Burnley in 7th Heaven!
8th December 2007 @ 5:20 pm
The Clarets continued their impressive away form yesterday at Molineux, notching up their fourth away win on the trot as they defeated high-flying Wolves 3-2 in front of the Sky cameras.
Robbie Blake, Kyle Lafferty and Clarke Carlisle scored in the first half to demoralise the home crowd despite the Wolves managing to get a goal in the 24th minute cancelling out Robbie Blake's opener after 20
minutes. In the second half, Andy Gray helping in defence did a bit of silly shirt pulling in the box to award Wolves a penalty. They duly scored and with 30 minutes still to play began to put the Clarets under immediate pressure to get the equaliser. The Clarets however again weathered the storm and fearlessly started to attack again. No further goals for either side so another three points for the Clarets in yet another breathtaking display of confidence and attacking flair.
Burnley FC, the manager, the team and more importantly the fans are all at the moment in seventh heaven, as we move into seventh place in the Championship!
We now have 32 points from 20 games. The 6th placed club are Wolves and after beating them yesterday we are now only one point behind them with a game in hand. We play that game in hand against QPR at Turf Moor on Tuesday night. Lets hope for an improvement in home form now as we face not just QPR in midweek but also Preston at home in the local derby next Saturday. Both these clubs are struggling at the foot of the table, and its important we stamp our authority in these two matches and secure six points to restore confidence on home soil. Two wins in the next two matches, could see the Clarets pushing for the top two spots let alone a play-offs place. If we had already played and won the QPR match, we would now be in 4th spot only 5 points behind Watford, a team we have recently played and beaten on their home soil!
Things are looking good and what a start for Owen Coyle, five matches, three wins,two draws and no defeats, a points tally of 11 points out of 15!
The gaffer has also had the luxury of being able to select the same team and sixteen now for all his matches including yesterday with the good news that Clarke Carlisle had recovered from a knock picked up in the previous midweek home match against Leicester.
We therefore lined up as follows:
Kiraly, Alexander, Harley, Carlisle, Unsworth; Elliott, Mahon, McCann, Lafferty; Blake, Gray.
Subs: Jensen, O'Connor, Gudjonsson, Akinbiyi, Jones.
We should also remind ourselves that we are without Caldwell, Spicer and Jordan who are all close to returning to full fitness .Things are rosy indeed although it is a shame that the long term cruciate ligament injuries to Duff and Berisha rule them out of an otherwise full squad that will soon be available for selection. Hopefully also there will be more additions to come in the January window.
Anyway back to the Wolves match, watched on the telly by your editor in comfy slippers whilst knocking back a few beers!
Somerset referee,Steve Tanner got the match underway and the lads had to weather an initial storm from the Wolves attack in the openning few minutes.Stephen Elliott in the eighth minute couldnt get enough power behind a header and he put it wide of target.
Gibson then put in a cross which nearly caught Kiraly out as it seemed to turn into a shot! The Clarets though then got into gear and started to play some attractive, fearless attacking football taking the game to the men in Old Gold (or is it Orange?)
The wide men, Lafferty and Elliott coupled with the skill and craft of Blake and Mahon began to dominate with Wolves looking shell-shocked and forced to shoot from distance in an attempt to score the first goal.
A cross by Wade Elliott found Alan Mahon after only being half-cleared by the Wolves defence.His powerful shot hit the inside of the post and then the Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey before landing at the feet of Gray
Gray looked certain to get his 14th goal of the season from only three yards out but somehow Hennessey got down to block the effort.
The Sky commentators had been complimenting Wolves on their good defensive record at home and extoling the virtues of young Wolves keeper,Hennessey. Boy was that about to look silly!
Hennessey was about to look a right chump. It was Robbie Blake who would cause the young keeper to blush with embarrassment. Blake was fouled on the corner of the box and from his free kick, the ball completely foxed the Wolves keeper and he made a hash of it allowing the ball to slip through his grasp and into the back of the net to put the Clarets 1-0 up after 20 minutes of play.
However Wolves were back in the match only 4 minutes later. Stephen Ward put in a cross which was only half-cleared by Carlisle. Ward then picked up the ball again and from his second cross found Gibson who slotted home from a well hit shot.
The true character of the Clarets though shone through as again they went on attack looking to regain the lead. They didnt have long to wait and found themselves 2-1 up in the 30th minute thanks to some delightful skill from Elliott. He got the better of former Rovers defender,Michael Gray and put in an awesome inswinging cross that found Lafferty stealing in behind the defence on the far post. Lafferty was not going to miss this one and the lad notched up only his second goal of the season.
The Clarets fans were then about to be sent delirious, when with only three minutes remaining the lead was increased.
Mahon found Gray who turned and put in a wicked shot.Somehow Hennessey deflected his shot onto the top of the crossbar for a corner restoring some of the faith in him after his earlier mistake.However from the short corner, some skillful play by Blake near the corner flag saw him round one defender and put in a cross to find the head of Clarke Carlisle.He got lucky though and it hit the outstretched arm of Darren Ward and was deflected into the back of the net much to the despair of the home crowd.Own goal or will Carlisle be able to claim it?
So the Clarets had thouroughly outplayed and outclassed another team aspiring for promotion and they went in confidently at half-time 3-1 up.
The Clarets again started off brightly as the second half got underway. Mahon went on an early run and brought out a save from Hennessey. Blake then put a free kick just wide after a Neil Collins foul on Harley.
However, it was Wolves who suddenly found themselves back in the match after 30 minutes when Stephen Elliott made no mistake from the penalty spot following a shirt-tugging incident by Andy Gray defending from a Bothroyd free kick .
What a match this was becoming for the neutrals watching this on TV and what a bag of nerves the Clarets fans became as Wolves then pulled out all the stops to find that elusive equaliser.
Somehow though we withstood all the pressure as the home side seemed to run out of ideas and returned to the hit and hope shots from distance.
Joey Gudjonsson replaced Mahon after 68 minutes
The first chance that the Clarets seemed to have in the second half after some Wolves pressure came with 20 minutes to go when a cross from Blake found Gray but he could only put it wide. McCann then shot over from 25 yards out.
Joey Gudjonsson continued to display his knack of long distance shot taking, when his direct free kick brought out a fine save by the Wolves keeper with only nine minutes to play.
James O'Connor then got a slice of the action for the first time in ages as he came on to replace Blake after 82 minutes and with 2 minutes to go plus injury time (4 minutes it turned out to be) on came Ade Akinbiyi for Gray.
No further action though and the Clarets marched off a proud team as the final whistle went, 3-2 victors, their fourth away win in succession and now finding themselves in seventh place and quite rightly in seventh heaven!
Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Foley, Darren Ward, Collins, Gray, Gibson (Eastwood 60), Olofinjana, Henry, Stephen Ward (Jarvis 71), Bothroyd (Keogh 72), Elliott.
Subs Not Used: Edwards, Ikeme.
Goals: Gibson 24, Elliott 60 pen.
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, Mahon (Gudjonsson 68), McCann, Lafferty, Blake (James O'Connor 82), Gray (Akinbiyi 88).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Jones.
Goals: Blake 20, Lafferty 30, Darren Ward 42 og.
Ref: Steve Tanner (Somerset).