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On This Day - February 10

10 February 2016

Burnley 9-0 Crystal Palace, FA Cup second round replay.

Burnley’s first-ever meeting with Crystal Palace, then members of the Southern League, had taken place four days earlier at the huge Crystal Palace Stadium, then of course the venue for the FA Cup final itself.

The Burnley players were reported to have been somewhat overawed by the vastness of the ground but they played their part in what the Burnley Express described as “a typical, thunderous cup tie.”

At the end it was goalless so it was back to Turf Moor for the replay, an FA Cup encounter that would re-write the record books.

From the first whistle the Turfites tore into Palace as if their lives depended on it.

Burnley hadn’t been particularly prolific scorers that season, only 25 in 13 previous home matches, and that included five against both Gainsborough and Stockport.

That total had been matched by half time against Palace, thanks to a couple from an unstoppable Dick Smith, screamers from Walter Abbott and Jonathan Cretney and one from a mercilessly pressured Palace defender.

In the second half flying winger Charlie Smethams got in on the act, both Abbott and Cretney scored again with Smith smashing in a 20-yarder to complete his hat trick ten minutes from time.

It had been an absolutely spellbinding performance by the Turfites, in front of a crowd of over 12,000.

Veterans with experience going back to the 1880’s agreed that it ranked among the best-ever displays by a Burnley team.

There has inevitably been some debate over the years about the quality of an opposition that appeared to have let Burnley walk all over it and establish a record score that, although equalled twice, in 1957 and 1984, still stands more than a century later.

In the Edwardian era the Southern League was certainly just as strong as the Second Division of the Football League.

Palace themselves had collected some notable recent FA Cup scalps, including League Champions Newcastle United in 1907 and, in the round before their clash with the Turfites, they had despatched the cup-holders Wolves, who, ironically had beaten Burnley easily 5-3 at Turf Moor earlier in the season!

The fact was that the Burnley players, to a man, had provided a phenomenal exhibition of football.

The Burnley Express’s verdict was that “in an embarrassingly one-sided game Palace were annihilated and on that day Burnley would have beaten any team, anywhere.

Just as many chances were missed as were scored and the Palace goalkeeper had a fine game.”

As if to portend what was to come on a memorable April afternoon five years hence, Gateshead’s Herbert Bamlett had been the referee in both games against Palace, as he would be in Burnley’s epic FA Cup triumph on their return to the Crystal Palace Grounds in 1914!

Burnley team (235):
Jerry Dawson, Fred Barron, James McLean, Jonathan Cretney, Alex Leake, Hugh Moffat,
Jonathan Morley, Arthur Ogden, Richard Smith, Walter Abbott, Charlie Smethams.

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