Steven Thomson claims another Premier League scalp for Burnley in FA Cup replay

03 February 2009 09:44
Two days ago, no self-respecting Burnley fan would have so much as wanted to hear the word Wembley. Now they are singing it from the snow-covered rooftops.

Goals from Wade Elliott and two from Steven Thompson were enough for Owen Coyle's side to claim their fourth top flight victims in the cups this season and soothe the pain inflicted by that defeat in the Carling Cup semi-final.

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 Turf Moor. Burnley's exposed, wintry outcrop has proved a graveyard for Premier League invaders this campaign.

Tony Mowbray must have known he was toying with fate by naming a barely half-strength side. Even with the hostile, broiling crowd that inspired those famous triumphs reduced in number and voice by the snow smattered across the Pennines, this is no place for the faint hearted.

West Brom certainly started like a side less than enthralled with the prospect of a cold February in deepest, darkest Lancashire. Burnley set about them with all the intent and menace of a team determined to forget their heartbreaking extra time defeat to Spurs two weeks ago. Two minutes from Wembley and their dream was shattered. Revenge against the rich and famous was very much the order of the day.

As so often, it was Robbie Blake who drove Coyle's side forward. The winger falls into that awkward category of players who have always been too good for the second tier but never quite cut the mustard on a regular basis in the top flight.

Presented with another chance to prove what might have been, just like against Tottenham and Arsenal, Blake was at his lively, ebullient best.He sent two long-range efforts whistling past Scott Carson's posts, then flashed a 30-yard free kick just over the bar.

But their illustrious opposition grew in confidence as the first half wore on. Marc-Antoine Fortune cut back for Roman Bednar to force Brian Jensen into a smart save at his near post and when Jensen was again called into action to deny Ryan Donk's effort with his legs less than a minute before half time, West Brom appeared to be asserting themselves, making their quality count.

Then Donk failed to clear his lines from Jensen's seemingly harmless long ball and Elliott found himself 20 yards out, unmarked and with Scott Carson poorly positioned. For Burnley's 2009 vintage in the cup, there was only one result.

But Mowbray is a smart enough manager to know that while the FA Cup can be an unwelcome distraction from the life or death business of avoiding relegation, humiliation at the hands of lower league opposition can do untold damage to a side's confidence. His charges came out with more fire in their belly for the second half, clearly informed by their manager that their first attempt was not good enough.

Roman Bednar glanced Filipe Teixeira's cross just wide and then stood stock still as Gianni Zuiverloon drilled the ball across the face of goal. Any form of movement would have been enough to equalise. He lived to regret his lack of mobility. Burnley promptly raced forward , Christian Kalvenes supplied the most inviting of crosses and Steven Thompson powered home his third in two games after Donk had blocked Martin Paterson's header.

But Burnley are well aware that a two goal lead can be precarious. There was still half an hour to go when Zuiverloon calmly slotted past Jensen from 12 yards after clever play from substitute Chris Brunt, but West Brom could not build on it.

Instead, it was Burnley who threatened. Duff and Blake went close, while Donk had to be alert to deny Paterson on the line after Carson spilled Blake's ambitious free kick. Even as Mowbray's side grew more adventurous at the end, Burnley looked comparatively comfortable and they thoroughly deserved Thompson's second, tapping home Robbie Blake's cross.

Another Premier League scalp and the possibility of a trip to the Emirates to look forward to. If it is to be Arsenal again, 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