Not an afternoon of great entertainment

Last updated : 13 January 2002 By Tony Scholes

Ian Cox made a magnificent last ditch tackle in the second half to prevent Wimbledon getting a shot in and other than a couple of bad decisions by referee Kaye I can't recall ever getting excited enough to leave my seat. Even then the linesman had flagged for offside and Coxy's tackle counted for nothing.

With the injury crisis at the Club everyone on the journey down thought that a draw would be a good result but when the team was announced, exactly as I predicted yesterday, it showed just one change from the team that won at Deepdale just a month ago. Paul Cook was in to replace Glen Little.

I'm a big fan of Cooky's and firmly believe that we have suffered because of his absence recently but in the first half this afternoon I though he had probably his worst game ever for the Clarets. It's six weeks since he played at this level and it showed as he seemed to be off the pace and constantly gave the ball away.

The Selhurst Park experience is somewhat different for the tenants than it is for the landlords and for passers by it is quick to see which of the two clubs is at home because only one of the club shops opens. When Wimbledon are hosting the afternoon's activities the crowds tend to disappear 90 minutes before kick-off as the adjoining Sainsburys has to close.

There is a very disturbing backdrop to Selhurst on Wimbledon day at the moment with the club's fans fighting the club's plans to move to Milton Keynes. Throughout the match the only audible chant from the home fans was ‘We want Koppel out", in protest at the actions of current chairman Charles Koppel. We won't discuss this situation here, we mentioned it yesterday and there will be more to come early next week.

The vantage point for visiting fans is also a little better as we are allowed to move up to around the half way line but this game would not have looked good from any position or angle.

The first noticeable thing on entering the ground was the dreadful state of the pitch and without wishing to make any excuses there was never going to be a classic on this playing surface. Was it any real surprise that so many of our passes, in the first half particularly, went astray with Cooky and to an extent Rodders and Branchy the main culprits?

We weren't up against a good side, in fact I would go as far as to say that Wimbledon were as bad as any side we have played away from home all season. They were far removed from the impressive outfit that we beat at home back in August courtesy of goalkeeper Kelvin Davis who decided to spoil our day out today by getting himself suspended.

Even the suspension is pure farce having been sent off after an incident with one of his own players who was allowed to go on loan, play against them and score. Why on earth would manager Terry Burton have allowed this? He didn't, the chairman made the decision.

Half time came and the only highlight of the first half was brought about because Burnley brought the wrong top for Michopoulos and to avoid a clash with the Wimbledon players he had to wear their sub keepers top with HEALD 14 on it. Nik in fact was the only keeper to see any action in that first 45 minutes as the Clarets failed to put together one attack of note.

Papadopoulos came on for the second half and many in the crowd seemed pleased that he was going to get 45 minutes. In the end he didn't, in fact he lasted about half an hour before being substituted himself. He had just been injured but the decision had already been taken and Ellis was already waiting to replace him. However good Dimitri is to become he clearly isn't ready yet for the rigours of life in English Division One football and he does seem to spend an awful lot of time on the ground.

The second half was a bit better but to be honest not a great deal. We did see more of the ball but at no stage did you ever really get the impression that we might break them down. We did have the wonderful sight of Bally playing almost at times as an orthodox right winger in a midfield of left sided players. He didn't do a bad job there either.

I can't really recall Wimbledon creating anything worth bothering about either in that second half although late in the game they did have a spell of pressure but created nothing during it.

A game to forget, but at least a point and a clean sheet so it wasn't the worst of days. It's not a date on the calendar when Burnley get the best of results but we have had wins on the 12th January including a 1-0 win over the then named Hartlepools United 50 years ago today with a goal from Les Shannon.

I've had a difficult choice for Man of the Match between two. The first is Ian Moore who worked tirelessly, and at times with little or no support, throughout the game and with no luck. The second is captain Ian Cox who only let himself down with some less than accurate distribution. He was though outstanding defensively. We didn't score but kept a clean sheet and so I must go for Coxy.

The referee – well no penalties this time but another performance from Mr. Kaye that doesn't suggest to me he is anything like capable of handling a game of football. What can you say about a referee who on five separate occasions allowed one of the two goalkeepers to gather the ball and then blow and give a free kick the keepers way? He had no interest in keeping the game going. Another poor performance from him in my book.

The teams today were,

Wimbledon: Ian Feuer, Kenny Cunningham, Darren Holloway, Damien Francis, Neil Shipperley, David Connolly (Patrick Agyemang 83), Kevin Cooper, Trond Anderson, Michael Hughes, Peter Hawkins, Joel McAnuff (Gareth Ainsworth 59). Subs not used: Paul Heald, Duncan Jupp, Chris Willmott.

Burnley: Nik Michopoulos, Dean West, Ian Cox, Arthur Gnohere, Graham Branch, Alan Moore, Kevin Ball, Tony Grant, Lee Briscoe, Paul Cook (Dimitri Papadopoulos 45 Tony Ellis 75), Ian Moore. Subs not used: Luigi Cennamo, Gordon Armstrong, Brad Maylett.

Referee: Alan Kaye (Wakefield), this man must be related to 60s/70s referee George Hartley from Wakefield.