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There are days in football when your team can take you to new highs and days when they hit new lows and this day in 1998, when we played Darlington in the FA Cup at Middlesbrough, proved to be one of those low days.

It was a week when late night Christmas shopping was set to get underway in Burnley and as always the town had booked a celebrity to switch on the Christmas lights. In this year it was Burnley manager Stan Ternent who would be there at the bandstand on St. James’ Street for the big switch on at 6:15 p.m. on the Thursday.

Not far from the town centre was an area of town that the local community were referring to as ‘murder mile’. This was the Duke Bar area where there had been three murders in recent years while other people had been robbed and assaulted, homes had been broken into, car tyres had been slashed and windows smashed. They were calling for more policing to help get things under control and improve the area’s image.

One resident spoke out although remained anonymous for fear of retribution. The resident said: “We want action and something done about it to deter them from doing it again. They are trying to make you live in fear which is what they are doing.”

In response, Inspector John Grice from Burnley Police said: “I am fully aware of the problems in relation to juvenile nuisance and crime in the Duke Bar area of Burnley. That area of the town is the responsibility of a team of police officers who are charged with the responsibility of dealing with problems in that area and that area suffers no worse than any other in terms of juvenile nuisance and minor crime.”

Where that response from the police was able to fit in with three murders I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t call the loss of three lives either a nuisance or a minor crime.

There was tragic news for one young Burnley man in Blackpool. Paul Hill, a young father of 28, was with friends on a night out at the seaside resort and after leaving the Federation night club, two of them dared to walk down onto the seawall steps as waves crashed onto the promenade. A huge wave engulfed them and swept them out to sea. One of the was very fortunate to grab a railing but Paul sadly could not be saved and his body was found a week later face up in the water. He had left his partner and eight-week-old baby girl after what Coroner Mrs Anne Hind described as a moment of madness.

In our last update, we reported that the body of Burnley woman Marie Quinn was being exhumed as part of the Doctor Harold Shipman murder enquiry. Subsequently, she became the sixth victim for whom Shipman was charged. She had moved to Hyde where he was her GP but left behind relatives in Burnley who were coming to terms with the shocking news. “She was such a gentle creature, so unworldly wise,” said her cousin Mr Richard Hirst.

Also reported was news that Burnley striker Andy Payton had been allegedly involved in a violent incident with a 25-year-old man. It forced him out of the reckoning for the home league game against Stoke but he was subsequently given a police caution which meant he was available for the FA Cup tie against Darlington.

Burnley were travelling to the north east without goalkeeper Gavin Ward whose loan had ended with him returning to Bolton but there was news that Paul Crichton who had played for us on loan in our opening game of the season against Bristol Rovers, was on his way to Burnley in a permanent move from West Brom.

Crichton was a £250,000 signing for West Brom from Grimsby but fell out of favour with the fans after a difficult game against local rivals Wolves and was subsequently replaced by Alan Miller. With Bolton wanting around £250,000 for Ward, a figure out of Burnley boss Stan Ternent’s reach, he moved back for Crichton at a fee of around £100,000 and he was expected to sign ahead of the next league game.

Darlington in the cup, where do we start with this one? I was looking forward to the game and my first ever visit to Middlesbrough’s new ground but my wait to tick off it off had to wait several more years when I was struck down with flu, and I mean proper flu and not man flu. I was very much confined to home with only Radio Lancashire for company on a night none of us will ever forget.

Andy Payton opens the scoring

The Burnley Express report by Edward Lee starts: “For almost thirty years I have travelled the length and breadth of the country to watch the Clarets. During that time, Burnley Football Club has given me many highs, but it has also slapped me in the face, kicked me in the teeth and left me dazed and confused by what was going on. Nothing in all those hundreds and hundreds of matches had prepared me for this week’s trip to Darlington.”

There was no sign of what was going to happen for this patched up Burnley team in the first half, a team that included debutant Frank Petter Kval in goal and only five of the eleven starters having ever played previously in the competition.

