Good Friday at the Turf - it's been a long time
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Friday, 6th April 2012
Burnley entertain Brighton & Hove Albion today at Turf Moor for what will be the first Good Friday game here in a long, long time.
Good Friday used to be a big football day when just about every club played to kick off an Easter programme of four games. We'd play again the day after and complete the programme two days after that on the Monday.
|We need to be positive says Marvin Bartley|
That's how it was but it was in the 1970s that the Good Friday game started to disappear, although even then we would play Saturday, Monday and then Tuesday night.
I believe our last ever game on Good Friday was a 1-0 defeat at Wrexham in 1980 with the last home game coming three years earlier when goals from Malcolm Smith, Peter Noble and Peter Robinson gave us a 3-1 win against Blackburn Rovers.
To today's game and it is one where we will be looking to complete a double after winning 1-0 at the somewhat strange Amex Stadium a week before Christmas. Kieran Trippier scored a long ranger that day for the only goal against a team that was reduced to nine men with less than 12 minutes gone.
It was a third win in four games for us and it lifted us to 11th in the table with a season high of 7th just two games away.
That game came during a good run, a run that saw six wins in seven games and a run that brought only two defeats in twelve games.
We can't go into today's game with quite the same confidence. The current run is a reverse of that with the wins against Barnsley and Portsmouth the only two in the last twelve games which have brought us just ten points and ended any hopes of reaching the top six.
The run has also seen us drop right back into the bottom half of the table and we go into today's game in 16th place in the table.
Midfielder Marvin Bartley believes we should get a good result if we can continue as we did in the second half on Tuesday.
"We need to start the Brighton game like we played in the second half against Birmingham and if we can do that I will be very confident of us getting a positive result," he said.
"We need to be positive for these last six games and win as many as we can. At times our performances have warranted winning more games but the league table doesn't lie so we have to take a look at ourselves as well at times and learn from the experiences we have had.
"Hopefully going into next season we will be more experienced as a team and know how to deal with different situations."
Manager Eddie Howe's problems mount. Yesterday they were suggesting that Ben Mee, who missed Tuesday's defeat, could return, but Mee himself has ruled that out by confirming that he has a fracture in his back.
That will leave us with a similar squad to the one that played on Tuesday and I can't see too many changes although it would not be a surprise to see Junior Stanislas get another start after impressing as a second half substitute on Tuesday.
If he does, one of the midfield three is likely to go and I expect we'd line up: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ross Wallace, Junior Stanislas, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Josh McQuoid, Charlie Austin, Danny Ings. Subs from: Brian Jensen, Luke Conlan, Marvin Bartley, Steven Hewitt, Cameron Howieson, Wes Fletcher.
Our Opponents - Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton are another side who have had poor runs and good runs this season. When we played them in December they were having a difficult time and that continued with the suspensions that followed that game.
Since, they've had an exceptional run although they haven't won an away game since mid February when Poyet returned to Leeds and saw his side win 2-1 with goals from Craig Mackail-Smith and Alan Navarro.
Their defeat at Blackpool in mid-March is still their only league defeat in 2012, a year that started with a comprehensive 3-0 win against league leaders Southampton. They've won 8, drawn 7 and lost 1 in the league this year.
Poyet has a decision to make. Gonzalo Jara Reyes is available again after serving a suspension but his replacement at right back, Inigo Calderon, has scored in each of their last two games. Poyet said: "If Calderon deserves to play in our opinion then he will. It doesn't matter who it is.
"That is a decision and it doesn't bother me. The decisions are for the good of the team. That will make a few people upset but that doesn't bother me either. It's part of my job and I like that."
Tommy Elphick remains out injured whilst both Liam Bridcutt and Matt Sparrow are ruled out with suspensions.
Bridcutt was in the side last week when they drew with Middlesbrough and they lined up: Peter Brezovan, Inigo Calderon, Adam El-Abd, Gordon Greer, Joe Mattock, Will Buckley, Liam Bridcutt, Alan Navarro, Rodriguez Vicente, Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes. Subs: Casper Ankergren, Gary Dicker, Romain Vincelot, Kazenga LuaLua, Craig Mackail-Smith.
Last Time They Were Here
We have to go back to 2005 for Brighton's last visit to Turf Moor, and it came during a difficult start to the season for Burnley.
It was our tenth league game of the 2005/06 season and the 1-1 draw left us next to bottom of the league with only one win in those games, although our fortunes were set to change after this game.
|Danny Coyne - cruciate injury|
We actually kicked off at the bottom because Sheffield Wednesday, who we passed that day, had played the night before and earned a point.
What we did, in our attempts to get off the bottom, was to turn in a shocker of a performance in a game that I described at the time as tedious and boring.
Nothing much happened in the first ten minutes and then Danny Coyne collapsed in a heap in the penalty box as he went for a ball. He'd sustained a cruciate ligament injury and was immediately replaced by Brian Jensen.
That prompted our best period of the game but then disaster struck. Brighton had only been our penalty box once, when Coyne was injured. They got there again and took the lead.
The goal was as simple as they come. They took a short corner and when it did come across their loan defender Paul McShane was unmarked to head home with some ease.
Thankfully we were level within ten minutes. Referee Eddie Ilderton awarded us a fortuitous penalty for a foul on John McGreal which was converted by Garreth O'Connor.
Brighton seemed content with 1-1 and we weren't good enough to do anything about it. Despite having more of the play the game just petered out into a dull 1-1 draw to at least lift us back to 23rd in the table.
The teams were;
Burnley: Danny Coyne (Brian Jensen 12), Michael Duff, Keith Lowe, John McGreal (Frank Sinclair 77), Jon Harley, Garreth O’Connor, Micah Hyde, James O’Connor, Graham Branch (John Spicer 68), Gifton Noel-Williams, Ade Akinbiyi. Subs not used: Wade Elliott, Karl Bermingham.
Brighton: Wayne Henderson, Paul Reid, Paul McShane, Guy Butters, Kerry Mayo, Sebastien Carole, Richard Carpenter (Colin Kazim-Richards 45), Charlie Oatway, Albert Jarrett (Alexandre Frutos 51), Leon Knight, Jake Robinson (Alexis Nicolas 55). Subs not used: Alan Blayney, Gary Elphick.
Previous Games against Brighton & Hove Albion
|Last 20 Years|
|1993/94||Division 2||h||3-0||8,837||Russell(2), Davis|
|1995/96||Division 2||h||3-0||9,016||Eyres, Swan, Nogan|
|a||2-2||6,502||Little, I Moore|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Brighton & Hove Albion