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Stan Ternent included both Peter Swan and Gordon Armstrong, his two new signings, for the game against Walsall at the Bescot Stadium but there was no change in fortunes as we lost a third successive league game.

If it wasn’t a good week for Burnley Football Club, it definitely wasn’t for local man Roger Atkinson who found himself in trouble when he hit his sister over the head with a bottle. In court, she pleaded with the judge not to give her brother a prison sentence but Mr Atkinson had also made menacing calls to a Blockbuster worker and to the local police, damaged his ex-partner’s parents car while smashing their window.

His sister got her way. Judge David Pirie told Mr Atkinson, aged 52: “You drank far too much. On the day you assaulted your sister, you had a very large amount indeed. She called an ambulance as she was worried you might commit suicide.” Since the events, he was now back on excellent terms with his former partner, although they weren’t getting back together. He was given eighteen months probation during which time he was required to attend a domestic violence programme.

Another pleading for a relative was the daughter of 66-year-old Jimmy Clarke. Mr Clarke, who through suffering a number of strokes, had lost both legs and the use of one arm, had suffered a number of burglaries in his sheltered flat. His daughter Julie said: “We’ve taken all the security measures but they still get in. I’ve now had to put all his money in the bank and just give him some every day,” and then she added: “Please leave my dad alone, he has nothing left to steal.”

The West End in London is a notable part of the capital, but in Burnley back in 1998 it was where the bulk of the town council’s empty properties were situated. A report showed that 441 of their houses were empty with 214 of them in that area which included the estates at Hargher Clough, Stoops and Plane Tree. Mr Ian Saville, Director of Community Services for the Council, said: “Apart from the financial consequences of these empty properties, they also blight the areas and undermine the hard work and efforts of the tenants’ and residents’ groups in the area.” The hope was that a partnership could be formed between the council and West End Estates Management board to try and interest companies in redeveloping estates within the area.

There was huge disappointment for Burnley Light Opera Society when they learned that support for the restoration of the Empire Theatre had been withdrawn by both Burnley Borough Council and local MP Peter Pike. Mr Gerald Holden, involved in the project, admitted: “We are not sure how it stands, but it’s disappointing at the moment.” Mr Pike issued a statement which read: “I have sought information to support the case, but have not been given any evidence to support its financial viability. It may well be a very desirable project, but realistically I cannot see it succeeding.”

The letters page in the Burnley Express included two referring to the sacking of four players a week earlier and both were in full support of manager Stan Ternent. One, from Justin Dunn-Grimshaw, read: “Stan’s comments show what a passionate, committed manager we now have, not willing to protect so called professionals from his wrath. He has shown he has claret and blue blood.”

A second, a lengthy letter from regular contributor Malcolm Wiseman, started: “I fully agree with what Stan Ternent said on Radio Lancashire after the match against York on Saturday. For far too long we have had to put up with watching players in Clarets shirts who seemed more interested in picking up their wages rather than playing for the club.”

Mr Wiseman also wrote in response to a letter from London based Burnley fan Stewart Binns who had heaped praise on chairman Frank Teasdale. Wiseman wrote: “I could hardly believe the letter from Stewart Binns that got pride of place on the letters’ page regarding Frank Teasdale. I can only assume from the context that he does not get a clear picture of events living in London, it’s either that or living in the capital has dulled his mind.”

There was some good news for Ternent. Alongside the signings of Peter Swan and Gordon Armstrong, he also had Andy Cooke, Andy Payton, Ronnie Jepson, Paul Weller, Glen Little and Mark Robertson fit with only Payton not taking part in the final full training session. The bad news was Steve Morgan being ruled out for up to six weeks having had a cartilage operation.

Ternent said: “It will be a big game for us. They are all big games, but I am looking for a response to last week’s defeats.” His team showed six changes to the one that had started against York. The infamous four – Steve Blatherwick, Lee Howey, Mark Winstanley and Michael Williams – were nowhere to be seen while both Carl Smith and Colin Carr-Lawton dropped to the bench. In came new signing Swan and Armstrong with returns for all of Weller, Little, Jepson and Cooke.

Burnley celebrate the equalising goal

It proved to be another defeat, this time with a 3-1 scoreline, but this was a cruel result for a Burnley team who were so, so close to coming home with a first away point of the season.

An early goal would have settled any nerves and we were close to getting one; we really should have done. Payton was just wide from a tight angle with one effort but when he intercepted a back pass ahead of goalkeeper Jimmy Walker, Payton pulled the ball back for Cooke who had an empty net gaping in front of him but he blazed the chance over the bar.

That proved to be an invitation for Walsall to get themselves into the game and they did just that, but when the did edge in front it was full of good fortune. Gary Porter picked up the ball and fired in a shot at goal. Gavin Ward had it covered but it hit Jason BRISSETT and dropped nicely for him to toe poke the ball home.

We were perhaps fortunate not to concede again before half time, but the second half was a different story. Right from the start, a Cooke/Payton link up led to Paul Smith forcing Walker to make a brilliant save.

Walsall had some pace in their side, and that’s where their threat was coming from and Porter should have doubled their lead with a good chance but he shot wide. The game turned very much our way when Robertson came on for Weller. Neil Moore shot over and then Robertson forced Walker into another top save, giving Burnley a corner on the left.

