We Beat Albion!
23rd April 07
In an eventful match in front of the Sky Cameras last night, the Clarets dented the Baggies play-off hopes by getting all three points in a 3-2 victory. This was despite being 2 nil down after 8 minutes.
This victory now sees us in 15th place on 57 points with a goal difference of plus 5 goals (the second best from the 10th club down plus Wolves in 6th).
The form we are on at the moment puts us in the Top 4 of the performance table. We have now won five of the last six matches,scored 12 goals and only conceded 3.
We are now also well on the way to reaching the gaffer's goal of equalling or bettering our best post-Digital season in 2004/5 when we finished on 60 points. There are only two games left now, a difficult away match to second place Sunderland this Friday (again on Sky) where any points will be a bonus and our final match against Coventry at home. There should be three points at least from those games.
As predicted in our match preview, the gaffer did choose the same starting eleven as the last match against Norwich with Ade Akinbiyi partnering Andy Gray in 4-4-2. Paul McVeigh returned but was on the bench replacing Kyle Lafferty.
This was the full starting line up and bench:
Jensen, Harley, Thomas, Caldwell, Duff, Jones, Djemba-Djemba, J O'Connor, Elliott, Akinbiyi, Gray
Subs: Coyne, Coughlan, McCann, McVeigh, Spicer
WBA decided to play dangerman Koumas with former Clarets midfielder, Richard Chaplow named on the bench.
Chester referee, Mike Jones got proceedings underway and within 8 minutes the Clarets hearts sank as they found themselves 2 goals down with a thumping looking likely!
That man, Koumas rifled in a shot from 25 yards to beat Jensen in the sixth minute although 'The Beast' should maybe have done better in getting to it.
Clarets fans were just recovering from that shock when 77 seconds later it was 2-0 down.That man, Koumas again featured in the build up and when Zoltan Gera crossed Ellington got lucky and his weak header hit Thomas on the arm and the ball was deflected past Jensen.
Dear,oh dear! Would we now fold and be tonked yet again by Albion who also scored two goals in seven minutes in the corresponding game at the Hawthorns last November? Again it was Koumas and Ellington doing the damage!
The Clarets however refused to let their heads drop and started to come back into the game. They were rewarded after only 15 minutes after a strange throw out by Baggies keeper,Dean Keily. There was no pressure but the throw was thrown out into a packed midfield and Duff was onto it like a shot and found Gray on the edge of the box. There was a suspicion of offside, but Gray cooly chipped the ball over the keeper to make it 1-2 and game on!
The most controversial aspect of the match though was yet to come with James O'Connor being the man to suffer. Baggies defender,McShane was involved in a clash of heads with the former WBA player towards the end of the first half. The blow saw James O'Connor fall to the floor unconscious, eventually being stretchered off. Thankfully the player came round in the dressing room and spent the night in Burnley General Hospital as a precaution.
The referee however seemed to over-react and immediately red-carded McShane reducing the Baggies to 10 men. The Sky Cameras clearly showed there was no malicious intent with McShane quite clearly focussing on getting the ball and not the player. Hopefully, the lad will be cleared on appeal but thats football and I suppose the Clarets do deserve some luck after that 19 winless run.
Chris McCann came on to replace James O'Connor
So 2-1 to the Baggies at half-time with the Clarets back in the match and now with an advantage against the 10-men.
Make no mistake though,WBA will always be a danger with Koumas around even if they only have 10 players on the pitch!
The second-half kicked off with no change to the Clarets line-up and the home fans didnt have long to wait to get the equaliser. In the 48th minute Burnley were awarded a corner. Elliott's cross found Thomas who headed down to Gray. His flick was blocked but he spun round to connect and at this, his second attempt, found the net from six yards.
The Clarets then began to turn to screw, looking for that winner and began to dominate the second half with WBA occasionally looking dangerous on the break.
The referee seemed to be collecting yellow cards to add to the red one. Harley,Elliott and Djemba-Djemba all picked up yellows with Gera and Kamara for the Baggies by the end of the match.Richard Chaplow came on for Ellington after 64 minutes but the former Claret never really got into the game and rarely showed any glimpses of talent
Steve Cotterill decided to change a few things around after 72 minutes. Ade Akinbiyi still seemed to be struggling despite his performance in the previous Norwich match and was replaced by McVeigh. Seven minutes later Spicer came on for Elliott.
However, the comeback from the Clarets was complete with 3 minutes to go. McCann got onto Duff's cross from the right. He was trying to head the ball but it found his shoulder with the deflection deceiving the Baggies keeper as the ball found the top corner of the net.
3-2 Clarets with the fans ecstatic including the ones like me watching the match on Sky.
This win should not be underestimated. How many times have we said,one nil down and we never fight back? Well we did it this time from 2-0 down with less to play for than the Baggies. Yes, alright we had a bit of luck with the sending off and maybe Gray offside for his first goal but that's football! It makes up for some of the injuries to the back four we suffered whilst trying to avoid relegation and that Southend 92nd winner.
What a change round in performance this month, not April Showers but April Flowers so far!
Bring on Sunderland!
Burnley: Jensen, Harley, Thomas, Caldwell, Duff, Jones, Djemba-Djemba, J O'Connor (McCann 43), Elliott (Spicer 79), Akinbiyi (McVeigh 72), Gray
Subs Not Used: Coyne, Coughlan.
Booked: Djemba-Djemba 21, Harley 51, Elliott 54
WBA: Keily, Robinson, Perry, Greening, Ellington (Chaplow 64), Gera, Albrechtsen, Kamara (Phillips 76), Koren, Koumas, McShane.
Subs Not Used: Hartson, Hodgkiss, Daniels
Booked: Kamara 60, Gera 81
Sent off: McShane 45
Sky Man of the Match and a brace of goals. Andy is back