Cheques, medals, a disgruntled Scotsman and a wonderful win
Report of match Burnley 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 played 18th August 2012
Reporter Tony Scholes
The 2012/13 league season couldn't have got off to a better start for the Clarets as we started with a 2-0 win against Bolton Wanderers and a performance that was better than I could ever have imagined.
Ian Britton and David Reeves are well known names in Burnley's past. Britton scored arguably our most important goal in the vital win against Orient in May 1987 and Reeves was the loan player that the club asked fans to pay for by paying double at the turnstiles.
|Sophie Hitchon, Jon Schofield and Steven Burke|
Back in November 1987, these two, and on the day Reeves made his debut, scored our goals in a 2-1 win against Bolton and until yesterday that was the last time we had beaten them in a league game. The names of Britton and Reeves can now be crossed out; the players now to have scored in our last league win against them are Martin Paterson and Charlie Austin.
The whole day was special. It started with the youth team beating Fleetwood and, personally, my only disappointment all day was not being able to get down to Gawthorpe to see it.
Into the afternoon and I was very definitely at Turf Moor, and inside the ground considerably earlier than I usually am to enable me to get down onto the touchline in front of the Bob Lord Stand to see Tony Yates, tybfc to those on the message board, along with his sons Alex and Dan, present a cheque to new joint chairman John B on behalf of Clarets Mad Youth Foundation.
Whilst down there I had the pleasure of seeing some Olympic medals at very close quarters with the club presenting Sophie Hitchon, Jon Schofield and Steven Burke to the crowd, just before John B himself went out to the middle as he prepared for his first home game in his new role.
I raced back round to my seat in the Longside Upper, just in time to see the teams come out to loud cheers who were followed by Bolton manager Owen Coyle and his disciples who inevitably and deservedly received strong abuse from the home sections of the crowd.
I loved the two fans situated not too far behind the away dug out wearing white t-shirts, one with JU in big letters on the front and the other sporting DAS. There were banners too as the beleaguered and worried looking Coyle took his place.
I hope he saw the plane. It came in low enough to see, although not quite low enough to go toe-to-toe with the floodlight pylons, with the trailing message "Judas Coyle - you reap what you sow". Coyle was in for a very difficult afternoon.
Everyone knows just what I think of him; I despise the man for what he did to our football club, I always will, but from then on in it was nothing to do with him other than it was his team we simply tore apart in a performance that had the home crowd purring.
|New joint-chairman John B|
Eddie Howe had named two of his new signings in the starting eleven, and it would have been a big surprise had either Jason Shackell or Joseph Mills not been selected.
I come from a traditional Lancashire background. One of my granddads was a miner, the other a weaver, so it was good to see Burnley having Mills again. What a pity the much speculated move for Pitman didn't come off.
Ross Wallace, despite being ill on Friday, made the team and the one change Howe had told me there would be saw Brian Stock drop to the bench with Martin Paterson returning.
It was Pato's first home appearance since the 2-2 draw against West Ham back in March. He scored in that game and had scored in three of his four previous home starts.
Despite all the razzmatazz, this was a difficult game. The Bolton team showed only four changes from the one that had played Stoke on the last day of the Premier League season. From that team, in came former Claret Tyrone Mears, summer signing Keith Andrews, fit again Chung Yong Lee and Marvin Sordell, signed last January from Watford.
Out from that team were Dedryck Boyata, who was on loan from Manchester City, Nigel Reo-Coker, Ivan Klasnic and another former Claret Chris Eagles. Inevitably Mears, and Eagles who came off the bench, were not winning much popularity from the Burnley supporters.
It was typically opening day; the sun was beating down and the temperatures were probably as high as they are going to be all season. It wasn't the hottest of starts for us though as Bolton took the early initiative.
Thankfully they didn't make much of it and never really threatened to get a goal, and once we'd got ourselves into the game then our opponents were very much second best for the remainder of the game.
The first real effort on goal came from Paterson who, from an angle, managed to chip Adam Bogdan only for the ball to land on the top of the netting. Then Charlie Austin fluffed the well worked corner routine and that led to probably Bolton's best chance of the afternoon as they broke quickly only for Lee to miscue and put his shot wide.
A couple of minutes later Martin Petrov fired over but by now we were so much on top you felt all it needed was a goal. It nearly came from the inspirational Dean Marney who hammered in a shot from distance. Bogdan got to it but couldn't hold it, but that was no surprise for a goalkeeper who I still can't believe kept Jussi Jaskelainen, or any other goalkeeper for that matter, out of any side.
