Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Wednesday September 24 2008
For the difficult trip to Burnley, Roy Hodgson stuck to his pre-match guns and selected several fringe players.
In fact, Roy made a total of eight changes to the side that lost at Blackburn on Saturday, the only survivors being Konchesky, Johnson and Gera. Strangely, despite the wholesale changes, there was no place in the starting line-up for Dickson Etuhu.
Sadly, the changes came back to haunt us as for the second season running we were tumbled out of a cup competition by a team from a lower division. Any thoughts of a rare visit to Wembley were flushed away by a performance that, at best, could only be described as poor.
But, despite the blandness of the display we nearly took the Lancashire giants to extra time but capitulated two minutes from the end to a fine goal by the Burnley born youngster, Jay Rodriguez.
The nineteen year old local lad rounded our veteran keeper, Zuberbuhler to slot home to send the Spartan crowd of 7,119 home dreaming of their own visit to Wembley.
In hindsight, I should have posted this report last night but an air of disappointment clouded my judgement and I decided to wait until now. Has the disappointment worn off? Off course it hasn't! And matters are not helped by the post match comments of Roy Hodgson who played down the defeat by uttering,
'I have no regrets about making so many changes. The Premier League is our priority and some of my players have niggles.'
Typically, the Burnley gaffer, Owen Coyle, had reason to celebrate. His team are in round four and there are some tasty ties awaiting them, ties that will generate some much needed revenue. Coyle, was understandably delighted for young Rodriguez remarking,
'Jay finished superbly. I had no hesitation in sending him on, I see him do that in training all the time. He's a real talent but we'll have no problems bringing him back down to earth.'
'I'll do that when I tell him he is playing for the reserves on Wednesday.'
And do you know what, the lad will probably relish the prospect of another game of football.
Fulham's Carling Cup dreams; mislaid amongst a plethora of fringe players and quashed in a northern town, perhaps we were foolish to expect anything else!
Are we really facing a hard winter?
Date:Wednesday September 24 2008
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