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1959/60 Series: Arsenal v Burnley

By 1959/60 Team
April 9 2007

This edition of the 1959/60 Series reviews the Clarets trip to London as Burnley faced Arsenal at their Highbury game. One team saw a hat-trick, read on to find out who.

1959/60 Series - Arsenal v Burnley
Saturday 12th December 1959

Referee: Mr.A.W.Sparling  (Grimsby)
Linesmen: Mr.G.Walker and Mr.F.Thoday
Crowd: 26,056
Kelsey, Willis, McCullough, Groves, Dodgin, Ward, Clapton, Barnwell, Henderson, Bloomfield, Haverty.
Blacklaw, Angus, Elder, Seith, Miller, Adamson, Connelly, McIlroy, Pointer, Robson, Pilkington. 

Well here we are with Christmas nearly upon us and Burnley are making the long trip to the Capital to take on the mighty Gunners at Highbury. Going into this game the Clarets were sixth in the League with 25 points and the Arsenal currently sitting in 13th position on 19 points. The travelling supporters were hoping for a draw at best, but the result was more than they could have dreamed of as Burnley displayed true grit and determination not to mention skill to come away with both points after being two goals behind, in what turned out to be one of Burnley's finest footballing performances of the season.

From the kick off Arsenal were passing the ball around with an air of confidence, waiting patiently for any opportunity to go forward. Burnley were matching them well tactically when disaster struck, Jimmy McIlroy overstretched himself and went down with a serious groin injury. I was concern all round when Jimmy had to leave the pitch for treatment. When he finally reappeared it was obvious to all that he was going to be hampered throughout the rest of the game as he limped around the pitch. Remember in those days there were no substitutes so injured players had to carry on regardless. Arsenal sensed the worry in the Burnley team and soon took advantage when Haverty hit a hopeful shot which Blacklaw somehow managed to let slip through his hands and into the net. The Gunners now with their tails up continued to attack and were soon two up with Bloomfield scoring direct from a free kick. 

The start of the second half saw an entirely different Burnley team, with a renewed confidence it was the Clarets who were piling on the pressure, Adamson, Miller and McIlroy, yes McIlroy all playing superbly well. As a result of some fine attacking play, Burnley were awarded a penalty after Miller had been fouled in the box by Kelsey the Arsenal keeper, with McIlroy not being fit enough to take it, Adamson took the responsibility on his own shoulders and converted to put the Clarets back in the game at 2-1. It was now Arsenal's turn to feel nervous, especially with Connelly and Pilkington in inspired form down both flanks, Arsenal were now well and truly on the back foot, and it was no surprise to anyone watching the game when Connelly scored to bring the game level.

Burnley continued attacking showing great skills, and Connelly again had the ball in the net to give the Clarets a 3-2 lead. There was no stopping them now, with the Clarets playing some wonderful football, Connelly scored his third and Burnley's fourth, there was no way back for the mighty Gunners they were totally outplayed, by the final whistle it could have been a much bigger margin, but we will settle for 4-2 a truly wonderful result.

Whoops of joy around the clubs and pubs of Burnley tonight, nobody could have predicted such an emphatic win especially with going two down and with McIlroy's injury, realistically playing with only ten men.

Well done to The Clarets

Programme Review

Both teams were as printed in the programme.

The Arsenal programme was a 16 pager costing twice as much as Burnley's at 6d. It was an unusual programme for it's time as there was not one advertisement within it. Also unusual was the fact there were no welcome notes from the manager for the visiting team. In this edition they were more switched on to the 3rd round F.A.Cup draw away to Rotherham. Incidentally Burnley's 3rd round tie was away to Lincoln City, we were that year the last ball out of the bag.

I will leave you this week with a very unusual note from the Arsenal programme.

Polio was a very serious disease in those days, and very prolific in most cities.


Next game: Burnley v Leeds United Saturday 19th December 1959.

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