Monday, 17 February 2014

A five star performance from AFCB's back four

I imagine that every week Danny Ings and Sam Vokes get all the pre-match hype in the building up to their game. It was no different when they played AFCB. A striking duo that has scored more than 40 goals already is going to receive major attention and yet when the pair came to Dean Court they could not have the same impact on the game as they have done so often elsewhere in the Championship.
Tommy Elphick gets to the header first.
Burnley fans might say that the team was not quite up to their top performance as they had played in mid-week and it was difficult for Ings and Vokes to come back to Dean Court where they had been part of so many triumphs in a Bournemouth shirt. I am pleased though if all the talk of them working out what to do if they scored put them off and if the occasion got to big for them in the end.

Some how I doubt that they were anything other than perfectly ready to inflict critical damage to the Cherries on Saturday. The fact that they didn't was more down to the performances of Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook who did not let them have a significant moment in the game. Far from having a leaky defence, AFCB have been tightening up and I think the understanding that Elphick and Cook built up last season is starting to show through again. The two seem settled when playing together and act instinctively. I lost count of the number of headers that Tommy won against Sam Vokes. He put so much effort in trying to win that battle because most of Burnley's attacks start from a Vokes knockdown.
A shut out for Ings this time.

Meanwhile, Steve Cook was keeping pace with Danny Ings and was also not being out muscled or bullied into areas where he did not want to go. The back line stood very firm and the contribution that Ian Harte is now making to every game is great to see. He looks better each game he plays now and was instrumental in breaking up attacks and starting to put AFCB on the front foot. Simon Francis was particularly strong in trying to get forward against Burnley and I can see why this was so important with Charlie Daniels not in the team. AFCB got in behind Burnley frequently and got their back four to turn which is something that Burnley struggled to do against Bournemouth.
Vokes could not get on the score sheet either.
The game plan certainly worked and on balance of play I think AFCB were unlucky not to get a victory.

For further reaction on AFCB 1 v 1 Burnley have a listen to All Departments' Kangaroo Court. It features Cherry Chimes this week as I give my views on how the Cherries are performing. Visit All Departments' website or listen on Cherry Chimes by scrolling down the right hand panel until you see Kangaroo Court and click on the sound bar.  

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