Football: RICKETTS IS THE SPARK FOR STEVE

Article excerpt

Byline: By HENRY MATTHEWS

BURNLEY 1

Ricketts 24

PLYMOUTH 0

ONE moment of magic from Michael Ricketts brought Burnley's bleak midwinter to an end.

And it rekindled memories of the way things were for the troubled 27-year-old striker.

Lured to Lancashire in a bid to put his career back on track, his super strike gave the Clarets their first win in seven league games. And their first goal in four!

It certainly left Steve Cotterill relieved and delighted. "It was an excellent finish but we knew if we could get the ball to him he'd probably score.

"We have to get him fitter and leaner and I am sure he will go on to score more goals for us," added the Burnley boss.

But Cotterill played down suggestions that it was his quest to resurrect the career of a player said to be hard to handle.

"I know all the things that have been said about him, but all I can say is he is a great lad.

"Maybe he had lost his way for what reasons we don't know. But he has come here and given us his all so far."

But the Ricketts goal apart, there was little for Burnley to celebrate.

They rarely looked like adding to it as Plymouth enjoyed most possession.

"I don't think they caused us problems - we were just sloppy for the goal," moaned Argyle boss Tony Pulis.

"We let ourselves down because we certainly had enough chances.

"I am not disappointed with our commitment or the way we played, but I am disappointed that we lacked a bit of quality in the final third."

Cotterill agreed it was a backs-to-the wall struggle as his side fought to hold on to their slender lead. …