Hello and welcome to one of the more belated match reports in the history of The Scratching Shed. It seems somehow appropriate to be lagging behind – it almost feels like we were offered the O’Brien-related excuses after the act for this one.

There’s no disguising one of the more lacklustre displays of the season so far – but a win’s a win and all that. In a sense, Simon was onto something after the game, when among – ahem – other things, he suggested a certain ‘levelling out’ from games we’d played much better and got nothing.

The first half was characterised by us not doing much at all, with the little invention Burnley showed looking comparatively like Barcelona – their passing and pressing both more than outdoing Leeds, as the Whites seemed to opt more and more for aimless knocks towards the channels.

A worrying sight was Aidy White significantly more overworked and exposed than he has been: while Sam’s undoubtedly more dynamic than Pugh, the latter’s unspectacular workmanship and positional sense can be overlooked.

This was none more pronounced than for Burnley’s goal, where Lloyd had come under the illusion that he was a box-to-box central midfielder, leaving the quite impressive Trippier a free run and aeons to pick off the perfect cross.

Rodriguez, and his pairing with Austin, had been worrying our somewhat static centre halves (and in turn, us) since the start, and it was with seeming inevitability that he popped up between Kisnorbo and a small desert’s worth of space to leave McCarthy with no chance. Sam was to atone for his positional error later, though.

Side note: Alex McCarthy is really good. Being just one down at the break was largely down to him doing both the basics and the brilliant with equal assurance. Any chance we’ll be able to buy him and have an insane level of competition for the number one jersey? I suspect probably not – on a couple of levels.

In many ways it was a tale of two keepers: McCarthy excellent, and Grant, bar a good readjustment to save McCormack’s swerving free-kick in the first half, looking a little suspect. He should have been off for a blatant handball in the first period, and it certainly looks like he could have done a lot better with the strikes that eventually proved Burnley’s undoing.

Slightly better ball retention and more attacking thrust from White in particular brought some hope of a comeback in the early phases of the second half, but most attacks were thwarted by an extremely off-colour show from our first-choice strike pairing. ‘Blunt’ would not do their day’s showing justice – and so it was that the changing of our weapons of choice brought on the eventual kill.

O’Brien may have said no, but the affirmative contributions of Grayson’s second-half subs made all the difference – also doing no harm to the cases of Messrs Becchio and Nunez for a starting berth.

Improved hold up play from Becchio and a bit more dynamism from the Honduran suddenly had the Lancashire boys nervy, and they began for the first time to look very much like a struggling side, unconvinced of their ability to defend a lead. The Whites smelt blood; and in the end, it didn’t take much spark to win it.

It came down to a little bit of class from Sam, Snoddy being in the right place and Grant sort of jumping over the ball by way of attempting to save it, and something scrappier but no less effective from Nunez causing defensive confusion that ended with another neat finish from the one-footed doyen of the fans. The outcome quickly decided with barely sweat broken.

Overall, Burnley fans would be right to feel aggrieved, but it’s good to know that when the invite to win without reaching second gear is handed out, we’re all too willing to RSVP.  That’s not the sign of a team short on belief and purpose, even when the quality’s decidedly lacking.

Match highlights available on The Revie Way

  • Dje

    I think you flatter Becchio. Aside from his usual flopping over at the slightest tap on the shoulder, I don’t think he brought much new when he came on. That’s not to fault Becchio, as he’s obviously still rusty and was no worse than Keogh on the day.

    Nunez had some heavy touches too, but was a bundle of energy all the same and somehow just gave us that lift (even if we still got lucky).

  • Gryff

    I think fans (of all clubs) need more patience than we tend to show these days.

    We go on about using up all the subs, when half of our heroes played when there was only 1 sub allowed. We go on about the mistakes made by players and the match was a perfect example. Come half time they’re criticising Sam for not sticking to his position and saying Leeds lack that guy who make something from nothing.

    Come Snodgrass’ first goal it’s “from absolutely nowhere” that was literally what the commentator said. And from a Lloyd Sam cross, too.

    Good things come to those who wait!

