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Match Report


Posted Wed 21 Mar 12 at 19:09 PM


Town recorded a fifth successive home win, thanks to Michael Chopra's second-half strike.

Blues could have extended the lead after creating a host of chances in the second-half, but in the end Chopra's solitary goal was enough to secure all three points.

One sour note for Town was the sending off of Grant Leadbitter, who was dismissed in injury time after picking up two quick bookings.

Paul Jewell made one change to the side that beat Peterborough at the weekend, with Lee Bowyer replacing Andy Drury in midfield who dropped to the bench. Josh Carson also earned a call up to the bench, in place of Jason Scotland.

Both sides started the game cautiously, with chances at a premium as both teams fought for possession.

A smart move from the visitors did see Marvin Bartley sprint clear of the Town defence, before seeing his cross well dealt with by Blues defender Damien Delaney after 14 minutes.

The first real chance of the game came after 23 minutes. A smart passing from Burnley saw them work the ball to Jay Rodriguez but Town 'keeper Alex McCarthy raced off his line to deny the striker with a brave stop.

Town did fashion a chance just before the half hour mark, with Michael Chopra sending over a dangerous cross that just evaded the head of Daryl Murphy.

On the half hour mark, Burnley almost opened the scoring as left-back Daniel Lafferty looped a header goalwards that went just over the angle of post and bar.

The game was becoming more open and Blues created the best chance of the half ten minutes before the break, as Bowyer was denied by a great save from Lee Grant who tipped his header over the bar following a teasing Lee Martin centre.

There were shouts for a penalty a minute before half-time after Bowyer went down in the box under a challenge from Bartley. The referee waved play on and Murphy went on to smash the loose ball over the crossbar.

That was the way it stayed as the referee called time on the first-half and the sides went in level at the break.

Town started the second-half brightly and Grant Leadbitter was unlucky to see a drive kept out by a smart save from Grant after 48 minutes, following a cleverly worked free-kick.

A minute later, Emmanuel-Thomas tricked his way past a couple of defenders just inside the area before firing just wide of the target.

Town's dominance soon paid off as Blues took the lead nine minutes after the restart. Marvin Bartley lost possession in the middle of the pitch which allowed Martin to race clear and fire in a shot that was well saved by Grant, but as Bowyer slid in with a defender the ball fell to Chopra who made no mistake from close range, finishing emphatically into the roof of the net.

Town were now growing in confidence and Emmanuel-Thomas tried his luck from range with an effort that flew just wide of the target with Grant well beaten.

Just after the hour mark Town went close again, with Murphy heading towards goal but unfortunately Chopra couldn't apply the finishing touch and the ball went behind for a goal-kick.

The visitors were looking to counter when possible though and Kieran Trippier cut inside Cresswell inside the box before Damien Delaney recovered with a fine defensive block before the right-back could get a shot in.

Blues were beginning to knock the ball around freely and a lovely passing move almost brought about a second goal after 67 minutes.

After the ball was worked out wide to Emmanuel-Thomas, the former Arsenal man picked out Leadbitter who saw his volley superbly cleared off the line by Trippier.

Leadbitter then went close for Town with 1 1minutes remaining hitting a low drive from distance that was well tipped round the post by Grant.

The Clarets 'keeper then denied Aaron Cresswell a second goal in as any games seconds later, before then blocking Chopra adding to his tally with a fine reaction save.

However the gloss was taken of Town's performance in injury time, as Leadbitter was shown his marching orders in injury time after collecting two quick bookings, first for a foul and then for kicking the ball away.

Despite being reduced to ten men, Town held firm and claimed another Portman Road victory to move within nine points of the Play-Offs.

Town: McCarthy, Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell, Emmanuel-Thomas Bowyer, Leadbitter, Martin, Murphy, Chopra (Sonko 90). Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Stevenson, Carson, Drury.

Booked: Bowyer

Sent off: Leadbitter

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Lafferty (Mee 53), Bartley, McCann, Marney (Wallace 59), Stanislas, Austin (Paterson 59), Rodriguez. Subs not used: Jensen, McQuoid.

Att: 16, 564 (211 away fans)

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