Fifth round wins are hard to find
All eyes will be on Lincoln City tomorrow when the National League side travel to Turf Moor to see if they can continue their incredible FA Cup run, but there is no doubt our own cup record needs something of a boost.
The first FA Cup game I ever saw was a 3rd round tie against Bournemouth in January 1961 which we won 1-0 courtesy of a John Connelly goal. In the previous season we’d gone out in the 6th round, a tie I’d rather not discuss, but that Bournemouth win led to us winning a semi-final appearance in 1961 with a trip to Wembley for the final to come a year later. We lost in both those games to Tottenham but I suppose I believed then that we’d always be a club to have good cup runs.
I was upset that day at Wembley, but my dad told me as we left that we’d win the next time we played in the FA Cup Final. He’s certainly not been proved wrong yet.
It’s coming up to 55 years since that day under the twin towers and there have been no finals since. There’s only been one semi-final, that’s one more game that it’s best not to mention, and, incredibly only another three occasions when we’ve gone out in the 6th round.
55 years and only four times have we reached the last eight of the competition. On Saturday we will be looking to make that five.
Having a quick look at those best runs since Wembley, we beat Huddersfield 3-0 at home in the 5th round in 1963/64 with goals from Ray Pointer, Andy Lochhead and an own goal but went out one round later, losing a classic 3-2 at West Ham when Connelly and Pointer were on the scoresheet.
It was another decade before we got there again in 1973/74 with 5th and 6th round games both at home and both ending in 1-0 wins against Aston Villa and then Wrexham. Paul Fletcher scored in the first of them with Frank Casper getting the goal to take us to that not to be mentioned semi-final.
Nine years on came that remarkable season when we were relegated from the old second division but reached the League Cup semi-final and the FA Cup 6th round. We even made the semi-final draw too in the FA Cup.
A Steve Taylor penalty in a Turf Moor replay against Crystal Palace in the 5th round took us through, this after a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park, but hero quickly became villain when he missed a penalty in the next round against Sheffield Wednesday. Tommy Cassidy scored for us that day in a 1-1 draw but it was a far from pleasant night at Hillsborough in the replay as we crashed 5-0.
Incredibly we had to wait another twenty years for even a 5th round appearance, let alone reaching the 6th round. In the ‘Throw One In’ season of 2002/03 we had beaten Grimsby and Brentford before facing Fulham in the 5th round.
Fulham had shipped out of Craven Cottage and were playing their home games at Loftus Road and off there we went on a Sunday afternoon, many of us armed with masks after Fulham’s Facundo Sava had pulled a mask out of his sock to wear during a goal celebration against Birmingham in an earlier round.
Just four minutes into the game and the masks were out when Alan Moore gave us the lead but a Fulham goal right on half time led to a Turf Moor replay when, in front of the Sky cameras, we gave them a right battering.
Gareth Taylor and Ian Moore both scored in the first half against Jean Tigana’s all stars and within minutes of the second half kicking off it was all over as Fulham had Sean Davis sent off just before Drissa Diallo scored his first Burnley goal to complete a 3-0 win.
Taylor, scorer of that first goal, said after the game that it was worth nothing if we didn’t go and get a result at Watford in the 6th round. That’s yet another one we shouldn’t really mention and it is incredible to think that since that day we have not gone on and won another 5th round tie.
Just Huddersfield, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Fulham have succumbed at this stage and now we go looking for a fifth game in round six in 57 years, since the day my dad promised me we’d win the next time we played in a final.
The final is a long, long way away but it would be nice just to get into the last eight again.
The two photographs show our first and third goals, scored by Gareth Taylor and Drissa Diallo, in the 5th round replay win against Fulham in 2003.Share this page :