It was a quiet opening to the game that didn’t spring to life until almost midway through that first half when Andy Payton came close to reaching a Glen Little cross; Darlington managing to cut it out at the expense of a corner. Little then had a shot blocked, Steve Morgan hit the bar while at the other end there was just one concerning moment when Kval saved well from Steve Tutill.

As the half progressed, a Burnley goal looked more and more likely and it came eight minutes before the break. Phil Eastwood intercepted a Tutill pass and threaded a ball through for Payton. Getting to the edge of the box, PAYTON curled a right foot shot past goalkeeper David Preece.

The Burnley striker thought he had a second early in the second half but was harshly ruled out offside, winning nothing other than a yellow card for his comments towards the assistant referee. Three minutes later, Payton again got forward but was felled by Craig Liddle. Referee Brian Coddington waved the penalty appeals away but then saw his assistant flag and awarded the penalty. PAYTON converted it and Burnley had a foot in the second round just ten minutes into the second half.

Darlington fought back but the score remained at 2-0. Then with seventeen minutes remaining we lost Payton. He chased a back pass and after goalkeeper Preece tried to nudge the ball sideways, he went down in a heap. Payton received a second yellow card and was sent off despite protesting his innocence. Later video footage of the incident did support Payton but on the night it left us with seventeen minutes to defend a two goal lead and for the first eight of them, we did just that.

Marco Gabbiadini hit a shot over and twice forced Kval into saves. Then with nine minutes to go, he crossed the ball which led to Brian Reid pushing Brian Atkinson. Coddington pointed to the spot and ATKINSON scored to reduce the arrears.

and Payton is sent off

We reached the 87th minute with our now one goal lead but a harmless cross landed in front of Mario DORNER who wrapped his football around the ball and lashed it home. Suddenly, from holding a comfortable lead we were now looking at a Turf Moor replay but worse was to come.

We were hanging on for our lives and twice in the 90th minutes, Chris Brass cleared off the line. Then, in the second of four added minutes, Mark BARNARD broke Burnley hearts with an angled drive that went in off the post.

Those final minutes had been bad enough to take sat at home feeling worse than I’d done before kick off. For those there it was a nightmare to see us concede three late goals. We’d been beaten 3-2 gone out of the FA Cup and had manager Stan Ternent screaming that he felt lousy, suicidal and was considering resigning as manager.

Darlington boss Dave Hodgson couldn’t hide his delight. “When we were 2-0 down the game was dead and buried,” he said. “But all credit to the players for showing their character and pulling through. I thought we were guilty of under achieving in the first half and I let the players know about it, but in the second half they stuck to their principles, passed the ball around a lot better and proved that a goal in the 90th minute is every bit as good as a goal in the first minute.

“The sending off lifted our spirits and gave us the impetus to carry on going forward. It’s disappointing that it took a red card to provide us with that extra lift. Now we will get £75,000 of television rights and that is going to seem like a lot of money to a club like us.”

A couple of days after the game, Burnley boss Stan Ternent confirmed he would continue at Turf Moor. Saying he’d never felt as low in all his time in football, he commented: “I needed to speak to my family about things. I felt if it was going to affect them then it wasn’t worth it. But Kath, Daniel and Chris are fine with the situation, so we will get on with the job, starting at Bournemouth.”

He added: “We fell apart, worse than at Preston. You shouldn’t lose a two goal lead in the last ten minutes of any game at any level. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It still hurts a lot. But I will turn things round one way or another, even if it will take longer than I anticipated.

“I wasn’t criticising the players the other night, I just think they didn’t do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. It is about time players throughout the game took more flak. Managers are criticised and sacked too easily. Clubs and countries need continuity.

“I will change the playing staff here. There are a few players to come in and a few to go out, but it will take time. I am an inpatient person and if people don’t do things the way I want them to, I want to know why. If we are all pushing in the same direction, there will be no problem.”

The teams were;

Darlington: David Preece, Mark Barnard, Craig Liddle, Steve Tutill, Gary Bennett (Mario Dorner 66), Steve Gaughan, Glen Naylor, Adam Reed, Darren Roberts (Michael Oliver 66), Marco Gabbiadini, Brian Atkinson (John Leah 66). Subs not used: Mark Samways, Phil Brumwell.

