Iwelumo shows clinical side to kill old demons
Burnley 1 Nottingham Forest 0
Sunday 08 August 2010
Chris Iwelumo is still haunted by events from seasons past, yet the Scotland striker used the first day of the new Championship campaign to fill Burnley with fresh optimism that they can make a quick return to the Premier League. Old habits die hard it seems for Nottingham Forest as their poor away form from last season spilled over, with Iwelumo's goal just before half-time giving Burnley a winning start.
In the match programme, Iwelumo said how much he was looking forward to a fresh start after arriving from Wolves for around £500,000. He also talked at length about that miss from point-blank range in a World Cup qualifier against Norway at Hampden Park nearly two years ago. "I actually have three pictures of the miss, all from different angles, so I think I've dealt with it," Iwelumo said. Indeed he has, judging by his excellent winner after connecting with Wade Elliott's cross following a lovely move involving Martin Paterson.
Forest could have no complaints. After Chris Gunter had almost chested into his own net, Chris Cohen saved Forest with a goalline clearance to keep out Andre Bikey's bullet header. Forest's woes were compounded by their poor finishing. Three times they penetrated the Burnley defence after half-time and three times they failed to take advantage.
Nathan Tyson spurned the best chance when he blazed over in the 53rd minute before Robbie Earnshaw and Dexter Blackstock wasted late chances to secure a point. Iwelumo's eventful day ended with a booking for time-wasting soon after Lee Camp had produced a fingertip save to deny him a second goal.
One has to feel sorry for Forest. The third-best team in last season's Championship, the former European Cup winners are embarking on a 12th successive season outside the Premier League despite boasting a five-point cushion over West Bromwich Albion – who went on to win automatic promotion – towards the end of January.
Their manager, Billy Davies, believes Forest would have been gracing the top flight had he been allowed to strengthen his side at that time. Forest's controversial "transfer acquisitions committee" – a panel that includes David Pleat, Nigel Doughty, the chairman, and Mark McArthur, the chief executive, and decides on the comings and goings at the City Ground – thought differently.
Davies insists he requires "five stellar signings" just to make the play-offs this time. "I'd like it [the squad] better," said Davies as he analysed another disappointing away result. "I'm not down about it. People can talk about our away form all they like. Away form is a problem when you're not playing well but today it was down to a lack of luck and poor finishing."
Poor finishing is not something Brian Laws, the Burnley manager, need worry about with Iwelumo around. "Big Chris scored a fantastic goal," said Laws. "He's a gentle giant and he's a winner. He wants to do things this season and we're very happy to have him here."
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