Andy Cooke is denied a goal by the linesman’s offside flag

Taken by Smith, it reached Little whose cross back in was flicked on by Swan for ARMSTRONG to head powerfully into the net for a debut goal. There were just under twenty minutes remaining and now we looked the more likely. We thought we’d got in front too when Cooke turned in a Robertson cross only to be robbed by a harsh offside flag.

At least a point looked on the cards, but it was not to be. Brissett played a one-two with Michael Ricketts on the left and pulled away from Swan before crossing the ball where an unmarked Darren WRACK headed home at the far post.

There were less than two minutes remaining and we pushed forward in the hope of scoring an equaliser, but a Walsall break saw Brissett play in Wrack who was brought down in the box. Referee Mike Dean had no option but to award the penalty which WRACK took to score his second goal of the day.

Manager Ternent laid it on the line after the game. “We deserved what we got, nothing,” he said. “It was poor defending for the goals, and with three minute to go, that was ridiculous. At that stage, with a short time to play, we were thinking we would be disappointed with a point, and we got nowt. It is back to the old story, but it was a better performance. We were disappointed to lose so heavily, it wasn’t a true reflection of the game, but we got what we deserved.”

Swan had been caught for the second goal, and hadn’t played a game at centre half since leaving Burnley a year earlier, but Stan said: “Swanny needs matches, he was sent to Coventry at Bury. But there were a lot of decent performances, although we were naïve at the back at the end. We will take it on the chin, you need to experience bad to turn it around sometimes. I don’t remember losing three on the bounce before.”

The teams were;

Walsall: Jimmy Walker, Chris Marsh, Neil Pointon, Dean Keates, Richard Green, Adrian Viveash, Darren Wrack, Jason Brissett, Andy Rammell, Michael Ricketts. Subs not used: Andy Watson, Ian Roper, Wayne Dyer.

Burnley: Gavin Ward, Chris Brass, Neil Moore, Peter Swan, Gordon Armstrong, Glen Little, Paul Weller (Mark Robertson 57), Ronnie Jepson, Paul Smith, Andy Cooke, Andy Payton. Subs not used: Carl Smith, Colin Carr-Lawton.

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).

Attendance: 4,599.

Both David Eyres and Kurt Nogan were scorers again for Preston. They’d netted in a 4-3 defeat in the previous game; now they’d scored in their 4-3 win against Lincoln. Steve Davis was the other former Burnley player to find the net, scoring in Luton’s 2-0 home win against Colchester.

Previous leaders Bournemouth drew 0-0 against Fulham and that allowed Stoke to move ahead of them into first place in the table. It had been a terrific start to the season for Stoke who had now won all of their first four games. We were one of five with three points, all of us ahead of Northampton and Macclesfield on two points and Wycombe whose latest defeat at York ensured they remained pointless.

Division Two Results

Saturday 29th August
Blackpool 2 Gillingham 2
Bristol Rovers 3 Wigan 2
Chesterfield 1 Reading 0
Fulham 0 Bournemouth 0
Lincoln 3 Preston 4
Luton 2 Colchester 0
Millwall 0 Macclesfield 0
Notts County 1 Manchester City 1
Stoke 2 Oldham 0
Walsall 3 Burnley 1
Wrexham 1 Northampton 0
York 3 Wycombe 0

Burnley Goalscorers

2: Andy Payton
1; Gordon Armstrong

Leading Goalscorers

4: Dean Crowe (Stoke), Kurt Nogan (Preston)
3: Stuart Barlow (Wigan), Barry Hayles (Bristol Rovers), Graham Kavanagh (Stoke), Jon Macken (Preston)

League Table

Pos Team pld w d l f a gd pts
1 Stoke 4 4 0 0 11 4 7 12
2 Bournemouth 4 3 1 0 7 1 6 10
3 Fulham 4 3 1 0 5 0 5 10
4 Walsall 4 3 1 0 6 2 4 10
5 Preston 4 2 1 1 11 8 3 7
6 Bristol Rovers 4 2 1 1 8 5 3 7
7 Wrexham 4 2 1 1 6 4 2 7
8 York 4 2 1 1 5 4 1 7
9 Luton 4 2 1 1 4 4 0 7
10 Millwall 4 2 1 1 3 4 -1 7
11 Colchester 4 2 0 2 5 5 0 6
12 Chesterfield 4 2 0 2 2 3 -1 6
13 Notts County 4 1 2 1 6 5 1 5
14 Manchester City 4 1 2 1 4 4 0 5
15 Lincoln 4 1 1 2 4 6 -2 4
16 Blackpool 4 1 1 2 5 8 -3 4
17 Wigan 4 1 0 3 5 5 0 3
18 Gillingham 4 0 3 1 3 4 -1 3
19 Burnley 4 1 0 3 3 6 -3 3
20 Reading 4 1 0 3 4 8 -4 3
21 Oldham 4 1 0 3 3 8 -5 3
22 Northampton 4 0 2 2 2 5 -3 2
23 Macclesfield 4 0 2 2 0 3 -3 2
24 Wycombe 4 0 0 4 2 8 -6 0
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