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Burnley 1-1 Town
Burnley 1-1 Town
Saturday, 11th Jan 2003 18:27

Joe Royle will wonder how his side failed to gain three points at Burnley after chances galore were wasted in the second half. Earlier, in the first period, Pablo Couñago gave the Blues the lead before the Clarets equalised through a Robbie Blake penalty just after the hour.

Town lined-up in an unusual 4-4-2 formation with Darren Ambrose, Jermaine Wright, Jim Magilton and Tommy Miller making up the midfield. Matt Holland and Thomas Gaardsøe were the central two at the back with Hermann Hreidarsson and Fabian Wilnis the full-backs. Up front Marcus Bent played alongside Pablo Couñago.

It was Burnley who had the early chances, Ian Moore hitting a curling effort which went by the post. Earlier Hermann Hreidarsson had made a couple of important blocks inside the Town area.

Burnley came close to scoring in the sixth minute after a freekick had been awarded for a foul by Matt Holland. Cook sent in the kick which was met at the near post by Moore six yards out. Marshall made a superb reflex stop to his left and prevented the ball from going back into the danger area.

One or two solid tackles were coming in from the home side and after ten minutes Matt Holland required treatment after a clash with Ian Moore who was spoken to by the referee. As at Portman Road it was proving an open end-to-end game with both sides looking for the three points.

Tommy Miller hit Town's first serious effort over the bar after good work from Marcus Bent on the right. The former Blackburn striker was booed in the early stages for his connections with Burnley's local rivals.

Thomas Gaardsøe attempted to add to his three recent goals in the 16th minute, his header from a right wing corner proving difficult for keeper Michopoulos who managed to claim before the ball was seized on by Hermann Hreidarsson.

There were the occasional moments of danger in the Blues' penalty area and on 19 Ian Moore's low cross evaded everyone in the box, Wilnis putting the ball behind for a corner.

In the 22nd minute, with Town pressing more than earlier in the game, the Blues went ahead. Darren Ambrose hit a low corner to the front of the box where Jim Magilton flicked it into the box with his heel. Pablo Couñago reacted quickest to hit the net from six yards out for his 14th of the season and his first away from home.

Five minutes later referee Hall got his yellow card out after Burnley's new French signing Diallo went tackled Couñago from behind. Darren Ambrose hit the freekick just wide.

A minute later Marcus Bent headed a Magilton corner goalwards only to see it deflect wide off a combination of Cook, Couñago and the post.

Couñago and Diallo clashed again on 32, the Spaniard being caught in the face as they went for the ball in the air. After lengthy treatment Couñago disappeared back into the dressing rooms with a cut to the head. Six minutes later he was replaced by Darren Bent.

With nine minutes left before the break Diallo headed a Little corner over when he might have done better before Ian Moore hit a shot wide after Gaardsøe had misjudged a through-ball.

There was another scare for Town just before the break, Andy Marshall kicking straight to Ian Moore, however Matt Holland forced the Clarets' player wide.

Town started the second half on the attack, Marcus Bent playing through Tommy Miller, however Graham Branch got back to clear for a corner. A minute later Jermaine Wright connected well with a 25-yard volley but the ball was too close to the Burnley keeper.

On 54 Darren Bent had the first of several chances after Marcus Bent had flicked the ball to Jim Magilton who played to Bent on the right of the Burnley goal. The youngster's shot went across Michopoulos and past the post.

For the home side Tony Grant hit a shot from the edge of the area which deflected wide of Andy Marshall's goal.

On 57 Marcus Bent had a superb chance to put Town further ahead from a ball over the top. With a fair amount of time Bent not far out on the right of the goal, he paused and mis-controlled the ball allowing a defender to clear.

A minute later Joe Royle switched things around, the below par Darren Ambrose replaced by Matt Richards as Town went to their more regular 5-3-2. On the hour Marcus Bent sent the ball over from a Magilton ball.

At the other end Thomas Gaardsøe put in an important challenge on Glen Little as he ran at the Blues defence on the edge of the area.

With Town fans feeling that their side should be two goals up Burnley got back on terms. Gaardsøe and Ian Moore chased a ball into the Blues' area on the Burnley right. Moore was going away from goal and there seemed little immediate danger until Marshall dived at his feet sending him sprawling. There were few arguments from Town as Robbie Blake took the kick, sending Marshall left and the ball right.

It was a bad goal to concede and one which was hardly deserved by the home side, however much the penalty was warranted. Town were quickly back on the attack, Jim Magilton hitting a freekick into the box and Hermann Hreidarsson heading into the ground and over the bar.

Fabian Wilnis, having an excellent game on the right, hit a 30-yarder on 69, the ball going close.

Burnley were having spells of possession without creating too much, but in the 71st minute Matt Holland made an important interception as Cook moved in on the ball on the right of the Town area.

Tommy Miller had a fantastic chance to put the Blues ahead again on 73 when Marcus Bent put him in the clear inside the area. With a suspicion that he was offside Miller hit the goalkeeper before Marcus Bent screwed his rebound high and wide. Despite the possibility of the offside, Miller will rue the failure to take the opportunity.

Three minutes later Jim Magilton curled a freekick just by the post after Matt Richards had been fouled. In the 78th minute Magilton put Darren Bent in with a ball over the top. Bent put the ball over the on-rushing keeper and on target but Diallo was back to clear off the line.

Town were making chances but as at Portsmouth weren't taking them. With nine minutes left Marcus Bent sprayed the ball wide to Fabian Wilnis who sent in a low cross to Darren Bent who hit the ball first time over the bar.

As the game entered the last few minutes Burnley put on some pressure, Papadopoulos failing to convert a cross from the right in the last minute when only a few yards out.

Town's final opportunity before the end saw Darren Bent once again put the ball over the top, this time from a Matt Richards cross.

A disappointing result based on the number of chances Town had to win it and once again an individual error gave away a goal. Still, a point away from home is a point and the unbeaten run is extended to eight matches.

Town: Marshall, Wilnis, Hreidarsson, Gaardsøe, Holland, Magilton, Wright, Miller, Ambrose (Richards 58), Couñago (D Bent 36), M Bent.

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