Dublin Clarets win it

Last updated : 27 September 2005 By Tony Scholes
James O'Connor - in excellent form in the midfield
James and Garreth O’Connor were both on the mark and a late third was added by young Chris McCann, another Dublin born player, who scored his first ever goal in the first team, on a night when the Clarets showed they should not be languishing near the bottom of the table.

Ipswich were fresh from a win at Elland Road against Leeds, were looking at pushing towards the top six themselves, but had no real answer and hardly troubled Brian Jensen in goal all night.

The Beast was back in goal following the serious injury to Danny Coyne and Frank Sinclair came in to replace John McGreal who was also out injured. In the only change Graham Branch was preferred to Gifton Noel-Williams and most of us expected him to play up front as he did against Barnsley a week ago.

But we went back to the 4-5-1 system we used more often than not last season and there’s no doubt it was the catalyst for a night that had Turf Moor rocking for the first time all season.

Maybe Ipswich weren’t expecting and it allowed us to get off to a bright start and twice in the early exchanges Ade Akinbiyi had chances to give us the lead but both times his efforts were saved by Lewis Price in the Ipswich goal. He really should have scored with the second of them but that was typical of Ade’s night.

At the other end Ipswich were struggling to create much although they did manage to go down a couple of times in the penalty box but the officials were having none of it. Come to think about it, they didn’t bother with too much all night.

With half an hour gone it was still goalless but we really should have got our noses in front, shortly afterwards we did. So often Steve Cotterill has bemoaned our lack of any sort of luck but we got it with this one as a James O’Connor effort from a few yards outside the box got a deflection that took it past the keeper.

You make your own luck and we’d more than deserved this bit of good fortune, now we had to go on and make it count. At no point in the next hour did we ever look like losing the lead. In fact James O’Connor came close to doubling the lead within a couple of minutes but this time his powerfully struck shot from the edge of the box was blocked. By half time we were well on top and Ipswich must have gone off feeling very fortunate to be only a goal down.

The game could have been all over in the first ten minutes of the second half as we really took command. Ade had once shot saved and then hammered an effort into the side netting but he’d been pulled back by Jay McEveley and it is difficult to see how referee Pike didn’t award a penalty.

Ipswich did win a few free kicks but generally they were struggling to stay in the game as we poured forward. Akinbiyi again, Micah Hyde and John Spicer all had shots blocked and it did seem only a matter of time before we got another.

It came following a good run from Graham Branch that was only halted when he was fouled some twenty-five yards from goal. We had a similar set up to the free kick at Deepdale but this time, just as Jon Harley looked set to shoot, Micah moved it to the right for Garreth O’Connor to hit the sweetest of strikes into the bottom corner for 2-0.

We’d won it now, there was never going to be a way back for Ipswich, and we made a couple of substitutions. The first of these saw Chris McCann come on for Spicer and the first opportunity he had he fired in a shot at goal but it hit Ade and was cleared.

Youngster Chris was not to be denied though and got his first league goal with a superb header following a right win corner from Garreth O’C. That just left time for Ade to go off to a standing ovation. It had been a performance from the Clarets lone striker that had included some missed chances but a performance where the Ipswich defenders had not been able to cope with him.

It all came to an end, Turf Moor was a much happier place, and the much maligned midfield had turned in a performance to remember. You can pick any one of them for your man of the match and no one could complain but for me it just has to be James O’Connor.

He’s been off form recently and has hardly made an impact but tonight he was at his best, was a threat all night as he got forward and with any luck at all could so easily have got another couple of goals.

Ipswich had no answer to us tonight, and the league table is looking a whole lot better than it has done for the last week and a half. We’re out of the bottom three positions, now we need to stay out of them and start moving back up the table. We don’t like it at the bottom.

Tonight’s teams were,

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Michael Duff, Keith Lowe, Frank Sinclair, Jon Harley, Garreth O’Connor, Micah Hyde, John Spicer (Chris McCann 78), James O’Connor, Graham Branch, Ade Akinbiyi (Karl Bermingham 89). Subs not used: Duane Courtney, Wade Elliott, Gifton Noel-Williams.

Ipswich: Lewis Price, Castro Sito, Jason de Vos, Richard Naylor, Jay McEveley, Darren Currie, Jim Magilton (Jamie Peters 61), Kevin Horlock, Owen Garvan, Dean Bowditch (Danny Haynes 61), Sam Parkin. Subs not used: Shane Supple, Fabian Wilnis, Jimmy Juan.

Referee: Mike Pike (Cumbria).

Attendance: 10,496.