The half century of points at last

Last updated : 25 March 2012 By Tony Scholes

We might not have brought our winless run to an end, a run that has now extended to seven games and is the longest since the infamous 18 league games without a win in the 2006/07 season, but there is no doubt the performance against Sam Allardyce's promotion chasers has given everyone a lift after some disappointing performances of late.

Martin Paterson got the second goal

It could have been even better, and probably should have been. We led 2-0 at the interval, a lead we held until there were just over twenty minutes to go before conceding two quick goals, and then found ourselves hanging on for the point.

There were four changes from the team that took a battering at Ipswich three days earlier. Danny Lafferty and Jay Rodriguez were ruled out with injury whilst both Junior Stanislas and Charlie Austin were relegated to the subs bench. In came Ben Mee, Ross Wallace, Danny Ings and Martin Paterson, who was looking a lot more like the Martin Paterson we know with the hair shaved off.

Alongside Stanislas and Austin on the bench, with goalkeeper Brian Jensen and Josh McQuoid, was youth team midfielder Steven Hewitt. He's been a substitute previously but in the Carling Cup and was in the 16 for a league game for the first time. I'm sure he'll get a first team debut before the end of the season.

There was no real optimism ahead of kick off. Given recent results I think many supporters feared the worst against the Hammers who would be looking for some revenge for our win at the Boleyn Ground in early December, their last home defeat.

The absence of Jay Rod didn't help. Just a quick glance at our 2012 goalscorers was every reason to wonder just how and where the goals would come without him so there was some justification for supporters not to be too confident of a good result.

I have to say that nothing happened in the early exchanges to raise the expectation as West Ham looked to get hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and Carlton Cole twice might have had an early goal for them.

He didn't, and neither could any of his team mates and the Clarets were making it as tough as possible for them. Each and everyone of them were working their socks off in a show that was so far removed from what we've seen in the past couple of weeks.

Maybe it was because of West Ham but when we got on the ball there was a tempo to our play that has been all too sadly lacking recently and when we got the opportunity we were so much more of a threat.

That threat led to an opening goal that lifted Turf Moor. Wallace played the ball in from the right; Paterson got a flick on for Marvin Bartley who expertly took the ball past James Tomkins before forcing the ball into the bottom corner.

West Ham stormed back and had the ball in the net within a minute, prompting a crazy scene. Referee Mark Haywood rightly ruled it out for a push but scorer Kevin Nolan and three of his team mates were totally unaware and were off the pitch celebrating.

With only seven on the pitch, Burnley tried to get the game going again and took the free kick three times only for Haywood to order a retake. Wrong place? Moving Ball? Or was Haywood just waiting until the West Ham players were back?

They really did come looking for that equaliser and soon after we were fortunate when Cole hit the post and the rebound was saved by Grant.

The lead was still intact and we soon doubled it. A move down the left wing saw the ball played back to Mee who went inside a West Ham player and crossed right footed. Paterson maybe didn't get a perfect touch on the ball but his movement was such that he got in front of the defenders and that touch took the ball past Green.

2-0 to the Clarets and how close it was to 3-0 right on half time. A Wallace ball in from the right evaded everyone and hit the far post but I remain convinced we should have had a penalty as Paterson went down in the box as he went to meet the cross. We didn't get it and had to settle for a two goal half time lead.

Allardyce made two changes at half time, bring on both Sam Baldock and Nicky Maynard, and there is no doubt that we were never able to gain the upper hand during the second half although we did have a couple of early opportunities.

Even so, we were doing well enough and West Ham weren't creating too much and as the half progressed I was feeling more and more confident that we'd hold onto the lead and get that much needed victory.

We got half way through when disaster struck, and it was nothing but an aimless ball upfield. But Michael Duff misjudged it and that was enough to allow Nolan in to lob the ball over the stranded Grant.

Immediately I received a text from the other side of the ground blaming Grant, I seem to get one with every single goal we concede, but Duff himself accepted full responsibility for this one after the game.

My first thoughts were centred on whether we could then hold on to this one goal lead but even that was gone within two minutes. Mark Noble took a free kick on the left, Bartley appeared to lose Tomkins at the far post and it was 2-2.

The last twenty minutes was all about whether West Ham would get a winner and it has to be said that the fact that they didn't owed more to poor finishing than good defending. Baldock missed two clear cut chances and John Carew, their third substitute, also had a golden opportunity to win it.

Thankfully they didn't but there was nothing really for us to savour in that last twenty minutes. We were hanging on and thankfully we were able to do just that and keep hold of a point, but we were very fortunate in the end and in truth, overall, West Ham were the team deserving to win the game.

But, it was better than recent performances, in fact it was a lot, lot better than recent performances. Gone was that stale, slow approach we've seen at Cardiff and Ipswich and the tempo of the game meant it was a far better spectacle to enjoy.

It's also finally seen us reach that magical fifty points, after which, as we all know from a previous manager, it is the time to crack on and see where it takes us. I'm sure his blind man on that galloping horse can't see it taking us to the play offs now but it would be good to see the season out on a high with some good performances and results in the last eight games - starting at Portsmouth.

The teams were;

Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Ben Mee, Dean Marney, Marvin Bartley (Charlie Austin 81), Chris McCann, Ross Wallace, Martin Paterson (Junior Stanislas 90+1), Danny Ings (Josh McQuoid 86). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Steven Hewitt.
Yellow Card: Michael Duff.

West Ham: Robert Green, Joey O'Brien, James Tomkins, Danny Collins, George McCartney, Mark Noble, Gary O'Neil, Kevin Nolan, Jack Collison (John Carew 82), Matt Taylor (Nicky Maynard 45), Carlton Cole (Sam Baldock 45). Subs not used: Potts, Henri Lansbury.
Yellow Cards: James Tomkins, Jack Collison, Nicky Maynard.

Referee: Mark Haywood (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 15,246.