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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Burnley relieved of early season woes


On Saturday afternoon, Burnley manager Hazr Poland strode into the away dressing room at Huish Park with a stern, determined face, and surveyed his motley crew with a look that would make Winston Churchill quake in his boots. He proceeded to fire down a tirade of grim encouragement upon his players, leaving them with no delusions that if they were to slip up again, heads would roll. The players understandably looked terrified, veterans Prieto and Quagmire exchanged a look that left the rest of the team shocked, for they had seen it all with Poland, but even they had not seen him like this before. They knew this was important, and that the ground was slipping away beneath their feet.

Mr Poland was understandably aggrieved, his team had stumbled to frustrating defeats in their first two games of the season, and neither of which were games they should have lost. The club were sitting third from bottom, and not one of the players that had performed so well in pre-season had shone at all in these games. It was time for their fortunes to change, and as Poland always says, it was time for them to make their own luck.

The players trooped out onto the pitch at Huish Park in their usual strip of Claret and Blue, and the entire stadium could see that something was different about the Lancashire outfit this time round. There was no quiet, arrogant confidence. No lacklustre skulking out onto the pitch. No nonchalant banter with the opposing team. This time they were determined. This time they were here to win. 

From the kick-off, possession was all Burnley's. Their midfield trio of Castro, Turan and Prieto were dominating the midfield, and Savic and N'Koulou looked assured at the back. However, no matter how hard they tried, the team just couldn't find a breakthrough. However, come the 24th minute, N'Koulou popped up with something special. Antoine Griezmann was on the ball just outside the penalty area, and played a square ball to an unusually highly positioned N'Koulou, who struck the ball with all the power of a freight train, and it soared into the top corner. Things were looking up.

The first half continued in this way, but no more goals were scored. Then, almost from the kick-off, Savic headed the ball out to the wing from a goal kick, club legend Fabio Quagliarella took the ball down, and struck a crisp strike from the edge of the area that just passed the ailing Yeovil keeper and tore into the goal. 2-0. From there everything was great, Prieto had a couple of lovely striked saved, before Quagliarella was taken off the the rapid Spaniard Jose Callejon. Just 10 minutes after being introduced, Callejon made a dart down the wing, and swung in a lovely ball into the penalty area, which Xabi Prieto latched onto and struck in off the post. The game ended 3-0.

Manager Hazr Poland said in a post-match press conference 'I am delighted with how my men have reacted to the disappointment from the first two games of the season. I gave them a rough time this week, and they came back like the great players I know they are. I hope the rest of the league take note of this performance, because it shows what we are really made of.'


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