A night in Horwich with Moses

Last updated : 27 January 2010 By Tony Scholes
It should have been no more than a bog standard Premier League game against a side from just down the road, a side with which there has never really been a burning rivalry.

That all changed three weeks ago as Moses led the Exodus of his people (known in the modern day as his backroom team) and parked up at the aforementioned place in Horwich to be met by his brother Aaron, or was it Phil Gartside?

Over 5,000 pilgrims followed on this night, not to behold the man but to wish him bad favour and the heavy defeat they thought he so richly deserved, as one pilgrim told Talksport listeners.

Brian Laws had been selected to lead the Pilgrims and ahead of the contest he chose to change some of his disciples in the front line. Christian (an appropriate name on this occasion) Kalvenes got his first Premier League start since the opening day of the season. Clarke Carlisle was back in the centre of the defence. There was a return for Steven Fletcher and this being a league contest, David Nugent was able to play.

Ahead of the contest Moses, in shorts and socks pulled up, and his people appeared in a rather less than fetching brownish sort of uniform.

Once underway I thought Burnley started quite brightly. David Nugent was causing them some problems down our right hand side and we were putting some decent stuff together.

We even looked as if we had found ourselves someone who could take a corner in Graham Alexander. Twice Grezza got good balls over and from the second, a return cross almost led to Michael Duff giving us the lead.

Then disaster struck and not because the Horwich side had taken the lead. With just over ten minutes gone Chris McCann, in his first league game since September, went down clutching his left knee. He tried to continue but soon after had to give way with Kevin McDonald coming on.

It certainly wasn't what we wanted, and there was worse to come. Just four minutes later and we were saying goodbye to Grezza who succumbed to a calf injury. This time, with no midfielders left on the bench, Martin Paterson came on and we had one almighty reshuffle.

Brian Laws' game plan was well and truly out of the window, but up against the sort of Horwich tactics that would have had Sam Allardyce bursting with pride, we were still the better side for much of that first half.

That was until we did what we've been doing all season away from home, giving soft goals away. Chung-Yong Lee played the ball to Kevin Davies and moved for the return. Kalvenes lost him and Lee was in for a shot on goal.

It cannoned off the underside of the bar and all of a sudden, looking from the far end, I saw a man frantically waving a flag. He was indicating that it had bounced over the line. I've no problem with the decision, it clearly went in, and neither was it offside.

Over to the side where Moses and his people were, and one was seen punching the air in delight. He goes by the name of Steve Davis, the first team coach. Strangely I heard no chants of "You'll Always Be A Claret".

It was still 1-0 when the half time whistle blew but I thought if we could continue in the same way then there was still something in it for us.

Unfortunately we didn't and the less said about the second half the better. It was as poor a football as you are ever likely to see in the Premier League. A few weeks ago I sat enthusing as we drew 1-1 with Arsenal, and said at the time for it to be that good it needed Arsenal as the opposition.

For it to be this bad it certainly needed Bolton. Had it been Megson and not Moses the booing would have raised the dead so bad was it. And as the half went on we were no better. New signing Frédéric Nimani got a look in, and I bet he wondered just what was going on. Even so he failed to impress.

I couldn't wait to get out, and did so just as soon as the final whistle signalled our eleventh defeat in twelve away league games, albeit our best defensive display on the road all season in terms of goals conceded.

I missed the embarrassing episode of Moses embracing Brian Laws' disciples and trying to gain favour with the pilgrims. I am so pleased I fled.

We need to do better, and soon because we've a hell of a fight on now to stay in the Premier League. We could just do with a bit of good fortune too, and the mere presence of Phil Dowd this Saturday is hardly comforting news.

As for Moses. He received the Ten Commandments and he might be best advised to read them again. One I would point him to is "Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbour," because observing that would have ensured we'd have known for definite whether he had the chance to go to Celtic.

Finally - Moses never did make it to the Promised Land. Maybe the modern day Moses will never make it to Celtic Park.

The teams last night were;

Horwich: Jussi Jaaskelainen, Gretar Steinsson, Gary Cahill, Zat Knight, Sam Ricketts, Chung-Yong Lee (Vladimir Weiss 90), Fabrice Muamba, Tamir Cohen, Matt Taylor (Ricardo Gardner 77), Kevin Davies, Ivan Klasnic (Johan Elmander 52). Subs not used: Ali Al Habsi. Jlloyd Samuel, Paul Robinson, Andy O'Brien.
Yellow Cards: Tamir Cohen, Kevin Davies, Chung-Young Lee.

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Tyrone Mears, Michael Duff, Clarke Carlisle, Christian Kalvenes, Wade Elliott, Graham Alexander (Martin Paterson 17), Chris McCann (Kevin McDonald 13), David Nugent, Steven Fletcher, Chris Eagles (Frédéric Nimani 66). Subs not used: Diego Penny, David Edgar, Robbie Blake, Steven Thompson.
Yellow Cards: Wade Elliott, Kevin McDonald.

Referee: Martin Atkinson (Leeds).

Attendance: 23,986.