A mind numbing night at the Turf
Report of match Burnley 0 Huddersfield Town 1 played 26th February 2013
Reporter Tony Scholes
Tuesday night was supposedly our opportunity to put the disappointing run behind us, get a comfortable win against Huddersfield Town and move ourselves up the table. It didn't quite work out that way.
What we witnessed was a 1-0 defeat, a sixth game without a win, a fifth home defeat of the season, and possibly the worst game I've seen at the Turf since the Hull defeat that proved to be the final nail in Steve Cotterill's coffin in November 2007.
This was made worse by the fact that Huddersfield were as poor a team as we've met this season, a team that offered precious little to the proceedings themselves. But, once in front early in the second half, they rarely looked as though they might relinquish the points they so desperately need to keep away from the bottom three places.
You take your choice but for me this was one of the two worst league performances of the season. The other was the 2-0 defeat at Huddersfield back in August so their fans must think we've got one hell of a poor team.
|Sam Vokes came closest with a header against the bar|
We don't often lose to Huddersfield. That defeat in August was our first away defeat against them since 1956 and this was the first time Huddersfield have won a league game at Turf Moor since a 3-2 success in November 1970.
I'm usually a believer in horses for courses but for some reason wasn't over confident before the game although, having seen Huddersfield on television in their recent cup defeat against Wigan, there was anything but a win on the menu.
Much of the talk ahead of the game was about the season ticket prices for next season with many being totally confused by the release from the club coupled with some bizarre explanations via Twitter.
News then came through that Sean Dyche had named the team that had played most of the second half at Brighton three days earlier. That meant a place on the bench for Junior Stanislas who was replaced by Danny Ings who came on for him at the Amex.
It all started quite well. Keith Treacy took an early corner which caused goalkeeper Alex Smithies some problems and in only the third minute referee Mark Halsey, who had a poor game, had to reach for his yellow card after Anthony Gerrard had fouled Kieran Trippier.
Other than the big screen suggesting that Huddersfield had a Neil Dannis in their line up, there was nothing untoward in the first quarter of an hour but that was when Dean Marney was forced off with an injury.
Marvin Bartley looked the most likely replacement but, having decided to change things, it could have been either Stanislas or Martin Paterson. Bizarrely Dyche opted for Jamaican Dane Richards who was making his Turf Moor bow.
Whether the PA announce, the big screen and the club's own commentary team were trying to tell Dyche something I don't know, but more bizarre than the substitution was their insistence that it was Bartley coming on with the commentary team even unaware he'd played in the cup tie at Barnsley. Sadly Richards' contribution was of no note and he was to last only 45 minutes.
Precious little happened in the remainder of the first half. Treacy's shot was well saved by Smithies, Austin blazed a shot way over the bar from distance and the one consolation was that Huddersfield were offering even less.
As the temperatures dropped we were all preparing to discuss a goalless first half when the chance of all chances came our way. The ball dropped to Treacy just inside the penalty box to the left.
He didn't get hold of the shot as he'd have liked but it deflected nicely to Ings who looked a certain scorer. Somehow from an unmarked position around the six yard line he missed the target. We should have been in front; we weren't and we did go in for the break at 0-0.
We had the first chance of the second half too. Treacy, who had been our best player at this point, played in Austin on the left. Some thought he was trying to play in Richards but I believe he was trying to chip the goalkeeper.
As it happened, it went wide with Richards unable to reach it and very soon after that, and the Ings miss, were looking costly as Huddersfield took the lead.
Kevin Long, who had done so well at Brighton, was caught in possession. We had enough opportunities to win the ball back but eventually the ball dropped for Huddersfield on the right of the box and when the ball bounced up for James Vaughan he made no mistake from point blank range.
Apparently Vaughan was offside but there was no flag and the goal stood. Burnley had just over half an hour to rescue something.
Richards' evening was quickly brought to an end. Sam Vokes came on for him and soon after Bartley did arrive, at the expense of Chris McCann.
For much of the remainder of the game I'm afraid there looked little home of a rescue. Huddersfield looked comfortable but we did have our moments. One came when the two second half substitutes combined with Vokes heading a Bartley cross onto the bar.
We just didn't offer anywhere near enough and Huddersfield had very few problems in picking up the points.
That's six without a win now. We've failed to score in successive home league games for the first time since the days of parachutists on the cricket field stand roof and we have to go back that far for the last time we didn't score in three successive league games home and away.
This team, right now, doesn't look like scoring. It doesn't look as though it is going to pick up points. Not for one minute do I think we are going to get dragged into a relegation fight but one thing is for sure, we will not be challenging for a top six place now after winning just two points out of the last 18.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Brian Stock, Dean Marney (Dane Richards 15, Sam Vokes 60), Chris McCann (Marvin Bartley 63), Keith Treacy, Charlie Austin. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, David Edgar, Junior Stanislas, Martin Paterson.
Yellow Cards: Brian Stock, Charlie Austin, Kieran Trippier.
Huddersfield: Alex Smithies, Callum Woods, Peter Clarke, Anthony Gerrard, Paul Dixon, Sean Scannell, Adam Clayton, Oscar Gobern (Scott Arfield 39), Neil Danns, Theo Robinson, James Vaughan (Lee Novak 85). Subs not used: Ian Bennett, Jack Hunt, Joel Lynch, Oliver Norwood, Alan Lee.
Yellow Cards: Anthony Gerrard, Adam Clayton, Scott Arfield.
Referee: Mark Halsey (Bolton).