Second-half goals from Junior Stanislas and Martin Paterson saw Town fall to a 2-0 final day of the season defeat at Burnley. After a dull first half the game, played between two sides with nothing to play for, improved slightly after the break with the Clarets deserving the victory.
Tyrone Mings was handed debut for the Blues, the December signing from Chippenham Town starting at left-back with Patrick Kisnorbo making his full league debut for the Blues at the centre of the defence alongside Tommy Smith. Scott Loach was in goal and Richard Stearman at right-back.
Aaron Cresswell started on the left of midfield with Anthony Wordsworth and Luke Hyam in the centre and skipper Carlos Edwards on the right. Frank Nouble and Daryl Murphy are again up front. Academy second-year scholar Jack Marriott was included on the bench for the first time.
Midfielder Andy Drury didn't travel with his partner expecting a baby, while Aaron Mclean was with his parent club Hull as they secured promotion to the Premier League.
Michael Chopra, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Reece Brown and Jason Brown sat in front of the Town support in the David Fishwick Stand, having made a brief pre-match walk-through appearance in the Burnley pressroom.
The Blues, in white and black, threatened first in the second minute, Kisnorbo heading Wordsworth’s corner from the left over the bar.
Town started the brighter of the sides and on eight Kisnorbo nodded over another left-sided Wordsworth corner after a Murphy shot had been deflected wide.
The game looked every bit an end of season match between two sides with nothing to play for. On 18, Burnley managed their first attempt at goal, Sam Vokes heading well over.
Four minutes later, Cresswell sliced a dipping effort just over from 25 yards but keeper Lee Grant wasn’t troubled. On 23 Burnley's Danny Ings shot well over from distance for the home side.
Debutant Mings almost picked up his first Town assist in the 25th minute after finding Murphy with a fantastic long diagonal pass. The Irishman did well to hold off a couple of defenders but saw his shot at goal bundled behind.
As the game reached the half-hour mark, Kieran Trippier’s 25-yard strike deflected wide after Mings had done well to clear a cross from the left. From the resultant corner, Clarets skipper and one-time Canary Jason Shackell headed over at the far post.
Neither side created anything else significant before the break with the 0-0 scoreline a fair reflection of a not overly exciting game. That the match had a post-season friendly type of feel was probably no surprise given that neither side had anything to play for.
Town had probably had the better of the chances, but overall the first 45 minutes were a bit of a non-event as a spectacle.
The second half began in much the same manner as the first had ended. The first opportunity came seven minutes in, Frank Nouble crossing from the left and Wordsworth having a header blocked. Four minutes later, Dean Marney struck a half-volley wide at the other end.
The chances suddenly started to come more frequently at each end. Murphy headed an excellent Mings cross straight at Grant, then Martin Paterson hit a 20-yard strike which Loach similarly claimed.
Just as the game reached the hour mark the home side went in front. Sub Junior Stanislas picked the ball up midway inside the Blues’ half and with the Town backline standing off hit a 25-yard shot into the top right-hand corner of Loach’s net.
Prior to the restart Jack Marriott was handed his first team debut, replacing Nouble up front alongside Murphy.
The Clarets weren’t far from adding to their lead two minutes later when Trippier crossed from the right and Loach saved Vokes’s downwards header.
Stanislas went looking for another goal in the 66th minute but this time his strike flew over Loach’s crossbar. The former West Ham man had made a big impression having been introduced eight minutes into the second half with the Blues looking distinctly ragged.
Town went looking for the equaliser and after a corner Smith had two strikes blocked from the edge of the box, having been teed up by Marriott. The Town Player of the Year’s third effort was too close to Grant.
Marriott had quickly settled into the game and in the 70th minute broke into the area after an exchange of passes involving Wordsworth and Murphy but a defender stuck in a toe to dispossess him just as he looked through on goal.
Marney just failed to get on Paterson’s low cross from the right a minute later, before Marriott wasn’t far from scoring his first senior goal. A freekick midway inside the Burnley half on the right was taken short to Wordsworth, who sent in a cross which the young striker headed down but not far enough to Grant’s right, the keeper claiming.
On 77 Loach saved from Ings, then at the other end Mings and then Murphy flicked on a long throw but without creating an opportunity.
The very lively Marriott hit a 25-yard strike into Grant’s arms two minutes later with the youngster looking a threat.
Paterson volleyed over on 83, moments before Jay Tabb replaced Anthony Wordsworth in the Blues midfield.
The home side were looking the more likely scorers as the season entered its final five minutes and on 87 Paterson increased his side’s lead when he flicked on a header from a corner from the right into the net.
As the game entered injury time, Burnley swapped keeper Grant for veteran Brian Jensen, who is celebrating his testimonial year.
