Cup campaign starts and ends at Norwich
Report of match Norwich City 4 Burnley 1 played 7th January 2012
Reporter Tony Scholes
Burnley's hopes of an FA Cup run came crashing down at Norwich yesterday as the Premier League club comprehensively beat us 4-1 to progress to the fourth round.
It proved to be a difficult day for a patched up Burnley and once Norwich had taken an early lead we never really looked likely to get back into a tie that could have quite easily gone against us by an even bigger margin.
|Jay Rod - scored what proved to be a consolation|
Eddie Howe opted to stick with the back four who had battled manfully at Leeds five days earlier whilst further up the pitch we saw Martin Paterson return after being rested for the Leeds game. Junior Stanislas, who was substituted at Leeds, was the player to miss out.
That meant David Edgar, who has been playing well in the centre of defence, was named at right back. It's a real concern for a club who have hopes of a return to the Premier League that with a young player out suspended for one game, a young player who until last week was only with us on loan, we have no alternative right back.
Edgar is most definitely not a right back and it was no real surprise that all four of Norwich's goals yesterday came, one way or another, from attacks down that side of the pitch.
When I heard the team news I wondered what the formation might be, and a day on I'm still wondering. We started with a sort of 4-3-2-1 formation. Ross Wallace joined Dean Marney and Chris McCann in the three, Martin Paterson (right) and Jay Rodriguez (left) were the two with Charlie Austin up front.
Paterson, who scored two goals at Norwich last season, looked as though he was going to be a real threat down the right hand side and twice in the opening three minutes he was involved as we came close to going in front.
Declan Rudd, in goal for Norwich, was forced into two saves. He held neither and pushed one out for a corner which, incredibly, the assistant referee failed to see, simply because he wasn't looking.
The ascendancy didn't last long. Norwich won a corner on their left that was headed clear by Ross Wallace but only as far as Wes Hoolahan, the game's best player. He crossed to the far post and found our defence all at sea allowing Grant Holt to head home.
Holt had done well, but this was downright poor defending and we repeated it in another six minutes as Simeon Jackson headed home a left wing cross.
Not much past ten past three and we were almost certainly heading out of the FA Cup, but in fairness we rallied and pulled one back when Rodriguez, a good distance from goal, looped a header from a Wallace free kick into the corner of the net.
Only a quarter of an hour gone and three goals and we could have equalised when Paterson got another ball in. Austin got there first but wasn't able to turn it into goal and Norwich cleared.
By now there had been something of a change round. Austin seemed to be playing on the left hand side of midfield, but the changes were so often it wasn't always easy to determine who was playing where.
Austin, defending in that left hand side position, gave away a penalty for handball. I was at the furthest point away from the incident, and far be it from me to defend and assistant referee called Scholes, but he flagged quickly and it was one of those penalties you would always want but feel they shouldn't be given against you.
As it happened it didn't matter as Holt missed the target, his spot kick glancing the outside of Lee Grant's right hand post.
That was it for the first half but if we had hopes of rallying after the break they were very much dashed as Norwich just about dominated the second half once Wallace had been forced off with an injury after clashing with Ben Mee.
It would and could have been 3-1 soon after but for a stunning save from Grant which was followed by two bad misses. How on earth Grant kept out a shot from Hoolahan I don't know, it really was an astonishing save.
He deserved better than the ball dropping for Grant who somehow put his shot against the post. Even then it dropped for Norwich and this time Jackson screwed a shot hopelessly wide.
It was total dominance from Norwich now and soon after Andrew Surman was able to just walk through us and make it three as he placed a shot past the helpless Grant.
With just under twenty minutes to go, Paul Lambert made a double change. On came Aaron Wilbraham and Steve Morison and the pair combined with their first touches, to complete the scoring.
Wilbraham got a shot in that Grant was forced to parry and it fell invitingly for Morison who had the easiest of chances.
Howe decided to act and hauled off the appalling Andre Amougou. I've defending him for long enough but he looked totally disinterested at times and caused us so many problems. The solution was to move Edgar back into the middle and bring on Alex MacDonald at right back.
If Edgar is not a full back then Alex Mac definitely isn't, but he stuck to his task and at least we didn't concede any more goals.
Norwich were, in the end, too good for us, but this result was not all about an average Premier League club playing at the top of their game. Our performance was simply not good enough and there have to be some real concerns that we can't cope defensively without Trippier and Michael Duff.
We didn't have a single defender on the bench so couldn't change things. Alongside goalkeeper Jon Stewart we had Marvin Bartley, four wingers and youngster Joe Jackson named as substitutes.
Joe hasn't played much football recently. He suffered a metatarsal injury towards the end of last season and has been back as a substitute in the last two reserve games.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to him at the Clarets Mad Dinner last year and he's a smashing lad who, I'm told, has shown a brilliant attitude during his time out injured.
But the facts are we could have named Wes Fletcher or Kevin Long on the bench yesterday, both of whom have played some league football recently. Long would have, at least, given us a defensive option.
Looking at how stretched that squad was it really does show that a lot of work is needed this month in the transfer market if we wish to remain competitive and give it a real go to try and get into the top six.
Teams that win cup ties always refer to it boosting confidence, so for us, in football speak, we can now concentrate on the league, and that's a shame because I like a cup run.
The teams yesterday were;
Norwich: Declan Rudd, Russell Martin, Zak Whitbread, Daniel Ayala, Adam Drury, David Fox, Andrew Crofts, Wes Hoolahan (Elliott Bennett 77), Andrew Surman, Grant Holt (Aaron Wilbraham 71), Simeon Jackson (Steve Morison 71). Subs not used: Jed Steer, Leon Barnett, Simon Lappin, Bradley Johnson.
Yellow Cards: Zak Whitbread, Daniel Ayala.
Burnley: Lee Grant, David Edgar, Andre Amougou (Alex MacDonald 75), Ben Mee, Brian Easton, Ross Wallace (Marvin Bartley 53), Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Martin Paterson, Charlie Austin (Junior Stanislas 71), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Jon Stewart, Keith Treacy, Zavon Hines, Joe Jackson.
Referee: Michael Jones (Chester).
Attendance: 22,898 (including 797 Clarets).