Clarets lose a nil-nil game by three goals

Last updated : 15 January 2006 By Tony Scholes
Wayne Thomas - preferred to Michael Duff
It’s difficult to know where to start in describing this apology for a football match that came crashing down for the Clarets in a crazy five minutes early in the second half, five minutes that ensured our annual trip out of the country would yield the same result as it has done in the previous two seasons.

There was just one change to the side that went out of the FA Cup last week at Derby. Wayne Thomas came into the defence, preferred to Michael Duff who took his place on the bench. Thomas played in the centre with Frank Sinclair moved to right back.

I’ve read in one report that we were supposedly every bit as good as Cardiff, I would much prefer to say that they were every bit as bad as us and to be honest for much of the afternoon neither side did enough to get anything from the game.

This is without doubt for me the worst performance of the season and probably the worst since Steve Cotterill took over as manager. There’s been some promise in recent away games but this one offered nothing.

The highlight of a tedious first half came from a free kick we won just outside the Cardiff box. Jon Harley’s shot was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Neil Alexander but it was the nearest either keeper came to being tested during the first forty-five minutes.

The only other incident of note saw Ade Akinbiyi yellow carded by the at times over fussy referee Darren Drysdale. It was a nonsense of a decision but it will mean that Ade misses the Preston game next week which will probably mean Gifton Noel-Williams leading the attack.

That really was it and the Burnley fans on the terracing in this 1970s style football ground just looked dumbstruck as the half time whistle blew. I’m not so sure what it was supposed to be but football it certainly was not.
If that was bad, then the half time entertainment was embarrassing.

Apparently it is something to do with an MTV programme but four blokes stripped to jock straps and then stood in a line whilst people started firing footballs at them trying to hit there bare backsides. Even Gifton had a go.

The second half couldn’t be much worse than the first, that was impossible, and surely one team had to come out a little bit brighter than they had been before the interval. That team initially looked to be Burnley.

We took the game to Cardiff and in the first ten minutes of the half the home side hardly had the ball as we looked to take command. Then it all started to go wrong, and how, and goalkeeper Brian Jensen will be going through the next period over and over again.

Jason Koumas got free down the left hand side and inexplicably the Beast came storming out of his goal. He had no chance of getting there and was thankful to Wayne Thomas who got back to win the ball and prevent what looked a certain goal.

Jensen then gave away a needless corner before gifting Cardiff the opening goal as he came to collect a cross into the box, failed to hold it and left debutant striker Steve Thompson with the easiest of chances. Some will say Jensen was fouled by Cameron Jerome but for me it was just a bad mistake.

Two minutes later they doubled their lead with a second from Thompson and this time Jensen had no chance. The Scot, signed from Rangers this week, was allowed to turn on the edge of the box far too easily but then crashed an unstoppable shot into the corner.

We looked rattled at conceding two in three minutes but it quickly became three in five minutes and again questions have to be asked about the goalkeeping as Koumas scored with a header.

That was it, and the game then returned to the sort of dreadful stuff we had seen in the first half. We made a couple of substitutions but it made no difference and with heads down we just went through the motions before finally it was brought to an end.

This result really does take some believing, we have somehow managed to lose a game 3-0 that had 0-0 written all over it. It was billed as one of the top games of the day between two sides fighting for a play off place, in reality it looked like a game between two sides with nothing at all to play for.

I’m not too concerned about Cardiff, but as far as the Clarets are concerned this simply will not do. We are not in the best of form right now, we’ve won just twice in our last nine games and we’ll soon be finding the play off places out of reach unless there is a change in our fortunes.

Individual players had poor games, and again we saw the difference in form by playing Frank Sinclair at full back in order to accommodate Wayne Thomas who certainly didn’t strengthen the back four with his performance today.

We have a shocking away record, only Luton have lost more often on the road, but there was certainly no case of bad luck today, it was simply a very bad and unacceptable performance.

The teams were,

Cardiff: Neil Alexander, Rhys Weston, Darren Purse (Kevin Cooper 84), Neil Cox, Chris Barker, Neal Ardley, Willie Boland, Joe Ledley, Jason Koumas (Guylain Ndumbu-Nsungu 89), Steve Thompson (Riccardo Scimeca 77), Cameron Jerome. Subs not used: Martin Margetson, Phil Mulryne.

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Frank Sinclair, Wayne Thomas, John McGreal, Jon Harley, Wade Elliott (John Spicer 89), James O’Connor, Micah Hyde, Chris McCann (Graham Branch 65), Garreth O’Connor (Gifton Noel-Williams 65), Ade Akinbiyi. Subs not used: Lee Grant, Michael Duff.

Referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincoln).

Attendance: 10,872.