The Clarets continued to put on the pressure in the closing stages with a low ball running across the Town six-yard box in the final moments but without receiving a final touch.
The second half was an improvement on the first in terms of entertainment and the home side deserved their win having created the better of the chances, although Stanislas’s opener was a great strike out of nothing.
Manager Mick McCarthy is unlikely to be too disappointed with the result, however, with the Blues having completed the main business in hand – securing Championship survival - last week.
The Town manager will have been pleased to have blooded youngsters Mings and Marriott, whose displays will have pleased him, while Aaron Cresswell completed his record of taking part of every minute of what has been a long season, which from virtually the start has been an ultimately successful battle against relegation.
The Blues end the season 14th, six points from the relegation zone, with Peterborough and Wolves joining Bristol City in taking the drop into League One, and eight points from the play-off places.
A good turn around to the season! Thankyou MM and TC and a big well done to all the players (all 41 of them that played for us this season!) a special thankyou has to be awarded to DJ Campbell who's goals certainly lifted us and put us on the track to survival!
Let's be honest though, we left key players out,we shouldn't be downbeat about a defeat. We're still in the division and we have one of the best managers in the division, a great core to the team in Chambers, Smith,Hyam etc... I really do think next year will be the best season we've had under Marcus Evans.
I feel far from flat today. I'd rather go there and lose giving Mings, Marriott, Hewitt etc a run out who will really benefit from it than play a full strength team and win. Really optimistic for next year now. Thanks Mick & Terry for everything!
Disappointing end to a season which started abysmally, but improved once PJ was (finally) sacked and MM came in. Like others, today was a bit of an anti-climax, and left us all feeling flat. But MM tried players out today, which could be useful moving forward, whilst it proves to be an interesting Summer for ITFC - so looking forward to that.
Despite today's result, well done to MM, TC and the players for bailing us out of one hell of a mess. Looking forward to next season.
Would have been nice, although rather surreal, to have finished in the top half. But after the first thirteen games, anyone offering 14th at the end of the season would have had their hand bitten off! Well done and thank you MM and TC! And it was nice not having to be chewing nails today, being able to enjoy all the superb drama at both ends of the table. Cautious optimism for next season. Very confident of.......not being in a relegation battle! Important not to get too carried away.
Yeah as others have reiterated a bit disappointing with probably our worst away result for months but the match will be looked upon as a an end of season kick about. I would have liked to have seen us finish in the top half of the league, but that's everything done and dusted. Next season we need to hit the ground running and hopefully the fairly consistent stuff Mick has installed will continue. See Hull who scraped over the line thanks to Watford ballsing it up against Leeds, says everything about the the automatic promotion contenders of the last few months...not that good.
Thanks to all the players who helped this season, I'm glad & relieved we dint go down. Big thanks to all these: Mick McCarthy, Terry Connor, Malcolm Webster, Mark Kennedy, Andy Liddell, Matt Byard, Steve McCall, Jordan Miles & Alex Chapman.
The foundations are set for a good season next year. COYB!!!!!
Nothing game and meanigless result. Best part was Mings and Marriott getting a good run out and would have done them the world of good.
Personally I hope we can get shot of Chopra but I believe Martin can be a squad player if the wages can be agreed.
Time for a good break as this has been a season of extreme emotions and what i believe will be a watershed appointment of MM & TC. Looks to look forward to and Wolves fans and Directors have had their noses well and trully rubbed in the dirt. Thanks MM and TC enjoy your holidays and we all look forward to an ITFC pitch invasion (for the right reasons) at the end of next season.
Jas. PJ is now long dead history and your incessant harping on about how long it took for him to go is beginning to wear on my nerves. Please give it a rest. Remember PJ is a human being and a very nice one at that so why keep on slating him. I am certain he did his very best for us but it just didn't work out for him and you are spoiling your, otherwise, excellent posts with which I am in total accord. From my viewpoint I am very proud to support a club who gives its Managers as much time as possible to get things right. May I suggest you be careful for what you wish, this time we have been lucky but not so Blackburn and Wolves to name but two!
Bill blue - apologies, but was reflecting on the season I.e. disappointing end to a season which started badly. Like it or not, that was under jewell. I also feel its important to emphasise how we'll mick has done. To fully highlight this, we need to remember the utter mess he inherited from erm, Paul jewell. Fact I'm afraid.
We now move on and look forward. As I have also mentioned on a number of occasions.
At the end of the day it was a dead rubber game so I was not expecting us to give an outstanding performance (like last week). Agree with above, a bit flat but seeing how far we've come under Mick fills me with real hope and optimism for next season! Come On You Blues!