Hark now hear the Burnley sing
Report of match Burnley 3 Doncaster Rovers 0 played 26th December 2011
Reporter Tony Scholes
Boxing Day proved to be a good one for Burnley with a 3-0 home win against Doncaster Rovers at Turf Moor, a win that sees us move up to ninth place in the Championship table.
A first league penalty of the season converted by Jay Rodriguez, a goal for Martin Paterson and an own goal to finish things off made it a real Boxing Day treat and gave us successive wins on this date for the first time in over thirty years.
|Dean Marney - Man of the match performance|
And a treat it was. I thought this was one of the most enjoyable games so far this season. I'd feared another potentially difficult afternoon against a Doncaster side who would come to play in a similar manner to the likes of Reading and Portsmouth, teams who were perhaps content to get a 0-0 draw and hope, as those two did, to go away with a narrow win.
The recent games against Doncaster, over the last three years, have been poor fair but here they came to play the game, look for a win and make it an open ninety minutes that provided our second highest crowd of the season with an entertaining ninety minutes.
It took until eight minutes before half time for us to break the deadlock with Jay Rod's first ever league penalty and then we had to wait until close to the end to finish it off with two further goals, but no one could deny we were the better side and deserving of the points although Doncaster boss Dean Saunders did his level best.
There was a lot of pre-match discussion on what the team might be and, as expected, Junior Stanislas returned having sat out the win at Brighton nine days earlier. He replaced Marvin Bartley in what was the only change to the starting eleven. Bartley took his place on the bench whilst Brian Easton replacing Andre Amougou amongst the subs was the only other change to the match day squad.
As for Doncaster, it really is a different way of doing things and they were able to welcome back (if welcome really is a good choice of word) El Hadji Diouf whilst also in their line up were West Ham's Herita Ilunga and Aston Villa's Habib Beye.
There's still very much a flavour of Old Donny around and they included no less than four players who had played for previous manager Sean O'Driscoll at Bournemouth to add to the three former Cherries on our bench.
Burnley got off to a cracking start and put the Doncaster defence under pressure but we didn't create much in terms of clear cut chances. Jay Rod came close with the trademark corner but saw his effort blocked by a defender.
It really was a bright start and it certainly got the crowd going. It was reminiscent of the same fixture last season when we dominated the early play but couldn't edge in front. This time, however, we didn't allow them to take an unexpected lead and in truth they didn't really threaten.
When the lead came I don't think anyone could have dared suggest we didn't deserve it but it was a somewhat fortuitous penalty that enabled us to edge in front. Chris McCann was blocked by Sam Hird as he made a run in the box and referee David Webb pointed to the spot.
Some will say it was a block whilst others will point out that Hird was doing no more than standing his ground, something David Edgar was doing at Ipswich last season when he was sent off.
Webb was the last referee to award Burnley a league penalty at Turf Moor. That was against Swansea last season and angered Brendan Rodgers. This one certainly angered Saunders but it didn't concern Jay Rod who hammered it home for his first ever league penalty.
That signalled Doncaster's best spell of the game and they were very close to drawing level when Billy Sharp headed a Brian Stock cross onto the inside of the post. It was as close as they came and the 1-0 half time lead I thought was fully justified.
Doncaster started the second half brightly but for all that they didn't really threaten too often and it was Burnley who came closest to getting a second when Jay Rod was only denied a second by goalkeeper Gary Woods who got down to save a powerful low shot.
Burnley's biggest problem came just past the hour when Michael Duff pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem. After receiving some treatment from Ally Beattie he walked off the pitch behind the goal as Easton was preparing to come on.
With no Amougou on the bench it meant a reshuffle with both Edgar and Mee moving one place to the right and Easton taking over at left back.
Doncaster sensed an opportunity and concentrated their attacks down that side of the pitch but Burnley stood firm and the longer the half went the more we looked the likely scorers. More than once we caught them on the break and we could so easily have ensured the points were ours.
