10 Memorable Burnley Goals
By Dave Thomas
July 25 2017
WHY MEMORABLE: Whatever club we support, wherever we are, we all have our best remembered goals and all for different reasons.
A memorable goal might be a stunning 30-yard piledriver, a bullet header, the culmination of an intricate passing move at pace, or a marvellous individual goal where someone has set off on a run from the halfway line or even beyond, beat defender after defender, and then slammed the ball home.
And yet, maybe it’s a scruffy goal but has a huge impact on a club’s fortunes. It might even be an own-goal by the opposition and there is one of those in the selection to come.
What a job I had narrowing the selection down. Strangely enough, and not included here, one of the best ever Burnley goals was scored by Ashley Hoskins in the old Fourth Division years; he ran the length of the field and scored. But this was in an away game in the anonymous years when support was minimal and it is barely talked about.
I started with 20 goals and then chose the final 10 but it’s all so very personal. 10 people might come up with 10 different lists. There is no magic formula for what creates a memory. There is no tick list you can measure them by. Choosing such a list is subjective and based on emotion and that magic effect that goals have on us at the time. But whatever the criteria, they linger for an age in our minds. The Connelly goal has stayed in my head for an astonishing 54 years. Videos show it in grainy, flickering black and white, a memorial to a great player now passed away.
Tommy Cummings, January 19, 1952: As an 8-year old I never went to any games at Turf Moor but my father did and the goal that he always talked about was scored not by a dashing inside-forward, or a hard-as-nails centre-forward. It was scored by a centre-half.
Today that’s not so uncommon but back then in the 50s it was unheard of. A centre-half’s job was to defend and nothing else. He was there to stop others from playing. His job was to win the ball and pass to someone else or simply boot it into the stands, or head it clear of the penalty area. Nothing fancy was expected, in fact any tricky stuff and he would be given a rollicking.
It made Tommy Cumming’s goal against Newcastle United all the more sensational. If a tricky ball-playing wizard had scored it, the heavens would have rung his praises but this was a centre-half that went the length of the field from his own penalty area, evaded tackle after tackle, went on and on, and then smashed home a shot from 20 yards on a snow-covered pitch. In later years Tommy always said it was because he had no-one to pass to. It was so unusual, so extraordinary that the ground erupted in both astonishment and jubilation. My father always said that what was also so amazing was that over 30,000 people all threw their flat caps in the air in celebration. Being an 8-year old all I could think was how on earth did they all get the right cap back again? To this day I still wonder.
John Connelly, November 30, 1960: England international, impossibly good looking, a superb winger, title-winner, and scorer of so many 20-yard thunderbolts in his time at both Burnley and Man United. But no goal ever better than Burnley’s second in the game at Reims in the second leg of the European Cup after Burnley won the first leg 2-0.
It was the game when irate Burnley manager Harry Potts ran on to the pitch to throw the ball back to the correct place when Reims were continually stealing yards at every free kick with the referee turning a blind eye. The French crowd were incensed at Potts’s actions and he was manhandled and struck as he was led away to the stands.
To add to the tension Reims had made it 2-1 on the night and Burnley’s overall lead was fragile. But with Burnley fighting a rear-guard action, John Connelly intervened taking the ball from the halfway line and setting off on a mazy run at speed, eluding several tackles and attempts to bring him down. He cut through the defence with the crowd screaming for him to be chopped down but on and on he went until slashing a superb shot into the net.
Reims scored again but Burnley held on. 54 years ago, but I can still remember how at Todmorden Grammar School the following day we devoured the newspaper reports and felt such pride in what our team had done.
Frank Casper August 1973: Jimmy Adamson was manager and had created what he claimed would be the Team-of-The-Seventies, a wonderfully balanced team that had Frank Casper as one of the forwards.
It was a goal he scored at Wolves on a baking hot August afternoon and a goal that illustrates that what makes a goal memorable to a supporter are all the attendant bits and pieces, the setting, the occasion, the context.
Burnley had just won promotion back to the top division and this was an away game. What we remember was that Wolves just could not get the ball from Burnley who strung together moves of 20 passes and more. Their fans around us in the old stand were going mad with frustration. They’d been brought up on long-ball stuff and this to them was just not football. They were made to look like chumps and hated it.
The final insult for them but the crowning glory for us was Casper’s goal from the edge of the box that finished off yet another 20-pass move. Casper could strike a venomous shot with very little back lift. Before you could blink he smacked it home. The home fans were just stunned and silenced. And then they slowly began to applaud. You don’t forget things like that.
Paul Fletcher April 1974: It was same team having a memorable season. Fletcher was the centre-forward whose main role was to head the ball for others to score. Nevertheless he chipped in with goals of his own and one of his two goals at Leeds United was always described as the Goal-of-the-Decade. On the day he was recovering from flu.