Then we got the goal. From a thrown in, Wallace and Kieran Trippier linked up down the right hand side for Trippier to get in the cross. It was met by Junior Stanislas whose shot was blocked by Mears.
It dropped for Marney, outside the box, who thundered in another shot. It was something like Pinball Wizard as it cannoned off McCann for Austin to head across goal where Paterson headed past Bogdan.
Up went the Bolton arms for offside, Steve Davis was so perplexed from his wonderful vantage point in the away dug out that he almost dropped his notepad, but they weren't getting this one. The goal stood, Burnley were 1-0 up six minutes before half time, and heading for the win.
We comfortably saw out the remainder of the first half and any concerns that we'd try and protect that lead in the second half were soon banished.
Brilliantly, we left the Bolton players out on the pitch waiting for some time before we emerged to rapturous applause and then proceeded to have our best spell of the game.
|The inspirational Dean Marney|
Twice Bogdan denied Austin as Burnley pushed up looking for a second goal. We were so much on top by now and the first ten minutes of the half was all Burnley. Another goal would surely clinch it and that's exactly what we got on 57 minutes.
Chris McCann, another in fine form, won the ball in his own half just to the right of the centre circle. He made a trademark McCann run to the left before playing the ball out to Stanislas. He'd had a quiet game and a half up to this point but definitely stepped things up in this second half.
He got in a superb cross that McCann, who had continued his run, all but got to. It didn't matter, Austin and Tim Ream got there first. It might have been Ream who got the first touch but it was new daddy Charlie who got the decisive last touch to hit home from close range.
I don't think we saw the aforementioned Bolton manager again during the game. He took his seat and sulked as he watched his side never make any serious threat. Eagles came on and was probably their best player, but they looked a beaten side.
I sensed there might be a third goal but probably the closest we got was when Pato tried to beat Bogdan on his near post only for the goalkeeper to turn it wide for a corner.
Howe made changes; he brought on Sam Vokes then Ben Mee as he switched to three central defenders, and right at the end Stock got his league debut.
It was comfortable. From around ten minutes past three we'd been the better side and to be honest we'd totally outplayed them. Ahead of the game I hoped for a win; ahead of the game I'd have taken any kind of win, but instead I got a performance that I'd suggest was as good as anything we've seen on Turf Moor since Howe became manager.
I spoke to the manager just over 24 hours before the game. I'm sure he plays poker; he's definitely got the face for it, but I did sense a real determination from him and a real belief in him that we would win this one.
He described it at the final whistle as the perfect day. I think any Burnley supporter there for this one would struggle to disagree with him. The manager got it absolutely right. His planning was perfect. He knew just how Bolton were going to play and he knew just how we could beat them.
He was helped, of course, by some simply outstanding performances right down the middle of the pitch. When you have two central defenders playing as David Edgar and Shackell did; when you have two midfielders in the sort of form we saw from Marney and McCann, and when your front two play as well as Pato and Charlie did yesterday, then you are surely on a winner.
It all ended with some bloke striding across the pitch in shorts and football socks pulled up. He wanted more words with the referee as Steve Davis again almost dropped his notepad. It reminded me of days past at Turf Moor.
Jon Moss waved him away and the disgruntled Scotsman made his way up the tunnel. There was no chorus of boos this time. His own fans had long since gone and the Burnley fans were joining in with the jubilant celebrations of our players and staff.
It had been a very special day. It would be so nice to think there are more of them on the way this season. It was a result to savour, and very much a performance to savour.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, David Edgar, Jason Shackell, Joseph Mills, Dean Marney, Ross Wallace, Chris McCann, Martin Paterson, Charlie Austin, Junior Stanislas (Ben Mee 80). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Michael Duff, Marvin Bartley, Alex MacDonald.
Yellow Card: Dean Marney.
Bolton Wanderers: Adam Bogdan, Tyrone Mears, Zat Knight, Tim Ream, Sam Ricketts, Chung-Yong Lee, Mark Davies (Darren Pratley 75), Keith Andrews, Martin Petrov (Chris Eagles 59), Kevin Davies (Benik Afobe 59), Marvin Sordell. Subs not used: Andy Lonergan, Marcos Alonso, Matt Mills, Gregg Wylde.
Yellow Cards: Keith Andrews, Darren Pratley.
Referee: Jon Moss (Leeds).