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It’s the East Lancs derby in two days time when Blackburn Rovers visit Turf Moor in the Championship. It comes just four days short of two years since we ended that long run against them without a win when goals from Jason Shackell and Danny Ings turned the game in our favour and gave us a 2-1 win at Ewood Park.

Paul Robinson, who will be on our bench this Saturday, and Michael Keane were in the Blackburn side that day but Keane, of course, was in the Burnley side that returned to Ewood last October and won again, this time 1-0 with Scott Arfield scoring.

All we need to do now is beat them at home. It’s been a long time, the last occasion coming on Boxing Day 1978 when, as was the case two years ago at Ewood, we won 2-1.

Burnley went into the game in 8th place in the Second Division having won 22 points from the 20 games played; Blackburn were, at the time, next to bottom with only 13 points, just one point ahead of Millwall.

Below is how the Burnley Express reported the game.

Paul Fletcher had a second visit from Father Christmas this year … in the shape of Blackburn Rovers’ John Radford. In the fifth minute of the Boxing Day derby match at Turf Moor, when challenged by Fletcher, Radford let the ball run away from him.

FLETCHER promptly accepted the gift by cracking a long ball cum shot to the far post. It flew past goalkeeper Butcher, leaving him somewhat flatfooted and more than slightly amazed.

In midfield

However, it gave Burnley, playing towards the Bee Hole end with a full squad – including Derek Scott in his first home game after his operation – just the start they needed. It then became a dour struggle for superiority, with neither side willing to yield.

Over eagerness broke up several promising moves and both teams seemed incapable of stringing more than one or two passes together at any one time. The battle was therefore in midfield with Noble, Ingham and Hall all showing plenty of determination and Hall at last coming out of the shadows, showing some very nice touches.

James had to leave the field in the 36th minute after receiving earlier attention to his shoulder. Substitute Tony Morley, by his ball control and direct running, relieved some of the Rovers pressure that had seen Birchenall mis-kick with the goal at his mercy; Craig holding his head in anguish as the ball spun out by the far post with Stevenson stranded at the near post, and Round going close with a fierce 20-yard drive.

Burnley came back into the game in the 40th minute when Scott, ever ready to move upfield, let the peg go from well outside the box, to bring out a brilliant save from Butcher, diving to his right.

Then, in the 43rd minute, came the goal that had the Burnley fans grinning from ear to ear at half time. Brennan crossed into the Rovers penalty area and Billy Ingham’s persistence paid off when NOBLE ran on to the ball and blasted it in via the post, past a ruck of defenders, to bring relief and jubilation all round.

Fine save

Burnley started the second half intending to carry on where they had left off, with Ingham and Noble going straight into attack, followed by a good run down the line by Scott from a Kindon pass, with Keeley only just getting in a late tackle to concede a corner.

Clarets Star Derek Scott
Clarets Star Derek Scott

Noble looked well through in the 55th minute but was brought down by Round, who was immediately booked by referee Worrall.

The free kick by Kindon was pushed through to Brian Hall, who shot hard, only to see Butcher, diving to his right, bring off another fine save.

Following a long run by Bailey, Rovers gained a corner that came to nothing. They kept possession in midfield, and in the 57th minute Kevin HIRD, undoubtedly Rovers’ best player, ran through with Burnley players backing off.

Stevenson was slightly off his line. Hird whacked it in to the top left hand corner with the Burnley goalkeeper looking on.

Immediately after the restart, Fletcher was fouled by Keeley just outside the penalty area and Burnley tried a new set piece. Ingham dummied by running over the ball and across the wall, a gap was created and Rodaway’s powerful shot was well saved by Butcher.

Three minutes later Kindon had a shot deflected that Butcher only managed to grab at the second attempt.

Rovers were not finished though, and for a period of 15 minutes came back hard, looking for the equaliser. But Burnley, though slightly at panic stations a time or two, defended well and gave as good as they got.

Just after Morley had gone close in the 70th minute, following a good build up by Hall and Kindon, Blackburn substituted Metcalfe, bringing on Fowler. He went into the back four, allowing Hird to join the midfield in a bid to improve the situation.

It nearly came off in the 77th minute when Hird put Birchenall through and his drive brought the best out of Stevenson, to keep Burnley in the lead.

Burnley played to the last, and in the final five minutes a Kindon-Fletcher move saw Butcher diving to his left to keep out a good effort by the Burnley centre forward.


A hard fought game then, with Burnley showing well in the first half but losing the initiative slightly in the second. The defence played well, with Scott in good form, and Noble and Ingham, who withstood some heavy tackles, getting through a great amount of work in midfield.

Two valuable points for Burnley in their push for promotion, but Rovers must be reflecting on the ones that got away.

Finally, a word of praise for referee Mr Worrall and his linesmen, who controlled the game well, turning down two half hearted penalty claims. He kept the game flowing, and the match finished with both teams going off seemingly the best of friends, which is something these days, especially in a local derby.

The teams were;

Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Derek Scott, Ian Brennan, Peter Noble, Jim Thomson, Billy Rodaway, Brian Hall, Billy Ingham, Paul Fletcher, Steve Kindon, Leighton James. Sub: Tony Morley.

Blackburn: John Butcher, Kevin Hird, John Bailey, Stuart Metcalfe, Glenn Keeley, Derek Fazackerley, Noel Brotherston, John Radford, Joe Craig, Paul Round, Alan Birchenall. Sub: Martin Fowler.

Referee: Mr J. B. Worrall (Warrington).

Attendance: 23,133.

Claret Star: Derek Scott: Although booked in the first half, he played with confidence, made some penetrating runs and looked as though he’d never been out of the game.

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