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Tuesday 23 September K.O. 19:45

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Turf Moor | 23rd August 2009 15:00

Burnley v Everton

Louis Saha missed a penalty as Everton suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Burnley.

The Frenchman was presented the chance to equalise Wade Elliot's first-half opener following Chris McCann's adjudged foul on Tony Hibbert but failed to test keeper Brian Jensen.

The newly-promoted Clarets looked buoyed following their suprise midweek victory over Manchester United and made it tough for the Blues on their first visit to Turf Moor in over three decades.

Following last weekend's defeat against Arsenal, it is the first time Everton have suffered successive League losses since October 2007 - a run of 67 matches.

There was positive news for manager David Moyes ahead of kick off as Steven Pienaar and Tim Cahill passed late fitness tests, while Jack Rodwell, a two-goal hero from Thursday night's 4-0 rout of Sigma Olomouc, shook off a knee problem.

Leon Osman tussles with Andre BikeyLeon Osman tussles with Andre Bikey

It meant the Scot could name the same XI which started against the Czechs, and yet familiarity and cohesion was apparently lacking early on.

Within 60 seconds Martin Paterson clattered Tim Howard's crossbar with a header, the rebound falling to Steven Fletcher, who turned Leighton Baines, but could only scuff his shot at Howard.

Two minutes later Paterson was left unmarked six-yards out but somehow failed to connect with his head.

Marouane Fellaini found Leon Osman on the edge of the box on 10 minutes but, on his weaker left foot, the midfielder delayed long enough for Everton's first meaningful effort to be blocked.

When the ball fell to Rodwell 25-yards out soon after though, a sharp intake of breathe could be heard all round. Everyone, it seemed, had seen his spectacular brace against Sigma. But this time it wasn't to be, the 18-year-old driving his shot into a tangle of Burnley legs.

Undetered, the teenager then took control of a well-position freekick but drove into the wall before climbing highest to force Jensen into a save from a Baines corner.

Louis Saha is halted by Clarke CarlisleLouis Saha is halted by Clarke Carlisle

For the hosts, Robbie Blake was the main threat, causing persistent problems down Everton's right. And it was from his cross which Burnley struck their hammer blow.

The Blues' backline failed to clear the danger, allowing record-signing Steven Fletcher to pick out Elliot, whose shot looped over Tim Howard off the foot of Phil Neville, giving the American no chance.

At times Everton were passing the ball with real conviction. On one occasion Fellaini threaded a fine ball through to Hibbert, the right back's first-time cross narrowly evading Saha at the back post.

Hibbert, after nine years, may even have registered his first goal for the Club had the ball not been headed clear as he leapt towards another Baines cross.

Into the second half and Saha thrashed at his first chance of note, while Cahill sent another wide as Everton's search for an effort to truly test Jensen continued.

In truth, Owen Coyle's side remained one step ahead and Joseph Yobo was soon forced to block bravely to deny the lively McCann. The midfielder also had Howard throwing himself at an inventive - if not acrobatic - overhead kick.

Phil Neville is gutted as Wade Elliott celebratesPhil Neville is downhearted as Wade Elliott celebrates

In an attempt to alter his side's fortunes, Moyes went 4-4-2, introducing Jo for Fellaini.

But it was referee Phil Dowd who, perhaps questionably, presented Everton with their best chance to restore parity. Replays suggested there was little contact as Hibbert went down in the box under pressure from McCann, but it mattered little as Saha drilled wide from the spot.

The Frenchman did have the ball in the net shortly after, but Dowd's whistle had already signalled a foul.
 
Jo and Rodwell had further chances late on but still Jensen went untested.


By Adam Clark

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