PHOTOS: Burnley 2, Ipswich Town 0

With nothing to play for on the final day for either side it was no surprise to see the scoreline blank at the interval.

By Chris Boden
Tuesday, 7th May 2013, 9:48 am
Junior Stanislas celebrates his goal.
Junior Stanislas celebrates his goal.

Its’ chorus seemed quite apt for Burnley after their brief brush with danger - “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

There was great concern as a run of two wins in 15 games saw the Clarets drop to within three points of the bottom three, but they ended the campaign with seven points from nine to finish 11th - two places higher than last term, with two points fewer.

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Junior Stanislas celebrates his goal.

They finished seven points from the drop zone, and, conversely, seven from a play-off place.

It was enough to wonder what the worry was about, and, indeed, Sean Dyche and his players remained calm throughout a testing time, not allowing any anxiety to affect them.

Dyche had spoken before the game of some of the positives he feels he can take forward from the season, and just look at some of the sides who finished below Burnley - Birmingham, Leeds, Ipswich, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Blackburn (for the first time since 1979) and relegated Wolves.

While not all has been rosy since hitting the heady heights of seventh place in January, overall, Dyche can point to a defensive record only bettered by seven clubs in the division, having taken over the leakiest side in the Championship in October, shipping 60, having been on target to concede 100.

Brian Jensen hugs Lee Grant as he makes his late appearance from the bench.

There may be 11 sides who have scored more, with the goals harder to come by since Dyche took over the top scorers in the division, but that more miserly nature is something to build on, ending with a 12th clean sheet.

Again, we talk about balance. Can Dyche add to that firm foundation with fluidity of movement, invention and verve?

After a sterile first 45 minutes, in the second half, that was the case, as Junior Stanislas’ deflected rocket sent confidence coursing through the players’ veins.

More of the same going forward would be ideal, but how different will the side look on August 3rd?

Committed as ever, despite being relatively little to play for, Martin Paterson poached his eighth goal of the season to seal victory, on his 200th career league appearance and 100th league start for Burnley.

But, out of contract, what does his future have in store? The same is asked of midfielder Chris McCann, goalkeepers Lee Grant and Brian Jensen - afforded what carried the air of a farewell appearance from the bench late on, to a reception deserving of a wonderful servant in his 10th season with the club.

As Dyche looks to bring in his first permanent signings for the club, having only brought in the recently-departed Alex Kacaniklic on loan from Fulham, we will see his vision, the type of players he feels can improve the team.

He has spoken of his desire to add more experience, not necessarily in age, but Championship know-how.

He has a group containing the highest percentage of 21-24 year olds in the division - the likes of Charlie Austin, if the club can ward off the inevitable interest in him, Kieran Trippier, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes, Danny Lafferty, Kevin Long and Stanislas.

To supplement them with that know-how costs, which is why it was important to secure the signatures of Ross Wallace and Dean Marney.

Finding different ways to win games, like his good friend Malky Mackay has at Cardiff, has been an oft-used phrase of late.

Dyche said at the outset he wasn’t a “template manager”, but one that will look to solve problems posed from game to game, and a more streetwise nature will maybe add that to a side that has lost 13 games by a single goal this season.

And you never know, Burnley may actually get a favourable decision from a referee next season!

They ended the campaign with a rare win over Ipswich, who were looking for their third victory in four visits to Turf Moor. Indeed, the Clarets’ 4-0 win at home to the Tractor Boys last season was their only success in 10 attempts against Town.

Mick McCarthy, in the early running for the Burnley job in October, before ending up at Portman Road, had guided them from rock bottom to 11th, but Ipswich would be leapfrogged by the Clarets.

Patrick Kisnorbo sent a free header over from an early Anthony Wordsworth corner, but the game developed into a scrappy affair, despite the time and space available in a typical end of season encounter.

There wasn’t a shot on target in the first 45 minutes, though skipper Jason Shackell, continuing his fine form of late, did superbly well to prevent Daryl Murphy getting a shot away in front of goal with a superb block.

There were no changes at the break, but it took the introduction of Stanislas to spark things into life.

Six minutes after he came on for Brian Stock, he collected a pass from McCann, strode forward purposefully and unleashed a drive from 25 yards that flew into the top corner - though it later transpired it had taken a huge deflection.

Nonetheless, the party pieces came out from Burnley, step overs and dummies, and Vokes forced a save from a Trippier cross, before Stanislas cut inside Jack Marriott and fired just over.

Substitute Marriott was then foiled by a well-timed challenge from Long in the area, before Marney couldn’t control his shot from Paterson’s pull back, slicing wide at full stretch.

But with four minutes remaining, Ings’ corner was headed on by Lafferty, and Paterson nodded in from inches out.

There was time for Jensen to make an emotional appearance, while O’Neill got his first league appearance for the club, and almost laid on a goal for Vokes with a terrific ball across the face of goal.

That was that for another season, the 130th at Turf Moor. What will the 131st have in store?

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