A look back at previous FA Cup meetings between the Imps and the Clarets…Saturday’s tie against Burnley will be the fifth time we have been drawn against each other in the FA Cup with just Grimsby Town (11 ties), Gainsborough Trinity (nine ties) and Barnsley (six ties) being more frequent opponents whilst Burnley now join Crewe Alexandra on five ties. Three of the previous four meetings have required replays with Burnley progressing on three occasions whilst we have just one victory to our name.
The first meeting came in 1904/05 and with both teams safely in mid table in Division 2 the FA Cup was a welcome break from the League. Drawn away City spent a week preparing at Mablethorpe before travelling to Lancashire on the Friday prior to the game. A crowd of around 5,000 gathered with the Echo reporting that the clatter of the clogs of the home fans rang musically around the streets prior to kick off! Dennis O’Donnell had a goal ruled out for offside before his brother Magnus did give City the lead but before half-time Burnley equalised through Thomas Marshall and battle had to be resumed at Sincil Bank the following Wednesday.
The City players retired back to Mablethorpe prior to the replay whilst Burnley sent their players to Cleethorpes for training but both arrived safely at Sincil Bank for a 2.15 afternoon kick off on a snow covered pitch, described as treacherous underfoot, with around 2,000 spectators in attendance. Marshall put the visitors ahead just before half-time but there was still time left for William Watson to equalise before the interval.
Burnley retook the lead 13 minutes into the second half through Joe Smith but again it was short lived as four minutes later Freddy Simpson equalised before Magnus O’Donnell struck the winner near the end to send City through to a home tie with the cup holders Manchester City.
The 1959/60 season saw the next meeting with City, in the Second Division, drawn at home to a Burnley side that would end the season as League Champions. The crowd of 21,693, our fourth highest home FA Cup crowd, saw the visitors take a first half lead through Ray Pointer but by the end of the game they were hanging on for a replay with only 10 fit men as right back John Angus injured his groin early in the game and had to continue at outside left in those pre substitute days.
Ron Harbertson hit the bar for City in the second half before equalising with 25 minutes left and a famous victory was nearly achieved when Andy Graver bundled goalkeeper Adam Blacklaw over the line but the goalkeeper had the presence of mind to throw the ball out before he carried it over the line with him and no City forward was following up to take advantage.
City, who didn’t have floodlights at the time, were quite happy to agree to the replay being played under Burnley’s lights with manager Bill Anderson being quite honest and stating “an evening kick off will bring a bigger gate and we need the money.”
The second biggest FA Cup attendance we have ever had – 35,456 - did turn up and they saw the hosts take the lead from the penalty spot through Jimmy McIlroy after Ron Allen had fouled Brian Pilkington and before half time Pilkington doubled the lead with a header. John McClelland had City’s best chances having a goal disallowed for a foul in the build up and rattling the bar near the end but it was Burnley who went through to the Fourth Round and a trip to Swansea.
The 1976/77 campaign saw another Third Round meeting as Third Division City travelled to Second Division Burnley and stunned the hosts by taking a seventh minute lead when John Ward took advantage of a defensive mix up to slip the ball past Alan Stevenson. Much to the delight of most of the 11,583 crowd Burnley hit back four minutes later when Peter Grotier was unlucky when he made a superb save from a Paul Fletcher header only to see the ball drop to the feet of Peter Noble who tapped it into the net.
Fletcher then put the Clarets ahead only for Alan Harding to equalise in the 64th minute and right on full time Stevenson just managed to keep out a Percy Freeman cross shot to earn a replay.
The midweek replay saw a crowd of 11,414 hoping to witness an upset and the right to visit Port Vale in the Fourth Round but on a bone hard pitch and with flurries of snow falling City wasted several good chances, Freeman hitting the post, Ward dragging a good chance wide and were made to pay in the 70th minute when a Malcolm Smith drive hit Phil Neale and fell into the path of Fletcher who scored the only goal.
The final meeting came in the First Round in November 1996 and it is interesting to note that admission prices for City supporters were £12 for adults and £6 for children and it was pay on the day with the crowd numbering 6,484. Red Imps Travel Section coaches cost just £7.50 and with kick off at the usual time of 3pm they left Sincil Bank at 10.30am.
City were mid table in Division 3 with the Claret’s likewise in Division 2 and it was the home side who took the lead on the half hour mark through a Nigel Gleghorn header. City drew level two minutes into the second half when Gareth Ainsworth saw a header cleared off the line and from the resultant corner Jae Martin swung the ball across and Gisjbert Bos headed home.
The equaliser heralded a spell of City dominance but Lincoln born Marlon Beresford and his Burnley defence held firm and the match swung again on 72 minutes when Terry Fleming was sent off following a brawl and within three minutes Burnley scored what proved to be the winner when Damien Matthew slammed the ball past Barry Richardson and earned a Second Round tie at Walsall.