Season peters out with drab draw

Last updated : 29 April 2012 By Tony Scholes

Neither side had anything to play for. Bristol City had secured their place in the Championship a week earlier and we were very much entrenched in the middle of the table. It didn't augur well for an afternoon of entertainment and we certainly didn't get it from either side.

The Beast was back

Eddie Howe described it as disappointing and he felt it was another game we should have won. I'm not so sure I can agree with him on that one. Disappointing yes, but the total lack of efforts at goal from the Clarets didn't suggest we were particularly unfortunate not to pick up all three points.

I can't recall either David James or his deputy Liam Fontaine having that much to do with our one goal from Danny Ings, and my thanks to him for scoring when he did and winning me £90 in the First Goal Sweep, the only occasion we really threatened to get on the scoresheet all afternoon.

The team news ahead of kick off was somewhat surprising. The Grant v Jensen argument will remain a never ending one, but having stuck with Grant right through it was a shock to see Jensen there for the last game. It was equally surprising to see Chris McCann, an ever present starter in the league, on the bench too.

It was Ings who came in for McCann with the goalkeeping switch the only change from the team that started at Blackpool. Fit again Jay Rodriguez and Ben Mee were both on the bench.

I think the team very much reflected the season too with only three of the starting eleven - Kieran Trippier, Dean Marney and Ross Wallace having been in the first team of the season against Watford. From that opening day game there were Mee, McCann and Rodriguez on the bench, Grant and, hardly surprisingly, Andre Amougou not considered, Martin Paterson injured with both Danny Fox and Wade Elliott involved in important games at the top end of the table.

When the teams were announced the biggest cheer was, of course, for Jensen with cries of 'BEAST' and they were repeated when he went to take his place at the Jimmy Mac end of the ground ahead of kick off.

End of season games can go one of two ways. The players can go out relaxed and put in a performance or the game can be completely flat. Unfortunately this one definitely fell into the latter category with precious little to rouse the crowd throughout the entire ninety minutes.

We were the better side in the first half but created next to nothing whereas Bristol City probably should have had a couple of goals from the best two chances. Brett Pitman, a former Bournemouth striker who hasn't played for us, headed tamely at Jensen, which at least gave the Beast something to do, and then Chris Wood was blocked by home debutant Danny Lafferty when a goal looked likely.

Half an hour in we had to make a change with Dean Marney suffering an injury and that allowed McCann to make it 46 league appearances this season as he came on and took the captain's armband back from Michael Duff. For McCann it was a first substitute appearance in the league since he came on for Alan Mahon at Cardiff in October 2007 on a return from injury.

No score at half time was no surprise with the interval at least giving us the fun game of guess who as the youth team received their medals. Even some of the lads didn't know when to collect their medal from chairman Barry Kilby as the announcer got names wrong and it all ended with Andy Farrell being given the name Andy Farsoo, or something like that.

Supporters at least got the opportunity to applaud Kilby who responded from the centre circle before making his way back to the chairman's seat in the directors' box for the last time.

The second half was similar to the first to be honest with little sign of a goal for much of it. We had a half chance and so did they, with David Edgar clearing well before the fun started as former England goalkeeper David James went down injured with around half an hour to go.

He wasn't able to continue and as I looked for Dean Gerken, their other goalkeeper, to get ready, off came James' shirt to pass to central defender Liam Fontaine. Left back Ryan McGivern came on; there was no substitute goalkeeper and surely this was our moment.

On came Jay Rod but Fontaine only had a couple of balls to deal with other than, with just under a quarter of an hour left, a shot from Ings that he had no chance with as we took the lead.

Well,  I thought, at least a win, but within five minutes they were level as Lafferty, who for an hour had done well against arguably their best player in Yannick Bolaise, gave the ball away and their substitute Ryan Taylor equalised with a shot off the post.

And so it ended; another home game we failed to win and another home game where there was precious little to enthuse over.

It's all left us in mid-table, and I think that's an achievement given the turmoil during pre and early season when so many players left, but, at home mainly, there have been far too many games that have been almost painful to watch.

There have been some real positives this season and none more so than Charlie Austin and Danny Ings. Austin has shown himself more than capable of scoring goals at this level and can be pleased with his return in his first Championship season, and Ings has impressed me since breaking into the team following his knee injury.

It's a 16 week break this summer, and I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I'll be refreshed and ready for a much better season next time round.

The teams were;

Burnley: Brian Jensen, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Danny Lafferty, Ross Wallace (Jay Rodriguez 65), Marvin Bartley, Dean Marney (Chris McCann 30), Junior Stanislas (Cameron Howieson 88), Charlie Austin, Danny Ings. Subs not used: Jon Stewart, Ben Mee.
Yellow Card: Michael Duff.

Bristol City: David James (Ryan McGivern 62), Joe Edwards, Louis Carey, Liam Fontaine, Jamie McAllister, Martyn Woolford, Cole Skuse, Stephen Pearson, Yannick Bolasie (Albert Adomah 82), Chris Wood (Ryan Taylor 77), Brett Pitman. Subs not used: Joe Bryan, Neil Kilkenny.
Yellow Card: Joe Edwards.

Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

Attendance: 13,369.