Often Partisan

The 12th Man – Burnley Reflections

Here are my reflections on yesterday’s game between Blues and Burnley at St Andrews

An enjoyable game

It’s been a long time since I’ve walked out from St Andrews having enjoyed a game but yesterday I did. The first half wasn’t up to much but the improvement when Federico Macheda came on was there for all to see and as the game went on I had this feeling we would get something out of it. Not only was there a special goal in Emyr Huws’ finish, but there was fire and spirit from the team. At first it looked like it was going to be in vain but with a bit of a tinker in the formation Blues started to look more dangerous and it became obvious why Burnley have kept only one clean sheet in their unbeaten run.

The Ref

I don’t like criticising refs but my word, James Linington was poor. I think someone should point out to him that the reason Zigic kept falling to the ground wasn’t the weight of his pay packet in his back pocket but the claret and blue covered arms that were pulling him down. Burnley were kicking us, pushing us, wasting time and if it’s true he mocked Paul Robinson when he booked him that is obscene. It did feel at times that Blues were playing against twelve men, and the fact the Burnley players surrounded the ref after the third equaliser made it all the more funny.

The Fans

I was disappointed with the flatness of the atmosphere in the first half; the only real noise was the ironic cheers when Tyler Blackett took a throw in – which was a bit off really bearing in mind he’s just a kid – and I had the feeling at half time it was going to be one of those games again. However, the second half saw a much more sustained period of noise and I don’t think it’s coincidental that that culminated in the first equaliser. Blues perked up with the crowd behind them and even when they conceded, heads did not drop. I think the reaction to the third goal said it all – as much as Lee Clark comes in for flak I loved his celebration in booting the advertising hoardings – and it was good to see so many players coming over to clap the fans after the final whistle. It proved once again they need us behind them as much as we need them to entertain us.

Lee Novak and Tom Adeyemi

I think that it’s quite easy to pick out Macheda, Huws and Burke for their contributions but I wanted to talk about Novak and Adeyemi. Before Macheda came on Blues were huffing and puffing a bit but both Adeyemi and Novak were trying their hardest to out-muscle, outwit and outrun the Burnley defence; I think it would be churlish not to acknowledge how hard they worked and how much they tired the Burnley defence to give Macheda the chance to finish them off. It was the best I’ve seen Adeyemi been for a while and maybe he’s going to rediscover the form of the early part of the season when he really looked a prospect.

Blues play Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend at Hillsbrough in what is a bit of a crunch match; maybe the players can take heart from their performances last night and maybe the morale will be there to take them to another three points. If we can play with the spirit of the last thirty minutes in particular, we’ll be okay.

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