August 7, 2021


Pope, Wood and the fans back in business as Clarets lose out to Cadiz

Nick Pope made a welcome return but couldn’t prevent the Clarets finishing their public pre-season programme with defeat to the La Liga outfit.

Pope was back for the first time since a clean sheet at Fulham in May helped guarantee Burnley’s top-flight status for a sixth successive season.

There was to be no repeat as Cadiz struck with goals immediately either side of the break to give themselves the perfect platform for their league opener against Levante next Saturday.

And while Burnley will go into their first Premier League fixture at home to Brighton on the back of a first defeat in seven warm-up matches, Pope’s comeback was one of a number of plus-points at the end of the phoney war.

Chris Wood also got his first minutes back in a Burnley shirt following his Olympic adventure with New Zealand.

And there was also the welcome return of fans for just the second time in 18 months as a taster for a much bigger crowd when the real thing gets under way.

Cadiz also brought a small pocket of fans from southern Spain and they were the ones who were able to enjoy a victory as the reward for their efforts in making the trip as the Clarets were unable to build on a bright start.

Pope – bar one early smothering save – had been given a gentle re-introduction following the knee surgery that had kept him out of England's EURO Finals' campaign as the Clarets did most of the early attacking.

And Wood, last season’s top scorer and Burnley’s player of the year, had the chance to pick up where he left off with the best opening of the first half which he steered over the top from close range from Charlie Taylor’s driven cross.

The combination of Taylor and Dwight McNeil was its usual productive self and from another Taylor cross Matej Vydra also went close to an opening goal with a shot well saved by Ledesma after the Cadiz keeper had been unable to gather the initial delivery.

Vydra also fired wide from outside the penalty area after James Tarkowski had nodded an early corner just past the post and when McNeil’s goalbound effort was blocked from Wood’s lay-off it looked as though the sides would go into the break level.

But Cadiz had time to make one more foray forward and when Ben Mee nodded clear a cross from Salvi Sanchez, Martin Calderon pounced with a superb strike, first time from 30 yards which flew past Pope.

The Clarets then made three changes at the break but had barely had chance to re-group when the visitors doubled their lead through Alex Fernandez, who nodded into the bottom corner.

That prompted a response from the Clarets with Jay Rodriguez seemingly being barged over in the box before fellow substitute Johann Berg Gudmundsson was thwarted by a brilliant Ledesma save as the Argentinian kept out an excellent free-kick.

Cadiz also made a handful of changes and former Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo had a chance to make an impact from the bench but failed to beat Pope with a tame left-footed effort.

The Clarets couldn’t trim the deficit, though, as Ledesma saved from Erik Pieters before the Dutchman delivered a dangerous cross which ended with a volley from Rodriguez which cleared the bar.

Boss Sean Dyche gave a run-out to Aaron Lennon, who is back training with the Clarets, to share the workload and try and engineer a late opening.

But Cadiz – who finished half-way up Spain’s top tier last season – stood firm to prevent any late fightback and deny the Clarets some added momentum help propel them into another Premier League campaign in a week’s time.

Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor (Lennon 72); Brownhill, Westwood, Cork (Gudmundsson HT), McNeil (Pieters HT); Wood (Barnes HT), Vydra (Rodriguez 53). Substitutes: Hennessey, Norris, Lennon, Rodriguez, Collins, Pieters, Thomas, Richardson.

Cadiz: Ledesma; Carcelen, Mauro, Lautaro, Espino; Calderon; Sanchez, Jonsson, Fernandez, Alejo ; Gimenez. Subs used : Akapo, Negredo, Lozano, Alarcon, Pombo, Bastida, Carrasco, Perea.

Referee: Ollie Yates

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Sat, Feb 5, 2022

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