Charlie's been on another Ram Raid
Report of match Derby County 1 Burnley 2 played 22nd September 2012
Reporter Tony Scholes
It was just the same as a year ago; we've come back from Pride Park with a 2-1 win against Derby and Charlie Austin has scored both our goals.
The result and goalscorers wasn't the only similarity either. Just as was the case last season we travelled to Derby with the home side having made a good start to the season. Last season they had a 100% record and this time they were still to drop points at home. Both times we were very much considered underdogs ahead of the game.
There was one thing that wasn't anything like similar, however. Last season we were the better side and fully deserved the win; yesterday we were, to put it mildly, somewhat fortunate to get the points and it was the case that, just before Austin's late winner, I'd marked goalkeeper Lee Grant down as the man of the match.
|Two more goals for Charlie Austin|
The first part of the day was better than a year ago. No matter which way you travelled in August 2011 there were traffic problems due to accidents. Two on the M6 held us up then but yesterday it was a trouble free journey all the way from Burnley to Pride Park.
We were greeted by team news that was a surprise. I was expecting Brian Stock to be left out, not imagining that he'd be able to play twice in such a short space of time and I was expecting Austin to be back in.
Cameron Stewart being left out, given his poor performance at Leicester, was no shock and there had been hints from manager Eddie Howe that Ben Mee might get his first league start of the season.
When I heard the team news, with Joseph Mills out, I thought we were going to go with three at the back, but it proved to be the traditional 4-4-2 with Mee lining up as a direct replacement for Mills in the left back position.
Another surprise was the inclusion, for the first time, of Kevin Long on the bench. There had been no news from the club of his return from Portsmouth and, given that the initial month had ended a week before, it was thought there had been an extension and he'd remained at Fratton Park.
Derby had scored 15 goals in their four previous home games this season and they set off looking for more in this game. They were very much the better side in the opening exchanges. Defensively at times we looked all at sea and of real concern was the amount of space Will Hughes was getting down their left hand side.
They pushed forward at will. We'd no real answer to it and their first real effort came from what proved to be a typical move down the left. The ball found Hughes in acres of space but former Ram Grant saved well.
We got to almost 20 minutes with the scores level, but the way we were defending that was something of a surprise. Derby then won a corner. They screamed for a penalty for a foul by Junior Stanislas. It clearly wasn't and the referee, rightly, pointed for a corner on the Derby right.
It's been a common theme this season, struggling to deal with set pieces, and it was there for all to see again as the ball came back in low into the box with Jamie Ward allowed far too much time and room to get his shot away. Grant had no chance and we were behind.
That lead should have been doubled almost immediately. Conor Sammon, who you wouldn't want anywhere near your team on this showing, was sent clear but he somehow managed to drag his shot wide.
In truth, we looked in for a hammering at this point, but then the game changed with an equaliser just past the half hour that was both fortunate and excellent. We won a free kick in a central position some 35 yards from goal.
Ross Wallace hit it into the wall, it bounced up and Ward hesitated in clearing allowing Mee to get a boot on it and knock it forward and to the right where Austin was totally unmarked. The striker's first touch was immaculate in bringing it down before he smashed it into the far corner across Frank Fielding. I think it was the first time I'd seen Charlie all afternoon, but that's what goalscorers do.
Level at 1-1. The away end was both relieved and delighted, and it almost got even better a couple of minutes later when Mee crashed a header against the bar from a Kieran Trippier corner.
By half time we were in the ascendancy and going off at 1-1 there were real hopes of a good second half showing and perhaps our first away points of the season.
Stewart replaced Stanislas at the start of the second half. It was no surprise, Stanislas looked as if he was struggling towards half time and it was later revealed he had a hamstring problem.
The first quarter of an hour of the second half proved to be our best spell of the game. We didn't just continue where we left off at the end of the first half but stepped it up. If I were to be critical, we didn't create much in terms of goalscoring opportunities, but we were the better side and were asking Derby a lot of questions. Suddenly a home win was not looking the foregone conclusion it had looked in that first half hour.
Just past the hour came the second change and with it went Burnley's control of the game. Martin Paterson, so much involved in everything at that point, came off with Sam Vokes replacing him. It was no reflection on Vokes but Paterson's movement was missed and the game changed dramatically.
Derby took control. We dropped deeper and the longer it went you wondered just when Derby might get the winner. They should have done; they had enough chances and the best of the lot fell to the hapless Sammon.
|Ben Mee had his best game for Burnley|
We defended heroically and behind that back four was Grant. He made a number of good saves with one, in particular, a superb stop to deny Craig Bryson.
I kept looking at the clock. I hoped we might just get a point when we reached 80 minutes. Then they brought on Theo Robinson who always seems to score against us.
Five minutes later, and still hanging in at 1-1, I was getting concerned just how much added time we'd have to contend with. It was going to be a big rearguard action to ensure we got a point.
Then, from nowhere, came the winner, not Derby's but ours. I can't recall who played the ball out to the left but the goal owed much to a terrific run down the left from Mee who got possession of the ball.
He played a short ball inside for Chris McCann who in turn chipped it up towards the far post and there was Charlie, all ready to Ram Raid again. Right in front of the Burnley fans he got between two defenders to head home. Again we hadn't seen much of him, but that's what goalscorers do.
It wasn't over. There were four extra minutes and we had to battle to prevent an equaliser. Derby won at least two corners in that extra time and Mee cleared one off the line. Thankfully, we survived it.
The first away points of the season were ours. It wasn't pretty; we were fortunate which Howe confirmed at the end, but who cares? At times we were hanging on but it was fantastic being in that away end when, right in front of us, Charlie got the winner.
You can't deny his contribution to the win. Nigel Clough had warned of his goalscoring ability ahead of the game. He was, in the end, my man of the match, simply because he won us the game.
But we can't forget the performances in particular of Grant, of Dean Marney and, in that first league start of the season, of Mee who I think had his best game yet in Burnley colours.
This was just what we wanted. Of course we want to play well and of course we want to be the best team in each game we play. It can't always be like that and sometimes it really is all down to getting the points.
This season we will lose games we don't deserve to lose, so I'm certainly not complaining when we get what was a fortunate three points.
Now, once the COCUP tie at Swindon has been played, we can look forward to two home games against Millwall and Sheffield Wednesday, two teams for whom a defeat at Turf Moor is long overdue.
The teams were;
Derby: Frank Fielding, John Brayford, Richard Keogh, Jake Buxton, Gareth Roberts, Paul Coutts, Jeff Hendrick, Craig Bryson, Will Hughes (Michael Jacobs 77), Jamie Ward, Conor Sammon (Theo Robinson 80). Subs not used: Adam Legdzdins, James O'Connor, Nathan Tyson, Conor Doyle, Valentin Gjokaj.
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, David Edgar, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas (Cameron Stewart 45), Martin Paterson (Sam Vokes 61), Charlie Austin (Marvin Bartley 89). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Kevin Long, Joseph Mills, Brian Stock.
Yellow Card: Ben Mee.
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).