Skills off as Clarets lose at Leicester
Burnley travelled to Leicester on the back of the previous week’s outstanding draw against Leeds but came home with nothing from a 2-0 defeat after a performance in which we were second best in all but one position.
The courts had been busy in the week dealing with those arrested following our home draw against Manchester United three weeks earlier. The charges ranged from threatening words and behaviour, causing damage and possession of offensive weapons. All of them were supporters of Manchester United and all were hit with fines.
They got off more lightly than some Leeds fans might have done a couple of weeks later. After their game at Burnley, some Leeds fans visited the Hop in Trafalgar Street but police were called when one of them started up chants of ‘Leeds United’ which received complaints. Before the police arrived, they legged it, got onto Manchester Road and then Nelson Square where three of them jumped over a wall to try and escape, unaware that it was a drop of twelve feet directly into the canal.
Luckily they were able to get out without help and a CID spokesman reported: “We felt that those supporters’ spirits were sufficiently dampened and that no further action was necessary.”
There were concerns when the ambulancemen in Burnley went on a work to rule which meant they would only answer emergency calls. It was in support of a national pay claim and all twenty-five of the local ambulancemen were involved. A spokesman for the local authority was asked by the Burnley Express if it was intended to set up any provision to cover people such as sitting cases. The spokesman said: “No. We shall live with it for a while and see how it goes.”
It might have been a work to rule for ambulancemen but not for staff working for television dealers. They had been working at full stretch in their efforts to cope with the sudden massive demand for colour sets. The reason was the Royal wedding taking place that week with Princess Anne marrying Mark Phillips.
Focus, one of the town’s biggest dealers, reported: “We have had staff working constantly over the weekend coping with the rush. I suspect that the men are allowing themselves to be talked into it with the long-term prospect of seeing such as football in colour once the excitement of the Royal wedding has died down.”
It hadn’t been a good week for Mr Walter Wilkinson who doted on children. Many would visit Walter in his watchman’s hut and would sit on his knee while he sang to them. That was until one young girl said he put his hand inside her knickers. “You have killed everything that is decent in me, and I have finished doing my good works,” he told the court. Others made similar reports and the case was adjourned.
Whenever I see the words ‘Hapton Valley Colliery’ I recall the disaster there in 1962. It was still operating in 1973 but there was a danger from water threatening one seam and potentially a second. Mr Dick Bentley, the local secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers, said: “I wouldn’t say the colliery will close down, but if we get into a difficult situation over pumping there could be problems at the Union seam.”
This was potentially going to lead to a major problem with many people stockpiling coal because of possible shortages during the winter. Mr S. Tomlinson, manager of the Burnley branch of the Co-operative fuel retail service, explained: “People are ordering much more than usual; in some cases they are doubling their orders. This can make the situation very dangerous. We only have a certain amount of stock in the yard, and this will soon dwindle.”
In our last report, we brought news of Martin Dobson and Paul Fletcher winning call ups for England at full and under-23 levels respectively. Dobbo wasn’t used and was left to wait for his first cap but Fletcher came on as a substitute for the under-23s, replacing Arsenal’s Charlie George with England trailing 1-0 against Denmark. With Alan Stevenson in goal, Fletcher came on with former Claret Dave Thomas and he set up the equaliser for Bob Latchford in a 1-1 draw.
The looming power crisis was beginning to hit football with kick off times being brought forward. Burnley announced that the game at Leicester would now kick off forty-five minutes earlier at 2:15 p.m. and the special train, due to leave at 10 o’clock would now depart at 9:15 a.m. with the club having to make efforts to ensure all the stewards were there on time.
Burnley had moved back to second in the table and were travelling to take on a Leicester side who were tenth. Leicester boss Jimmy Bloomfield was predicting the game would be a feast of football. Jimmy Adamson was away on club business and unable to discuss the game or offer any team news ahead of the day. When the team was announced on the day, it was as expected but with Geoff Nulty and Peter Noble switching positions, Nulty moving to right-back and Noble into midfield.
When a goalkeeper is praised for preventing a rout it usually means the rest of the team hasn’t played very well. This game at Filbert Street proved no exception to the theory. Alan Stevenson was magnificent. The Burnley outfield players were well below par. To add to that, we came up against a speedy, skilful, all-action Leicester team which chose this day to play like world beaters.
The outcome was almost total domination by the home team and they created so many clear cut chances it was difficult to keep count. The fact that Burnley were beaten 2-0 brings us back to that man Stevenson who made so many saves, it ran into double figures, and two of them were world class.
