Clarets Blog: Defeat was another harsh lesson for Howe

First published in Andrew Greaves Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

Another game, another lesson to be learned for the Clarets.

The game looked to be heading for the inevitable 0-0 stalemate until David Norris was allowed the time and space to pick his spot in injury time and give Pompey all three points.

Clarets boss Eddie Howe admitted after the game that he’d have taken a point going into injury time and after sitting through one of the drabbest games of football I have seen in a while, I couldn’t see any other outcome.

We could have been playing until Christmas Day and I felt certain neither side would score.

But in the end, we were punished for backing off an opposition player and letting him run at our 18 yard box with ease and that is something we have to address.

It was harsh on the Burnley back line who, for the most part, dealt with the threat from the visitors’ Dave Kitson very well.

Kitson is one of those annoying players who tries his best to referee games by constantly moaning about the treatment he gets from centre halves.

The centre back pairing of David Edgar and Michael Duff refused to rise to the bait and, alongside the rest of the defence, would have more than deserved a second successive Turf Moor clean sheet.

After the euphoria of the win at West Ham United last weekend, this was a massive blow to the Clarets.

Pompey have not won on the road in the last 13 games stretching back nine months and came to Burnley in all sorts of problems off the field.

But, as we have seen before, the south coast club have a knack of pulling together when it matters, most often at the Turf and they made it very difficult for us to break them down.

They nullified the attacking threat from the wings and forced us to come down the centre which they managed to crowd, especially after the early departure of the dangerous Luke Varney, who was injured in a challenge with Lee Grant.

Having to come inside meant the threat from Ross Wallace and the very disappointing Junior Stanislas was virtually non-existent although Wallace did try his best to get things moving.

Jay Rodriguez and Sam Vokes put in decent shifts up front but neither had a real sight of goal and were left to feed on scraps.

Two massive positives to take from the game was the return of Martin Paterson and Charlie Austin from injury.

Pato gave the place a big lift when he came on just before the hour and looked busy, closing down the Pompey defence and trying to open up opportunities.

Likewise, Austin came into the game at a difficult time and made sure the visitors were aware of his presence, tracking back to help out his defence and winning headers in the centre circle.

Having both of them back and fully fit gives Howe a real selection headache, especially when you consider that neither Keith Treacy nor Zavon Hines were able to make the bench on Saturday.

This is probably the first time since he arrived that Eddie has had a real choice of players at his disposal so it will be interesting to see what he does over the next few games.

First up is a difficult trip to Brighton on Saturday.

Gus Poyet’s side started the season well and despite a dip in results and form since then, they still lie just a place outside the play-off picture and have a decent enough record at home.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Howe decided to employ Dean Marney a central three like he did at West Ham.

That gives us the chance to crowd out the midfield and gives one of the trio the licence to get forward and support the front man when we are on the attack.

Whatever happens, I am sure Eddie will be stressing to the lads that they must stay focussed for the full 90 minutes and not allow what happened on Saturday to happen again.

Comments (2)

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1:12pm Mon 12 Dec 11

makaveli96 says...

5-0 makaveli96
  • Score: 0

7:45pm Mon 12 Dec 11

bobinspain says...

Shipping late goals is regrettably as habit-forming as it is costly.
Fitness and concentation required. Shouldn't be too much to expect of a professional footballer should it?
Shipping late goals is regrettably as habit-forming as it is costly. Fitness and concentation required. Shouldn't be too much to expect of a professional footballer should it? bobinspain
  • Score: 0

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