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In December 1960, Burnley, then Champions of England, faced Arsenal at Highbury. Despite winning the league, one of chairman Bob Lord’s moans was the lack of recognition accorded to them by London and the Fleet Street press.

We’d already gone some way to putting that right earlier in the season with a 6-2 win at Chelsea and then followed that up with the sensational 4-4 draw at Spurs when we came from four goals down to earn a point.

A first hat trick for Ray Pointer
A first hat trick for Ray Pointer

On 17th December 1960, any lingering doubts were dispelled as we smashed Arsenal 5-2. The victory showed that the Clarets had the two main ingredients so vital to a championship side, they were skill and fight.

In this game the skill was demonstrated with some superb scintillating football and the fighting qualities came to the fore in a sensational second half when we completely out-gunned the Gunners. Not even George Eastham could inspire Arsenal; the £47,500 signing was given an object lesson by Burnley ace and opposite number Jimmy McIlroy, who marshalled his attack with devastating effect after the interval. Compared with the crafty, scheming McIlroy, Eastham looked a novice.

We were perhaps fortunate to be level at half time. Twice Geoff Strong hit the foot of the post for the home side and Burnley’s best forwards were wing-halves Walter Joyce and Brian Miller. Joyce put in two headers that made Jack Kelsey move smartly and Miller was just wide with a sizzling effort from 25-yards.

The dramatic turning point came three minutes after the interval when Alex Elder, pursuing an attacking policy, swooped into the Arsenal half and swung over a cross which Kelsey misfielded. The ball bounced to the eager feet of Ray POINTER and Burnley were ahead.

The goal gave Arsenal, and Kelsey in particular, the jitters and the goalkeeper soon let Jimmy Robson slip an easy shot past him, but luckily for them Tommy Docherty won his race with the ball to the line and managed to hook it clear.

In view of Burnley’s sudden dominance it was a shock when Arsenal equalised seven minutes later. STRONG was rewarded for his earlier efforts when he slammed the ball past Adam Blacklaw after two shorts by David Herd had been charged down.

Then Burnley went to work ruthlessly on Arsenal’s suspect defence, and two quick morale shattering goals results. POINTER collected the first, hooking in a poor clearance after 64 minutes, and McILROY snapped Burnley’s third two minutes later, his cross shot being deflected past Kelsey by a home defender.

Now there was no question about the result, only about the score. POINTER, toying jauntily with Arsenal centre-half John Snedden, scored an international class goal in the 83rd minute to compete his first Burnley hat trick and make it 4-1, head glancing home a cross from John Connelly.

Again Burnley wasted no time in repeating the dose, for within a minute ROBSON dealt another crushing blow to Arsenal by netting a typically smooth goal.

Only consolation left for Arsenal was a last minute goal by HERD, who had previously hit the post, to round off a depressing match for Arsenal but a superb one for Burnley and for Bob Lord who once more had seen his team turn on the style in London.

The teams were;

Arsenal: Jack Kelsey, Len Wills, Billy McCullough, Tommy Docherty, John Snedden, Vic Groves, Danny Clapton, George Eastham, Geoff Strong, David Herd, Jackie Henderson.

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Walter Joyce, Jimmy Adamson, Brian Miller, John Connelly, Jimmy McIlroy, Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Referee: Mr J. G. Williams (Notts).

Attendance: 37,042.

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