Monday, 24 August 2009

Burnley 1-0 Everton match report

Premier League new boys followed up their amazing victory over Manchester United in midweek with another 1-0 win at Turf Moor, this time over a lacklustre Everton team who are still reeling from their opening day thrashing by Arsenal.

It was Wade Elliott, the goal hero from Wembley, who scored the goal ten minutes before the break, a neat curling left-footed effort from around fourteen yards that flicked up off Phil Neville on its way into the bottom corner across Tim Howard in the visitors’ goal.

Burnley didn’t have it all their own way though. For the second successive game they conceded a penalty; Tony Hibbert breaking into the area and going down under a challenge from Chris McCann. Television replays later showed that Hibbert had conned referee Phil Dowd into giving the spot kick by diving and justice was done when Louis Saha pulled his dragged wide from twelve yards.

The Clarets had started by far the brighter side and had two excellent chances in the opening few minutes. Just forty seconds in, Martin Paterson diverted Chris McCann’s cross onto the bar, with Steven Fletcher forcing a smart stop from the rebound, and Paterson should have done better with another header, glancing it wide of the far post from Robbie Blake’s centre.

But it looked like the hosts’ inability to take their chances was going to cost them. As the first half progressed Everton felt their way into the game with some neat interplay and good ball carrying from wide men Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman. Saha was inches away from connecting with a ball across the six yard box, and Jack Rodwell placed a free header straight at Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen from a corner.

And then, against the run of play Elliott put the Clarets ahead and they never looked back. Everton had chances, Saha thumping a drive just wide in the best of them, but they never truly looked like scoring.

Burnley’s promotion was down to a stirring run of home wins at the end of the season and this week they have shown they have the quality as well as the grit and determination to make Turf Moor a fortress this season. They haven’t lost a home game since March, indeed they haven’t conceded in seven at Turf Moor, posting 18 unanswered goals, but the real test will come in the next two games, testing trips to Chelsea and Liverpool.

As for Everton, they need to move on quickly once Joleon Lescott finally completes his move to Manchester City, David Moyes must plug the gap swiftly if Everton are to recover and seal another top six place, but on the evidence of their first two league performances, the thinness of their squad is going to be a problem this campaign.

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