Two poor recent days at Cardiff

Andy Payton - scored the second in the 2-1 win in 2000
It is not the best of grounds for us but that 1977 win, two weeks before the end of the season, virtually ensured we would not be relegated for a second consecutive season. Three other league wins there have come in promotion seasons.

Two of those were in 1973, when a first minute goal from Frank Casper gave us a 1-0 win, and in 1992 when both Adrian Randall and Mike Conroy scored in the last few minutes to take all three points.

More recently, just six years ago, we kicked off that fantastic run in with a 2-1 win at Cardiff with goals from Steve Davis and Andy Payton. Ian Wright’s misdemeanours in Scotland meant he was suspended from this game and his place on the bench was taken by Gerry Harrison, the nearest he got to a first team appearance after returning to the club from Sunderland.

It was recently appointed first team coach Davis who gave us the lead midway through the first half with a header and it came after a nervous start. From then on in we were the better side and once Payts doubled the advantage on the hour the three points looked certain.

Payts got through in a one-on-one with home keeper Jon Hallworth, and he just didn’t miss those opportunities. He scored with ease and celebrated with the Burnley fans who were now all drenched on the open end.

The game did get a little more difficult as firstly Cardiff pulled a goal back and shortly afterwards we were reduced to ten men. Former Claret Kurt Nogan tried to claim the goal and it would have been his first for his home town club, but it was credited as an Ian Cox own goal.

Just six minutes later Glen Little kicked out at Richard Carpenter and left referee Mike Halsay no option and we had to battle out the last part of the game with ten men. Carpenter deserves what he gets and he’d been getting at Glen all afternoon but as is so often the case got away without even a talking to.

We did hang on, and six more wins from the next seven games, the last of them at Scunthorpe saw us to promotion but since that promotion our two visits to Ninian Park have hardly been anything other than disappointing. We’ve lost them both 2-0 and couldn’t complain about either result.

In the first of them we were very much in a relegation battle but you would hardly have known it so poor was the performance. At the time I wrote, “Relegation has been a possibility all season but after today’s surrender at Cardiff it is looming closer and closer.”

Against a Cardiff side who looked to be ready for their summer holidays, such was the lack of commitment, we hardly threatened and it looked a certain 0-0 draw until the Bluebirds manager Lennie Lawrence made a couple of substitutions, the second with just 14 minutes to go.

Richard Chaplow - his last league appearance for the Clarets
That was striker Andy Campbell and the first time he went near the ball he was fouled by Mark McGregor in the box and Richard Langley scored from the spot. You knew that was going to be it, but two minutes later we won a free kick on the edge of their box and it led to a goal.

Sadly, they cleared the kick up to the first of the subs Paul Parry and he broke up the field before setting up Campbell for number two. It was all over now and we were spared an even worse result with the home side missing two simple chances in the last few minutes.

Our return there last season couldn’t have been any worse, it wasn’t, but it wasn’t good enough. As it does this year, it followed our FA Cup 3rd round tie, the victory over Liverpool but there was to be no repeat of that performance.

It is fair to say that we dominated the game from start to finish in terms of possession but we failed to create anything and Langley, who had scored the first goal in the previous season, did it again after a dreadful mix up between Brian Jensen and Mo Camara.

Cardiff were hardly in the game again but never looked threatened and they clinched it with a second and somewhat fortunate goal sixteen minutes from the end. A shot from distance by Graham Kavanagh deflected off Gary Cahill and gave Jensen no chance.

Richard Chaplow came on as a substitute for what proved to be his last league appearance in colours. He replaced Jean-Louis Valois who I would have very much liked to have seen playing his last game, so bad and disinterested was he.

There is no doubt at all that we will need to be somewhat better than either of the last two years if we are to get anything at Cardiff.