New boy Fox full of flair as Burnley bounce back
Burnley 2 West Ham United 1
Sunday 07 February 2010
Two former Everton trainees scored yesterday in the Premier League, and while Wayne Rooney's opening goal in Manchester United's 5-0 win against Portsmouth will take most of the headlines, do not underestimate former Evertonian number two, Burnley's Danny Fox.
Fox never enthralled the Goodison Park masses in the same way as Rooney did, not least because he failed to get off the bench for Everton, but that does not mean he is devoid of magic, as he demonstrated in this encounter. After leaving Celtic last week for Turf Moor he ensured that he gorged himself on the second bite of the Premier League cherry he has been given.
He set up Burnley's first goal before brilliantly scoring a second – a strike that seemed certain to be enough to beat West Ham United, although their late revival ensured that this match remained in the balance until the very last second.
However, Burnley held on to end a 12-match winless streak and help them move to 15th in the League, statistics that are music to the ears of their new manager, Brian Laws. "Danny had a fantastic debut; you couldn't ask for a better one," he said. He scored one and set up the other, so he's an astute acquisition.
"It was a huge three points for us. I'm delighted for the fans, the players and the chairman. If you want to have any chance of staying in the Premier League you have to win games like this."
David Gold and David Sullivan, the new owners at Upton Park, signalled their intent to help West Ham move away from the relegation zone by allowing Gianfranco Zola to sign three forwards last week: Blackburn's Benni McCarthy, the former Middlesbrough and Tottenham striker Mido and the Brazilian Ilan. But Zola should perhaps have bought a defender instead, or spent more time on the training ground with his current crop, particularly Matthew Upson, whose early indecision gave David Nugent an opportunity to score which he gleefully took.
Nugent, whose loan deal from Ports-mouth was extended until the end of the season last week, cleverly lobbed the onrushing Robert Green after Fox's long, long ball caught Upson in several minds. He broke the golden rule by allowing the ball to bounce, which gave Nugent the glimmer of hope he was after, and he finished with panache.
McCarthy had a quiet first half apart from seeing Leon Cort clear an effort of the line, but that miss summed up the opening period, which held none of the drama of the second. After the break, West Ham finally awoke, but it was another defensive mistake that allowed Fox his chance to shine.
Jack Collison ridiculously pushed Tyrone Mears to the ground on the edge of the box and although Fox shaped to cross the ball, he curled it into the top corner instead, for a goal that was as delightful as it was unexpected. But after that Burnley fell away rapidly to give West Ham a chance. Carlton Cole had a chance ruled out for offside before Junior Stanislas and Mido both tested the woodwork. Both efforts bobbled away to safety, and it remains to be seen how expensive that will prove to be.
"Mistakes are always very costly, and we have to make sure we reduce them as much as possible," Zola said afterwards. "It's the story of the whole season, we've played good football but lost games from mistakes.
"Time is running out, and we have to start winning games, because the table requires that."
Referee: Howard Webb
Man of the match: Fox
Match rating: 8/10
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