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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Burnley 0 - Stoke City 0

Turf Moor

24th November 2007 @ 3pm

Attendance: 11,758.

New Dawn,Old Draw

Owen Coyle's first game in charge and we get a point in a 0-0 draw against Stoke. This seemed to be a match that we dominated throughout without any goals to show for it. So a solid if not totally impressive result for the first game under the new gaffer

It was a pretty miserable day weather wise and after a day and night of non-stop torrential rain and winds, it was pretty remarkable that the match even went ahead based on former situations involving our pitch and rain! However the pitch looked in remarkably good shape and the weather did fair up in time for the start of the game! Probably the influence of John Kettley, who was one of the half-time guests!

This was also of course our 125th Anniversary celebratory match and the lads came out in the special one-off blue&white stripe kit with the black shorts. I had to keep pinching myself and convincing myself I wasnt watching Argentina play(I wish!).

So what of the team and Owen Coyle's first selection?

Well he has admitted he took a lot of advice from Steve Davis ahead of the match but there were one or two surprises. Spicer was absent and we found out this was because he had picked up an ankle injury. Mahon was therefore in the starting eleven. Jordan was still absent presumably because of the injury he picked up against Leicester and Unsworth having returned from the one-match ban was also back in the starting eleven.

He joined acting skipper, Alexander in the back four with Carlisle and Harley.

There was one other surprise named on the bench, with recent out-of-favour midfielder, Joey Gudjonsson recalled to the 16 based on his impressive display during training catching the eye of the new gaffer.

Former Stoke players, James O'Connor and Ade Akinbiyi also found themselves named on the bench.

The team therefore lined up as follows:

Kiraly, Alexander, Harley, Carlisle, Unsworth, Elliott, McCann, Mahon, Lafferty, Gray, Blake.

Subs: Jensen, J O'Connor, Akinbiyi, Jones, Mahon, Gudjonsson

The Clarets fans gave the new gaffer a tremendous welcome as the Turf Moor anthem 'Owen Coyle's Claret & Blue Army' rang around the ground.

So what would the new dawn bring?

It certainly looked promising in the first five minutes of play,with Gray, Mahon and then Lafferty putting in decent shots.The Clarets quickly settled down and got into their stride but without getting that all important breakthrough as the Potters started to come into the match.

Things got a little heated in one spell earning yellow cards for Cresswell and Pugh with Mahon chipping in for the Clarets.

It was Mahon who almost broke the stalemate after 37 minutes with a spectacular 25 yards volley. However Stoke keeper Simonsen managed to got his fingertips to it and put it wide.Robbie Blake was the next to have a go two minutes later but again Simonsen was equal to it.

Stoke appeared to be missing striker Ricardo Fuller with the duo strike force of Mamady Sidibe and Vincent Pericard looking underpar and it was the Clarets who went in at half-time looking much the better of the two teams.

Much the same at the start of the second half with the Clarets unable to turn the sustained pressure into a goal. The Clarets continually attacked Simonsen's goal .Blake and McCann both had efforts saved by the keeper in an exciting first five minutes of the second half.Kyle Lafferty had a great chance on 65 minutes to break the deadlock . Blake beat the offside trap and squared the ball to Lafferty but he blazed his shot over from the edge of the box as another chance went missing.

The Clarets were by now dominating and it was rare to see the opposition in the Burnley half. Fresh legs time after 76 minutes, and on comes Ade Akinbiyi to replace Lafferty raising the Clarets fans expectations for a late winner.

Midfielder,Joey Gudjonsson was then given his chance to shine after 80 minutes coming on for Mahon

That elusive goal nearly came on 83 minutes when a superb cross by Wade Elliott found Chris McCann but his header went just wide of the upright.

Steve Jones was brought on for the last few minutes replacing Blake after 87 minutes

Joey Gudjonsson powered in a long range drive after some nice play from Chris McCann but Simonsen somehow got to it;and it was the Icelandic International again deep into stoppage time who came close being denied once again by the keeper.

In the end another frustrating day and two more lost points at home, but there were many positives to take from this match and the result keeps us in 13th spot on 22 points, five points behind 6th place Bristol City with a game in hand. Owen Coyle seemed pleased with the performance after his first match in charge

'From start to finish we were terrific and on any other day we would have had three points.

'We had a nice shape to the team and the players gave every ounce of effort. I have stressed to the players to be creative in the final third.

'But there was a real energy about our play and I am excited about working with the talent at the club.'

Burnley:Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, McCann, Mahon (Gudjonsson 80), Lafferty (Akinbiyi 77), Gray, Blake (Jones 87).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, James O'Connor.

Booked: Mahon, McCann.

Stoke:Simonsen, Wright, Cort, Matteo, Shawcross, Pugh, Eustace, Delap, Pericard (Parkin 51), Cresswell, Sidibe.
Subs Not Used: Hoult, Zakuani, Wilkinson, Dickinson.

Booked: Cresswell, Pugh.

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

Star Player

Robbie Blake was named Sponsor's Man of the match and on this occasion Vital Burnley FC agree

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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday November 25 2007

Time: 4:00PM


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