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It was FA Cup 3rd round day fifty years ago and that was still a huge day in the football calendar with Burnley having been given an away tie at Blundell Park to take on Third Division Grimsby Town.

Before looking at the cup tie, there was some big news for us on the same day when the reserves beat Preston 2-0 at home in the Central League. For the record, Kevin Kennerley and Joe Jakub scored our goals, and for Jakub it was a first ever goal at this level. But the notable story here was the player wearing the number eight shirt.

Lining up for a game for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in the home draw against Spurs in September was Frank Casper. According to Burnley Express reporter John Walton, Frank had a quiet game and the player himself said after the game: “It was a bit like pre-season when you haven’t the stamina for a full ninety minutes. The knee itself got a bit sore towards the end, but it’s great to be playing again.”

Burnley were coming up against a team sat in mid-table in the Third Division and a real banana skin of a tie for what was to be our first visit to Grimsby since drawing a League Cup tie there in 1968 which kicked off a run to the semi-final. It was a game that saw their midfielder Doug Collins play so well against us that we moved quickly to sign him.

Manager Jimmy Adamson named his team on the Thursday before the game. It was unchanged, including Collins, with Jim Thomson again named as substitute. Adamson said ahead of the game: “We know it’s going to be a battle. Grimsby are a team of goers. They are a tough and uncompromising team with a strong defence. What they lack in skill we know they will make up in effort. We shall have to learn everything we get.”

Grimsby were under the management of Ron Ashman; he’d taken over in the previous summer from Lawrie McMenemy who had moved to Southampton and he had been involved in one of the great giant killing stories as a player having gone to the semi-final with Norwich, then also in the Third Division, fifteen years earlier.

“We did so because we believed we could,” he said of that cup run and added: “You’ve always got a chance and we must have a chance of knocking out Burnley. We respect Burnley as a good footballing team with many fine players, but we think they have weaknesses too. The player that has impressed me most of all in recent weeks is Martin Dobson. He’s strong and he’s mobile and he can play a bit too.”

It was my first ever visit to Blundell Park, hoping to see Burnley progress beyond the third round for the first time in four years having witnessed defeats against Oxford, Huddersfield and Liverpool in the preceding three seasons. Despite having seats for the game, our group opted to leave them because they afforded no view at all. We moved onto the terracing and from there saw a Burnley victory, to this day the only Burnley victory I’ve seen there.

Keith Newton’s shot evades goalkeeper Harry Wainman to give Burnley the lead

To suggest Grimsby were an uncompromising team would be understating it and as the game went on their tackling become more and more reckless which, sadly, referee Mr Hayes ignored in the most and quite how one knee high Mike Hickman challenge on Collins went unpunished was difficult to fathom.

In difficult conditions, Burnley continued to play their football despite then provocation and frankly always looked set to win the tie having taken an early lead. With the Grimsby fans roaring on their team, the first ten to fifteen minutes was going to be vital but we didn’t just withstand the onslaught, we took the game away from them.

It was no surprise that it came from a free kick following a foul on Collins by Clive Wiggington. As Grimsby lined up their defensive wall, Collins took a short free kick to Keith NEWTON who drove home his shot from around twenty yards although it has to be said that home goalkeeper Harry Wainman didn’t get across very quickly.

Not renowned for his goalscoring, the brilliant full back Newton had scored for the first time in exactly a year when he netted in our wonderful 3-0 win at Aston Villa to kick off 1973.

With Burnley in front, this became the good old fashioned cup tie with Grimsby batting to try and get back into the game. It was the match of the season for the home fans and they were roaring on their team but it always looked as though it was against the odds but Grimsby threw absolutely everything at us for the next twenty minutes after the goal.

Colin Waldron, such a good player, looked unsettled at times, but his emergency partner in defence Geoff Nulty was in outstanding form. Once they got through us and then Alan Stevenson made a superb save. A loose ball dropped to the feet of Charlie Barton whose shot look destined for the bottom corner until Stevenson got there to turn it round the post.

It was the most difficult period of the game for us which we ended by doubling our advantage. Collins and Newton were involved again as they had with the opening goal. This time, Newton collected a Collins throw in and hit a measured cross to the far post where Ray HANKIN rose to head past the badly positioned Wainman.

From then, the Grimsby tackling got worse yet Wiggington was their only player booked with Peter Noble, who had been given a difficult time by their best player Frank Sharp, joining him in the referee’s notebook.

We could have quite easily increased our lead in the second half. Hankin saw a goal disallowed for offside and then hit the bar with a sliced shot. Waldron went on a storming run only for his shot to just clear the bar and Newton almost got a second for himself but this time Wainman managed just managed to keep his shot out of goal.

Ray Hankin heads home the second goal

Grimsby gave it a real go in the closing minutes and did finally beat Stevenson with a shot from substitute Phil Hubbard but it came back off the post.

But Burnley were deserved winners and had turned in a sound, efficient performance. To go to a place like this and remain in command from start to finish is no mean task.

A delighted Adamson said: “It was a very good result for us. Any team having to meet such a tough, physical challenge and coming through successfully deserves credit. We expected a hard match and we weren’t disappointed.”

