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Burnley fell to a first defeat of the 1973/74 season. Having won four and drawn three of the first seven games, we suffered a 3-2 loss against Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

There were problems at Michelin as the industrial action was stepped up because of one man’s decision to work when his 1,100 colleagues went on strike. He was rubber worker Mr Alan Hartley and his action in refusing to strike caused further work delays on the following day.

When his workmates heard the news on the following morning they stopped work for a meeting to discuss Mr Hartley breaking the strike action. The meeting lasted for four hours after which shop stewards met Mr Frank Murray, branch secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union for a further hour.

A full meeting of workers was arranged for the following Sunday to discuss Mr Hartley’s action before which Mr Murray said: “Mr Hartley says he’s got principles, but he has accepted the benefits, the wage increases, the bonuses and the extra holidays negotiated by the union.” Mr Hartley was unavailable for comment.

A Burnley man was killed in a road accident in Blackpool earlier in the year but the inquest heard that he was within two pints of death from alcoholic poisoning. A verdict of accidental death was returned on Mr Charles Chadwick, a 50-year-old who lived in Sandhurst Street, Burnley. He died of multiple injuries after he was knocked down by a car being driven by an off duty policeman. A sample of his blood was analysed and showed that it contained 428 milligrams of alcohol in every 100 millilitres. The Coroner Mr John Budd said that if the figure had reached 500 milligrams it would have proved fatal, although a doctor would only confirm that: “He was obviously very drunk.”

There was some very good news for the Scott Park Veterans’ Association. We reported in February during the promotion season that their headquarters in the park had been destroyed by fire but seven months later their new building was ready to be officially opened. After more than six months hard work, the new wooden building was completed leaving the veterans overjoyed.

Secretary Mr Albert Hayes said: “We really appreciate the help we have received from various people and organisations. People have really flocked to help us and the new hut is champion.” The treasurer, Mr William Turner, added: “This new building has cost £520. The corporation gave us a start. Then, of course, we had to gather money together ourselves. People have been very, very generous to us and our own members have been able to raise £220.” They were particularly grateful to Mrs Lucy Tennant, a housebound woman who made an individual donation of £100, and to the Burnley Women’s Auxiliary of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association.

One 25-year-old Burnley man was refused a drink at the Fleece Inn, Accrington Road. He’d previously been barred by the licensee and was rightly refused. The man, Thomas Pepper, didn’t take too kindly to the refusal. He picked up a soda siphon and started to squirt it at the landlord. When that didn’t work, he picked up a bar stool and threw it at him, missed and broke several glasses on the bar.

Meanwhile a 19-year-old teenager was sent to borstal after being found guilty of handling a stolen golden sovereign and chain. He’d previously been placed on probation for two years but had continued getting himself into difficulties. “He’s been given chances but hasn’t accepted them,” said Recorder Mr I. H. Morris-Jones.

There was some bad news for sports enthusiasts when reports confirmed that Burnley’s giant £1.5 million William Thompson sports and recreation centre was still months away from final completion. The town’s Recreational Facilities Committee, led by chairman, Alderman Thomas Holgate and Borough Surveyor, Mr E. C. Ashby, went on a tour of the building. They saw that, although the massive complex was taking shape, much work still remained before any opening could be confirmed. It was due to be completed by 30th September but now a seven week extension had been applied for. Work had not even begun on the high-diving facilities. After the extensive tour, the chairman explained: “I am quite happy about the situation. I must admit that I am a little disappointed that work on the high-diving facilities has not yet started. I am, however, very impressed by the standard of the workmanship. This complex will make Burnley the envy of the region.”

There were no delays for Burnley’s next game, a trip to Portman Road to face an Ipswich team who hadn’t made the best of starts to the season with just one win from seven games. They were fourth from bottom of the league and just outside the drop zone. Their early season form was a surprise given they’d finished fourth in the previous season.

