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Having beaten Norwich 2-0 at home in the first leg of the Texaco Cup semi-final, Burnley had to wait a further eleven days before playing again and it was Norwich once more making the trip to Turf Moor with them going home this time having been beaten 1-0 by the Clarets.

We should have played at Newcastle a week earlier but the snow that hit the country forced the game to be postponed on a day when just five First Division games were able to go ahead.

Norwich returned to Burnley with the two sides meeting for the first time ever in the top flight of English football but on the day before the game, no one knew what time it was kicking off. Because of the power restrictions, games had moved forward to a 2:15 p.m. kick off but Burnley had purchased a generator which would allow the usual start at 3 p.m. However, a team of engineers were working overnight in the hope of having it functioning for the game.

Commercial manager Jack Butterfield explained: “We’ve had a hectic week installing the generator and we’re hopeful that it will be available to power the lights on Saturday.” Working or not, Burnley were also waiting on the outcome of a meeting in London which threatened to place a ban on the use of generators by football clubs.

While little had changed at Burnley since the Texaco Cup meeting, the same could not be said for Norwich. Manager Ron Saunders had gone to take over at Manchester City and he’d been replaced by Bournemouth boss John Bond. They’d also sold Graham Paddon to West Ham for £170,000 and in return signed Ted MacDougall from the same club for £140,000.

Kevin Keelan denies Martin Dobson

The club did get the generator working and they did get permission to use it so the game went ahead at 3 p.m. in front of a crowd of 13,231, an attendance that Burnley Express sports editor Peter Higgs hit out at those who chose not to attend, writing: “When the nation is crying out for individual brilliance it seems tragic that only 13,000 people turn up to see it despite Burnley spending £30,000 on a generator to enable the kick off time to remain at the normal 3 p.m. Remember it’s the stayaways in the past who have caused Burnley to sell their star players to survive.”

What the stayaways missed was a heartening performance as we took another step towards regaining our best form. It was a really good and competitive display that was just short of more goals to indicate our superiority over Norwich.

This was a game memorable for the performance of Leighton James who, even by his own high standards, was superb. Whether getting to the line to cross or cutting inside to shoot, he was always at least one step ahead of the Norwich defence and their illegal attempts to stop him brought bookings for both their full backs Less Wilson and Geoff Butler.

Jimmy Adamson had opted to play Billy Ingham rather than another striker in Ray Hankin although Hankin was introduced at half time in place of Jim Thomson who had suffered a hip injury. Geoff Nulty moved alongside Colin Waldron at the back with Peter Noble dropping back to right-back but Burnley also had to contend with a problem for captain Martin Dobson who played virtually the entire second half with concussion.

Billy Ingham heads home the winner

Norwich goalkeeper Kevin Keelan, who had turned in an unbelievable performance in the Texaco Cup clash, made two excellent saves to deny Dobson and Paul Fletcher at the start of the second half. Dobson clashed with the goalkeeper and referee Gordon Hill went to speak to Joe Brown, our assistant manager, when it became evident that Dobbo didn’t know where he was, asking him if we wanted to take the player off.

He stayed on and Adamson said afterwards: “He was talking gibberish and asked other players what the score was. It was a gamble to keep him on when he was concussed but there was no danger that he would suddenly shoot the ball into his own net.

“Footballers in that situation are like punch-drunk boxers. They instinctively know that they must run and chase and tackle and pass the ball. Although Martin wasn’t playing well at that time he was doing a useful job for the team. I didn’t want to bring him off because we already had the substitute on for Jim Thomson.”

Just past the hour, with Dobbo wandering round aimlessly, we scored the only goal of the game and there was no surprise to see James involved. He left two defenders trailing before flighting an accurate centre for INGHAM to nip in front of the big Norwich defenders and head a fine goal in his first full league appearance in the First Division.

We were by far the better side but Keelan kept us at bay, his final save denying James the goal his performance so richly deserved. The final whistle followed and we all went home as the generator was switched off.

The teams were;

Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Geoff Nulty, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron (Ray Hankin ht), Peter Noble, Billy Ingham, Paul Fletcher, Doug Collins, Leighton James.

Norwich: Kevin Keelan, Geoff Butler, Les Wilson, Dave Stringer, Duncan Forbes, Colin Prophett, Max Briggs, Ted MacDougall, Colin Suggett, Neil O’Donnell, Ian Mellor (Trevor Howard 75).

Referee: Mr G. Hill (Leicester).

Attendance: 13,231.

All the results from the previous week and the week when the Norwich game were played are below as is the league table which shows Burnley in third place.

First Division Results

Saturday 1st December 1973
Arsenal 2 Coventry 2
Leeds 2 QPR 2
Leicester 3 Tottenham 0
Liverpool 1 West Ham 0
Southampton 2 Everton 0

Tuesday 4th December 1973
Arsenal 2 Wolves 2

Saturday 8th December 1973
Birmingham 1 Newcastle 0
Burnley 1 Norwich 0
Chelsea 3 Leicester 2
Coventry 1 Wolves 0
Derby 1 Arsenal 1
Everton 0 Liverpool 1
Ipswich 0 Leeds 3
Manchester United 0 Southampton 0
QPR 0 Sheffield United 0
Tottenham 2 Stoke 1
West Ham 2 Manchester City 1

Burnley Goalscorers (League)

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

Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)

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

First Division Leading Goalscorers

10: Mick Channon (Southampton), Mick Jones (Leeds)
9: Tommy Baldwin (Chelsea), Stan Bowles (QPR), Alan Woodward (Sheffield United)
8: Martin Chivers (Tottenham), Derek Dougan (Wolves), Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle)
7: Billy Bremner (Leeds), Allan Clarke (Leeds), David Johnson (Ipswich), Peter Osgood (Chelsea)

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a ga pts
 
1 Leeds 19 13 6 0 37 10 3.70 32
2 Liverpool 19 11 4 4 24 15 1.60 26
3 Burnley 18 9 6 3 25 16 1.56 24
4 Newcastle 18 9 4 5 28 19 1.47 22
5 Everton 19 8 6 5 22 18 1.22 22
6 QPR 19 6 9 4 30 24 1.25 21
7 Ipswich 18 8 5 5 29 28 1.04 21
8 Southampton 19 7 7 5 24 25 0.96 21
9 Derby 19 7 6 6 20 20 1.00 20
10 Arsenal 20 7 6 7 24 26 0.92 20
11 Coventry 20 8 4 8 20 23 0.87 20
12 Leicester 19 6 7 6 22 21 1.05 19
13 Chelsea 18 7 4 7 31 24 1.29 18
14 Sheffield United 18 6 5 7 22 22 1.00 17
15 Tottenham 19 6 5 8 21 28 0.75 17
16 Manchester City 18 6 4 8 19 22 0.86 16
17 Stoke 18 4 6 8 23 23 1.00 14
18 Manchester United 18 4 6 8 15 20 0.75 14
19 Wolves 19 4 5 10 20 30 0.67 13
20 West Ham 19 2 7 10 17 30 0.57 11
21 Birmingham 18 3 5 10 18 33 0.55 11
22 Norwich 18 2 7 9 12 26 0.46 11
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