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Burnley v Spurs, 09.05.10


Burnley scorers:-
Elliott, 42
Cork, 54
Paterson, 71
Thompson, 88

Spurs scorers:-
Bale, 3
Modric, 32

Attendance:- 21,161

Referee:- Mike Dean
Assistants:- Mr. A. Garratt & Mr. A. Halliday
Fourth Official:- Mr. N. Miller

Burnley (4-1-4-1):- Jensen; Mears, Bikey, Caldwell (Capt.), Fox; Alexander; Paterson (sub Eagles, 90), Elliott, Cork, Nugent (sub Blake, 79); Fletcher (sub Thompson, 86)

Subs not used:- Weaver; Duff, Jordan, McDonald

No Bookings

Spurs (4-4-2):- Alnwick; Kaboul, Dawson, King (Capt.), Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone (sub Palacios, 64), Modric, Bale; Crouch (sub Gudjohnsen, 85), Defoe (sub Pavlyuchenko, 62)

Subs not used:- J. Walker; Bassong; Bentley, Jenas

No Bookings

From Master-class to Master-Farce!

Spurs fans flocked to Turf Moor today for a party to celebrate their team’s qualification for the Champions League on Wednesday night. They knew that in theory their team could yet finish third, but in reality, as that would require Arsenal to lose at home to Fulham who have a Europa League Cup Final on Wednesday, they knew that would not happen. Spurs players had a party after Wednesday night’s great win at Eastlands, and despite starting this game in master-class mode and taking a two goal lead, they let Burnley get a goal back before the break, before a total surrender to the relegated home side in the second half.

My theory is that the players knew the half-time score from The Emirates (3-0) and knew that the game was up, virtually switching off and into friendly mode in the second half. Having been under the cosh in the first half hour, Burnley came out determined to give their fans a farewell performance. They ran the ball from midfield, spread the play and created acres of space particularly on the Spurs left flank, where Ekotto and some of his team-mates must have had the beach on their minds. Skipper Ledley King (amazingly playing his third game in 8 days)and Michael Dawson must have been hoping to prove a point to Fabio Capello, and will surely not be happy to have shared the experience of conceding 4 goals for the first time this season.

The only change to the Spurs team was for Ben Alnwick to replace the injured Heurelho Gomes. Alnwick made his only appearance of the season for Spurs, and whilst not chiefly to blame for any of the goals, will have been disappointed not to have made an impression.

Perhaps Burnley’s secret weapon today was 20 year old Chelsea loanee Jack Cork, whose vitality counted against the weary Spurs legs. Cork even got his first Premier League goal today.

Burnley had conceded 10 goals in their previous two home games, and the way Spurs started, looked like conceding another hatful. In only the third minute, Aaron Lennon raced into the box, and to the bye line before sending a low cross which Defoe tried to reach, but which was fired home by Gareth Bale into the roof of the net, assisted by a Burnley defender. It was Bale’s third goal in the last 6 games. In the Spurs end the party had begun before kick-off, and just got louder and louder as the team were treated to a full repertoire of songs. Crouch had a header just over the bar from a Bale corner, and another Bale cross passed the area without a Spurs player making contact.

After 32 minutes, Spurs went two up thanks to a superb goal from Luka Modric, who at times during the season has failed to show his fire power, but on this occasion unleashed a real cracker. Bale had been the provider, before Luka hit his powerful rising drive into the roof of the Burnley net.

To their credit, Burnley’s heads did not go down, and the Spurs defence was being challenged although Alnwick had not needed to stretch himself. In the 42nd minute though, Fletcher put a clever ball through the Spurs defence and Elliott just beat the offside trap to beat Alnwick, although the keeper did get a touch on the ball. A mistake by Bale gave Fletcher a run, but the striker skewed his final shot wide.

At half-time then we were still feeling happy, and my 3-1 prediction was still on the cards. Straight from the re-start Defoe made a good run and fed the ball to Lennon coming inside from the right channel. Lennon’s shot took a touch from Jensen and rebounded off the post. Nugent had a shot that Ledley King half cleared, before Paterson threatened the Spurs goal, and Alnwick did save with his legs. Paterson was getting too much room on the Burnley right flank, and he delivered a cross which Fletcher pushed wide from close range, although the attempt was deflected for a corner.

It came as no surprise really that Burnley drew level in the 55th minute. After successfully running the ball from midfield, the ball was spread to Paterson, whose cross beat Alnwick and was headed home by Cork. Paterson continued to cause problems for the Spurs defence, and another cross was pushed out by Alnwick for another corner.

Harry Redknapp replaced Defoe with Pavlyuchenko and Huddlestone with Palacios. However, the home side took the lead to the delight of their fans. Fletcher crossed from the left side of the box, and Paterson was on hand at the back post to prod home. Bale hit a free kick after 77 minutes, which Crouch headed down into Jensen’s arms. Pavlyuchenko had an effort after Lennon delivered from the middle, but the Russian hit his shot straight down the goalie’s throat. After a corner, Spurs nearly scored through an own goal, but the ball rebounded off the top of the bar. Crouch had another header from a Bale delivery but aimed it at Jensen.

The agony of a totally unexpected defeat was complete in the 88th minute when Thompson was allowed to touch home a long range driven shot by Elliott across the Spurs defence and into the net. The party was then for the relegated side who climbed to 18th place and earnt themselves an extra £800,000 prize money.

Spurs fans did leave in a somewhat dejected state of mind, but once you reflect upon the fact that we have qualified for the Champions league, and that effectively this game was a friendly, the good feelings come back. It has been a really great season for Spurs. Yes, there have been some pitfalls, but it just means we know we can do better next season, and we have got so much to look forward to!

Once again, I’d like to thank readers for their support and interest. I wish you a very relaxing summer and World Cup, and I look forward to fixing our first trip in Europe after the draw for our qualifying round takes place on 6th August!

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