Clarets not Unsworthy
3rd November 2007 @3pm
The Clarets came away with a point at Bramall Lane on Saturday in a much more confident performance that could so easily have led to victory.
The no score draw could well have been 1-0 to the Clarets when a late goal by Unsworth was chalked off after referee; Richard Beeby adjudged the defender fouled his man before heading home from a Blake corner.
A controversial decision that prevented a victory for the first time at Bramall since 1973 when Doug Collins and Martin Dobson scored to secure a 2-0 win in the days that cricket was also played on the ground!
That Unsworth goal had it stood would probably have seen off the Blades with the crowd getting on their back and manager Bryan Robson getting a few boos.
However, the disallowed goal seemed to spur them on and Clarets hearts sank in the final minute when a Beattie header found Webber who found the back of the net! Beeby must have been feeling guilty though and this time it was the Blades turn to suffer as their goal too was also disallowed with Beattie being accused of a foul. Both managers were up in arms about their respective sides goals, both claiming no foul!
Still it would have been a complete injustice had we lost this match, having put the Blades under pressure for most of the game. We did however at least secure the point, our first since 1993 as well our first clean sheet in nine outings this season.
The most important facet of this match though was the manner in which the side played. After that woeful performance against Southampton at home a week last Saturday in front of the Sky cameras, a lot of fans feared the worst and maybe a tonking especially after our defence looked so shaky with a total lack of confidence.
The news that Caldwell would be out for six weeks due to injury with Duff already sidelined again gave the fans the jitters.
However we need not have feared with that man, David Unsworth standing in for the Captain The veteran defender put in his best performance in a Claret & Blue shirt and nearly scored the winner as well. He was easily the man of the match for the Clarets and this augers well for the future as we wait for Caldwell to recover.
Unsworth was the only change to the starting line up, joining Alexander, Carlisle and Jordan in the back four. Alexander took the Captain`s armband.
We lined up therefore as follows:
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Jordan, Elliott, McCann, Spicer, Lafferty, Gray, Blake.
Subs: Harley, J O'Connor, Akinbiyi, Jensen, Mahon
The Blades fans of course would have recognised a few of their former players in the sixteen and gave an appropriate reception to Gray, Harley and Akinbiyi. Mr Unsworth was also quite popular. I wonder why?
You could also be forgiven for wondering if Sheffield United`s team had more connections to Burnley than the City of Steel. Former loans Gary Cahill and Phil Bardsley lined up with 'nearly Claret` Luton Shelton and the Clarets have also been linked with Montgomery on more than one occasion
Sheff Utd: Bennett, Naysmith, Bardsley, Beattie, Shelton, Webber, Kilgallon, Tonge, Gillespie, Armstrong, Cahill.
Subs: Morgan, Stead, Quinn, Montgomery, Sharp
It was Sheffield United who had the first opening in the fifth minute. Luton Shelton flicked a ball to Danny Webber but his shot was deflected into the side netting.
After 15 minutes Robbie Blake found Alexander on the right. His cross found the head of Clarke Carlisle but the ball was a few inches too high as it sailed over the far post.
Burnley were now playing a pleasing passing game of football and it was Bardsley who denied Gray a simple tap in from the near post.
Gabor Kiraly though in the 25th minute rescued the Clarets after Gary Naysmith got the better of Alexander crossing to James Beattie. The keeper though managed to parry away his powerful header.
It was Kiraly again to the rescue after 30 minutes. This time the Hungarian rushed out from his goal to deny Webber diving with his legs with the former Watford man rushing towards goal.
It was then Blake though who was the closest to scoring in the first half being within a whisker of finding the net after an excellently taken 35-yard free kick. The ball though curled into the side netting.
That was it for the first half though and this was certainly an entertaining match for the neutral so far and gave encouragement to the Clarets faithful.
It was Burnley as well who flew out of the blocks at the start of the second half and after only three minutes of the restart Blake put in a cross to the far post to find the totally unmarked, Wade Elliott, but the winger headed straight at the Blades keeper.
Blake in the 51st minute took a quick free kick to find Alexander but the captain`s shot from 25 yards was well saved by Bennett.
Alexander then made a last ditch tackle to deny the dangerous Shelton looking to run towards goal.
After sixty minutes, the Clarets fans hearts sank as another back-four player looked to get a nasty injury. Jordan this time had to be replaced by former Blade, Jon Harley after the former Manchester City player suffered a twisted ankle.
Burnley however now began to dominate play and the home fans frustration with the former Premiership club`s performance began to show as they turned on manager Bryan Robson.
Alan Mahon replaced Lafferty after 75 minutes and then the fun began with two disallowed goals as described previously.
But that was it and a well deserved point came our way as the final whistle went. In some ways this may have even felt like two points lost in view of the confidence and pressure we put them under. The result however does leave us very well placed. We are now 13th but still only a few points off the play-off positions with a game in hand. We have 18 points, with the sixth placed club, Wolves on 22 points. Let`s consolidate against Hull at Turf Moor this Tuesday night, get another three points and plough on.
Great performance from the lads at Bramall Lane and a great relief to many that we seem to have got our confidence back especially in defence despite the spate of injuries.
Sheff Utd: Bennett, Bardsley, Kilgallon, Cahill, Naysmith, Gillespie (Montgomery 63), Tonge (Alan Quinn 63), Armstrong, Beattie, Shelton, Webber.
Subs Not Used: Morgan, Stead, Sharp.
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Jordan (Harley 58), Elliott, Spicer, McCann, Lafferty (Mahon 75), Gray, Blake.
Subs Not Used: Jensen, James O'Connor, Akinbiyi.
Ref: Richard Beeby (Northamptonshire