Sunday, March 25

Drawing drawing West Ham…

Burnley 2 West Ham 2

Viewed as a single match, you could say this was a good result, coming back from 2-0 down at half-time. But in the context of our run of draws even Allardyce admits it feels like a defeat. Big Sam said we should have won 5-2 and again berated his strikers. 

It’s a nervy afternoon listening to TalkSport at my mother-in-law’s cottage in Buntingford. There's Lapsang and Earl Grey in the afternoon tea pot, unseasonal sunshine, the sound of wood pigeons cooing and fear in my heart as we go two down. 

Cole sets the tone early on, as latching on to Noble’s through ball he rounds the keeper and then fails to hit the target. Bartley gives Burnley the lead on 25 minutes, brushing past Collins and turning inside Tomkins too easily, to fire past Green.

We seem to equalize when Nolan has a fine header disallowed for no apparent reason. Then Cole contrives to miss the ball from a yard out as the cross hits the post and Nolan fires the rebound at the man on the line.

We then go 2-0 down as Paterson gets across Collins to turn home a routine cross. Collison has a good effort saved but it’s nearly 3-0 at half-time when Burnley hit the post.

Subbing Cole and Taylor for Maynard and Baldock has some effect after the break. Kevin Nolan gets us back into the game with a great finish, chipping over Grant following a defensive lapse. It’s Nolan’s tenth goal of the season but he remains an enigma. He’s now our top scorer and the best finisher at the club, yet never seems to dominate the midfield. He also looks better away from home. Might he be better utilised at Upton Park as a second striker or impact substitute?

Two minutes later Noble’s free kick is headed across the box by Maynard and Tomkins finishes with confidence to make it 2-2. We should then go on to win it but Sam bizarrely brings on Carew, who misses a good chance. The best chance falls to Baldock who fires against the keeper’s legs.

So it’s ten games unbeaten but four behind Reading with a game in hand and nine behind Southampton. Glass half full or half empty? We’ve had to sell one team and recruit another and we’re still in with a chance of automatic promotion and if nothing else are difficult to beat away; yet we've blown several chances to go top through endless draws at home.

The games against Peterborough and Reading will surely shape our season. Two defensive mistakes haven’t helped at Turf Moor. But the biggest problem is our misfiring front line. Cole, Maynard, Baldock and Carew are all way off form and look about as likely to score as Russell Brand tied to a chair and locked in a padded cell in a Californian sex addiction clinic. Perhaps if Cole, Baldock or Maynard can get one, then we’ll finally give someone a tonking. If we don’t win soon though, it’s all over for automatic promotion.


Chrissy Brand said...

"We'll be fine as long as we win the next game", as I have thought for the past 10 games...but I'm running out of games and optimism.

But what chances of us surviving if we do go up this season Pete?

Pete May said...

We'll be fine Chrissy as long as we win the next ten games! Think we could survive with the extra cash and if Morrison is as good as people say... Green, Tomkins and Noble is a good base and Allardyce managed to get Blackburn to mid-table, though it wasn't pretty.