Another pre-season draw for the Clarets

Last updated : 23 July 2005 By Tony Scholes

Man of the match Gifton Noel-Williams
It is the first of four games the Spanish side will play in England whilst over here training and they attracted a crowd of almost 5,000 to the Turf along with at least one Championship manager with Dario G spotted going in.

On a warm humid day the game was played at something of a slow pace but it gave the home fans the chance for a first look at four of the new signings along with Artim Sakiri who was again in the starting line up after impressing at Accrington.

With Danny Karbassiyoon still out injured it was Graham Branch and James O’Connor who missed out on the starting eleven with Danny Coyne getting the first half in goal.

The first of the new signings to impress was Wade Elliott who went on a mazy run that was finally blocked by a Malaga defender and shortly after that Garreth O’Connor tried his luck from distance but it went just wide of the post.

Just in case anyone thought it was nothing more than a friendly there were one or two tackles that were a bit strong and one on Elliott in particular just in front of the Longside was probably a bit too much.

Needless to say the Spaniards went rolling over if we got within a few feet of them but that was only to be expected, it is the way they play.

Malaga played some neat football but I felt we were always the more likely side and in Micah Hyde we had the best midfield player on view. He missed out at Accrington but was certainly fully fit today and was close to my choice as man of the match.

My choice is a contentious one but I’ve gone for Gifton Noel-Williams. He missed our best chance towards the end of the game but his hold up play was excellent and I lost count of the number of headers he won, and positive headers at that with most of them finding their intended target.

He was the signing that I was perhaps least excited about but if he plays like this every week then I don’t think we will have too many complaints about him.

Meanwhile at the back it was normal service. Gary Cahill and Mo Camara may well be gone but there has been no slacking in that department and they kept their third successive clean sheet today and Wayne Thomas was again in good form.

It’s off to Austria now, the players left around 6:00 p.m. and fly out to Salzburg tomorrow morning from Stansted. All of the first team squad have made the trip along with youngsters Kyle Lafferty and Chris McCann but we are not sure about Sakiri.

He played for just over half of the game today before being substituted. He didn’t really impress but assistant manager Dave Kevan did say that the club would like to take him. There could though be problems with him obtaining a VISA.

The teams today were,

: Danny Coyne (Brian Jensen 45), Michael Duff, Wayne Thomas, John McGreal, Frank Sinclair, Wade Elliott (Kyle Lafferty 84), Micah Hyde, Artim Sakiri (James O’Connor 48), Garreth O’Connor, Ade Akinbiyi (Graham Branch 65), Gifton Noel-Williams. Sub not used: Chris McCann.

: Goitia, Litos, Garcia (Delgardo 69), Hedalgo (Usero 45), Nacho, Ballesta (Esteban 45), Cesar Navas, Sanchez (Counago 45), Duda (Calderon 45), Rodriguez, Romero (Edgar 45).

Referee: Chris Foy (St Helens)

Attendance: 4,990