Play-off chasing Cardiff at the Turf tonight
Burnley will return to the Turf tonight, for the home game against Cardiff, buoyant after that late goal from Michael Keane gave us a point in a 2-2 draw at Brighton last Saturday.
Had that goal not gone in we would have kicked off tonight just a point ahead of Brighton and only two points clear of Middlesbrough who sit with a game in hand. That’s how key that goal was in getting us the point and how important a win had been for Brighton.
Nothing is decided yet, far from it, but it really is getting very tight at the top with any mistake, any poor result going to be costly for any of the top four, but we sit there with that advantage right now, four points above Brighton who occupy that key third place.
As always, it is one game at a time for Burnley, and central defender Ben Mee is happy the next game is at the Turf. “Obviously it’s better for us,” he said. “We would rather be at home than be away because we’ve been so strong at home and it’s become a bit of a fortress for us.
“The fans can play a big part too. It was brilliant to get something on Saturday for them after they made a long journey down there. They went mental, as did we, so hopefully we can play them back for their support with some more wins at home.”
Mee, strengthening the one game at a time mantra, added: “Brighton is parked and it’s a big game against Cardiff now because they’re in form and fighting for a play-off spot.”
We are certainly due a victory over the Welsh side. It will be seven years this coming Saturday since we last beat them home or away. That too was at home; it was Easter Monday and we won 2-0 with goals from Steve Jones and Paul McVeigh.
That game was preceded by a minute’s silence following the sad passing two days earlier of Brian Miller. He’d been a member of the Championship winning side of 1960 but was also, of course, manager when we came close to losing our Football League place in 1987.
We escaped in the last match with a 2-1 win against Orient with goals from Neil Grewcock and Ian Britton and it is Britton tonight we’ll pay respect to. The club have confirmed that there will be a minute’s applause, this at the request of the family, prior to kick off.
Britt has left us but will have been delighted at our current position in the league which, hopefully, we’ll strengthen tonight when I expect the team to be similar to the one that was on duty at Brighton.
It does look, from reports, that Rouwen Hennings will again be ruled out, and that means Ashley Barnes is certain to get a place on the bench again, the first time he will have been involved in a home match day squad since last season.
The Burnley team could be: Tom Heaton, Matt Lowton, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, Stephen Ward, George Boyd, Joey Barton, David Jones, Scott Arfield, Sam Vokes, Andre Gray. Subs: Paul Robinson, Tendayi Darikwa, James Tarkowski, Dean Marney, Matt Taylor, Michael Kightly, Ashley Barnes.
Cardiff arrive at Turf Moor in seventh place in the table, looking for those extra points to force themselves into the top six. They are very much a side in form with only one defeat in the last six games that have yielded 13 points. Their one defeat in that run was at home against Leeds.
Relegated from the Premier League as we went up in 2014, they ended last season in 11th place with 62 points and that’s the total they’ve reached this season with seven games to go.
It seems to be a much quieter place these days. Malky Mackay is long gone, Vincent Tan is a bit quieter and they are back playing in blue as their main colours. They are now an all round side and they have got up there without any sign of a prolific goalscorer; Anthony Pilkington, with eight, leads the way.
Russell Slade, who replaced Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, is hoping that Matthew Connolly, who scored our dramatic equaliser there in November, will return after illness forced him out of the game against Derby. Only Ben Turner is ruled out.
Their team against Derby was: David Marshall, Lee Peltier, Sean Morrison, Bruno Ecuele Manga, Scott Malone, Pete Whittingham, Joe Ralls, Stuart O’Keefe, Craig Noone, Lex Immers, Anthony Pilkington. Subs: Simon Moore, Fabio Da Silva, Kenneth Zohore, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Aron Gunnarsson, Tom Lawrence, Sammy Ameobi.
LAST TIME THEY WERE HERE
A David Edgar goal right at the end didn’t stop Cardiff from celebrating the promotion to the Premier League they’d won days before two years ago but it certainly looked as though it had given us a major lifeline in what had become an incredible battle against relegation.
Craig Conway had given Cardiff the lead just before the half hour in front of the television cameras. We’d just returned home from two away games that had both ended in 1-0 defeats, the first at Blackpool and then at Leeds when we turned in a diabolical performance.
“That’s it, we’re down,” I heard someone say as we came out of Elland Road. We weren’t far away in terms of points but a third of the league were still below us so crazy was it that season, and we went into the Cardiff game with 54 points already won, usually more than enough to stay up.
We certainly didn’t play well in the first half and could count ourselves possibly fortunate to go in just 1-0 down at the interval.
Sean Dyche is often accused of not making substitutions early enough but he did on this occasion. He hauled off both Junior Stanislas and Ross Wallace at half time and brought on David Edgar and Martin Paterson.
It was better, no doubt about that. I thought we should have had a penalty when Dean Marney went down but referee Stuart Attwell thought otherwise and carded the Burnley midfielder for diving.
The goal wouldn’t come, but into stoppage time, a Kieran Trippier throw in was headed back to him. As his cross came in, Martin Paterson pulled away to allow David Edgar to head for goal. David Marshall got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.
It was Edgar’s first ever Turf Moor goal, and came just as the board was going up for four minutes of stoppage time.
Bristol City were long gone with 41 points but then came Barnsley, Wolves (our next opponents) and Peterborough on 51 points, Blackburn with 53, Huddersfield on 54 followed by Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, Blackpool and Burnley all with 55 points.
There were huge sighs of relief as we left the ground, many believing that the Edgar goal would keep us up. As it happened, we won the last two games, but at the time it really did look as though it was going to be vital.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Ross Wallace (Martin Paterson ht), Dean Marney (Keith Treacy 83), Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas (David Edgar ht), Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Luke O’Neill, Marvin Bartley, Brian Stock.
Cardiff: David Marshall, Kevin McNaughton, Ben Turner, Leon Barnett, Andrew Taylor, Bo-Kyung Kim, Aron Gunnarsson, Jordon Mutch (Don Cowie 74), Craig Noone (Craig Bellamy 66), Rudy Gestede, Craig Conway. Subs not used: Joe Lewis, Ben Nugent, Pete Whittingham, Simon Lappin, Joe Mason.Share this page :