Austin goal not enough to beat Coventry

Last updated : 15 April 2012 By Tony Scholes

Coventry were the side with something to play for. They are fighting a relegation battle that, if lost, will see them play outside the top two tiers of English football for the first time since 1964. Burnley, on the other hand, despite any suggestions otherwise, are playing out the season with no promotion hopes and no relegation fears.

Six goals in five games for Charlie Austin

They came to the Turf with their defeat at Bristol City last Monday having brought to an end a run of seven games without defeat. They came desperately in need of points to try and bridge the four point gap between them and safety.

Burnley on the other hand were again counting the number of players available. Jay Rodriguez, Martin Paterson, Ben Mee and Wes Fletcher were again unavailable but Marvin Bartley was back in the squad following injury.

There were no call ups this time for either Steven Hewitt or Shay McCartan but amazingly, as we reported ahead of the game, we recalled Joe Jackson from his loan at Barrow to fill the bench.

Things have changed at Burnley these days and having won the toss we again elected to play towards the Jimmy McIlroy Stand in the first half, but in the first twenty minutes or so there was little action for the fans at that end of the ground to see.

During that first twenty minutes Coventry were by far away the better side and will wonder how they didn't get themselves at least one goal in front. Four times they had shots on target and we were very thankful to the work of Kieran Trippier and Lee Grant for keeping us level.

Trippier made a dramatic goal line clearance from a Richard Keogh header. Coventry manager Andy Thorn believed it went in but the pictures on television don't do anything to clear it up one way or the other.

Grant made three saves. One was routine from Burnley fan Oliver Norwood, a shot hit straight at him, but he twice denied Coventry with outstanding saves, both times denying Alex Nimely.

It was a frightening opening to the game for us but I've seen us have starts as Coventry had here and not been able to get in front, and you really do need to score when you have such a period of ascendancy. Coventry didn't, and they paid for it.

In the 20th minute Ross Wallace just about got onto a ball from Junior Stanislas down the left. He came inside and crossed right footed. It was met by Austin who headed into the corner beyond Joe Murphy for his sixth goal in five games.

You sensed it had really deflated Coventry and they struggled to get any sort of foothold back in the game initially and it we could easily have gone further in front. The tried and trusted corner routine almost paid dividends with Danny Ings getting in the shot that looked goal bound before it was blocked and then Ings went on a mazy run which ended with his shot saved by Murphy.

Another goal and I'm sure it would have been game over, but it didn't come and our attacking intent soon faded away and the half was played out with some dull football which saw neither side able to create much.

Things didn't change in the second half. It was pretty poor stuff from both sides although Junior Stanislas did have a couple of half chances early in the half, one of them eventually leading to him putting a good shot just wide.

Something had to change and with just over ten minutes gone after the break the changes came from Coventry with a triple substitution. I always wonder about leaving yourself with so long of the game remaining with no more substitutions available, and they suffered because of it later in the game, but perhaps Thorn felt it had to be done to get them back into the game.

In truth I don't think it made much of a difference although eventually did lead to the equaliser as one of those three substitutes, striker Clive Platt, equalised. Norwood got the cross in from the right and Platt was allowed to rise unchallenged by Michael Duff and head home.

Burnley's response was to replace Dean Marney with Marvin Bartley and that brought a negative reaction from some parts of Turf Moor. I know it's a game of opinion but I thought Marney had been one of our better players and I was amazed he was the one pulled. He probably thought so too as we were subjected to the touchline tantrum of throwing the shirt down.

I would have thought Coventry would give it a real go now but that didn't happen at all. They looked more than happy with the point even before Cyrus Christie, another of the subs, was forced off with almost twenty minutes of play still remaining.

So intent were they on holding on to the point that they even had goalkeeper Murphy booked for time wasting in stoppage time.

Having won three of the last four games, and with the confidence up as a result of that, this was a very disappointing ninety minutes from the Clarets. We never really got out of first gear and even Eddie Howe said it had looked like a game too far for us. It was certainly that, apart from a ten minute spell in the first half following the goal we offered precious little.

Well done though to Austin on another goal. That's 16 league goals now from him (15 without penalties) and the only players in the Championship with more non-penalty goals are Ricardo Vaz Te with 19 and Rickie Lambert (Southampton) & Ross McCormack who both have 18.

The teams were;

Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ross Wallace, Josh McQuoid, Dean Marney (Marvin Bartley 69), Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas, Charlie Austin, Danny Ings. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Danny Lafferty, Cameron Howieson, Joe Jackson.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney.

Coventry: Joe Murphy, Richard Keogh, Martin Cranie, Chris Hussey, Jordan Clarke (Cyrus Christie 56), Sammy Clingan, David Bell (Gael Bigirimana 56), Oliver Norwood, Gary McSheffrey, Alex Nimely (Clive Platt 56), Cody McDonald. Subs not used: Chris Dunn, Jordan Willis.
Yellow Cards: Clive Platt, Joe Murphy.

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northants).

Attendance: 13,398 (including 550 from Coventry).