It was a much changed Burnley side with three new loan signings all making their debuts. Delroy Facey and Gareth Farrelly had both arrived from Bolton and Andy Todd from Blackburn. Facey had a disappointing debut but the other two played well as goals from David May and Luke Chadwick (both scoring their first Burnley goals) saw us two up in the first half before Stoke pulled one back.
The result saw Burnley leapfrog Stoke into 10th place with nine points leaving Stoke in 13th place with just the one point less.
The three loan players have now all been and gone with Todd the only one to make a real impact but as Burnley struggle for numbers Stoke have been quite busy in the transfer market.
Just over a week after our match at the Britannia they completed the free transfer signing of Ade Akinbiyi who had been on loan with them at the end of last season. His signing alongside the likes of Gifton Noel-Williams and Carl Asaba up front says much for the way they play their football.
In November they signed Australian midfielder Richard Johnson from Colchester. He had only been at Layer Road for a month after ending an eleven year stint with Watford where he played in over two hundred league games.
They have also completed the signing of defender John Halls from Arsenal after a successful loan period.
Wolves midfielder Keith Andrews remains with them on loan and they have added two more loan players in Frazer Richardson from Leeds and Leicester defender Gerry Taggart who was linked with a similar move to Burnley earlier in the season.
The only departure has been Finnish keeper Jani Viander to Plymouth although the signing from HK Helsinki hadn’t played a first team game in eighteen months at the club.
Having fought off relegation on the last day of the season back in May there has been an improvement although their form has been somewhat patchy. They are, however, currently on a run of four games without defeat and prior to Boxing Day had picked up maximum points from the last three games.
It was almost a defeat against Preston but they were rescued with a stoppage time penalty converted by John Eustace. Needless to say against the Weary Whinger’s lot it was controversial.
"Robbed by the officials," said the former Scotland boss after he saw his defender Michael Jackson sent off in stoppage time after an incident only the assistant referee saw.
But Eustace made no mistake and Stoke boss Tony Pulis said his side showed great character to come back after being much the better side throughout the game.
Stoke line up: Ed De Goey, Wayne Thomas, Gerry Taggart, John Halls, Clive Clarke, Darel Russell, John Eustace, Peter Hoekstra, Lewis Neal (Kris Commons), Gifton Noel-Williams (Carl Asaba 74), Ade Akinbiyi. Subs not used: Neil Cutler, Richard Johnson, Marcus Hall.
The Clarets are very much in need of the points and a win would certainly lift us at least one place up the table, it would take us ahead of Stoke.
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Past Results in the last 20 years
Pickering Payton Little(2)
Click HERE to see all Burnley's results against Stoke going back to the first meeting in December 1888 in the first ever Football League season.