We were there in the away end because we lived in Leeds. Leeds supporters and players were a snarly, ill-tempered lot and Elland Road a horrible and intimidating place to be. It was a time when Leeds were just brutal and arrogant, almost unbeatable; Revie had created a monster of a team, Bremner, Giles, Hunter, Lorimer, Charlton et al.
Little Burnley would be the next sacrificial lambs at the Elland Road altar. But they weren’t and stuffed Leeds 4-1 with another display of passing football and teamwork.
Fletcher’s goal was one of those spectacular things that are off the cuff and spontaneous. The ball came to him at head height. Hunter was in close attendance. The ball came to Fletch at an impossible angle and he rose, flipped over, did a backward somersault and scored with an overhead bicycle kick. At the time he thought he’d kicked Hunter’s head.
He has framed pictures of this goal all over his house and office. Who can blame him?
Neil Grewcock and Ian Britton, The Orient game, May 1987: I’m cheating here and remembering two goals. But how can you talk of one and not the other. Both were good but not great goals. One was a 20 yarder when Grewcock cut inside; the other a simple header (although admittedly from the smallest man on the pitch).
What separates them from the hundreds of others is again the context, the time and the place and the awful knowledge that if Burnley had lost this game they would have exited the Football League. They just had to win. It’s goals plus occasion that you remember.
So you recollect the drive from Leeds to Burnley filled with nerves and fear, the bright sunny day, the milling crowds, the sheer emotion and adrenalin. You remember wondering how it had all got to this. You wondered if the club would fold if they lost the Football League place. You remember the media attention in the press during the previous week. The situation Burnley was in was just unthinkable. The rule that the bottom club would exit the League was new and Burnley would be the first to suffer its draconian impact.
Reporters gathered like undertakers. Fans arrived in their thousands like mourners. But they won. They were saved. That’s why you remember the two goals and the names of the scorers.
Djimi Traore January 3 2005: What a daft goal this was, an own goal by a Liverpool player in an FA Cup tie when Steve Cotterill was manager. But who will ever forget how comical it was, and to add spice it was the only goal of the game that Burnley won in front of just over 19,000.
Rafa Benitez was the Liverpool manager and thought he could bring a Liverpool team with its big players absent. It was a time too when he wasn’t 100% popular with Liverpool supporters. After this result Liverpool fans in the away end vented their fury at their team and Benitez but Everton supporters were in seventh heaven.
Burnley weren’t exactly playing top football. Fans called it Cotterball. But they were up for this game and when Chaplow played a low ball across the 6-yard line there was no danger or threat at all to Liverpool… until…
For some inexplicable reason Traore on the 6-yard line decided to showboat and try a fancy-Dan drag-back and turn to control the ball. All he had to do was hit it upfield but no he had to be clever and in slow motion he dragged the ball back, it seemed to ricochet off his other leg and slowly it rolled over the goal-line to put Burnley 1-0 up.
None of us knew whether to laugh or cheer, so we did both. It can be seen on YouTube in all its hilarious glory.
Martin Paterson, play-off second-leg, Reading, May 2009: Burnley had taken a narrow and vulnerable 1-0 lead to Reading and Reading were a decent side. The prize was Wembley. We watched on TV staying with friends in Hornsea. To say we were nervous was an understatement. Surely they would fall at this penultimate hurdle we thought with typical supporters’ gloom and pessimism.
They and Martin Paterson had other ideas. They weathered the storm and slowly took control. Reading looked spent. And when Paterson scored a goal that was truly world class, they were down and out.
Receiving the ball just inside his own half by the right touchline he set off at speed on a diagonal run that took him ever nearer to the Reading danger area. The defenders seemed to fall away and back off allowing him to run ever deeper.
On the run at speed he took aim and fired from fully 35 yards. What happened next was surreal. Watch it on Youtube. It seemed the shot was so far out and heading into the top corner but in some kind of slow motion. Surely the keeper would save it. But he didn’t and the shot arrowed home. I still watch replays of this goal from so far out and still think the keeper must save it. But he never does.
Wade Elliott, May 25, 2009 Wembley versus Sheffield United: the day, the occasion, the Wembley location, the build-up, the coach journey down the motorway, the thousands of fans converging along Wembley way. All you can say is what a day; the sun shone, the result was perfect, and the goal that decided the play-off final was a goal that would have graced any game and any stadium anywhere in the world.
The tears flowed afterwards; it was the £60million jackpot result that saved Burnley from administration. The one solitary goal in the 12th minute was never enough to calm the nerves and make us feel confident; it was only afterwards in the calmness of TV replays that we could appreciate just what a marvellous goal it was.
