Carling Cup cruise for Clarets
Garreth O’Connor returned form suspension to replace the injured Wade Elliott whilst Graham Branch was preferred to the out of form Gifton Noel-Williams up front and both played leading roles in the victory.
It didn’t start that well for us and the first twenty minutes or so were fairly nondescript with neither side able to make much headway and efforts at either end were dealt with but the Clarets started to get on top and both Branch and Ade Akinbiyi tested the Barnsley keeper before we took the lead with a well worked goal from a corner.
The flag kick, taken by Garreth O’Connor, was headed on at the near post for Keith Lowe, making his first full home appearance, to head in from close range at the far post. It was just the lift we needed and for much of the remainder of the first half we were on top although some good defending, last ditched at times, from the visitors kept the scored down to 1-0 by half time.
If we had done well enough in the first half then things were about to get better and we dominated much of the second half and with less than an hour gone the tie was won as we added two more goals.
Ade got the second and what a good goal it was. He latched on to a long through ball and his first touch was magnificent. Having got the ball under control he went past the keeper before sliding the ball into the empty net.
Just a few minutes later he was the provider for the third, this time latching onto a ball in the centre and laying it off brilliantly for John Spicer who made no mistake, like Lowe scoring his first goal for the Clarets.
It brought the scoring to an end but in that last half hour we could so easily have doubled the scoreline with the Barnsley goal having some good luck whilst their keeper made some top saves.
Micah Hyde and both O’Connors had efforts with Garreth’s cannoning off Ade whilst keeper Flinders made a top save to keep out a strike from Branch. Late in the game substitute Chris McCann twice came close with long range efforts but both were turned away for corners.
Little was seen of the Barnsley attack and apart from one routine catch Danny Coyne was virtually unemployed in the Burnley goal as we pushed forward again and again, using the width of the pitch at every opportunity.
Some will say we were playing a side from a lower division, and it was, but this was a real potential banana skin and we made damn sure we weren’t going to slip on it. We were head and shoulders above Barnsley on the night and our place in the next round is fully deserved.
There were good individual performances all around the pitch and Garreth O’Connor, back from suspension, was in fine form but my man of the match goes to Graham Branch who turned in an excellent performance up front alongside Ade. Mind you it probably didn’t please some people who are too quick to turn on Branchy.
Getting through was the most important thing but we’ve done that with some style, now we really do have to show that sort of form again in the next couple of home games. If we do then the league table might start looking a whole lot different.
The teams were,
Burnley: Danny Coyne, Michael Duff, Keith Lowe (Frank Sinclair 74), John McGreal, Jon Harley, John Spicer, Micah Hyde (Chris McCann 80), James O’Connor, Garreth O’Connor, Ade Akinbiyi (Gifton Noel-Williams 75), Graham Branch. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Kyle Lafferty.
Barnsley: Scott Flinders, Jacob Burns (Stephen McPhail 65), Neil Austin, Antony Kay, Nicky Wroe, Dale Tonge, Robbie Williams, Marc Richards (Paul Hayes 72), Chris Shuker, Daniel Nardiello (Barry Conlon 71), Martin Devaney. Subs not used: Nick Colgan, Bobby Hassell.
Referee: Andy Penn (West Midlands).