Clarets off down to Bristol for the last away trip
What started at Huddersfield in July last year will come to an end tomorrow at Ashton Gate, the home of Bristol City, as we bring to a close our away programme for the 2022/23 season.
From that wonderful first half at Huddersfield in a game that ended in a 1-0 win, through eleven more victories including the promotion and title clinchers at Middlesbrough and Blackburn, it all ends at Ashton Gate with just the home win against Cardiff to come a week on Monday.
I don’t know what the expectations were for Bristol City this season, but they go into the game in fourteenth place. They did drop to nineteenth on New Year’s Day but quickly got themselves back into mid-table and they’ve never really been threatened with relegation, nor have they really threatened to make the top six.
Their home form has been better than that shown on the road. After 22 away games, they are nineteenth best in the league with 22 points, but at home they are as high as tenth with 34 points gained from the 22 games.
They’ve won nine home games and lost six but they are unbeaten since Boxing Day when they fell to a 2-0 defeat against West Brom. They’d previously lost home games against Sunderland, QPR, Millwall, Sheffield United and Stoke. Chris Martin scored their goal in the first home game against Sunderland which ended in a 3-2 loss. He, of course, scored at Burnley last week for QPR who he joined in January.
Tommy Conway and Andreas Weimann (pictured below) scored a lot of their early goals; they now have eight and six respectively but the leading goalscorer with eleven is ex-Claret Nahki Wells who moved there from Burnley on the day Josh Brownhill moved in the opposite direction. Wells scored for them at Burnley earlier in the season, equalising an early goal from Manuel Benson, his first for Burnley, but Jay Rodriguez won it for us with a goal midway through the second half.
Rob Atkinson signed a new three-year contract with the club today but his season ended at Sunderland in February when he sustained an ACL injury. They have recently welcomed back both Kai Naismith and Conway. Tomas Kalas who has suffered throughout the season with injury is fit again and expected to feature in their final two games.
Last Saturday they beat Rotherham 2-1 at home with the goals scored by Conway and Weimann. Their team for this game was: Max O’Leary, George Tanner, Zak Vyner, Kai Naismith, Cameron Pring, Andy King, Matty James, Harry Cornick, Alex Scott, Sam Bell, Tommy Conway. Subs: Harvey Wiles-Richards, Jay Dasilva, Joe Williams, Anis Mehmeti, Andreas Weimann, Mark Sykes, Nahki Wells.
Two games to go and I suppose it will be different for both the players and the supporters as we travel to Bristol with the pressure off. Like the home side, we’ve nothing to play for now other than potentially reaching a hundred points, which would need us to win our final two games.
Tuesday night saw the title clinched with the 1-0 win at Blackburn, that coming eighteen days and five games after the win at Middlesbrough had seen us clinch promotion.
On the last occasion we were in the Championship we won both of our final two games, but we had something to play for. Over the past six seasons in the Premier League, we won just once in the final two games, which came at Norwich two years ago with the only other point coming last season from the 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.
We are better than the two teams we still have to play but as we’ve found in recent weeks, which doesn’t guarantee three points so we will have to be on it to get something against Bristol City.
There is no doubt there will be changes from the team that played at Ewood and I suppose Huddersfield will be counting the number, It may be that Bailey Peacock-Farrell will play in goal again and there could be starts for Scott Twine and Lyle Foster.
We’ll have a strong side though and it would be really good to go out and get a thirteenth away win of the season.
LAST TIME WE WERE THERE
It was early in the last promotion season of 2015/16. Having drawn the first two games and then lost at Ipswich, we got our first win at home against Brentford, a Michael Keane goal, his second of the season, helped us to a 1-0 win.
Now it was Bristol City and a debut for Andre Gray who had signed from Brentford just before our game against them. He partnered Sam Vokes up front with all of Rouwen Hennings, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jelle Vossen on the bench.
We were second best for much of the first half and somehow hung on at 0-0. Then in the final ten minutes of the half we scored not once, but twice.
Michael Kightly did well to win a corner on the left which was taken by David Jones. It was met by left-back Ben Mee and we were in front. Just a few minutes later, Kightly and George Boyd linked to set Gray free down the right and his cross was put out for another corner. This time the corner was from the right but it was Jones again who crossed, this time for Keane to head home.
By then, with all the substitutions made, Lukey Juke had to finish the game having suffered what looked a serious injury; it was, he’d ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament. He wouldn’t play another league game for us. Vossen, who also came on as a substitute, disappeared a few days later and returned to Belgium after the shortest of stays.
A 2-1 win, up to ninth in the league and with two home games to come next.
The teams were;
Bristol City: Ben Hamer, Luke Ayling, Aden Flint, Derrick Williams, Mark Little (Wes Burns 58), Korey Smith, Marlon Pack, Bobby Reid, Joe Bryan (Callum Robinson 78), Aaron Wilbraham, Jonathan Kodjia. Subs not used: Max O’Leary, Adam El-Abd, Kieran Agard, Scott Wagstaff.
Burnley: Tom Heaton, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Duff, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Matt Taylor 82), Sam Vokes (Lukas Jutkiewicz 56), Andre Gray (Jelle Vossen 70). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Tom Anderson, Stephen Ward, Rouwen Hennings.Follow UpTheClarets:
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