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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Further Reports & Comments - Burnley 1 QPR 0

Burnley Official Site - Steve Cotterill Comments
Burnley boss Steve Cotterill was pleased with his side on Saturday, following the 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Turf Moor. It made it four games without defeat and in tricky conditions, it was always going to be tough.
The Clarets kept plugging away though and had the breakthrough with just over 10 minutes to go when Andy Gray hit his third successive goal at Turf Moor with fellow newcomer Alan Mahon also playing his part in the goal.
"It was a good result for us on a bumpy pitch and very windy conditions, it was difficult for both sides," he said.
"We know how the wind can spoil any game and it was difficult for both sets of lads today and they both worked hard.
"You could say we're both not going down or going up, but we both tried hard to put on a decent game.
"We had to be patient really and sometimes you have to wait, but when you're the home team you've got to make the play, try to pass the ball and be the best team and score goals.
"We ended up making a change from two up front to one up front and I know that sounds strange, but I felt we had to make that change and monopolise the ball a bit more.
"It gave us that and we were hoping we could get Alan Mahon on the ball in those areas and we were hoping he could slide one in for the strikers.
"It worked today, but on another day it may not have worked."
The performance of Mahon saw him awarded the man-of-the-match award and Cotterill agreed with that wholeheartedly.
"You've got to have the players to execute it and in Alan Mahon, we've got one, an absolute gem.
"He was quality all-round and he is the jewell in our crown.
"The goal was good and we could have had an even better goal after that with some fantastic passing, but I thought we mastered the pitch in the second half and the crowd were great because they didn't get impatient with it and it paid off in the end."
More to follow from Steve Cotterill and Andy Gray on Monday.

Burnley Official Site
Burnley's recent unbeaten run continued at Turf Moor, where they picked up three points to leap-frog opponents Queens Park Rangers in the Championship table.
It took a goal from Andy Gray to separate the teams on a match played in difficult conditions with a swirling wind and driving rain, coupled with sunny patches throughout the afternoon.
The striker's third goal in three successive home games arrived with just over 10 minutes to go and proved to be the winner in what was understandably a scrappy game at Turf Moor.
And having scored in his two previous games at Turf Moor for former clubs Sheffield United and Bradford City, his record at the home of the Clarets is impressive.
It was Rangers who had the first chance immediately after kick-off though, when Lee Cook did well on the left to make some space for a cross, only for Shabazz Baidoo to head straight at Brian Jensen.
The Clarets came agonisingly close to opening the scoring after 17 minutes, when Gray picked out Alan Mahon on the right hand side of the area. He cut back onto his left foot before curling a shot goalwards only to see Paul Jones get a hand to it and turn his effort away from goal.
Michael Ricketts then threatened to break through when Ian Evatt slipped, allowing the Clarets striker to turn and bear down on goal. He had a tight angle to deal with and his effort was well blocked by the covering Mauro Milanese, leaving Jones with an easy save to make.
Phil Bardsley then did superbly to control a high ball on the right before turning Cook and firing a low cross into the area, only for Danny Shittu to get a boot on it to clear the danger.
Mahon was proving to be the most likely outlet for the Clarets and his work around the box was exemplary. His control, vision and ability to pick out a pass or cross saw almost broke the deadlock on a couple of occasions.
Rangers other good chance arrived in first half injury time, when Gareth Ainsworth skipped clear on the right but after breaking into the box, Jensen was out quickly to make a good block.
Mahon continued his probing in the second half and after 52 minutes tried his luck with a long range shot, collecting a pass from Bardsley around 35 yards from goal and connecting well only for Jones to see it coming and make the save.
The Clarets had to rely on Jensen again at the other end though, as Marc Nygaard found some space and turned in a shot on goal. Jensen was well placed to deny his Danish compatriot with a good save though.
With just 10 minutes of the second half played, Steve Cotterill opted for a tactical change, by replacing Ricketts with Wade Elliott and pushing Mahon into a more advanced role.
It almost had an instant effect too, as Gray latched onto a Mahon pass and struck a shot at goal which was deflected just wide of the post.
The breakthrough finally arrived in the 78th minute though and unsurprisingly, Mahon was the architect. It started with Bardsley's throw-in to the Irishman, who neatly turned his man before slipping a pass through for Gray. He beat the offside trap and broke into the area before finishing well past Jones.
Rangers had a good opportunity to level things up in the 84th minute, when Baidoo and Cook combined well to set up the latter but his right footed shot was weak and Jensen had no problems in making the save.
After three minutes of added time though, the whistle sounded and Burnley had picked up the points that their performance had just about deserved.
Burnley: Jensen, Sinclair, Duff, James O'Connor, Branch (Hyde, 65) Ricketts (Elliott, 54) McCann (McGreal, 86) Bardsley, Gray, Harley, Mahon. Subs not used: Garreth O'Connor, Spicer.
Queens Park Rangers: Jones, Milanese, Evatt, Shittu, Bircham (Donnelly, 85), Ainsworth, Cook, Kus (Lomas, 66) Baidoo, Nygaard, Langley. Subs not used: Cole, Furlong, Howell.

Sunday Mirror


ANDY GRAY produced a second-half winner out of the blue to break the tedium of this forgettable game.
Roll on the summer - the end of the season can't come soon enough for these two clubs.
The match lacked both entertainment and excitement as both teams failed lamentably to cope with the windy conditions and lively pitch.

