Leeds to Nowhere!
14th April 07
The Clarets short winning streak of three consecutive matches and 375 minutes without conceding a goal came to an end against Leeds at Elland Road yesterday. A Matt Heath goal in the 21st minute was enough to give Leeds all three points and ease their relegation worries.
In a nervous, tense match Leeds practically dominated the first half and the Clarets hardly threatened throughout the match. Our engine room of James O'Connor and Eric Djemba-Djemba, so awesome of late seemed to have an average game by their own standards and the most disappointed player on the pitch was probably Andy Gray who failed to make an impression in the game and never really looked like scoring. Paul Mcveigh, who has been the catalyst of late linking up well with Andy Gray also seemed to be off the boil and all Clarets fans will be hoping the defeat is just a blip. The defeat still leaves us in 17th place on 51 points, which is probably enough although we are still not technically safe. There were enough teams below us that didnt get points on the table yesterday and two teams in the bottom three,Southend (barring a disaster on goal difference) and Luton will be unable to catch us. Safety will be assured if we get the three points in our game in hand against Norwich at Turf Moor on Tuesday night. The 54 points if achieved will require Leeds, third from bottom and Hull,fourth from bottom to both win their last three matches to match that points tally and we have a vastly superior goal difference to both of them (Plus one compared to minus 16 to 23)
We can probably still relax therefore but lets make sure next Tuesday night and with 54 points on the table equal last season's tally with three matches to play.
Right so lets get back to the Leeds match!
All the ticket allocation of 1.700 for the Clarets fans had been taken up providing some atmospheric tension for the match.
The Clarets came out at Elland Road in their familiar Claret & Blue kit, lining up with the same eleven that had started the previous three matches and with the same bench for the third consecutive match:
Jensen, Harley, Thomas, Caldwell, Duff, Jones, Djemba-Djemba, J O'Connor, Elliott, McVeigh, A Gray.
Subs: Coyne, Spicer, Coughlan, Akinbiyi, McCann
Former Clarets idol, Robbie Blake was in the starting line-up for Leeds whilst another ex-Claret, Ian Moore was named on the bench but was not to feature in the game.
Dangerman, David Healy had the additional responsibility of being Captain for Leeds in this match thanks to a five-match suspension for 15 yellow cards handed out to normal club captain, Jonathan Douglas. The latter's season was now over and he will be wondering which division his team will be playing in next season as the relegation battle hots up.
Steve Tanner, who now also has Premiership experience was the referee for the day as he blew to start the match.
Leeds were out of the blocks first by a mile and looked hungry for a win putting the Clarets under considerable pressure in the first 20 minutes of this match. Jensen had made a save from a Healy shot after only 4 minutes and the pressure continued with a corner after 8 minutes following a Thomas clearance.
The Clarets had their first real chance after 15 minutes but McVeigh messed up a cross that would have seen Andy Gray, who was unmarked free to score from six yards with the simplest of tap ins.
Leeds continued to press and in the 21st minute got a corner. Poor marking from the Alan Thompson corner allowed Matt Heath to rise to the challenge and head in past Jensen. Our first goal conceded in 396 minutes of play but nothing more than we deserved based on the relentless pressure and possession.
The Clarets just simply couldnt get into this match and relentless pressure on our back four and Jensen continued. Only 4 minutes after the goal,Frazer Richardson's shot from 40 yards shook the woodwork much to the relief of the Clarets but the bombardment continued. Jensen made a point blank save on the line from Heath from another corner with about 7 minutes to play in the first half.
The Clarets then seemed to find a bit of form and came into the game a bit more in the last five minutes of the first half. A clever pass from Djemba-Djemba put Wayne Thomas clear, but Ankergren blocked to ensure at half-time, their 1-0 lead would be maintained.
The Clarets made no changes for the start of the second half and started more brightly with a free kick and a corner in the first three minutes.
Dangerous crosses from Wade Elliott and Michael Duff came to nothing.
The Leeds fans were probably their most nervous at this stage, fearing an equaliser and a further blow to avoiding relegation.
Wade Elliott with 25 minutes to go came in from the right wing but miscued his shot to the relief of the cheering home fans.
A shot from McVeigh from 18 yards was deflected for a corner as more pressure was put on the Leeds' defence.
The match had not been a dirty game although Duff, Thomas and James O'Connor all found themselves yellow carded by the end of the match.
Steve Cotterill brought on Ade Akinbiyi for Elliott after 69 minutes and five minutes later John Spicer replaced James O'Connor.
There was to be no equaliser though as the final whistle blew to confirm we had lost our first match in five games.
It was clear that on balance Leeds thouroughly deserved their victory and had most of the possession especially the first half. We seemed to have an off day compared to late and maybe things would have been different if Andy Gray could have impressed more in this match and been served better.
Leeds: Ankergren, Richardson, Michalik, Heath, Gray, Blake (Rui Marques 76), Kishishev, Thompson, Lewis, Healy (Armando Sa 90), Cresswell.
Subs Not Used: Stack, Johnson, Moore.
Goals: Heath 21.
Burnley: Jensen, Duff, Thomas, Caldwell, Harley, Elliott (Akinbiyi 69), James O'Connor (Spicer 74), Djemba-Djemba, Jones, McVeigh, Gray.
Subs Not Used: Coyne, Coughlan, McCann.
Booked: James O'Connor, Duff, Thomas.
Ref: S Tanner (Somerset).