We have been formed a couple of month now but admittedly have not been the most professionally organised of teams. That's not a criticism at all- I think everyone involved with the team has enjoyed every second. But we have seemed a little unorganised at times- the debacle of Barnsley asking to play us the night before, for example, saw a mad rush where we didn't really know what to do and ended up making a few big mistakes.
Last Monday, however, we held out first official team meeting. Dave Wynne (BigDave48) was named as our chairman and we began structuring the team properly. It's early days and there is certainly a long way to go, but we now have the foundations to make the fans team a superb addition to Burnley Football Club.
The optimism around the team has been clear, and when we pulled up at Goshen Sports Centre yesterday morning to face a side of Bury supporters you could sense that their was a belief within the players that we could push on from the excellent performance at Preston two week ago and pick up our first ever win.
We didn't have a full strength squad to choose from, Ged Isherwood and Phil Berry, who came a close second to 'keeper Will O'Neill in the player ratings for Preston, were unavailable due to other commitments, and forward Martyn Robinson picked up an unfortunate injury in training in Monday. We were, however, delighted to welcome back Martin 'marv' Heys in the centre of defence.
There had been some heavy rain on the way over, but once we arrived it had stopped and the sun was even trying to show. That said, there was still a massive puddle in the middle of the pitch. The game began with two or three minutes of early pressure from the hosts, but we soon grabbed an early goal. It was Ste Wynne (BobbyD) who produced a fine finish to lob the onrushing goalkeeper. And soon after it would be two, Lee Maher hitting home just 13 minutes into his debut with a shot that went under the body of the diving goalkeeper.
We looked in control at this point but as is usually the case in football, the two goals seemed to give Bury a kick up the backside. Whilst we continued to play some superb football, they were slowly coming more and more into the game and right on the half hour point they got a goal back with a powerful shot. And just three minutes later they managed to equalise. It could even have been three had it not been for a goal-line clearance from James Wynne (inchy). It was a shock to the system for the Burnley lads and it would be a test of their character to see how they would respond.
At half time we had a chance to reflect on our performance and what went wrong at the end. I think at 2-0 our players thought the hard work had been done, we certainly played much more casually than we had done previously. We made a change at half time, bringing off Benn Taggart (tudsy) and Lee, replacing them with Richard Davies and Tom Henderson (hendy). Hendy has started every game for us so far, but we had a few slight concerns about his attitude and thought it would benefit him a lot to start him from the bench today.
We began the second half with much more urgency and had a couple of chances to re-take the lead. On 60 minutes Marv played a beautiful ball forward to Hendy, who looked up to see the Bury goalkeeper rushing out. He quickly managed to pick the ball up over the stopper and into the back of the goal to put us back in front.
The goal gave us a big confidence boost and from then on there was only going to be one winner. The last half hour saw us play some top class football, and soon Richard Davies slotted home a one-one-one to double our lead with a very good finish from just outside the box.
The goals were coming thick and fast now and when Bury tried to play the offside trap Hendy was just too clever for them, dropping back and then using his pace to pick up the ball. After a moments hesitation following some 'offside' calls, he knocked the ball into the back of the net, still unsure as to if the goal would stand. Once he realised it would his joy was clear to see as he jumped and gave a cheer.
Ste really should have got his second when the ball dropped perfectly for him at the far post, but he put his volley wide of the target, claiming he 'caught it too well'. The Ade Akinbiyi chants could be heard from somewhere. With just under five minutes remaining Hendy collected his hat-trick. When we dropped him we knew he would come back and either sulk or be really hungry to prove a point. I think you can see we got the response we wanted. It wasn't just his goals, he put in an all round very good performance chasing every ball and looking to play in his team-mates when possible.
Another outstanding player was Marv at the back. His partnership with Darren Stephen won us the game, goalkeeper Will O'Neill must have touched the ball only a handful of times and that is a credit to the defence, but also to the midfield who protected them very well with Andy Wilson once again running the show in the middle.
Man of the match, for me, goes to Ste. He was magnificent down the right and their defenders couldn't handle him, even when they sent two or three to try to get the ball off him. He capped it off with a very well taken goal.
Initial calculations suggest that we have moved up 8 places to 71st place. All 14 players can be very proud of their performances today, and now hopefully we can push on and give the Bury A team a game next week at Towneley- although this will be a much tougher battle.