It was 17 minutes before there was a shot on target. Then clever play between Burnley defender Phil Bardsley and Gray set up Alan Mahon.
The Burnley midfielder picked his spot carefully but keeper Paul Jones produced an athletic save.
Burnley had a couple of half-chances before the interval when Michael Ricketts went close.
Counter-attacking QPR created two clear openings either side of half-time.
Gareth Ainsworth burst clear down the right but he delayed his shot, allowing keeper Brian Jensen to fling himself bravely at his feet.
Then in the 55th minute some quick thinking by Ainsworth created space for striker Marc Nygaard deep in the Burnley area.
Nygaard was clear and he fired hard and low but Jensen managed to parry the shot.
Just as the game seemed set to finish tamely, Burnley bagged a winner from nowhere.
Mahon, by far the best player on view, was bound to feature in the build-up.
He put Gray clear and the striker did not disappoint as he rolled his shot into the far corner.
Delighted Clarets boss Steve Cotterill said: "Mahon is a gem. He makes things happen, and we got a good result in tough conditions."
His opposite number Gary Waddock said: "They had a goalscorer of Premiership quality. That was the difference between the sides."
Was rewarded for his creative play by laying on the winner.
BURNLEY: Jensen 7, Sinclair 6, Duff 6, O'Connor 7, Branch 6 (Elliott 6), Ricketts 5 (Hyde 6), McCann 7 (McGreal), Bardsley 7, Gray 6, Harley 6, MAHON 8.
QPR: Jones 6, Milanese 7, Evatt 6, Shittu 7, Bircham 6 (Donnelly), Ainsworth 7, Cook 6, Kus 6 (Lomas 6), Baidoo 6, Nygaard 6, Langley 7.
MANAGERS: Cotterill 6' Waddock 6


Rangers suffered their third successive loss thanks to a lone Burnley strike up at Turf Moor.The curse of Turf Moor continued and it is now 26 years since Rangers picked up a win at Burnley.
Andy Gray's 78th minute strike was enough to condemn Rangers to yet another defeat as the much changed side failed to inspire.
Neither set of fans were overly impressed with the football on display, but it could have easily been Rangers taking away the three points to make the standard of play on offer a little easier to handle.
Gary Waddock rang the changes at Turf Moor. Some were enforced with an injury to Kevin Gallen meaning Marc Nygaard and Shabazz Baidoo were left to front the attack.
Marcin Kus also came in for his second appearance and Andrew Howell was given a spot on the bench.
Steve Lomas and Paul Furlong were also resigned to a place on the bench and Richard Langley earned his first start since the visit of Wolves on March 4.
Rangers wasted no time in putting the new look side into action.
Lee Cook danced past his marker and crossed for Baidoo whose header was the visitors first on target with just 30 seconds on the clock
The visitors continued to press with Lee Cook having yet another superb game along with Ainsworth on the opposite flank.
Burnley then enjoyed their ten minutes of pressure and some last ditch tackles from Dan Shittu and Ian Evatt had to defend the Rangers goal.
On the one occasion that they were breached, Paul Jones pulled off another of his excellent 'one for the scrapbook' saves when Alan Mahon curled one towards to top corner from 20 yards out.
Jones tipped the ball over the bar to concede the corner and deny Burnley the lead.
The Superhoops were exerting plenty of pressure, but the story of the season continued with a lack of finishing as Burnley packed the final third.
Michael Ricketts then tested Jones again and as he broke free of Milanese, the Rangers stopper had to be on hand to collect his looping shot.
Ranger needed to collect themselves on the half hour as a spell in the visitors' box left both sets of fans 'oohing' and 'ahhing' as the ball pinged back and forth across the face of goal.
QPR survived the storm however as thankfully Burnley's finishing was equal to the Hoops' defending.
There was more of the same as the game lapsed into a lull before half time with neither side able to finish in a manner that would trouble their opposite numbers.
The finishing improved in the second half - but it was at the wrong end for Rangers.
Andy Gray held off the attentions of Ian Evatt and unleashed a shot just wide of the mark.
A complete hash in the Burnley box left Baidoo to pick up a loose ball after Brian Jensen was caught in no man's land.
But with the youngster caught on the by line and with no support in the box, Baidoo failed to produce anything of note.
Just before the hour mark, Waddock made a straight change putting Steve Lomas on for Kus at right back.
As the game progressed the standard of football completely failed to inspire as the display became a practise match.
But just as it looked as though this was going to remain a goalless bore draw, Burnley took the lead.
Gray stormed through to go one on one with Jones and the Clarets man picked his spot to finish in the far corner.
Ainsworth attempted to reduce the deficit at the other end, but his shot on goal was too weak to trouble Jensen.
Scott Donnelly was then introduced at the expense of Bircham and wasted no time in taking his marker out.
Burnley: Jensen, Sinclair, Duff, O'Connor, Branch (Hyde 58), Ricketts (Elliott 50), McCann (McGreal 86), Bardsley, Gray, Harley, Mahon
Subs: O'Connor, Spicer
Scorers: Gray 78
Rangers: Jones, Kus (Lomas 58), Shittu, Evatt, Milanese, Ainsworth, Langley, Bircham (Donnelly 85), Cook, Nygaard, Baidoo
Subs: Cole, Howell, Furlong
Att: 11,427
Ref: R J Oliver


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