Villa fans will not consider Turf Moor a lucky ground, although we hadn't played them for over twenty-nine years they were still searching for their second post war win at the Turf in what would be visit number twenty-seven.
Injuries were starting to hit our small squad and Frank Sinclair, Ian Moore and Richard Chaplow were all ruled out but once we'd gone in front within the first ten minutes there was only ever going to be one winner and the 3-1 win was fully deserved.
Steve Cotterill moved to strengthen his injury ravaged squad ahead of the trip to QPR and brought in James O'Connor on loan from
It was all over after fifteen minutes and much of it was caused by referee Nigel Miller who in a series of bizarre decisions turned down a clear spot kick at one end, gave one that was ridiculous at the other as well as presenting QPR with a second goal with a shocking free kick decision.
O'Connor was on within no time for an injured Graham Branch and then disaster really struck as Danny Coyne gave away a third goal and in doing so sustained a serious injury that was to keep him out for months.
It certainly wasn't our day, it was the only time we conceded three in a league game all season, and the only positive point was that we didn't concede any more.
On the following Wednesday with the injury situation getting worse we made our first visit to Elland Road in years to take on Leeds United. We couldn't afford another poor start but they don't come worse than the one we got as we went a goal behind after just twelve seconds.
Incredibly we came back to win it 2-1 in what turned out to be one of those special Burnley FC nights. The unlikely pairing of Lee Roche and Richard Duffy (both playing out of position) got the goals but it was a fantastic team performance.
Another home defeat followed as Ipswich won 2-0 at the Turf and we couldn't have any real complaints against one of the better sides in the league, Darren Bent got both goals on a night when
The worst news for Burnley was Sinclair going off injured in the first few minutes and the news was worse when both he and his central defensive partner John McGreal were ruled out of the Carling Cup tie against Spurs on the following Tuesday. Michael Duff was set to play in the centre but the big question was who would play alongside him.
Things were looking desperate but at the eleventh hour we were able to use the loan market again but the best we were able to do was bring in an untried 18 year old from Aston Villa by the name of Gary Cahill. The youngster had played alongside Richard Chaplow for England Under-20s but was still to be named in a first team squad by David O'Leary.
He did OK although we went out of the cup as Spurs got revenge for two years earlier by beating us 3-0, this time
Back to league action and the Clarets got back to their defensive best with three successive clean sheets, and the youngster Cahill was really beginning to look the part. Those clean sheets brought with them maximum points as we beat Forest 1-0 (Blake),
We were down one in numbers though, Richard Duffy was recalled by
The winning run came to an end at
We'd been battered to be fair but had survived until the Villa youngster finally showed us he was human and made his first real mistake.
It was the local derby against Preston next but it was an unsettled week for the Clarets as
He did more than lead us out and no one will ever forget the first goal right on half time when he hammered in a free kick from at least 35 yards out. It was an amazing effort and it is a long time since I saw a ground lifted quite like that with one goal.
He got another in the second half and manager Steve Cotterill bravely said his captain would be going nowhere and claimed that he would keep him in his car boot to avoid anything happening to him.
It wasn't working though and a week later as we lost 2-1 at Sunderland you sensed that his
Jewell was set to get his comeuppance when he came up against a member of the national press at Turf Moor but for now, with the season just over half way through, we were in twelfth place.
Interestingly Gillingham, Forest and Rotherham occupied the bottom three places whilst Wigan, Ipswich and