Clarets go Dutch and hit four

27 July 2013 08:52
The Turf Moor doors opened again today, twelve weeks since the 2012/13 season ended with a win against Ipswich, and they opened in style as we beat Sparta Rotterdam 4-1 to end the pre-season on a high note.

Last week I wrote about how much I enjoyed the pre-season trip to Ireland, a few days away and on match day the opportunity to mix with rival fans without any hassle or concerns. It was the same today in reverse as the Sparta fans enjoyed a few pints around town before taking their place in the Bob Lord Stand amongst home fans.

Of those I spoke to before the game, some had flown in to Liverpool while others had ferried their way across the North Sea for what was billed by Burnley as not a mere friendly but an International Challenge Match.

Sparta Rotterdam fans enjoying a pint with Burnley supporters ahead of the game

One thing they weren't aware of was the drinking and smoking laws within the ground and expected to be able to do both while watching the game. They might not have done either but those in the block of the Lord towards the cricket field end did stand.

They saw their side go 1-0 up but once Burnley equalised there was only ever going to be one winner in this game. Some Burnley fans will suggest Sparta were poor; others will laud our performance. Maybe it was a bit of both but again I was impressed with the way we went about things.

There were no surprises in the Burnley team. With Michael Duff and Ben Mee again ruled out it was the same eleven who kicked off at Tranmere on Tuesday and it was a line up you wouldn't argue about being the likely team for the opener against Bolton next week.

The game kicked off in the sort of temperatures we are almost becoming accustomed to just now and there were soon goals to see as the game got off to a good start.

It was Sparta who struck first with only three minutes or so on the clock. Burnley stopped appealing as Johan Voskamp got through. He did look as though he might have been offside but he went on to place the ball across Tom Heaton and into the goal.

The flag stayed down leaving Premier League referee Jon Moss with no alternative but to award the goal.

It took us all of two minutes to equalise.

Danny Lafferty got clear down the left. He got almost to the line before pulling back the perfect cross. Charlie Austin rose almost Lochhead or Fletcher like to power a header home for his first goal of pre-season.

Two goals for Charlie

I suggested that Charlie looked a frustrated figure at Tranmere as he searched for a goal. He worked his socks off but couldn't just get that little bit of good fortune he needed, but this goal saw him transformed as the confidence came oozing back into his play.

A minute on from his goal he got clear again and that confidence allowed him to try and audacious shot with the outside of his foot, the shot going just wide of the left hand post.

It was all Burnley now in a blistering spell. Austin came close again as did both Danny Ings and Junior Stanislas as a second goal looked almost certain to come, and it did with still less than twenty minutes gone.

A Kieran Trippier cross was knocked back by Austin for Stanislas to set up Dean Marney. He was just outside the six yard box this time having scored from distance at Prenton Park but it was no surprise to see him getting into that position the way he's been playing.

2-1 soon became 3-1 and it was a fifth goal of pre-season for Ings after a great build up involving David Jones and Austin.

It might have been more in the first half but it was enough for the team to be given a great reception as the half time whistle blew.

There was a change when the team emerged for the second half. Ross Wallace, who was one of the quieter players in the first half, was feeling unwell and that gave Keith Treacy an opportunity to come in on the right hand side.

Burnley were still the better side in the second half but as both  the temperature and humidity rose so the game slowed down.

Even so there was a second goal for Charlie and nearly a hat trick, only the now over eager assistant was quick to raise his flag for offside.

As the game petered out we might just have got a fifth when Treacy tried to deceive the goalkeeper with a chip only to see it land on the top of the net, but 4-1 it remained with a lot of positives to come from it.

It was just brilliant to see Charlie on the scoresheet again and Dyche said of him after the game: "Charlie is a fantastic young man and someone you wish to work with. He has looked ever so fit and lean after coming back and he's worked hard for us.

"A lot was going on a couple of weeks back and it has all calmed down and it's refreshing just to see him running around and enjoying his football in a Burnley shirt. Long may that continue."

There can be no complaints about the style of play and again the performances of both Marney and Jones in the midfield were a massive in the performance.

It's pre-season; it counts for nothing. The only thing that matters is what starts next week, but for the record we've won four and lost one, and scored 13 goals while conceding four.

Pre-season is over. The 2013/14 season is about to begin. Come on you Clarets.

The teams were;

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Kevin Long, Jason Shackell, Danny Lafferty, Ross Wallace (Keith Treacy ht), Dean Marney (Brian Stock 82), David Jones, Junior Stanislas (Scott Arfield 82), Danny Ings, Charlie Austin. Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Alex Coleman, David Edgar, Joseph Mills, Sam Vokes, Ryan Noble.

Sparta Rotterdam: Khalid Sinouh, Pieter Nys, Guis Luirink, Crescendo van Berkel, Cendrino Misidjan, Jeremy de Nooijer, Illiass Bel Hassani, Jaime Bruinier, Johan Voskamp, Soufian El Hassnaoui, Donovan Deekman. Subs: Roy Kortsmit, Ricardo Kieboom, Donovan Slijngard, Roderick Gielisse, Robert van Boxel, Stef Peeters, Steef Nieuwendaal, Mario Bilate, Roald van Hout, Pieter Langedijk.

Referee: Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 3,761.

Source: Clarets Mad