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Town 1-1 Burnley
Town 1-1 Burnley
Saturday, 14th Aug 2010 17:08

Clarke Carlisle netted an injury time equaliser for 10-man Burnley as the Blues began their home campaign with a 1-1 draw. Town looked to have won the match when new captain David Norris backheeled home from inches out four minutes from time.

Midfielder Luke Hyam recovered from the shin injury he suffered at Exeter to take his place in the midfield holding role, while Jon Stead came into the centre of the front three with Tamás Priskin on the right and new loan signing Andros Townsend on the left. Shane O’Connor took over from the injured Mark Kennedy at left-back.

Jon Walters was at the game but in the directors’ box, despite having recovered from his virus but not having trained with the first team during the week. As expected, Norris took over as skipper.

The first chance of the game fell to Priskin in the fourth minute when a Fülöp long kick was flicked on by a Burnley defender. The ball seemed to take a while to drop and the Hungarian mis-hit his shot wide. Two minutes later, Martin Paterson hit a low effort into the sidenetting from a Smith block after getting away inside the Town area on the right

Town were making a strong start and on 11 Townsend hit a powerful low strike across the face of goal. The Tottenham loanee had switched flanks with Priskin and soon after sent in a cross beyond the Hungarian and Stead.

The Blues were continuing to have the better of the game but on 25 Ross Wallace broke away on goal with Tommy Smith having played him onside. Jaime Peters did well to hold the Scot up on the edge of the area, but the ex-Sunderland man laid the ball across the box to the unmarked Wade Elliott but Fülöp did superbly to get across his goal to block with his face.

At the other end, Townsend went well over with a speculative 30-yard effort having switched back to the left flank.

Burnley probably should have gone in front just after the half hour when a freekick from the right was allowed to bounce inside the area but Paterson and former Ipswich resident Chris Iwelumo got in one another’s way and sent it well over the bar.

Town almost went in front in the 35th minute when Townsend, who had by now moved back to the right, sent in a low cross which Stead diverted goalwards at the far post only for David Edgar block on the line.

The bright Townsend struck a low shot which Brian Jensen failed to hold in the 39th minute, then moments later David Edgar, a friend and Canada colleague of Jaime Peters, picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Grant Leadbitter.

Townsend made another dangerous run down the left with two minutes of the half remaining. The England U19 international’s cross ought to have been dealt with comfortably by the visitors’ defence but full-back Daniel Fox dallied and hammered his clearance against the on-rushing Peters and out for a goalkick.

Both managers will probably have been happy with a first half with Town just about the better side. Stead will have felt unfortunate not to have scored when Carlisle cleared off the line, while Elliott will be ruing his rather casual approach to his chance which Fülöp saved. For the Blues, Townsend had put in an impressive 45 minutes, while Stead continued his excellent start to the season.

Town were forced to swap Grant Leadbitter for Colin Healy at half-time, the midfielder having limped off at half-time after a challenge with David Edgar.

The first chance of the second half fell to Burnley, Paterson heading wide from a cross from the left in the 58th minute.

The Blues had failed to get going after the break, but just after the hour mark Priskin tried to make something of some hesitation in the Burnley defence and was fouled on the edge of the area by Carlisle. Colin Healy curled the freekick only narrowly over.

More hesitation at the back saw Carlisle play the ball to Priskin inside the box on 63 but the Hungarian scuffed his shot wide. Moments later, Stead played the former Watford man in on goal but Andre Bikey dispossessed the Town number 16 before he could get his shot away.

Town, who had switched to 4-4-2 with Priskin moving up front, had finally woken up and less than a minute later Stead sent in a dangerous ball which was cleared from inside the six-yard box. Stead put in another cross but too close to Jensen. Burnley switched Paterson for Chris Eagles.

On 72 Townsend, who had rather drifted out of the game in the second half, was replaced by Ronan Murray, making his league debut after his impressive goalscoring performance in the Carling Cup in midweek. Two minutes later Fox picked up the game’s second yellow card for a foul on the Republic of Ireland U19 international.

Burnley were reduced to 10 men in the 77th minute when Edgar, who had been booked in the first half, blocked Norris just inside the Clarets’ half. Referee Grant Hegley had no choice but to show a second yellow and then a red card.

Town went in front in the 86th minute after Bikey had dispossessed Priskin inside the area after the Hungarian had made a poor first touch. Healy sent in the corner from the right, McAuley headed back across goal, Stead nodded goalwards and new skipper David Norris backheeled home his third goal in two games.

The Blues had just about deserved the lead having come more and more into the game as the half wore on after a slow start to the second period. Burnley looked to hit straight back with Wade Elliott hitting a powerful strike which Fülöp did well to hold.

Burnley did get back on terms from another corner with the game moving into injury time. Graham Alexander whipped in a corner from the left and Clarke Carlisle evaded Jon Stead and flicked a header across Fülöp and into the net.

There wasn’t time for the Blues to push for another goal and referee Hegley’s whistle went to signal yet another 1-1 draw at Portman Road, with the visitors grabbing a late equaliser, as was so often last season.

A draw was probably a fair result with the Blues having shaded the first half, the visitors looking the better side for much of the second before Town came more into it later on, particularly after the sending off.

Gareth McAuley was again outstanding at the back, Luke Hyam continues to impress in midfield, while skipper David Norris netted another important goal. Jon Stead was again impressive in attack even if he lost his man for the Burnley goal.

Overall though, Town boss Roy Keane isn’t likely to be too despondent despite having lost the lead so late, having taken four points from two of the more fancied sides in the division in the season’s first week, probably more than most observers were expecting.

Town: Fülöp, Peters, McAuley, Smith, O'Connor, Stead, Hyam, Leadbitter (Healy 46), Norris, Townsend (Murray 72), Priskin. Unused: Murphy, Eastman, Lambe, Ainsley, Hourihane. Att: 19,317 (Burnley: 829).

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