He didn’t pull his punches either, adding: “The man who made it a hard match for us was the referee. There has to be physical contact in football but there becomes a limit and the referee allowed Grimsby to go way past that limit. We expected a hard, uncompromising approach from Grimsby and we were not disappointed. They were that, and a little bit more.” He was more than aggrieved at the treatment handed out to his front two Paul Fletcher and Hankin. “These are two brave boys. It takes a lot of courage to keep going when you are taking the punishment they had to take.”

The prize for this win saw Burnley drawn away again in round four. We were facing a trip to either Cambridge or Oldham. They’d drawn 2-2 at the Abbey Stadium in a historic came, one of the first to be played in England on a Sunday, with Oldham’s second scored by former Claret Andy Lochhead.

Adamson was taking his entire squad to watch the replay at Boundary Park two days after their draw and that too ended all square at 3-3 after extra time. On Monday, 14th January, we learned that we would be travelling to Oldham after they won 2-1 at the third time of asking in a game played at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground in front of a crowd of just over three and a half thousand.

The teams were;

Grimsby: Harry Wainman, Don Beardsley, David Booth, Lew Chatterley, Clive Wiggington, Stewart Gray, Frank Barton, Mike Hickman, Jack Lewis, David Boylen, Frank Sharp (Sub: Phil Hubbard 83).

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

Referee: Mr. L. Hayes (Doncaster).

Attendance: 14,152.

Andy Lochhead was the only ex-Claret to score in the third round but there were two future Clarets who found the net. Mik Summerbee scored twice in Manchester City’s 5-2 win at Oxford while Tommy Hutchison was a scorer in Coventry’s replay win against Sheffield Wednesday.

Burnley were one of fifteen First Division clubs to go through but it was the end in the FA Cup for Chelsea, Norwich, Sheffield United, Stoke, Tottenham, West Ham and Wolves. Five of them went out in all First Division clashes while Stoke were beaten at Bolton. The big shock was West Ham being held by Hereford at home before losing in the replay at Edgar Street.

They always reckon a team can get through rounds of the cup with a lot of luck and that looked to be Newcastle. They were astonishingly held to a 1-1 home draw by non-league Hendon but rescued it with a 4-0 win in the replay.

All the results from the third round, including all the replays are below and the final fourth round draw.

FA Cup 3rd Round Results

Saturday & Sunday 5th & 6th January 1974
Aston Villa 3 Chester 1
Birmingham 5 Cardiff 2
Bolton 3 Stoke 2
Bradford City 4 Alvechurch 2
Bristol City 1 Hull 1
Cambridge 2 Oldham 2
Carlisle 0 Sunderland 0
Chelsea 0 QPR 0
Crystal Palace 0 Wrexham 2
Derby 0 Boston 0
Everton 3 Blackburn 0
Fulham 1 Preston 0
Grantham 0 Middlesbrough 2
Grimsby 0 Burnley 2
Ipswich 3 Sheffield United 2
Leicester 1 Tottenham 0
Liverpool 2 Doncaster 2
Manchester United 1 Plymouth 0
Millwall 1 Scunthorpe 1
Newcastle 1 Hendon 1
Norwich 0 Arsenal 1
Nottingham Forest 4 Bristol Rovers 3
Orient 2 Bournemouth 1
Oxford 2 Manchester City 5
Peterborough 3 Southend 1
Port Vale 1 Luton 1
Portsmouth 3 Swindon 3
Sheffield Wednesday 0 Coventry 0
Southampton 2 Blackpool 1
West Brom 4 Notts County 0
West Ham 1 Hereford 1
Wolves 1 Leeds 1

FA Cup 3rd Round Replay Results

Tuesday 8th January 1974
Coventry 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Doncaster 0 Liverpool 2
Hull 0 Bristol City 1
Oldham 3 Cambridge 3
Scunthorpe 1 Millwall 0

Wednesday 9th January 1974
Boston 1 Derby 6
Hendon 0 Newcastle 4 – played at Watford
Hereford 2 West Ham 1
Leeds 1 Wolves 0
Luton 4 Port Vale 2
Sunderland 0 Carlisle 1
Swindon 0 Portsmouth 1

Tuesday 15th January 1974
QPR 1 Chelsea 0

FA Cup 3rd Second Round Replay Result

Monday 14th January 1974
Cambridge 1 Oldham 2

FA Cup 4th Round Draw

Arsenal v Aston Villa
Coventry v Derby
Everton v West Brom
Fulham v Leicester
Hereford v Bristol City
Liverpool v Carlisle
Luton v Bradford City
Manchester United v Ipswich
Newcastle v Scunthorpe
Nottingham Forest v Manchester City
Oldham v Burnley
Peterborough v Leeds
Portsmouth v Orient
QPR v Birmingham
Southampton v Bolton
Wrexham v Middlesbrough

Burnley Goalscorers (League)

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

Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)

7: Ray Hankin, Leighton James
5: Paul Fletcher, Peter Noble
3: Geoff Nulty
2: Colin Waldron
1: Doug Collins, Martin Dobson, Keith Newton

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