Football: Mullen enraged by rugged Argyle

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The Independent Online
Burnley. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Plymouth Argyle. . . . . . . . . . . . .0

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE claimed a slight advantage in their Endsleigh League Second Division play-off semi-final after holding Burnley to a goalless first-leg draw at Turf Moor; but they paid the price for their combative tactics with the second-half dismissal of Adrian Burrows, which will rule him out of the Wembley final should they triumph in the return leg.

Burrows' contentious sending-off for a handling offence, after the ball appeared to hit him on the shoulder, followed an earlier foul on Burnley's striker David Eyres. Five other players also had their names taken by Keith Cooper as the match escalated into a bad-tempered series of fouls.

The Burnley winger, Ted McMinn, seemed to be highlighted for special treatment in the opening 10 minutes. He limped off with a calf injury in the second half after a series of over-zealous tackles. The home manager, Jimmy Mullen, was so irate at Keith Hill's body check on McMinn that he left his seat to remonstrate with Mr Cooper, after he brandished only a yellow card.

With McMinn, who had been Burnley's biggest threat, reduced to the role of a limping spectator, Plymouth were able to take control of the match and, but for Dwight Marshall's profligate finishing after rounding the goalkeeper, Marlon Beresford, could have held an advantage for Wednesday's second leg at Home Park.

Eyres and Gary Parkinson both tested the reflexes of Plymouth's goalkeeper, Alan Nicholls, but the match had long since fizzled out as a spectacle. 'Some of the tackles which went in during the first five minutes were absolutely disgraceful,' Mullen said. 'I felt sorry for the lad who was sent off. He suffered for what had gone on earlier.'

Peter Shilton adopted a more diplomatic stance: 'I'd better not say anything about the ref - I might get myself in trouble. I thought we showed tremendous character to go down to 10 men and still come away with a result.'

Burnley (4-4-2): Beresford; Parkinson, Pender, Davis, Thompson; McMinn (Lancashire, 52), Deary, Joyce, Francis; Eyres, Heath. Substitutes not used: Farrell, Williams (gk).

Plymouth Argyle (4-4-2): Nicholls; Patterson, Burrows, Comyn, Hill; Barlow, Castle, McCall, Dalton; Landon (Burnett, 59), Marshall (Nugent, 83). Substitute not used: Newland (gk).

Referee: K Cooper (Pontypridd).

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