There was bad news for Burnley just one day before the game. Earlier in the week, ahead of the Texaco Cup game, manager Jimmy Adamson had confirmed that Frank Casper was back in training. By Friday the news had changed dramatically with Casper on his way to Burnley Victoria Hospital for a cartilage operation and an expected absence of at least six weeks. Adamson said: “We were afraid it was cartilage trouble, but have not been able to confirm it until now. It’s a terrible blow. We’re very disappointed for Frank who played such an important part in our Second Division championship season last year and has recently been playing better than ever. This is the kind of thing every manager dreads. It’s a severe blow to our long term planning, but it is now up to us to get over it as best we can.”

Adamson did have some good news. Martin Dobson was available again after recovering from the cold that had kept him out of the team on the Tuesday and Mick Docherty, having completed a week’s training, travelled with the team to Ipswich although would only be involved in an emergency.

Unfortunately for Burnley it was the day that Ipswich found their form and we lost for the first time although it was defeat with honour after we too had played a big part in an entertaining game. We showed character, resilience and, in patches, played some very good football, but it wasn’t enough against this Ipswich team for on the day we were beaten by a better team. Our hosts were very good. Ipswich won because the goals came for them at the vital moments but also because they were more convincing in the two penalty areas. They played a fast game and never allowed Burnley time to settle into their usual rhythm.

It looks a goal but this Leighton James effort hit the post and went wide

Their 4-4-2 formation enabled them to push plenty of men forward in attack yet when Burnley hit back they invariably found eight or even nine men barring their route to goal. While a fascinating battle was going on in midfield Burnley definitely came off second best in the penalty areas. The spring-heeled David Johnson was never mastered while at the other end Allan Hunter and the youngster Kevin Beattie effectively blotted out Paul Fletcher and Ray Hankin.

The other key players in the match were the two number 11s. Leighton James scored one goal, played a part in the other and was Burnley’s major source of danger throughout. Mick Lambert provided the passes for all three Ipswich goals and had a most effective match.

Burnley started well and James gave Mick Mills quite a roasting in the first 15 minutes. We came close twice, hitting both post and bar and if either had gone in it might have been a different story, but they didn’t and Ipswich soon began to make their presence felt.

They went ahead in the 28th minute. Johnson nodded down a long pass to Lambert on the left wing. His centre was pulled back to the edge of the penalty area where Bryan HAMILTON was lurking. The Northern Ireland international breasted the ball down, let it bounce and then hammered a left-foot shot wide of Alan Stevenson from 18 yards. Seven minutes later and Ipswich increased their lead. Following a throw in on the left Lambert made a short cross and HAMILTON threw himself forward to head the ball past Stevenson.

It looked pretty bleak for Burnley but our spirits were lifted with a 44th minute goal. Geoff Nulty flicked on a pass through the middle and, as Beattie slipped, JAMES strode on just to the left of the goal. He kept his head, drew goalkeeper Dave Best and curled a right foot shot past him into the far corner.

Ipswich had their best spell at the start of the second half. They penned us back in our own penalty area and won a succession of corners. Just when it seemed we’d weathered the storm thy scored a third. Johnson won a corner with a determined run on the right. Lambert took the kick and Colin HARPER rose unchallenged at the near post to send a fine header into the far corner.

James celebrates one that did count right on half time

That looked to have settled it but a Burnley goal 13 minutes from time kept the match alive. A centre by James was headed down by Hankin and Doug COLLINS sent a shot from more than 25-yards into the corner of the net with Best slow to react.

We produced  a rousing finish and Nulty missed a great chance when he headed wide after James had again done the spadework. It would probably have been rough justice on Ipswich had that gone in. So it stayed 3-2 and no one could justifiably complain at what had happened either in terms of entertainment or result.

Adamson said: “I thought that territorially we matched Ipswich but we missed out in the two penalty areas. This is reflected in the fact that Ipswich did not get their first corner until early in the second half.

“Goals change matches and Ipswich played well once they had gone ahead, but I thought we had much the better of the first 25 minutes and should have been ahead. Then Ipswich scored a badly hit goal and they really got their tails up. We were also slack at the second goal and I thought their third was the best they scored.”

