Saturday 24th February.
Trips to Turf Moor seldom bring a maximum return, and today proved
to be no different. I felt so apathetic (a sentiment seemingly shared
by the board I sometimes think) that I didn’t even seriously consider
a trip over the big hill and decided to knock out a fireplace instead.
As predicted the same eleven were called upon to try to wrest the
points from Burnley, a team who have surprised me with their unexpectedly
lofty position in the table and managed to beat Fulham during the
week, so they must be capable of beating sides far better than ourselves.
Some games demand my full attention even when listening on the
radio and doing other bits and pieces at the same time. However,
today’s game sounded to be such a dour affair my attention switched
to the more interesting task of knocking seven shades out of some
masonry. Burnley dominated the game from the outset with the influential
Glen Little running the show for the home side and they managed
to exploit Town’s shaky defence with alarming regularity. I cannot
fathom out why Macari persisted with the same back four when they
had looked so suspect a week ago, but thankfully one member of the
back line was in good form with Nico Vaesen exorcising the spectre
of the previous week’s nightmare by making a series of first-rate
Burnley’s dominance was such that they continued to increase their
corner tally in the first half whilst with Town failing to achieve
a single one, still if you can keep the somehow contrive to keep
the scores level you might eventually create a chance to take a
shock lead. Unfortunately for Town, when the odd chance presented
itself it was squandered, and Delroy Facey fired wide from around
8 yards out after Martin Smith’s shot had been blocked. When you
are in our predicament you have to take half chances when they come
along, and Town’s front players don’t seem capable of doing this
at the moment. Half time came along with some sense of relief that
the score was surprisingly level at 0-0. Perhaps Macari could wind
the players up during the interval and we could yet bring something
back from snowy Lancashire.
The half time adverts and e-mails on Home 107.9 overran by a minute
or so, and as they returned to Turf Moor for the second half commentary
we immediately went a goal down. A short corner from Little to Weller
was played back to the corner taker to play the ball into the Town
penalty area where it was met by the head of the unmarked Steve
Davis. It’s a shame for Town that Davis didn’t stick to snooker
as his header bounced into the goal off the underside of the crossbar
with Nico Vaesen having no chance of stopping it.
The goal seemed to pep Town up a little as they started to become
more involved in proceedings and our expected capitulation didn’t
materialise for once. The game degenerated into a scrappy midfield
affair for the most part, with chances at a premium and Town’s first
corner finally came with around 25 minutes to go, but a final tally
of 11 corners to Burnley and only 4 for Town told its own tale.
The Burnley defence had been dominated by ex-Spurs man Mitchell
Thomas but he had to leave the field following a clash of heads
with Delroy Facey, the Town striker able to continuing after lengthy
treatment. Having used 2 previous substitutes, Stan Ternent introduced
striker Andy Payton and I hoped this might unsettle the home defence,
as on loan striker Gareth Taylor had to slot into the position vacated
by the departed Thomas.
Town continued to enjoy the greater part of the possession without
creating too many real chances, and with the final whistle nearing
they were denied once again by Burnley’s Greek goalkeeper Nik Michopoulos.
Having kept Town at bay in the game at the McAlpine, he dived smartly
to his right to deny Chris Lucketti with just seconds of the game
remaining. A draw might have been a more just reflection of the
90 minutes play, but would only have served to paper over the cracks
that this team aren’t good enough. The defence appears unbalanced
and prone to stupid lapses of concentration at vital times and conceding
The post match phone in had most callers in agreement that the
present side is quite simply not good enough, and some money has
to be spent to bring in some new blood into the team. There were
also suggestions that Mr Rubery has given up on this campaign, and
is trying to recoup some of the money he has lost during his 2-year
flirtation with football prior to jumping ship when the opportunity
Other results were pretty good today, with only Barnsley of the
relegation threatened teams picking up three points, but we cannot
rely on other teams cocking things up and we have got to start winning
games, preferably starting on Tuesday.
Burnley 1 (Davis 47)
Position in table – 23rd
Town – Vaesen; Heary; Lucketti; Moses;
Jenkins; Armstrong; Thornley (Irons 81); Holland; Gallen;
Facey; Smith. Subs not used – Margetson; Gray; Dyson; Sellars.
Burnley – Michopoulos; Thomas (Payton
73); Ball (Johnrose 69); Armstrong; Davis; Little; Weller;
Cook (Mellon 69); Taylor; Moore; Branch. Subs not used – Crichton;
Referee – David Crick (Surrey). Attendance