Paterson provides Burnley's just deserts
West Bromwich Albion 2 Burnley 2: After the misery of Wednesday's late surrender another cup defeat is avoided thanks to last-ditch equaliser
Sunday 25 January 2009
This was the very least Burnley deserved. Two heroic performances against Premier League opposition in the space of four days had threatened to leave them with nothing to show for it all but a whole load of self-pity. But then, after so cruelly beingdenied in the last gasps of the midweek Carling Cup semi-final, they, themselves, found salvation late on.
It was the final minute when Martin Paterson arrived at the far post to give these Championship battlers yet another bite at elite opposition. That Burnley still had the energy to launch this riposte after Wednesday's exertions was remarkable in itself, but then as their manager, Owen Coyle, said: "We don't when we're beat. It would have been easy for the boys to think 'here we go again, it's not going to be our day'. Theydidn't do that and. I couldn't have asked any more of them."
In contrast, there was only frustration for Tony Mowbray. Not only does the West Bromwich manager have another fixture to plan for on a creaking "to do list" but his injury woes worsened considerably when his captain, Jonathan Greening, limped off with a knee ligament problem in the first half. Mowbray revealed that the best they could hope for was a two-week absence for the man he called "undoubtedly our most influential footballer". With Manchester United visiting on Tuesday, it could not have come at a worst time.
In fairness, to West Bromwich they were nowhere near as awful yesterday as Tottenham had been against the same opposition. Indeed, in patches they were more than adequate and on the evidence of possession, if not chances, they were probably worthy of advancement to the fifth round. Yet the Cup is all about feeling and the overwhelming emotion here as the seconds counted down was that Burnley's fine run in cup competitions was not finished yet. Not only did they overcome their own fatigue, as well as an outfit that were obviously their technical superiors, but also a dollop of the misfortune that had ruined what could have been such a famous night.
While their own penalty in the 25th minute looked soft and was labelled by Mowbray as "comical" – Greening was adjudged to have pushed over Robbie Blake, allowing Graham Alexander to blast in from the spot – they were unlucky not to reclaim the lead after Robert Koren's equaliser on the half-hour mark.
The Slovenian's strike from 25 yards into the top corner fully warranted parity, but then, bafflingly, the Baggies crept back into their shell. Blake hit the bar in the 34th minute and then, four minutes later, Paterson came so close to putting away Scott Carson's spill. All it took then was for Kim Do-heon's free-kick from the edge of the box in injury time to take an evil deflection and the Cup gods were seemingly again frowning on Burnley.
But then came an outrageous miss from Roman Bednar in the 57th minute, when the Czech striker rounded Brian Jensen and contrived to locate the post instead of the gaping net, and there was a glimmer. West Bromwich suddenly misplaced their mojo and it was left to Burnley to chase the replay-earner. Blake headed straight at Carson, the substitute Steven Thompson saw his point-blank header brilliantly turned away, and Paterson could only manage a tame effort when given space in the six-yard box.
West Bromwich had the odd opportunity on the break, but their strikers did not convince all afternoon. And when Wade Elliott fired over a cross and Paterson was there to convert, the Hawthorns fury spilled over. The veteran full-back Paul Robinson was seen screaming at one section of the home support. In every respect it felt like a defeat for Albion. And such a sweet victory for Burnley.
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Paterson
Match rating: 7/10
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