POST MATCH RAMBLE: Burnley -v- Wednesday

POST MATCH RAMBLE: Burnley -v- Wednesday

Burnley away on a Tuesday night wasn’t exactly the glamour tie many Wednesdayites were hoping for when the balls-up of a draw was made a couple of weeks ago on Sky.

I, for one, was well chuffed due to the simple fact that it was relatively easy for me to get to after work and I thought we might sneak a win.

We always seem to do well at Burnley. Indeed before this match, we hadn’t lost at Turf Moor since the year 2000 when we had Adam Muller partnering Terry Cooke up front and Big Atty was still a Medium Atty. And what about the 7-2? Even though we’d been relegated, it has to go down as one of my favourite away days if only for the sheer ridiculousness of it all. Even Haslam bloody scored!!!!

I really admire Sean Dyche and the way he got the Clarets to the Promised Land last season. It showed the obvious benefit of having a couple of good strikers up top but the rest of team was built on hard-work, team spirit and a tight budget. This clearly mirrors what we have going on with Stuart Gray’s boys at the moment.

This match was a bit of landmark occasion for me. Since I was 4 years old, I’ve done away days with my Dad and as he was off on his jollies, I was to attend a match by myself for the first time. (Apart from the time I went to Hartlepool for a friendly ‘for a laugh’ – it wasn’t)

Satnag

Always blame someone else

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive of doing all the things that Dad normally takes care of, namely managing to find the ground and a parking space, but leaving from Salford at 5.30 with Sat Nav on the dash, I couldn’t possibly go wrong could I?

Turns out I could most definitely go wrong but the Sat Nav, so often Beastie’s Achilles heel, cannot take the blame this time. It told me where to go, I just wasn’t listening. It politely requested for me to ‘take the exit’ but I was somewhere else, probably admiring the sprawling hills and smoke chimneys of surrounding Burnley. Anyway, we rerouted and I was back on track making the ground in good time. The next hurdle to jump was parking. Dad always manages to get us somewhere ‘free’, ‘legal’ and ‘safe’ so I started circling the terraced streets near the ground looking for a spot. I found one relatively quickly that looked okay – it was outside someone’s house, was well lit and was close to the ground but offered a speedy exit. Perfect.

Pleased as punch, I pulled on my shirt, did up my coat so as not to offend the locals and locked up the car. Just then, a man with no teeth looking fresh from an appearance on the Jeremy Kyle Show comes out of his house nearby. “Alright?” says I. “Aye” says him. Now this is a tense moment. He’s eyeing up my bog standard Ford Fiesta in a perfectly innocent way but he has me worried.

“Be alright here?” I say in pitiful question intended to be a statement.

Burglar“Yeah, give you a new paint job if ye want? You don’t want those tyres do ye?”

“(exaggerated nervous laugh) hahaha, happy with the tyres thanks.”

“Stick ye some alloys on?”

“(exaggerated nervous laugh) hahaha, no. Thanks though!”

I turn on my heels and begin my walk to the stadium. ‘It’ll be fine, ye soft git’ I tell myself. But where were all his teeth?

I picked up a programme to add to the collection in the loft for the bargain price of £1. Fantastic to see that Burnley hadn’t had suffered from Premier League Big Balls inflation I thought. That was until I attempted to open it up to have a look – what the chuff!!!?? It’s a poster! I’d paid a whole English £1 for what essentially was a folded poster of their first game back in the big time against Chelsea. You had to unfold it to read it. Madness.

I was though, enjoying the walk around the stadium, taking in the sights of a ‘proper football ground’ (an old ‘un) and got almost all the way round, only to be told I couldn’t go any further and the away turnstiles are all the way round the other end. I wouldn’t mind but I’d made the same mistake with Dad a couple of times before. Once I’d pointed myself in the right direction, I had an over-friendly pat down and I was in.

I took my place in the stand, looked out at the lads warming up, breathed in the newly painted smart wooden seats and, for a brief moment, felt a bit sad. I’m not saying I had some sort of breakdown here but being there by myself did make realise I take for granted going to a game with my Dad. Football is an experience and it’s all the better sharing it with family and friends. Now before I start sounding like a bottle of Coca Cola, I’ll be blunt – cherish the moments you have with whoever you go to the footy with because one day they won’t be there to share the terrace with you.

There was an air of anticipation and even a little expectation that we’d get a result tonight. This time last season, we were out of the cup and had just two points. Aside from the awful last minute equaliser at Millwall, it’s been positive after positive thus far. I didn’t go to Middlesborough simply because we NEVER win at Middlesborough but look how that turned out. It was great to go into a tie like this with real belief.
——
It was a gorrrgeous evening in Burnley. One of my favourite stadiums, Turf Moor has everything – proper floodlights, wooden seats, views of houses and hills in the distance and plenty of signs of age on the two older stands. Though there

La-di-da

La-di-da

was a bit of Premiership sprucing up here and there – “Ye can tell they’re int Prem, thev painted bogs!” was the excited cry from the gents.