  • Snowjoke

    Yeh. We were lucky to come away with all three points. Just like we’ve sometimes been unlucky to end up with none. Let’s be honest – in the first half, Burnley lookeed a much better outfit than their league position suggested. Also, like every other team in the division, they were obviously fired up for our visit. Flattering, these warm welcomes, but I’ve often wondered how many points they cost us over the course of a season. Unforunately for them, what they didn’t do was compete for the full ninety minutes. We did and, to my eyes at least, had them looking flaky long before the end.

    Turning to individuals, McCarthy was a big, reassuring presenct at the back and made both the ordinary and the extraordinary look routine. The guy just radiates confidence and composure and, frankly, Schmeical looks a complete twat, by comparison. If only…… Snoddy deserves credit not so much for his scruffy goals as for the persistence and positional sense that gave him the two late chances. Nunez ditto for the exquisite jink and cross that created the winner and also for continuing to want the ball after being bullied off it a couple of times. In the old days, Giles or Bremner (possibly both) would’ve “corrected” that problem pretty sharpish but, Ramon, ever thought about muscling up a tad? Last, but not least, an honourable mention for Lloyd Sam who, given a rare start, looked a tricky handful on the ball and usually had the Burnley defence doubling up to cope. No Mad Max, admittedly, and okay, there was the one positional blunder. But he never tried to hide and, for me, deserves more involvement than he gets.

    Overal, a pretty mediocre team performance but a deeply satisfying result.

    A quick comment on the O’Brien business. Put simply, the tail simply cannot be allowed to wag the dog. Especially if it disrupts the Manager’s planning the day before a match. Nor should the player be allowed to just walk out on his contractual obligations. After all, whose hard-earned cash has been paying his six-figure salary for the last year? Our’s! So, unless a compelling case is made in mitigation, a harsh financial sanction absolutely must be applied. Time for KB to play a bit of hardball?

  • Mark Thompson

    Just checked and we’re in exactly the same position we were in at this time last year. Except one point and two goals better off…progress.

    http://bit.ly/tFaiaN

    • Lee B

      More importantly, we’ve played all the top half teams and only have the bottom half teams yet to play before the turn for home.

      Now all we need to do is perform against the ‘lesser’ sides…

      • number1inyorkshire

        we never perform against the lesser sides .

  • Lee B

    I think Lloyd Sam is being slightly unfairly criticised in some quarters.

    He’s been shown to be out of position for the Burnley goal, leaving acres of space down our left (cue Lee Dixon’s big red box).

    But was he?

    Look where Howson and Clayton were – both on the right wing. If Sam hadn’t drifted into the middle there’d have been a great big hole in the CM (move Lee Dixon’s big red box into the CM area). If they’d have moved the ball through CM to score, Sam would have been criticised for hugging the left touch line when we needed him in the middle.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    No, for my money the problem was caused by Howson and Clayton both drifting to the right wing at the same time, leaving a big hole in the middle.
    As much as I like these two, they really showed their lack of experience on this occasion and Burnley exploited it expertly.

    Ah well, at least we got the 3 points…

    • Gryff

      I’ve noticed that before now, too. Often a central midfielder goes to the wing to help out the winger and that leaves the other centre to cover the 1st oppo centre, and the left-winger has to come in to mark up the 2nd oppo centre and leave the oppo winger to the full-back otherwise you’re gifting them a free run through the centre of the park.

      We wouldn’t’ve won the game if Sam wasn’t on the pitch. His brilliant cross for Snoddy’s superb run when we were looking completely beaten at 1-0.

  • number1inyorkshire

    BURNLEY BATTER WHITES THOUGH BETTER BURNLEY BEATEN BY BAD LEEDS .
    THERE ANOTHER TITLE TONGUE TWISTER

  • Tyler 75

    We definitely missed Danny Pugh on saturday – I like Sam as he’s got ability on the ball but his positional sense is at best average and he doesn’t help out his full back. As a result Aidy wasn’t able to get forward as much as usual. I also like Connolly, especially his crossing ability but when he’s up against decent wingers he struggles and we lack cover at right-back. I’d like to see AOB’s wages re-invested in a good quality right-back on loan. Overall a satisfying if frustrating win and the sort of results that sorts out promotion contenders from the rest.

  • Matthew

    Can’t fault Ross or luci they had no real service for the whole game, we were lucky to get 3 points period, until Rob scored we were shit.