The teams were;

Ipswich: Dave Best, Mick Mills, Colin Harper, Ian Collard, Allan Hunter, Kevin Beattie, Bryan Hamilton, Colin Viljoen, David Johnson, Trevor Whymark, Mick Lambert. Sub not used: Peter Morris.

Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Peter Noble, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Geoff Nulty, Ray Hankin, Paul Fletcher, Doug Collins, Leighton James. Sub not used: Billy Ingham.

Referee: Mr R. C. Challis (Tonbridge).

Attendance: 19,126.

This first defeat had seen Burnley drop four places in the table to 6thh with all of Derby, Coventry, Newcastle and Leicester going above us, the latter two on goal average. Leaders Leeds finally lost their 100% record when they were held to a surprise 0-0 home draw by Manchester United.

Derby were the biggest winners of the day. They beat Southampton 6-2, helped by a Kevin Hector hat trick. Two other players scored two goals in this game; Roger Davies for Derby and Southampton’s former Claret Brian O’Neil.

Birmingham won another point, this time at QPR, but they remained bottom, a point behind West Ham. The bottom three was unchanged with Wolves the other club there.

First Division Results

Tuesday 18th September 1973
Coventry 1 Derby 0

Saturday 22nd September 1973
Arsenal 2 Stoke 1
Coventry 2 Newcastle 2
Derby 6 Southampton 2
Ipswich 3 Burnley 2
Leeds 0 Manchester United 0
Liverpool 3 Tottenham 2
Manchester City 3 Chelsea 2
QPR 2 Birmingham 2
Sheffield United 1 Norwich 0
West Ham 1 Leicester 1
Wolves 1 Everton 1

Burnley Goalscorers (League)

3: Frank Casper, Doug Collins
2: Martin Dobson, Leighton James, Geoff Nulty
1: Paul Fletcher, Ray Hankin, Colin Waldron

Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)

3: Paul Fletcher
2: Geoff Nulty
1: Leighton James, Peter Noble, Colin Waldron

First Division Leading Goalscorers

6: Derek Dougan (Wolves), Peter Lorimer (Leeds)
5: Roger Davies (Derby), Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle)
4: Tommy Baldwin (Chelsea), Billy Bremner (Leeds), Martin Chivers (Tottenham), Allan Clarke (Leeds), Kevin Hector (Derby), David Johnson (Ipswich), Martin Peters (Tottenham), Bryan Robson (West Ham)

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
1 Leeds 8 7 1 0 19 4 4.75 15
2 Derby 9 5 2 2 14 8 1.75 12
3 Coventry 9 5 2 2 11 7 1.57 12
4 Newcastle 8 4 3 1 14 8 1.75 11
5 Leicester 8 3 5 0 10 6 1.67 11
6 Burnley 8 4 3 1 15 10 1.50 11
7 Manchester City 8 4 2 2 12 9 1.33 10
8 Liverpool 8 4 2 2 10 8 1.25 10
9 Sheffield United 8 4 1 3 11 8 1.38 9
10 Arsenal 8 4 1 3 12 11 1.09 9
11 Everton 8 2 4 2 9 8 1.13 8
12 QPR 8 1 5 2 10 11 0.91 7
13 Manchester United 8 3 1 4 8 10 0.80 7
14 Ipswich 8 2 3 3 12 17 0.71 7
15 Chelsea 8 3 0 5 11 11 1.00 6
16 Southampton 8 2 2 4 9 16 0.56 6
17 Stoke 8 0 5 3 7 10 0.70 5
18 Tottenham 8 2 1 5 10 15 0.67 5
19 Norwich 8 1 3 4 8 14 0.57 5
20 Wolves 8 2 1 5 8 14 0.57 5
21 West Ham 8 0 4 4 10 15 0.67 4
22 Birmingham 8 0 3 5 8 18 0.44 3
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