1st December 2007 @ 3pm
Into 'The Valley' of Charlton rode the Clarets Sixteen..but this battle was another victory in Coyle's War as we secured our second away win in under seven days. Owen Coyle does not appear to want to take any prisoners either.
Not satisfied with thumping leaders, Watford 2-1 in midweek, we now decided to humiliate promotion favourites and third place club, Charlton securing an incredible 3-1 away win with a brace of goals from Gray and one from Chris McCann.
I dont know what Owen Coyle has provided Cotterill's team with, but they have been completely revitalised in the last three matches and long may it continue. This fantastic result coupled with last Tuesday night's victory both against top-class teams has rejuvenated the spirit of the Clarets fans and it will now be interesting to see what gates we start getting at home matches from now on.
This result leaves us in ninth place but that is not a true reflection of our position. I just wish we had played and probably won our game in hand against lowly QPR a few months back. We would now be sitting in 4th spot.
As it stands now though, we have 28 points only two points behind sixth placed club, Plymouth with a game in hand over them. We just need to start playing convincingly at home now and repeat the form we have had away in recent times . Incredibly we have now had three consecutive away wins and have picked up eleven out of fifteen points in our last five away from home.
We now have three home games out of the next four matches against Leicester, QPR and Preston with a tricky away visit to Molineux. Nine points should be achievable in the three home matches if we continue this form and there will be no need to fear Wolves after beating the likes of Watford and Charlton, not to mention WBA at the start of the season.
I bought a season ticket this season for the first time in 30 odd years, could I really be getting that free one in the Premier League next season? Jammy git,if we do go up aint I?
Anyway back to the game at the Valley yesterday
The team selection by Coyle offered no surprises except maybe that Gudjonsson did not make the starting eleven, with Lafferty selected instead. Joey had to be content with the bench again.
Spicer,Jordan,Caldwell, Duff and Berisha were all out injured and Owen Coyle kept faith with the sixteen that beat Watford in midweek.
We therefore lined up as follows:
Kiraly; Alexander, Harley, Carlisle, Unsworth; Elliott, Mahon, McCann, Lafferty; Blake, Gray.
Subs: Jensen, O'Connor, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Jones.
It was 30 years to the day that we beat Charlton away from home,1-0 with Steve Kindon scoring that day. Could this be a good omen?..oh yes!
Cocky Charlton put out an impressive line-up with quite a few established names and threats in attack:
Weaver; Mills, Powell, Fortune, Sodje; Ambrose, Holland, Zheng, Reid; Varney, Iwelumo.
Subs: Randolph, Bougherra, Semedo, Sam, McLeod.
Novice Derbyshire referee Rob Shoebridge, got the match underway and despite Charlton getting a corner in the first 30 seconds it was the Clarets who then thundered out of the blocks finding themselves two goals up within the first thirteen minutes! Aye 2 GOALS UP!!
After seven minutes of play, Robbie Blake was fouled on the corner of the box and took the free kick. His delivery found the head of Andy Gray.
Andy Gray's header after 8 minutes got a wicked deflection but they all count and even the Charlton tannoy announcement credited the goal to Gray, probably because they were embarrassed to call it an own goal by Danny Mills.
Chris McCann then doubled the lead after 13 mins with a header from 8 yards from an almost identical Blake free-kick as the first goal.
Blake was playing a blinder but he fluffed the chance to put the Clarets 3-0 up after 28 minutes. A far post cross from Kyle Lafferty found Blake only a few yards out from goal but he blasted it over.
Charlton were being totally outplayed with the Clarets on fire but somehow after 36 minutes they got back into the match when Andy Reid gave the Addicks some hope scoring from a volley that defeated Kiraly.
So the Clarets went in 2-1 up at half-time in a very impressive performance but knowing that Reid goal just before half-time would ensure sustained pressure from the home side in the second half and so it proved.
The Clarets came out unchanged for the start of the second half and then had to endure continual bombardment by a re-vigorated Charlton team seeking that equaliser .Our attacks seemed to dry up with the ball seemingly in our half for the first 25 minutes of play in the second-half.. However, Danny Mills had other ideas and decided he would give away a needless penalty for handball after 70 minutes of play following a cross from Wade Elliott. Andy Gray stepped up to take the penalty and put it away in his normal cool style to score his 13th goal of the season and delight the Clarets fans as they read Charlton 1-3 Burnley! Three bloody one? Pinch me.
That was enough to do the trick and take the stuffing out of Charlton as their fans got restless again, started booing and started looking for the exits early. Coyle`s War to beat any side in sight with attacking football was paying off after three battles under his new reign and the Clarets fans with a mixture of excitement and disbelief returned back up North celebrating a victory for the second time in two visits to London in less than seven days.
So here is the conundrum, Steve Cotterill managed to put together what it seems is an all conquering team capable of beating anyone in this division. The trouble is he couldn`t seem to convince them of that and it took new blood to give them a new lease of life. I wonder what Cotts is thinking at this precise moment in time as he contemplates maybe a move to Swindon? Will he be proud of the lads or will he be rueing the fact he couldn`t get them to play with this level of consistency and attacking flair? The true test for Owen Coyle will come I suspect after our first defeat under his stewardship but what a start. I am not sure if its beginners luck or if we truly have someone exceptional in charge at our club. So far the results suggest the latter.
Charlton: Weaver, Mills, Sodje (Bougherra 78), Fortune, Powell, Ambrose, Zhi (Sam 78), Holland, Reid, Iwelumo, Varney (McLeod 85).
Subs Not Used: Randolph, Semedo.
Booked: Varney, Mills, Reid.
Goals: Reid 36.
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott (Jones 90), Mahon (Gudjonsson 63), McCann, Lafferty, Gray, Blake (Akinbiyi 90).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, James O'Connor.
Booked: Unsworth, Gudjonsson.
Goals: Gray 8, McCann 13, Gray 70 pen.
Ref: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire).