Looking for a repeat from Branchy

Graham Branch - scored the 2004 winner against them
Going into the game, the Rams remain unbeaten in the league and had it not been for two costly errors from goalkeeper Lee Camp, Derby’s first two games against Brighton and Preston would likely have ended in wins rather than score draws.

In the last few years, the Clarets have often come out on top in this particular fixture, against a side who initially struggled to keep afloat as a consequence of their perilous financial situation when they fell from the top tier of English football.

Last season however, goals from Marcus Tudgay and later by Marco Reich, deservedly gave Derby all three points in front of the SKY TV cameras. Perhaps it was the eye opener Steve Cotterill’s side needed as a similar looking Clarets team comfortably disposed of Aston Villa in the Carling Cup third round only a few days later.

In 2003/2004 the Clarets went into their penultimate home game of the season against Derby, sitting just three points clear of the dreaded drop zone. The fact that the Rams were only one point and one place worse off than Burnley gave this game real added spice. The vast majority of fans expected it to be a poor game of football. As it happens, this fixture produced one of the finest games of attacking football seen at Turf Moor that season.

The Rams appeared to be having the most success in the early exchanges and were guilty of missing a number of clear cut chances. In only the first minute, Ian Taylor should have profited from a pin point cross, but the former Aston Villa midfielder somehow put his effort wide of the target.

Burnley soon came into the game and began to test what seemed like a solid Rams defence, epitomised by a superb goal line clearance to deny David May another goal in claret and blue.

After a plethora of near misses at both ends of the field, Burnley managed to break the deadlock just shy of half time. In a game of attractive ‘pass and move’ football, it was ironically a long ball over the top from Mark McGregor which put Youl Mawene under pressure. Mawene, who now plies his trade at Deepdale, should have dealt with the danger. However, it was Graham Branch’s dedication and ‘never say die’ attitude which enabled him to cut inside of Mawene and from 18 yards place a right footed strike into Lee Grant’s bottom left hand corner.

The second half was just like the first, full of passion and attacking flare. George Burley made changes late on to try and muster a crucial point, but it wasn’t to be. Burnley won the game by that solitary Graham Branch goal and when one looks back, I think it’s fair to say that if it wasn’t for his strikes against West Ham, Franchise and Derby, Burnley’s fight against relegation would possibly have gone right up until the last game of the season.

Gareth Taylor - scored the second in the 2003 2-0 win
In February 2003, the clash with Derby was sandwiched between two very impressive performances against Fulham in the FA Cup 5th round. This was the ‘throw one in’ season and although many fans reflect on this campaign as being one to forget, there were some very impressive displays. Indeed the home fixture with Derby came in the middle of a run which saw Stan Ternent’s side lose just once in fourteen games, that being the 5-2 loss at home to Reading. Burnley and Derby went into the game level on points, but understandably it was the Clarets who had the inferior goal difference.

After an early scare, Burnley took the lead after just seven minutes. After scoring a goal down at Loftus Road against Fulham, Alan Moore once again found himself through on goal. However, this time his attempt was parried by Lee Grant and Ian Moore was in the right place ahead of the slow reacting Rams rearguard, to put the ball into the empty net. Against a poor side, Burnley doubled their lead just before the half hour mark.

Tony Grant took advantage of some embarrassing Luciano Zavagno trickery, stealing the ball from him on the edge of the area. He could easily have gone for goal but instead, steadied himself and delivered an inch perfect cross to the far post. Gareth Taylor couldn’t miss and with his effort the points were all but wrapped up before half time.

In a game where former Premier League players; Ravenelli, Kinkladze, Barton and Lee were on display, it was surprising just how dominant the Clarets were. It ended 2-0, but further goals for the home side would not have flattered an impressive Burnley.

Prior to those three games we have to go to 1995 for Derby’s last visit and that too ended in a home win for the Clarets. Goals from David Eyres, Paul Shaw (his last for the Clarets) and Steve Davis steered us to a 3-1 win as we fought against the inevitable relegation.

It was a game that also saw Craig Short, later to play his football at Ewood and now at Sheffield United, sent off during the second half but Derby were beaten by then.

Other than a cup tie in 1969, when Brian Clough’s side roughed us up, that ended in a 3-1 win for Burnley, we have to go back a long time before 1995 for the previous win. It was as far back as April 1951 when Terry Lyons scored the only goal of the game to give us a 1-0 win.

I think we’d settle for that result tomorrow.