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Classic Match: Volume Twenty-One: West Ham United 5-3 Burnley November 2009

In the 21st Volume of our weekly Classic Match series, we delve into the archives once more to relive another memorable West Ham United encounter from down the years, this time around, the opposition were Saturday’s visitors to the London Stadium in Burnley.

Cast your minds back to the early winter of 2009, “You Are Not Alone”, by The X Factor Finalists 2009 was at the very summit of the United Kingdom Music Charts and severe gales and floods from an Atlantic Storm had just battered Britain.

Meanwhile, in the world of football and more specifically the Premier League, West Ham United were enjoying their fifth season since promotion back to the Top-Flight and their second under the guidance of Italian boss Gianfranco Zola.

However, the Hammers were struggling and headed into a vital home league match against Burnley sitting in 17th position, hanging by a thread on the cusp of the bottom three in the wake of giving up a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 away at Hull City.

Meanwhile, the visitors to East London that day the Clarets were PL newbies having been promoted from the Championship for the first time the year before, holding their own so far in ninth.

Last time out, Owen Coyle’s men had also given up a lead, albeit a one-goal one to claim a credible 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa at Turf Moor, they made the trip as the favourites.

The intriguing affair was to be played out on a chilly Saturday afternoon at the Boleyn Ground and was the first-ever Premier League meeting between the two, a thorough must-win for the home side to try to climb out of the early danger that they faced.

At the announcement of the two starting Xls in East London an hour prior to kick-off in the capital, the danger men could be clearly pointed out in both teams, the stars with the capability to profoundly impact the outcome of the fixture.

For Zola’s men these included names such as midfield talisman Scott Parker and veteran Mexican striker Guillermo Franco, whilst for the visitors, former Manchester United winger Chris Eagles was to pose a threat, so too striker Steven Fletcher.

Against the backdrop of a noisy Upton Park, the clash could get underway and the way things would pan out became clear early on, pure one-way traffic from the beginning.

The Irons were rewarded for their early dominance on 18 minutes when Parker took a quick free-kick to play Wales International Jack Collison clean-through on goal to finish past Brian Jensen and give his team the advantage.

That lead was inevitably doubled just after the half-hour mark, the run and pass of Franco picking out youngster Junior Stanislas, whose first effort was saved by Jensen, only for the starlet to pick his spot and beat him from a tight-angle the second time.

When Jonathan Spector was fouled in the area by Robbie Blake just before half-time and Referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot, striker Carlton Cole stepped up with regular taker Mark Noble out.

The England International beat Jensen with ease and gave the hosts, who had only won twice previously that campaign, a three-goal advantage before the break.

In the second period, the story would very much be the same from the off, Stanislas picking out Franco to reverse the scorer and assister of the second goal on 51 minutes from a free-kick.

The Mexico man met it with his head and squeezed an effort into the back of the net, less than 15 minutes later, the East Londoners were then rewarded another penalty for Jensen’s foul on Inter Milan loanee Luis Jimenez.

It would be Jimenez to limber up and send Jensen the wrong way, all but wrapping up a crucial three points for his team, the Chilean’s one and only striker in Claret & Blue.

By this stage, the match had effectively been out beyond the reach of the Lancashire side, but it wasn’t for the want of trying and then pulled two quick-fire goals back a short while later.

Fletcher was the man to notch both of them, getting on the end of two crosses from Eagles for simple tap-ins and ending Zola’s hopes of a first clean sheet of the term.

The Clarets tried and failed to get any more back, their task became harder when Steven Caldwell was dismissed in added-time for a last-man foul on substitute Zavon Hines.

However, the away side would make the scoreline look a little more respectable in the fourth minute of time added on, Tyrone Mears picking out Eagles for a simple finish.

The damage had already been done by then by the hosts, whose victory kept them in 17th place with a little more of a cushion, thus moving the away side into the bottom half, 11th.

The Hammers would be successful in their fight for survival, in the end, finishing the season in 15th position under Zola who made way and moved on in the summer.

Whilst the Clarets form would majorly decline from this point on and their first ever PL season resulted in an instant relegation, slipping to finish 18th under Coyle.

However, one question remains, will David Moyes’ West Ham United and Sean Dyche’s Burnley be able to provide another Premier League classic when they meet at the London Stadium this Saturday? Find out with our Live Blog of the match which starts at 1 PM on Saturday afternoon, live from the Press Box of the former Olympic Stadium.

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Classic Match: Volume Twenty-One: West Ham United 5-3 Burnley November 2009


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