Steven Thompson's FA Cup double puts Wembley back on Burnley agenda

03 February 2009 09:44
They really should know better, but the Burnley fans are dreaming of Wembley again. Two weeks ago, they were two minutes away from an unlikely Carling Cup final appearance when £30 million worth of Tottenham strikeforce broke their hearts. Now they stand three games away from an even unlikelier FA Cup final appearance. Once bitten, anything but twice shy.

A stunning strike from Wade Elliott and a poacher's double from Steven Thompson were enough to claim yet another Premier League scalp as West Bromwich Albion wilted. Manager Owen Coyle's record against the game's elite reads played seven, won five, drawn one, lost one. If it is the Emirates and Arshavin, rather than Cardiff, it will hold no fears.

After all, they have already dispatched Arsene Wenger's side once. Coyle said: 'We'll be respectful whoever we face, but we'll go and do what we always do, play attacking football and see what happens. We know that when we hit the level we're capable of we can win any game.

'I wouldn't rule Cardiff out but regardless of who it is, if we replicate what we've done in our last two away ties, it'll mean drawing there and beating them back here. I'd be happy with that.'

He may now have a taste for giant killing, but in truth this game was hardly a classic David versus Goliath. The gap between the top of the Championship and the bottom of the top tier is smaller than cliché suggests. A weakened West Brom team never really stood a chance at an exposed, wintry Turf Moor, the graveyard of the Premier League invaders.

As Arsenal, Fulham and Tottenham have already found to their cost, there are few less appealing away trips for the game's cosseted elite than Burnley. The hostile atmosphere that marked the Spurs semi-final and screamed on that incredible comeback was conspicuous by its absence, reduced by the snow smattered on the hills and the effects of two costly trips to London, seeking cup glory.

Despite that, West Brom started like a side less than enthralled with the prospect of a cold February in deepest, darkest Lancashire. Robbie Blake, as always, inspired Coyle's side, sending two long-range efforts whistling past Scott Carson's posts, then flashed a 30-yard free kick just over the bar.

West Brom grew in confidence as the half wore on, Brian Jensen denying Roman Bednar and Ryan Donk in the space of two minutes as Mowbray's depleted side tried to assert themselves. The first goal, Elliott's dipping 20-yard volley just before half-time, came against the run of play, but it left the result in little doubt.

The Premier League side returned from that hammer blow with vigour, but despite chances early in the second period for Bednar and Gianni Zuiverloon, Burnley soon doubled their lead. Christian Kalvenes lifted an exquisite cross past Carson, Donk blocked Martin Paterson's header and Thompson promptly swept home.

Burnley, though, know all too well how precarious a two goal lead can be. After what Spurs did to them, even had they been three, four or five ahead, they would have been forgiven a little nervousness. The visitors ratcheted up the tension when Zuiverloon slotted Chris Brunt's through ball past Jensen, but they could not grab the lifeline.

Instead, it was Burnley who threatened. After Donk denied Paterson on the line, Thompson settled the tie with his second after a mazy run from the excellent Blake. Mowbray was magnanimous in defeat, saying: 'Give great credit to Burnley. They played very well and their strikers showed great desire. That was probably the difference. We had a few chances, but to be fair they missed a few as well. Good luck to them.'

Coyle, no doubt, will suggest they don't need it. Yet another Premier League scalp, the fans thinking of Wembley. Whatever will be, will bem but if Arsenal are up next, they will not be relishing it one bit.

Match details

Burnley (4-4-2, r-l): Jensen; Alexander, Caldwell, Duff, Kalvenes; Elliott, McDonald (Gudjonsson 80), McCann, Blake; Paterson (Rodriguez 90), Thompson (MacDonald 90).Subs: Penny, Carlisle, Akinbiyi, Mahon.Booking: Caldwell.West Bromwich Albion (4-3-1-2, r-l): Carson; Zuiverloon, Donk, Pele, Cech; Dorrans, Kim, Teixeira (Hoefkens 57); Simpson (Brunt 37); Fortune, Bednar.Subs: Kiely, Robinson, Koren, Martis, Morrison.Referee: M Jones

Source: Telegraph