Charlton Athletic 1 Burnley 3: Coyle vibes put Burnley on front foot

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The Independent Online

It is perhaps not surprising that the effect Burnley's new manager, Owen Coyle, has had on his side is an entirely positive one. Apart from a two-season spell at Bolton and one appearance for the Republic of Ireland, Coyle spent his entire playing career chasing the Golden Boot in Scotland and he now seems to have instilled in his new team that unique form of optimism that only obsessive goalscorers have.

Coyle has been at Turf Moor for just 10 days but in that time his side has managed to record away victories at Watford and Charlton. Saturday's win at The Valley was as comfortable as it was impressive.

The Burnley side is littered with experienced, high-quality footballers, and when they are organised and encouraged to go out and play in the manner in which they did on Saturday they will pose a threat to any side in the division.

"I'm positive as a person and I'm trying to get that across to the players," Coyle said after the win which saw Burnley move within two points of the play-off positions. "I think there's an obligation to entertain."

For Charlton the defeat was their fourth loss at The Valley this season, and the second time in a week that they'd conceded three at home. The frustration of the crowd was evident throughout the game and the team left the pitch at the final whistle with boos ringing in their ears.

"We're a Premier League club who have been relegated," the manager, Alan Pardew, said afterwards. "The fans are expecting us to bounce straight back but it's not easy. Their expectations are high and so are mine, and unfortunately the players have to learn and grow and live with that."

The Charlton supporters' expectations began to unravel with Burnley's opening goal in just the 8th minute. Robbie Blake's in-swinging free-kick was headed past Nicky Weaver by Andy Gray. Five minutes later they went two up in an almost identical manner. This time it was Chris McCann who got on the end of Blake's free-kick. Neither Burnley nor Charlton could quite believe what was happening.

Charlton fought back, however, and their captain, Andy Reid, gave them some hope, when he volleyed Danny Mills's cross into the roof of the net. That hope was carried into a second half which saw the Burnley goalkeeper, Gabor Kiraly, save well from Reid, Chris Iwelumo and Luke Varney.

There was always the likelihood that Burnley would get a third on the counter-attack and when Mills bizarrely handled Wade Elliott's cross, Gray was given the chance to restore Burnley's two-goal cushion from the penalty spot, which he did with ease.

The Burnley captain, Graham Alexander, tried to explain his new manager's philosophy. "He's just really positive," he said. "He's enthusiastic and wants us to express ourselves and not be afraid of making mistakes. Hopefully, we'll keep our feet on the floor but look to the stars."

Goals: Gray (8) 0-1; McCann (13) 0-2; Reid (36) 1-2; Gray pen (70) 1-3.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Weaver; Mills, Sodje (Bougherra, 78), Fortune, Powell; Ambrose, Zhi (Sam, 78), Holland, Reid; Iwelumo, Varney (McLeod, 85). Substitutes not used: Randolph (gk), Semedo.

Burnley (4-4-2): Kiraly; Alexander, Carlisle, Unsworth, Harley; Elliott (Jones, 90), Mahon (Gudjonsson, 63), McCann, Lafferty; Gray, Blake (Akinbiyi, 90). Substitutes not used: Jensen (gk), O'Connor.

Referee: R Shoebridge (Derbyshire).

Booked: Charlton Varney, Mills, Reid; Burnley Unsworth, Gudjonsson.

Man of the match: Unsworth.

Attendance: 21,122.

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