Wade Elliott set off on a mazy run from deep inside his own half evading tackles and shrugging off defenders. He released the ball to McCann who went forward a few paces and tried a shot that cannoned back off a defender into the path of Elliott again. Elliott was 25 yards out and calmly took aim with a wonderfully placed deliberate shot that went into the top left corner of the goal giving the keeper no chance at all.
In hindsight now, it all seems so pre-determined, as if the football Gods had decided this was Burnley’s day and Elliott would be the one special man and would hit a goal that was so sumptuous, it would be remembered forever and have the pundits drooling. It was the magical goal that brought top flight football back to Burnley for the first time since 1976. The tears flowed and mixed with the champagne like never before.
Danny Ings, Blackburn, March 9, 2014: It was the goal that ended the long wait and this was the wait for a win over Blackburn Rovers. It had been over 30 years since Burnley had enjoyed the bragging rights. The win had been so close in the previous two meetings but Blackburn had levelled the scores. In the Premier meeting back in 2009/2010 Blackburn had won at Burnley with a penalty, the result of a blatant dive. We despised that.
By March Burnley were in the driving seat and heading for promotion. Blackburn were in disarray and the opportunity had never been better for a win. Burnley had the momentum and the added motivation of a possible Premier place.
Thousands of fans made the appalling journey by compulsory bus, a degrading trip made necessary by police control. They were horrified when Blackburn took the lead. This was not in the script. But centre-half Jason Shackell equalised with a brave header. Could Burnley get the long-awaited winner?
Danny Ings was there, in the right place at the right time to slot the ball home when it fell for him in the area. It was a history-making goal. It settled old scores. It was a goal and a win that cemented Burnley’s place in the top two to further rub Blackburn noses in it. The emotion it induced was unbelievable; the hoodoo was broken. Blackburn faces were dejected; Burnley faces were ecstatic.
Ashley Barnes, Monday April 21, home to Wigan: Win this game and promotion was assured. You can watch both Burnley goals again and never tire of seeing them. But it was the first that was beyond special, not just because it broke the deadlock, but because it was a goal that any team in the world would have been proud to score. Watch it on Youtube.
It was a sublime goal of blistering pace beginning with the goalkeeper’s throw and then the ball was moved through from end to end in no more than 15 seconds from start to finish. And the context was that it set Burnley on the way to cementing promotion in front of a huge crowd.
Goalkeeper Heaton rolled the ball to centre-back Duff. From Duff a cross-field ball to Arfield and a one touch pass from Arfield to Barnes who lays it back to Jones with just one touch. Jones takes a couple of touches and sends it wide to Kightly on the right; Kightly one touch to Ings, Ings one touch to Marney who then bursts forward and lays it across the area to Barnes who has come steaming in to slam it home.
It was a goal that was described as ‘a thing of beauty.’ Manager Dyche raved about it. Wigan were a good side having a run of good results but were just sliced open and bewildered by the move. We, the spectators, were open-mouthed at its perfection and brilliance. It was goal of such excellence, and precision; the kind of thing that players work and train for, sealing promotion with bravura and panache.
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In place of that own goal I would consider a few goals from my visual memory bank.Such as Cochrane's cracker in the 1-0 win at rovers March 78.
Also waldron's walloper from 30 yards in the 1-1 draw at deepdale that confirmed the 2nd division title in 1974.
Or maybe another Casper rasper in the home game v Villa earlier in that title winning season.
How about that Blake bullet of a free kick from 30 yards against Preston.
Maybe not life or death goals but quality goals all the same.
Lest We Forget:
In the European Cup game against Hamburg I was stood behind the goal at the Cricket Field end, Brian Pilkington shot from a long way out, but you could see it was curving in from the second it left Pilky's boot. It was absolute bedlam when it hit the back of the net.
The John Francis goal that night at York, he leapt up onto the fence in front of us and he was no more than 10 ft away, I'm convinced he was looking right at me, but he probably wasn't.
Andy Cooke's late winner in a Cup game at Derby sometime in the 90s. They were managed by Jim Smith with Steve McClaren as coach and were about 6th in the PL at the time. It was the first time in years we'd managed to beat a higher division club in the Cup and for me it signified that we really were on the way back.
Ian Brennan, a 35 yard screamer at Anfield around 74, we won 1-0, and Liverpool didn't lose many at home. On the radio after the game Shankly blamed the state of the pitch for Liverpool's defeat, although it looked very much to me that both teams were playing on the same pitch. But that was Shankly, a legend maybe, but never a gracious loser.
For me, Willie Irvine scored some belters - flying headers although I can't give you a specific match. Robbie Blake away at QPR in 2007 or 2008, turned on a sixpence on the edge of the box and left the keeper standing. Hendricks goal last season was a bit tasty too.