Millwall 2-2 Burnley ~ Match Musings
by, 03-11-2013 at 09:49 PM (2176 Views)
So now we welcome top of the table Burnley to the Den as we end out little troika of games against the alleged best three teams in the division. So far so not bad as we have recorded two decent draws with two decent performances as well, the feeling of the faithful was that we should be holding our own based on the past 2 games.
We should pay heed to the glass gurgling Burnley boss though, erstwhile Millwall man Sean Dyche, who has a pretty impressive record against us, the gravelly voiced manager seems to know what makes us tick and has held a hoodoo over us, I believe, for twelve consecutive games.
The Burnley fans can be forgiven for not turning up en masse for this one, despite their lofty position. They scare easily in Burnley, so a trip to the great metropolis for them is something of a big deal, you know, like you or I abseiling into the very mouth of hell with a jock strap for protection.
Slight exaggeration there, but that is the only reason I can come up with as to why the locals from Burnley do not see fit to follow their table topping team all over the place in their thousands. They are either as poor as church mice and can’t afford it or just have no inclination to follow their team to glory whatsoever.
Burnley people are by default strange. They are from up north for starters, but they still have an olde worlde outlook on life, think Wicker man meets Last of the Summer Wine, offering blood sacrifices to the moon Gods of Babylonia and eating copious amounts of Hovis bread dunked in Fernley’s real tonic ale, is somewhere near to how these primitive fellows live their lives.
Naturally we mock their almost childlike wonder at all things bright and beautiful, who wouldn’t, but the 900 odd ( and I do mean odd) lot who did show up at the Den had not really adopted the full on plasticity of most wannabe football fans but give them time because they are making serious in roads. Some of them could actually maintain a semblance of rhythmic clapping and guttural nuances that probably do translate into something relevant in English but I can’t be arsed to decipher it.
Having just coated off the oppo’s fans, I have to question the loyaty of our lot a s well. We just managed to get over 10,000 in for this game boosted by the Burnley lot and in truth I suspect that is about all we can expect these days. Sure, the long lost fans will come out of the woodwork for any ‘big’ games, but then that has been the way for some considerable time now.
The atmosphere was pretty flat as the teams came out, the usual clapping along to ‘let ‘em come’ strangely muted and even the usually rousing end was very half hearted by many of the home fans.
Lomas had to make changes from the Reading game, Abdou’s red card precluding him from the starting line-up and Connolly still out injured, so the team lined up as follows: Forde in goal, Smith, Robinson, Shittu and Malone across the back, Woolford, Trotter, Derry, Bailey and Waghorn doing the usual midfield mix up with McDonald ably leading from the front.
I think the referee’s dad turned up today to officiate, the portly grey haired figure out in the middle was something of a surprise, I must say, and as he got the game going. He waddled his way into position adopting what Peter Kay would term as “a dad run” for the rest of the game. I am not going to pour scorn on this old chap’s performance, we are all getting old and we should really be impressed that someone of such a mature age is willing to act like a cunt all afternoon on a Saturday.
We started off at a decent tempo and Burnley soon realised that we were not going to be an easy ride for them. McDonald was soon in the thick of it, controlling the ball, bringing in the midfielders at every opportunity, the Burnley defence were soon under the cosh.
The quickly reverted to type though and started hacking and kicking anything in a blue shirt and after five minutes or so Malone was on the end of some shenanigans, rolling in agony, clutching his calf and moaning like a ghost on overtime and although he tried to run it off, the injury was enough to end his contribution and he was replaced by Lowry.
He actually slotted in nicely and our pattern of play continued as we went on the offensive looking for a breakthrough. Trotter was in imperious form and was proving a real handful for the Burnley midfield and was bossing the game for us.
Burnley’s need for the reckless challenge went on unabashed as the incompetence of the match officials threatened to ignite the partisan home support but we finally got awarded a free kick around the twenty minute mark and as Bailey clipped it into the heart of the Burnley defence Robinson challenged for the ball and I think he got his head to it rather than the defender a\and the ball fell invitingly for McDonald who rifled a volley straight into the back of the net 1-0! And boy did we deserve it. The celebrations were not ridiculously over the top but certainly on a par with a rampaging horde of berserkers, so quite restrained really for Millwall…
The expected attack from the table toppers didn’t happen. We carried the game to them and looked much the better side as we chased and harried them for every ball. They were clearly struggling to cope and we were looking composed and comfortable.