Burnley: Frank Petter Kval, Chris Brass, Chris Scott, Matt Heywood, Brian Reid, Steve Morgan, Glen Little, Mark Ford, Rune Vindheim, Phil Eastwood, Andy Payton. Subs not used: Craig Mawson, Michael Devenney, Brad Maylett, Colin Carr-Lawton, Kevin Henderson.

Referee: Brian Coddington (Sheffield).

Attendance: 5,059.

All the FA Cup first round results, and those in the replays are below. Only one game featured goals scored by players with Burnley connections with Phil Gray scoring twice and Steve Davis also on the mark in Luton’s 3-2 win at Boreham Wood.

As for Darlington, having led for most of their second round tie against Manchester City, they had to settle for a replay at Maine Road after a 1-1 draw with Gary Bennett scoring the Darlington goal. It took City until the 108th minute to beat them in that replay with a Michael Brown goal giving them a 1-0 win. Darlington had Steve Gaughan sent off in the first game and in the replay both teams were reduced to ten me when City’s Danny Tiatto and Darlington’s Marco Gabbiadini were sent off just before the end of the first half of extra time.

FA Cup First Round Results

Friday 13th November
Manchester City 3 Halifax Town 0
Swansea City 3 Millwall 0

Saturday 14th November
Basingstoke Town 1 Bournemouth 2
Bedlington Terriers 4 Colchester United 1
Brentford 5 Camberley Town 0
Bristol Rovers 3 Welling United 0
Cardiff City 6 Chester City 0
Cheltenham Town 0 Lincoln City 1
Dulwich Hamlet 0 Southport 1
Enfield 2 York City 2
Hartlepool United 2 Carlisle United 1
Hednesford Town 3 Barnet 1
Kingstonian 1 Burton Albion 0
Leyton Orient 4 Brighton & Hove Albion 2
Macclesfield Town 2 Slough Town 2
Mansfield Town 2 Hayes 1
Northampton Town 2 Lancaster City 1
Oldham Athletic 2 Gillingham 0
Plymouth Argyle 0 Kidderminster Harriers 0
Preston North End 3 Ford United 0
Reading 0 Stoke City 1
Runcorn 1 Stevenage Borough 1
Rushden & Diamonds 1 Shrewsbury Town 0
Salisbury City 0 Hull City 2
Scarborough 1 Rochdale 1
Southend United 0 Doncaster Rovers 1
Tamworth 2 Exeter City 2
Telford United 0 Cambridge United 2
Walsall 1 Gresley Rovers 0
Wigan Athletic 4 Blackpool 3
Woking 0 Scunthorpe United 1
Worcester City 0 Torquay United 1
Wrexham 1 Peterborough United 0
Wycombe Wanderers 1 Chesterfield 0
Yeovil Town 2 West Auckland Town 2

Sunday 15th November
Boreham Wood 2 Luton Town 3
Emley 1 Rotherham United 1
Fulham 1 Leigh RMI 1
Hendon 0 Notts County 0

Tuesday 17th November
Darlington 3 Burnley 2

FA Cup First Round Replay Results

Monday 23rd November
Stevenage Borough 2 Runcorn 0

Tuesday 24th November
Exeter City 4 Tamworth 1
Leigh RMI 0 Fulham 2
Rochdale 2 Scarborough 0
Rotherham United 3 Emley 1
Slough Town 1 Macclesfield Town 1 – Macclesfield Town won 9-8 on penalties
West Auckland Town 1 Yeovil Town 1 – Yeovil Town won 5-3 on penalties
York City 2 Enfield 1

Tuesday 1st December
Kidderminster Harriers 0 Plymouth Argyle 0 – Plymouth Argyle won 5-4 on penalties
Notts County 3 Hendon 0

Burnley Goalscorers (League)

10: Andy Payton
5: Andy Cooke
2: Rune Vindheim
1; Gordon Armstrong, Phil Eastwood, Glen Little, Brian Reid

Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)

3: Andy Payton
1: Andy Cooke

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