Writer: The New Ricky Hill
Date:Tuesday October 31 2006
31 October 2006
A cold night and the first appearance of woolly hats.
A stricken and peculiar Town side, with no Foley, Emanuel, Underwood, Coyne, Davis, Perrett, or Keane. Instead a defence comprising Barnett, Heikkinen, Holmes and Edwards, with Holmes given the unenviable task of left back, and Edwards replacing Foley, presumably because of an injury.
A 200th appearance for Brkovic according to 3CR, (though SKY said that on Sunday too) in a midfield with Robbo, Langley and Morgan.
Feeney and Vine up front.
Burnley had the better start but after 4 minutes Carlos intercepted a ball in midfield and burst forward, and although he didn't create a chance it put Burnley under pressure, and from a throw on the left Langley found himself through on the keeper, only to slice wide from the spot when it must have been easier to score.
It seemed to spur us on and all of a sudden the quick-passing and confident Town side returned.
On 10 minutes Morgan weaved a mazy path before firing a low shot the keeper had to palm out for a corner.
Three minutes later Vine put Langley in space, and his shot from 30 yards
was just over.
The game was increasingly one-sided, with Langley (or Dr Jekyll as we may need to call him now) joining in the Halloween spirit by crunching and scything into tackles like we have not seen him do before.
Vine was next to test the keeper, flicking a corner past his man and firing
in a fierce shot. Seconds later he skinned the right back as he raced into the box, only for his shot to be blocked by a desperate lounge from the centre back.
It was real calypso football, and on 20 minutes the referee Mr J Singh, looking distinctly like a bearded and be-turbaned Gladstone Small joined in too, break-dancing as he tried desperately to avoid getting in the way of a Langley pass. His shuffle evaded the marking Burnley midfield, but he failed to capitalise.
But on 30 minutes Burnley scored in virtually their first attack, as Leon leaped all over his attacker but succeeded only in flicking the ball backwards, whereby an unmarked Andy Gray casually lobbed a static Marlon.
Five minutes later Barnett did it again, heading upwards and backwards this time, and allowing Wade Elliott to cross to the far post or an unchallenged nod in, again by Andy Gray.
0-2, both goals gifts from the Town and completely against the run of play. The goals took the wind from our sails, and half-time couldn't come soon enough.
No changes at half-time, other than an understandably more cautious approach from the Clarets. A quiet start but on 55 minutes a peach of a cross from Carlos to the far post found Feeney 6 yards out and unchallenged as he rose to plant a firm header wide of a static goal. But otherwise the Town were struggling for ideas as Newell made his change, Bell and Boyd for Morgan and Feeney, greeted by loud boos and cheers respectively.
The changes made an immediate and definite impact with our two most threatening corners, but no end result.
Moments later Bell and Vine combined well to earn a corner, from which Barnett blazed over from 8 yards. Then Boyd picked up a Vine miscue in the box and also skied it after good work by Holmes.
With 18 minutes to go Vine raced through the middle, skipping the first tackle but scythed down by the second, leaving Mr Singh no choice but to dismiss the offending defender for a second bookable offence. From the free kick moments of panic in the Burnley defence as Boyd and Langley each left a bouncing ball on 8 yards and the keeper took advantage of their hesitancy to claim it. But it was all rather desperate stuff.
A few other moments where a light flickered dimly, but nothing of any real note until, with 5 minutes to go the corner flag was broken. We then had the surreal site of the game halted for 5 minutes as the groundsstaff searched for a replacement. But that was as good as it got.
So 0-2 it finished, and just like last season it was a steal by Burnley, who probably only had three attempts on goal all game.
The only good news is that by some miracle we are still 9th, as other results seemed to go our way. But away to Preston on Saturday looks difficult now.
Beresford 6 - nothing to do!
Edwards 8 - full of effort and pace as usual
Barnett 4 - not a good game, and both goals were down to him
Holmes 9 - a great game at left back, and by far the most polished
performance of the night
Brkovic 5 - anonymous
Langley 6 - started well but struggled once Burnley shut up shop
Robinson 6 - official MoM but no-one near us could see how
Morgan 7 - had a very good first half, pacey and committed, and the crowd were not happy when he was substituted
Vine 7 - again the only real likelihood of a goal was from Vine, but he can't beat them all
Feeney 3 - a better performance than usual, but he is becoming an embarrassment
Boyd 6 - looked like he could be useful with a run in the team
Bell 7 - energetic and skillful - so where was he on Sunday?,BR>
All told not a bad performance, but give away two silly goals at home in the first half-hour and don't be surprised when the away side close the game down. But if it's that easy why can't we ever do it?
Date:Tuesday October 31 2006
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