Luddendenfootball: a funny old game

23 Feb

Saturday 22nd February 2014

Burnley                     3.1                  Nottingham Forest

(Arfield, Vokes 2)                           (Abdoun)

Given our record against the top teams in this division and the encouraging performance against the Foxes in midweek, I was curiously (and a little bit uncharacteristically) optimistic for the trip north through Luddendenfoot to Burnley.

Luddendenfoot.

Professional northerner and poet Simon Armitage has written about the weird folk of Luddendenfoot who, according to the poem, are portrayed as frankly bizarre and odd. There were certainly a few odd goings on going on this afternoon.

The team line-up burst my optimism like an overblown hubbabubba inspired balloon being unceremoniously burst all over my face. No Reid. Djebbour and Abdoun to start. Talented players but up for a fight close to Luddendenfoot? Hmmmm.

Something was not quite right from the start. Or was it that Burnley were enjoying one of their best 45 minutes of the season? A bit of both.

Arfield made Fox look a bit of a fool by nutmegging him and powering a shot underneath Darlow. Vokes headed home at the far post. Sam Vokes: the same Sam Vokes who felt the need to celebrate in front of the Trent End in the corresponding fixture at the City Ground by deliberately cupping his ears towards us. He did it again here too. What is this guy’s problem? Is it just us Forest fans he likes winding up or is this something he generally does? There were 3 sides of Burnley fans to celebrate on front of but oh no, Sam Vokes wants to make a point about winding up the 1 side of away fans. Go away, you nasty high-scoring man.

Terry the kitman and Kevin Gomis sat miserably in the posh part of the away stand. Frankly, they looked as horrified and baffled as us mere mortals too. Vokes got lucky with a deflection for a third goal and they all trooped miserably towards us towards the tunnel at half-time. I feared a right old hammering.

However, we came out and to be honest, gave them a right old game in the second half and it would have been interesting to see what might have happened if one of our numerous efforts on goal in the early part of the half would have nestled nicely in the net as opposed to rebounding off the bar or being cleared off the line. Abdoun just about converted a penalty after Cox got tripped in the box and pride was restored somewhat.

What changed from the first half to the second? Well, Burnley couldn’t possibly play as well as they did in the opening period. Likewise, Forest couldn’t possibly have played any worse. Mackie withdrew deeper and started orchestrating attacks Reid style and Djebbour finally came out of shell shock and started holding the ball up.

This game confirmed what we all really knew but didn’t really want to face up to: automatic promotion is probably beyond us and we’ll have to face up to the pain of the play-offs…again. I have never been a big fan of Billy Davies’ off pitch demeanour but I have to credit him for his honesty in recent weeks for wishing his nemesis Nigel Clough well in the FA Cup and for giving credit for Burnley’s first half performance.

There was lots of frustration in the away end though which mainly stemmed from the perspective that since so many fans had travelled so far to watch this, we deserved better. I wish it worked like that but it simply doesn’t. Unfortunately, we came up against a very good side playing possibly their best 45 minutes of the season while we toiled with a severely depleted side. Every side has injuries but we certainly seem to be having particularly bad luck at the moment. Maybe it’s my fault for uttering to a mate the day before this game that were Andy Reid to get injured, we’d be well and truly screwed. Let’s hope Reid is back pretty soon or else….well, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

At least the trip through Luddendenfoot is out of the way for a while.

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