Ross Wallace and Kieran Trippier both had opportunities. Wallace got a poor touch which pushed him too wide when sent clear down the inside right channel and his shot went into the side netting. Trippier then forced Woods to save.
1-0 is never secure but Lee Grant really did only have one big save to make, keeping out a James Coppinger effort after his own mistake. Even so, one goal was all that was needed and given our recent record of conceding late goals at home a second would certainly give us some security.
And that second came with six minutes of normal time remaining. Jay Rod latched onto a ball some 25 yards from goal and hammered a shot against the underside of the bar. It bounced down and Martin Paterson was quickest to react and headed the rebound into the unguarded net and then promptly threw his shirt to the ground and went off to celebrate in front of the Bob Lord. He got a yellow card for his troubles but I'm sure he wasn't too concerned at that.
As for the goal. I'm still convinced Jay's shot went over the line no matter what still pictures I've seen, but it doesn't matter what I think or where it landed. The assistant referee gave nothing so it wasn't a goal until Pato headed home.
That's Pato's first league goal since his pair at Norwich in November last year and incredibly his first league goal on the Turf since he scored against Spurs in our last Premier League game. It's great to see him back and so full of energy and he really is the sort of forward that defenders just hate playing against as he runs at them from start to finish.
There was just time for Jay to almost get a second goal for a second time. Wallace and Trippier linked well down the right hand side. It had been a feature of the performance and this time Trippier crossed beyond the far post where Rodriguez got in to head the ball in via Doncaster defender Hird for an own goal.
This was not the biggest win at home having beaten both Forest and Ipswich by four clear goals, and no matter who comes in through Doncaster's revolving door they will never be the best side in this league. Even so, this was a superb win and a fully deserved win in what was such an enjoyable game.
We passed the ball well, far better than I've seen in most games this season. We played at the sort of tempo I like to see rather than the laboured stuff we've seen in games earlier this season. We are beginning to look like a side full of confidence.
There were good individual performances in all areas and none more so for me than Kieran Trippier and, my man of the match, Dean Marney. Trippier has been a massive player for us this season to such an extent that Tyrone Mears has hardly been missed.
Marney has been out of the side for much of the last three months. Recently he's been back for the away games but this was his first home league start since the Middlesbrough defeat in September. He lost his place to Bartley who turned in a string of performances that made it difficult for Marney to get back. Now it's very much on the other foot and Marney will take some dislodging if he continues to play like this.
We're the form team now. We've won five of the last six. This is a strange league though where runs come and go so we need to be cautious and not get over excited. Even so, for a team that was heading into the bottom three at around 4:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in November, it is difficult not to get a bit excited to see us just three points short of the last play off position.
The teams yesterday were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff (Brian Easton 62), David Edgar, Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Dean Marney, Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas (Marvin Bartley 69), Martin Paterson (Charlie Austin 85), Jay Rodriguez. Subs not used: Jon Stewart, Sam Vokes.
Yellow Cards: Chris McCann, Martin Paterson.
Doncaster: Gary Woods, James O'Connor, Sam Hird, Habib Beye, Herita Ilunga, James Coppinger, Brian Stock, Simon Gillett (Kyle Bennett 79), Giles Barnes (James Hayter 86), El Hadji Diouf (Herold Goulon 86), Billy Sharp. Subs not used: Pascal Chimbonda, George Friend.
Yellow Cards: Brian Stock, Habib Beye.
Referee: David Webb (Sunderland).
This was Burnley's first home Boxing Day win in six years since an Ade Akinbiyi goal gave us a 1-0 win against Stoke City to take us to fifth place in the Championship.
The last time we won successive Boxing Day games we have to go back 32 years to 1978 and 1979. Both of those wins were at home. On Boxing Day 1978 we beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 with goals from Paul Fletcher and Peter Noble.
A year later the Burnley fans were singing: "Hark now hear the Burnley sing, the Geordies ran away, and we will fight for ever more because of Boxing Day." That day the Geordies of Newcastle were beaten 3-2 with Malcolm Smith, Billy Hamilton (his first Burnley goal) and a Martin Dobson penalty winning it.