Stevenson started the game with his one mistake when he missed a long throw from Keith Weller and could only watch as the subsequent Jon Sammels shot was kept out by Leighton James’ knees. Burnley then almost went in front in the opening minutes when a James shot was cleared off the line but Peter Shilton, in goal for Leicester, didn’t make a solitary save until nine minutes from the end.
From that moment on it was virtually Stevenson v Leicester with the two big ones coming in the first half. Midway through the half Alan Birchenall hit a left-foot shot from 20-yards which was directed towards the top corner. Stevenson threw himself forward and backwards to turn it over the top.
Five minutes from half time came a save to rank with the memorable ones from Peter Cormack at Anfield and from John Hickton at Middlesbrough in the previous season. The Burnley defence was split open as Sammels went through. Sammels, who had a reputation for spectacular goals, struck a fierce drive from about 15-yards which Stevenson answered with a lightning one handed save to send the ball spinning into the crowd.
However, just after the first of those two saves, he was beaten when Leicester took the lead. It followed a free kick which Burnley failed to get away and allowed Len GLOVER to sweep home the loose ball from twelve yards.
Any hopes of a revival in the second half ended in the third minute when Jim Thomson dwelt on the ball in his own penalty area. It allowed Glover to step in and pass to Mike STRINGFELLOW whose mishit shot bounced awkwardly and beat Stevenson.
Burnley pushed Colin Waldron forward in the latter stages of the game and we did all we could to get back into it. Martin Dobson forced Shilton into that one save which won us a corner. Paul Fletcher headed home the corner only for referee David Biddle to rule it out for supposed obstruction by Waldron on Shilton.
But Burnley had been outplayed. Was it because of Leicester’s brilliance or were we just out of touch. Both were factors, but nothing could be taken away from this Leicester performance.
“No excuses. We had an off day,” Adamson said afterwards. He added: “We were off form because our skills were off. We could not pass or centre, for example, as we usually do, the skill on Saturday was missing.
“It’s impossible to explain why a team goes off form like that, but it happens in all sport. In golf, for example, Tony Jacklin can be brilliant one day yet another time he can’t hit the ball straight.
“I could not fault the players’ effort. We tried hard enough but the skills just weren’t there and it was a good job for us that Alan Stevenson was in such tremendous form or they might easily have had six.”
The teams were;
Leicester: Peter Shilton, Steve Whitworth, Dennis Rofe, Mike Stringfellow, Malcolm Munro, Graham Cross, Keith Weller, Jon Sammels, Frank Worthington, Alan Birchenall, Len Glover. Sub not used: Stephen Yates.
Burnley: Alan Stevenson, Geoff Nulty, Keith Newton, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron, Jim Thomson, Peter Noble, Ray Hankin (Billy Ingham 67), Paul Fletcher, Doug Collins, Leighton James.
Referee: Me D. Biddle (Bristol).
Wins for Newcastle and Liverpool, at home against Manchester United and Ipswich, and Everton beating Norwich at Carrow Road saw us drop three places in the table to fifth, one point behind all those winning teams. There was a Burnley connection too in one of those games, Newcastle’s 3-2 win against Manchester United which saw Tommy Cassidy, who signed for Burnley almost seven years later, scoring twice for Newcastle –
First Division Results
Saturday 17th November 1973
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0
Leeds 3 Coventry 0
Leicester 2 Burnley 0
Liverpool 4 Ipswich 2
Manchester City 1 QPR 0
Newcastle 3 Manchester United 2
Norwich 1 Everton 3
Sheffield United 3 Derby 0
Southampton 1 Tottenham 1
Stoke 5 Birmingham 2
Wolves 0 West Ham 0
Burnley Goalscorers (League)
4: Paul Fletcher
3: Frank Casper, Doug Collins, Martin Dobson, Ray Hankin, Geoff Nulty
2: Leighton James, Colin Waldron
Burnley Goalscorers (Cups)
6: Leighton James
5: Paul Fletcher, Ray Hankin
3: Peter Noble, Geoff Nulty
1: Doug Collins, Martin Dobson, Colin Waldron
First Division Leading Goalscorers
9: Tommy Baldwin (Chelsea), Mick Channon (Southampton)
8: Mick Jones (Leeds), Malcolm MacDonald (Newcastle), Alan Woodward (Sheffield United)
7: Stan Bowles (QPR), Martin Chivers (Tottenham), Derek Dougan (Wolves), David Johnson (Ipswich)
Share this page :