The teams came out from the corner to a great reception from our lot with what seemed like the longest walk-on in football. This after a nice short film on the new big screen chronicling the Clarets up’s and downs. All the backroom staff and subs walked out in front as well which gave us a great opportunity to show our appreciation to them all – “Stuart Gray’s Barmy Army” belting out.

Gray made a few changes, most notably up front with Madine playing the lone ranger up top. He’d have to work hard tonight.

THE MATCH

Burnley had the first big chance after just two minutes with Kightly finding himself in acres of space at the back post. If he made any kind of connection it was surely in. The whole away end groaned as we could see what was going to happen. Happily, Kightly treated us to an air kick and we were off the hook.

After that initial chance, it was all Wednesday. We passed and moved the ball with confidence yet again with Maghoma and Helan providing penetration with pace. Madine, who was working hard up top, had our first real chance within the first 20 minutes. Burnley handed us a cheap corner and Maguire hit a superb delivery into the box. Madine was unmarked and really should’ve at least hit the target.

Maguire Burnley

Maguire faltering again

Burnley seemed out of sorts as we pushed forward again. Palmer delivered a low cross with pace that resulted in Shackell turning the ball against the upright. So close! There was a great noise from our end as we responded to boy’s effort. Tango was conducting the faithful while the 7 Burnley fans kept quiet. Helan should’ve cut the ball back for Madine but instead chose to shoot. We were first to every ball, we just needed that goal. Barnes went close for the Clarets just before half time and then had a free-kick that went just over but we had more than held our own.

It’d been a good half but we should’ve been leading. Madine was doing well but finding it tough. Mattock continued his good start to the season while Maguire continued to stall a bit. Semedo was solid and Coke was having a good night, getting forward where possible.

HT 0-0

I tried reading the ‘programme’ again at half time but couldn’t find enough space in the stand to open it up and have a look.

The second half started with Burnley fired up. Dyche had cleary told his players to get at us and put on a performance of some sort for their 7 fans.

3 times in the space of the first 5 minutes Sordell and Barnes cut in from the right and shot on goal. Each time Kirkland gathered with comfortably but for the first time in the match, the back line was looking a little uneasy. I’m still not convinced by Zayatte who was in for Loovens. I’ve seen people on the net say he had his best game yet but, for me, he looked nervous dealing with the front two and I don’t think we can rely on him as cover for Big Glenn.

With Burnley having found their feet, it was a better game, more open. Maguire had a good chance, powering his way into the box and shooting into the side netting and we were kept on our toes by some pinball around our box resulting in Taylor shooting wide. On 62 minutes, Gray introduced May and not long after, big Atty. Interestingly, Gray kept Madine on and moved May onto the left. It was a bold move by Gray, signaling his intention…

Atdhe scores

He’s reyt rubbish that Atdhe Nuhiu

As we all know, you’ll never get past Semedo. On 78 minutes, he valiantly broke up play in the middle as he loves to and released Helan who had made a great return back to the first team. Using his electric pace, he burst past Shackall and into the box only to be sent tumbling. This was as stone wall as they come. The ref seemed to take an absolute age and almost theatrically pointed to the spot. We deserved it and needed to take advantage. With regular penalty taker Maguire off, up steps Big Atty to side foot down the middle and send us into raptures.

1-0  up with just about 15 minutes left. Not for the first time this season, we had something to hold onto, something to make us nervous.

Burnley piled everything on us for those last 10 minutes. The ref was itching to give a penalty too as the players wrestled and jostled in the box. It was hard to tell from where we were if they had a case for it or not but thankfully the ref didn’t fancy extra time. Into stoppage time and it got a lot quieter in our end as we willed the ref to blow that whistle. There was still time for a few free kicks to be launched in. As much as I can’t stand that feeling of tension, I’m sure every single Wednesdayite would agree they prefer the feeling of defending a lead in stoppage time as opposed to trying to find an equalizer, like we had to so many times in the first part of last season.

Finally, full time and we had done it, through to Round 3 with the chance of drawing a big ‘un. I’m actually writing this as the draw is happening on TV. As I’m on mi jollies for when the tie will be played, I guarantee we’ll get a big ‘un.

But back to the game.

What another great performance from Stuart Gray’s men. We more than matched Burnley in every department, even when they upped it a notch we contained a good premier league side. You can see us (BOLLOCKS!!!*) growing in confidence game after game.

Pudem up...we'll take anyone on!

Pudem up…we’ll take anyone on!

We know not to get carried away but it’s damn hard at the moment. I can’t think of another season that we’ve started this well. The sense of togetherness amongst the team and staff is there for everyone to see. Nuhui has carried on his great form, Mattock is almost a new player, Semedo and Coke have stepped up, Maghoma is on fire, Palmer gets better and better and we’ve definitely found a good ‘un in Stevie May.

* MAN BLOODY CITY AWAY!! And now we’ve got Man City away so obviously I’m really chuffed for everyone else but gutted because I can’t go. Didn’t I say we’d get a big ‘un!?

So another great away day with the added bonus that my car was still there when I got back untouched by Mr Not­eeth – what a result!

UTO!

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

Tom Chittenden
Owls Alive
E-mail: admin@owlsalive.com

Twitter: @tjchitt86 and @OwlsAlive


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