Burnley profit from Fox's wily goal hunt
Burnley 2 West Ham United 1
Monday 08 February 2010
For some people, it takes five years to become an overnight sensation.
Burnley's Danny Fox is one of those people, although he is making up for lost time as he set up one and scored the other in a pulsating encounter on Saturday that saw Burnley emerge victorious at the expense of West Ham United, who also replaced them in the bottom three as a result.
Fox began his footballing career at Everton, alongside the likes of a certain Wayne Rooney, yet he was released by the Merseyside club in 2005 having never played a game in the Premier League.
Yet after stints at Walsall, Coventry City and six months at Celtic, he has finally arrived at the stage he has always dreamt of and he demonstrated his desire to stay at this level with a superb showing against Gianfranco Zola's side in Burnley's 2-1 win.
"I got let go by Everton when I was 18 and I am an Everton fan," Fox said. "It was a bitter blow but it was my aim to prove people wrong. It was always my dream to play in the Premier League and I don't want to be here for a few months – I want to be here for the rest of my career if possible.
"People say, 'You wouldn't play in the Premier League', but hopefully I have answered a few of my critics."
Fox started answering those critics as early as the 14th minute when he launched a high through-ball in the direction of David Nugent, who benefited enormously from the indecision by Matthew Upson. He dithered about how to deal with the delivery and that allowed Nugent to slip past him and lob the on-rushing Robert Green for the first goal.
West Ham were amiable strangers in the opening 25 minutes and did little to demonstrate they had any desire to compete. They were second to everything, although Benni McCarthy was unlucky at one stage to see a shot cleared off the line by Leon Cort.
That was about it, though, and they were punished further for their lax approach soon after the interval when Jack Collison ridiculously pushed Tyrone Mears to the ground on the edge of the box and Fox curled home a great free-kick, which appeared to settle it.
Puzzlingly enough, though, the goal fired West Ham's enthusiasm rather than Burnley's and they dominated the last half-hour to the extent that it was remarkable that they went home empty-handed.
Carlton Cole had a chance ruled out for offside before the Brazilian striker Ilan swept home with 10 minutes left to ensure a nervy finish. Junior Stanislas and Mido then both tested the woodwork and Scott Parker was also denied by a wonderful low save from Brian Jensen, easily the busiest man in Lancashire for most of the second half.
At the final whistle, the "goal attempts" column read eight for the home side and 20 to the visitors.
Yet it was Burnley who had the healthier-looking number in the "goal" column, and as always, that was the only one that mattered.
"I'm confident we can sort it out, because the desire of the team not to lose today was great even at 2-0," Zola said. "We fought until the end and we deserved something from the game. I think the players know that we need to react straight away from this. The players are very committed and desperate to see this team successful and I'm sure we will see this team come back stronger."
Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Mears, Cort, Carlisle, Fox (Edgar, 86); Elliott, Bikey, McDonald, Blake (Paterson, 72), Fletcher, Nugent (Thompson, 89). Substitutes not used: Weaver (gk), Duff, Eagles, Cork.
West Ham United (4-4-2): Green; Faubert, Tomkins, Upson, Spector; Parker, Behrami, Collison (Stanislas, 62), Noble (Ilan, 77); Cole, McCarthy (Mido, 46). Substitutes not used: Stech (gk), Kovac, Da Costa, Ilunga.
Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).
Booked: Burnley Fox, McDonald; West Ham Parker.
Man of the match: Fox.
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