Sunday, 16 August 2009

Stoke 2-0 Burnley

Premier League new boys Burnley fell to an ignominious 2-0 opening day defeat to an unforgiving Stoke City team who exposed the Lancashire club’s defensive frailties.

The Clarets struggled to cope with the Potters’ strength and height from set pieces and the game was over as a contest by half time as City scored twice.

First Ryan Shawcross rose unmarked to head home Liam Lawrence’s free-kick, and then Clarets defender Stephen Jordan flicked a header into his own goal from one of Rory Delap’s torpedo throw ins.

It was harsh on Burnley, who matched Stoke in open play, but made shoddy mistakes at the back. The visitors missed their skipper Steven Caldwell as well as suspended new signing David Edgar.

But the Clarets also looked toothless in attack, with record buy Steven Fletcher restricted to one half chance, from which he forced a good save from Thomas Sorensen.

Burnley will need a vast improvement if they are to avoid being rooted to the foot of the table after their next four games, in which they face Manchester United, Everton, Chelsea and Liverpool in a rude awakening to life in the Premier League.

Stoke showed enough of a threat from set pieces to show they should have enough to avoid relegation again, although their trio of strikers Ricardo Fuller, James Beattie and Dave Kitson were restricted to just a small handful of chances between them, with Kitson hitting the bar in the best of them.

Burnley will need to smarten up their defending of set pieces of they are to avoid a real struggle.

This report was written for FansOnline Burnley.

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