Turf Moor favourite, blew his whistle to start the match and Cardiff were the quickest out of the blocks getting a corner in the first 40 seconds.
The Clarets however stunned Cardiff with a goal after only four minutes of play. Johnson, the Cardiff centre back thought for too long in his own penalty area and a rejuvenated,Steve Jones was quickly onto the ball putting a low shot past keeper, Forde into the bottom corner to the delight of the Clarets fans.
This was his second goal in three matches and his fifth this seeason.
The Bluebirds' looked visibly shaken by that early goal until McNaughton tried a 30-yard shot after 18 minutes Brian Jensen however was hardly troubled as the ball went too high.
Beeby, wanting to be the centre of attraction as usual embarked on his first Clarets Yellow Card booking Jones for a foul on Gunter after 19 minutes. He was to get quite a collection of cards by the end of the match, a match which was by no means a dirty game! Gray, Harley, Thomas and Elliott were all yellow carded. 5 bookings for us in total,none for Cardiff. So not an homer then!
That was Harley's tenth yellow card, just as well the two match suspension ruling expired on the day before the match. Gray was probably also sweating. He wouldnt want to miss the Leeds match next Saturday for anything not with the Gray family connections to the Elland Road outfit.
On 19 minutes a delightful bit of skill saw Jones go clear down the left. His brilliant cross was headed by Gray only to see the ball bounce off the crossbar.
Cardiff to give them their due began to put us under quite a bit of pressure at times getting a number of freekicks and corners. The back four held firm though with some awesome defending and we have to thank James O'Connor for a goal line clearance from Johnson after his strong header from a corner on the 30 minute mark.
The whistle blew for the end of the first half and the Clarets were the happier of the two teams being one nil up and not having conceded a goal now in about 330 minutes of play.
There was no change to the Clarets line-up as they came out for the second half and the Clarets fans did not have to wait long for another goal to further shock the Bluebirds and dent their confidence.
This goal was a superb team effort with some delightful passing leading up to it. There were about six passes involving Gray and James O'Connor before Elliott put in a delightful cross to McVeigh who then shot from six yards into the back of the net after 48 minutes.
Cardiff tried to get one back but failed miserably as our defence held firm throughout the match. None of the Cardiff substitutions could change their fortune and all three had been used up by the 73rd minute. Michael Chopra, nursing an injury failed to inspire a Cardiff comeback and he looked fairly underpar throughout the match.
Steve Cotterill changed things around a bit with McCann coming on for McVeigh after 76 minutes. Ade Akinbiyi replaced Elliott after 87 minutes and Spicer came on for Gray after 90 minutes but by then three points were safely in the bag as the final whistle went.
What a difference six days can make, after a winless run of nineteen we have now comprehensively beaten three teams on the trot, reached almost assured safety (51 points) and can now virtually relax watching the relegation dogfight below us. It is now also 375 minutes since we have conceded a goal and we are not only winning but playing attractive,confident football.
One expression will be on most Clarets fans lips after the Easter euphoria-'If only'!
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Thomas, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott (Akinbiyi 87), Djemba-Djemba, James O'Connor, Jones, McVeigh (McCann 76), Gray (Spicer 90).
Subs Not Used: Coyne, Coughlan.
Booked: Jones, Gray, Harley, Thomas, Elliott.
Goals: Jones 4, McVeigh 48.
Cardiff: Forde, McNaughton, Purse, Johnson, Ledley, Whittingham (Thompson 73), McPhail, Gunter, Parry (Blake 68), Chopra, Feeney (Green 56).
Subs Not Used: Alexander, Flood.