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lincolnprogsLincoln are here today and maybe we might have preferred to have played on 12th January, it’s a date when we’ve twice knocked the Red Imps out of the FA Cup in replays.

Both were in the 3rd round, the most recent of those two coming in 1977 when Paul Fletcher scored the only goal at Sincil Bank after a 2-2 draw at Turf Moor in which Peter Noble and Fletcher again were the scorers.

Our previous cup clash against Lincoln had come in 1960 in what was to be a momentous year for Burnley Football Club.

It shows how things were somewhat different then and I’m not sure how Sean Dyche would cope with the sort of problems Harry Potts encountered when selecting his team for the first of the two games to be played at Sincil Bank.

Ray Pointer scores Burnley's goal in the first game
Ray Pointer scores Burnley’s goal in the first game

Jimmy McIlroy had been a doubt. The good news was that he was passed fit; the bad news was that he would not be able to travel due to a heavy cold. Burnley needed a replacement at inside-right and the obvious choice was Ian Lawson. Unfortunately he was on National Service but Burnley asked permission of the RAF to play Lawson and permission was granted.

Burnley were a team who had created a wonderful impression around the country that season in the away games, such was the quality of our football. Was it due to the missing McIlroy? Who knows? One thing for certain was that it wasn’t there at Lincoln.

Our display did no good to our reputation. The Lincoln supporters were scathing in their remarks on our performance and this despite a good start. Home goalkeeper William Heath was proving to be a star but he was finally beaten just before the half hour. From a John Connelly corner, Bobby Seith gave Ray POINTER a headed pass with the centre-forward shooting Burnley into the lead.

Things changed in the second half as Lincoln attacked down the middle and the left wing and finally a sudden raid brought them level as a Ron HARBETSON shot was helped into the net by Jimmy Adamson.

In the end we were fortunate to survive, but survive we did and when the teams faced each other again in the replay we knew that the winners would have a trip to the Vetch Field to play Swansea Town in the 4th round.

Lincoln were unchanged; Burnley were able to welcome back McIlroy who came in for Lawson in an otherwise unchanged line up when a bumper crowd of over 35,000 watched the game. This time Burnley went through with a 2-0 win but, in truth, the victory should probably have been by a bigger margin.

There was no comparison between the team who had struggled to a draw in the first game and that which operated with class and distinction under the Turf Moor floodlights in the replay.

Brian Pilkington (out of picture) heads home the second in the replay
Brian Pilkington (out of picture) heads home the second in the replay

Even so, Lincoln fought hard and there hadn’t been much between the two sides until Burnley won a penalty on 26 minutes, although Burnley were faster and had held more threat in their forward play.

Burnley had certainly had most of the play and when Brian Pilkington wriggled his way past two defenders he was brought down in the penalty area and referee, Mr R. T. E. Langdale had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. McILROY stepped up to take the penalty and scored.

Connelly then spoiled a 40-yard-run by weak and inaccurate shooting and Pointer crashed into the boundary wall and hurt his shoulder. McIlroy was heavily grassed in a wide position and from his free kick PILKINGTON headed home the second goal.

Lincoln did fight back with Albert Linnecor forcing one top save from Adam Blacklaw but it could have been more than 2-0 in the end. Connelly contrived a miss trying to place a rolling centre from Pointer, with City wide open and helpless, and then it was Jimmy Robson’s turn to misfire, with Lincoln again all out of position as a result of a quick cross pass.

But it was Burnley who went through in the end with this fully deserved 2-0 victory with over 57,000 having watched the two games.

The teams were;

Burnley: Adam Blacklaw, John Angus, Alex Elder, Bobby Seith, Brian Miller, Jimmy Adamson, John Connelly, Ian Lawson (replaced by Jimmy McIlroy for the replay), Ray Pointer, Jimmy Robson, Brian Pilkington.

Lincoln City: William Heath, Ronnie Allen, Jeff Smith, Fred Middleton, Dennis Gratton, Bob Jackson, John McClelland, Ron Harbetson, Andy Graver, Albert Linnecor, Ron Smillie.

Referee: Mr R. T. E. Langdale (Darlington).

Attendances: 21,893 (Sincil Bank) and 35,416 (Turf Moor).

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