No Win Situation Again
26th December 2007 @ 3pm
Another Home A-groan as the Clarets failed yet again to secure a win at Turf Moor under the new gaffer, Owen Coyle. The problems appear to lie deeper than that though, only two wins all season at home against WBA in the openner and Norwich in October adding to just four more we have won in 2007.
We have only one more chance to make that seven home games won this year against Bristol City this Saturday and for Coyle to break his duck on home soil before the New Year.
Despite the awful home form, somehow thanks to our promotion-winning away form we still find ourselves in 10th place and still only 3 points off the play-off positions after securing one point against yet another lowly and struggling side in a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday.
The team selection for the Clarets had to be a strange one with a mini-crisis in midfield following the recent red cards for McCann, Gudjonsson and Spicer and a niggling injury to Mahon keeping him sidelined.
In addition to the problems in midfield, there was additional bad news for the Clarets with Andy Gray being absent from the sixteen. It is believed he had been rested following a hand injury although there were some ugly rumours floating around that he might be the target of a transfer in the January window with Charlton being interested.
So no Mahon, no midfield and no Gray, I suppose that could be one excuse for not winning again. There was some good news though with the return of Clarke Carlisle to the starting eleven following a hamstring injury. He lined up with Alexander, Caldwell and Unsworth in the back four allowing Harley to play in midfield. Ade Akinbiyi made his first start in sometime partnering Blake upfront and young Jay Rodriguez was named on the bench:
Kiraly, Alexander, Carlisle, Caldwell, Unsworth, Harley, Elliott, J. O'Connor, Lafferty, Blake, Akinbiyi
Subs: Jensen, Jordan, Jones, G. O'Connor, Rodriguez.
Cheshire referee,Scott Mathieson got the Boxing Day match underway with the away end a sell out and making a din. All credit to the Owls fans, who have an awesome away following despite all the problems the club have had recently both on and off the pitch.
It was a fairly scrappy start to the match with little incident although in the 11th minute Steven Caldwell came close with an header from a Blake corner which he put over the bar.
Jon Harley on 25 minutes nearly put the Clarets ahead with a long-range shot which was just wide of the upright.
It was the Owls however who took the lead on the half hour mark with a controversially taken penalty after Tudgay had been tugged by Caldwell. Deon Burton's penalty kick caught Kiraly unprepared and there was also a suggestion that the ball was not placed accurately on the spot. The goal stood though with the referee insisting he had blown the whistle for the penalty to be taken.
The Clarets were furious at the decision and it didnt take them long to convert their anger into something positive. One minute after the penalty, Ade Akinbiyi pounced after Blake's effort had been saved by Grant to equalise with a simple shot from a yard out.
The game was now alive and promised a lot but in truth failed to deliver with very little further action in the first half and probably on balance it was the away side who had more of the possession and looked the most dangerous on the break. 1-1 at half-time though.
In the second-half it was the Clarets who started the most lively and they looked the stronger side throughout without being able to secure their first win at Turf Moor since October not to mention their first under Coyle.
Lee Grant,the Owls keeper and former Clarets loan was nearly caught napping as he scrambled across goal after only two minutes following a curling shot from Lafferty on the edge of the box. Caldwell, a minute later found Elliott on the wing who returned the favour with a cross only for the Clarets skipper to head just over the bar.
The game probably now entered its best spell with the Clarets looking for that elusive winner and the Owls continuing to look dangerous on the break.
Fresh legs for the Clarets after 76 minutes, with Steve Jones coming on for Akinbiyi with Lafferty now moving up front to partner Blake. That was to be the only Burnely substitution of the game.
In the last 20 minutes, it was the Clarets who were dominating the game without being able to find the killer punch. Harley came close with an header on 80 minutes and four minutes later, Clarke Carlisle forced a splendid save from Grant from an Elliott corner.
But it wasn't to be as the Clarets continued their traditional Christmas disappointment by faliing to win whilst adding yet another home draw to the five already clocked up this season.
If we fail to reach the play-offs this season, it will be these sort of matches that will be analysed for the reasons for the failure as yet another match at home leaves the Clarets fans wondering what we have to do to win at Turf Moor.
Burnley: Kiraly, Alexander, Harley, Carlisle, Caldwell, Elliott, James O'Connor, Unsworth, Lafferty, Blake, Akinbiyi (Jones 76).
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Rodriguez, Garreth O'Connor, Jordan.
Booked: Unsworth, Caldwell.
Goals: Akinbiyi 31.
Sheff Wed: Grant, Bullen, Hinds, Beevers, Spurr, Small (Folly 43), Whelan, Watson (Esajas 82), O'Brien, Tudgay, Burton (Boden 72).
Subs Not Used: Gilbert, Lunt.
Booked: Watson, Burton.
Goals: Burton 30 pen.
Ref: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).