So comfortable, in fact, that we had the audacity to go and score a second goal. A corner kick that Burnley failed to clear properly went to big Danny Shittu and although his shot went into a melee of players it had enough power to deflect and wrong foot Heaton, the Burnley ‘keeper and the ball crashed into the net. 2-0! Fantastic stuff.
In less than the time it takes to do one chorus of E-I-O the visitors had pulled one back. A bit of shoddy defending, to be honest, we switched off and allowed them to get down our right flank and as the cross was whipped in it sort of bounced up off Lowry into a gentle lob but Vokes managed to get his head to the ball with no real challenge on him and he guided the ball past Forde. 2-1 and five minutes of the half left.
We finally got to see a top of the table side in action for those remaining minutes as the Burnley side suddenly seemed to wake from a slumber. We had a bit of defending to do to see the half out with our lead intact but we did so with grit and determination.
Can I just add at this juncture that the half time entertainment was about as far removed from the Millwall demographic as is humanly possible? I don’t know what fuck knuckle thought it would be a good idea to have a bunch of talentless misfits “street dance” to a cacophony of puerile music but they need to get a grip quickly or find another job. Look, I haven’t got anything against the kids who were out there trying to dance but for Christ sake, it was at best embarrassing and at worst fucking god awful entertainment. It made me yearn for the Christmas carollers of last year to make a return performance.
The poor kids looked like they were being electrocuted, then they looked like they were fighting instead of dancing and then they just looked bored. I was forced to read the latest copy of CBL mag (a fantastic read yet again, well done all concerned) instead of watching the kids ‘performing’ as I felt sorry for them and felt their shame myself.
Anyway, back to the game and I fully expected Burnley to come out of the traps for the second half but in fact it was the Lions who started the brighter, the ever busy McDonald testing Heaton’s nerve as the ball flew narrowly over the bar and then Waghorn stung the under fire ‘keepers mitts with a low shot from a tight angle.
But it all went a bit pear shaped on around the hour mark. Derry collided with Edgar and despite both players looking like they were comatose the befuddled ref allowed play to continue and Burnley broke into our half. Kightly got the ball at his feet and although his cross come shot was missing the target Lowry stuck out a foot and deflected the ball past Forde and into the net. 2-2. Damn and blast.
Derry had to go off due to the severity of the tackle that led to the goal and he was replaced by Feeney. The winger was soon in action, gambolling down the wing but his final ball was not what it could have been. He has the pace, no doubt, but he needs to hone his crossing ability before he can become a serious threat to anything other than the ball boys/girls.
We still looked more than capable of regaining the lead, McDonald in particular our main threat backed up by the impressive Trotter came so close to getting his second and Millwall’s third as his header went just wide of the mark but we didn’t have it all our own way as the visitors had a shot thump against Forde’s upright before bouncing to safety.
Waghorn made way for Morison as Lomas tried to mix it up a bit with about twenty minutes to go and although he made an effort he was perhaps our least impressive player out there. It didn’t help when he almost had his ankle scythed off it what was a clear red card offence but again the hopeless fat bastard ref was only able to find a yellow card.
But, despite the poor officials, it was turning into a thoroughly entertaining game and both teams seemed hell bent on getting a winner. The crowd was finally alive and the game was nonstop end to end stuff. Even going into stoppage time the game didn’t let up and at the final whistle the players clearly had enjoyed the game as much as the crowd had in watching it.
A draw at home is usually two points lost but if Lomas keeps these players playing like this then the wins will soon be coming and maybe, just maybe, the ginger one will start getting a few plaudits for the type of football we are trying play.
Next stop is Bolton who have found a bit of form themselves lately so again we have to be at our best to try and gain points to drag us away from the relegation battle that is looming. If Lomas thinks he is on an upward slope at the moment then I hope for his sake he is prepared for the vitriol that will no doubt fly his way if we lose up there. Such is the fickle nature of our support.
A good shouting at somebody always makes you feel better and in control, especially if you aren't.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation