One Barry Kilby

Last updated : 17 January 2010 By Tony Scholes
Michael Duff
Michael Duff - Man of the Match performance
I would think for many fans this was one of the big games to look forward to once we'd booked our place in the Premier League. They have been the Champions for the last three seasons, winners no less than eleven times, are no doubt the biggest club, and we were all set to play in front of a league crowd of over 75,000.

The game had without doubt come at a strange time. Since our last game we've been lied to and left without a backroom staff by our former manager and we've appointed a new man in Brian Laws who was probably not the choice of many.

It's probably not the best time to go there, and given we've our three main central defenders missing through injury (Carlisle and Caldwell) and the African Cup of Nations (Bikey) it was going to be one tough baptism for Laws.

I was just making my way down Brian Statham Way (a real Old Trafford hero for me at the one Old Trafford where I support the home team) when the team news came through. The team was just about as expected with Michael Duff in again at centre half.

But alongside his name was that of DAVID EDGAR, just about the forgotten man of Turf Moor. Some would say there was no option, but without a change of manager he would not have been there. Stephen Jordan would have been moved into the middle with Christian Kalvenes coming in at left back.

Burnley fans are a great bunch of people. I wrote recently on how they pull together in difficult times. I used the Leicester game of 2007/08 and the West Brom cup tie last season at the Hawthorns as examples. It was just the same again. There was a real sense of togetherness, knowing that once again it was time to get right behind the club and the team.

The players came out to a great reception and shortly afterwards the new manager led out his temporary backroom team. It's a wonder you couldn't hear the "Brian Laws' Claret and Blue Army" chant back in Burnley as the new man came towards the away fans to acknowledge the welcome. We were doing what we always do; we were getting behind the manager and team.

Manchester United had the play in the opening minutes, as you would expect, but it was the Clarets who really should have gone in front after we broke clear down the right hand side with David Nugent.

He played in Steven Fletcher, but the Scottish international, hit a left foot shot wide of the far post. At Chelsea in August we'd had the first chance through Martin Paterson and then went on to suffer a heavy defeat and there was concern it could all be the same here.

But certainly that wasn't the case in the first half. They had plenty of possession of the ball, that can't be questioned, and tactically we allowed Antonio Valencia plenty of it down the right hand side. Despite that they didn't really threaten us and the only real save Brian Jensen had to make was probably going wide of goal.

Our biggest problem in the first half came with an injury to Fletcher. Quite how referee Probert didn't take any action against Valencia only he will know. He went over the ball and could easily have seen red. Probert, incredibly, took no action.

Fletcher wasn't able to continue for long and was replaced about ten minutes before the break by Steven Thompson.

That save from Jensen was just before the break and it would have been a real injustice had we gone in behind.

I felt the first ten minutes of the second half might be vital for us and United did come close via Dimitar Berbatov after a superb piece of individual play by the Bulgarian, but overall it was the Clarets in the ascendancy during that period.

We really did start the half well and again could so easily have got the first goal of the game on the hour. Chris Eagles, who was outstanding at times during the second period, made a good run forward and played in David Nugent. The on loan striker really should have found the target despite the attentions of Gary Neville but, just like Fletcher, hit his shot wide of goal.

This time we were to pay. Just a few minutes later we were a goal behind when Berbatov got in and hit home via a deflection off Duff and just a few minutes later it was two through Wayne Rooney.

That second was more than unfortunate. We were coming out of defence with the ball when Tyrone Mears was fouled, but referee Probert didn't see it and it led to the goal.

2-0 down at Old Trafford you knew that was it, but we never gave up either on the pitch or in the stand. The Burnley fans, who had been noisy all afternoon in what was otherwise a library like atmosphere, continued to get behind the team.

There was even some banter than brought a response from the home fans. "Where's your money gone?" cried the Burnley fans as a 'Love United, hate the Glazers' banner obscured the scoreboard at the Stretford End.

Then came the very deserved 'One Barry Kilby' chant. The chairman has had to endure a difficult fortnight as the deceitful one left for Bolton. He laid it on the line how our club should, and is going to, operate.

Our fans really do understand that, most of them for sure, and the support for the chairman and his policies was very genuine.

On the pitch, Eagles shot weakly after he and Elliott linked to create the chance and we came close to pulling one back when Thommo headed against the post. He's had few opportunities this season but he did ever so well in this game in almost an hour on the pitch.

A two goal defeat was bad enough but in stoppage time it became three. Mame Biram Diouf, on as a substitute, was given the benefit of the doubt by the assistant. Despite being offside he was allowed to go on and as Jensen came out he headed over him and that was that.

We were even robbed of a late consolation. Wade was brought down on the edge of the box by Anderson, and again we have to ask where was the yellow card? Mears' free kick was brilliantly saved by Edwin van der Sar but Elliott got onto the loose ball and Neville got it away with his hands. A clear penalty but we weren't even getting that, not even a consolation.

So Brian Laws' first game in charge of the Clarets ended in a 3-0 defeat. But he was quick to say how proud he was of the players and the fans. Many observers said this was never a 3-0 game and it really wasn't. It was a game we could, with some better finishing, had gone on and won.

Looking for a man of the match I have concentrated on the back four. Despite the three goals all of them played so well. Edgar couldn't have had a much better debut and you have to wonder, on that show, just how he's never got close to the side all season.

His central defensive partner Duff is my choice though. How well he's done since getting back into the side and this was another top performance from a player who has played at about eight different levels.

Another game gone, and no more points, but surely the tide will turn if we can continue to play as well as this and with as much commitment and desire. Well done to every one of our players, just keep that up and we'll be alright.

The teams were;

Manchester United: Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Antonio Valencia, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick (Anderson 65), Nani, Dimitar Berbatov (Michael Owen 73), Wayne Rooney (Mame Biram Diouf 73). Subs not used: Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael, Fabio, Ji-Sung Park.

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Tyrone Mears, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Stephen Jordan, Graham Alexander, David Nugent, Wade Elliott, Kevin McDonald (Joey Gudjonsson 73), Chris Eagles (Robbie Blake 83), Steven Fletcher (Steven Thompson 36). Subs not used: Diego Penny, Richard Eckersley, Christian Kalvenes, Fernando Guerrero.

Referee: Lee Probert (Gloucestershire).

Attendance: 75,120.