When we met at the Turf back at the end of August things weren’t looking too good for either team. Palace were in 18th place with five points from five games and this coming after an excellent start with a win at Deepdale on the opening day of the season. We were far worse off, occupying bottom place without a single point on the board and just one goal scored in four games.
Nothing on the day suggested that there would be a great change of fortunes and the game ended in a 0-0 draw. At least it heralded the start of our season by bringing us our first point.
Things improved for us after that and so they did for Palace too although it was still to take some time for them as they won just one of their next seven games. But somehow despite the poor results they were able to keep well clear of the relegation places and were almost comfortable in 17th place.
Mr. Misery Trevor Francis was under severe pressure. Never popular with the Palace fans many wanted his head and when he wanted support from his Chairman it was hardly forthcoming. Chairman Jordan put him under further pressure by saying that he expected promotion with the players already at the club.
The last of those games in the poor run saw a new keeper in goal for them, a keeper instantly recognised by Clarets fans. Nik Michopoulos joined them on loan with their two first choice keepers out injured.
He conceded a couple on his debut as landlords and tenants, Palace and Franchise, drew 2-2 but they then hit nine goals in the next two games with former Birmingham striker Andy Johnson scoring hat-tricks in both games.
Nik eventually lost his place when Alex Kolinko regained fitness and has since returned to the Turf but Palace have now climbed to 9th place in the table with 4 points more than the Clarets and they are currently on a six match unbeaten run in the league.
The FA Cup saw them at Bloomfield Road, Lancashire’s half a ground, and in these strange surroundings found themselves a goal behind. But two goals from Tommy Black saw them through and they have drawn one of the plum ties in the 4th round with Liverpool at Selhurst Park, a game that will be televised live.
They should have played at Bradford City last week but that was postponed due to a frozen pitch and their only league game this season was a 1-1 draw against Coventry City at home on New Year’s Day.
It wasn’t an entertaining match by any stretch of the imagination and both managers admitted being pleased to have got a point.
Both goals came from substitutes with Coventry taking the lead through Gary McSheffrey before Palace equalised three minutes later with a goal from Ade Akinbiyi who came back from injury only on Boxing Day having been out all season.
The Palace team was: Alex Kolinko, Danny Granville, Kit Symons, Tony Popovic, Hayden Mullins, Danny Butterfield, Shaun Derry, Julian Gray (Wayne Routledge 59), Aki Riihilati, Dele Adebola (Ade Akinbiyi 59), Tommy Black. Subs not used: Will Antwi, Cedric Berthelin, Gary Borrowdale.
Despite his two hat-tricks Andy Johnson has scored just eight league goals this season but remains as Palace’s leading scorer with both Tommy Black and Dougie Freedman next with five each.
With just one draw each both Palace and Burnley will be looking for their first league win of 2003.
He played for both
He was obviously recommended by Heath’s new assistant John Ward who had signed Matthew on loan the previous season for Bristol Rovers.
It is probably fair to say that in two seasons at Burnley he never really won the fans over but at the end of his second season he played out of his skin as we battled to stay in Division Two and had an outstanding game against Plymouth in what proved to be his last game for the club.
There was no doubt that Matthew was an excellent passer of the ball and read the game well but he wasn’t a great defender or tackler and was often exposed in these situations and that contributed to the unrest in the stands.
He had started his career at Chelsea and made a number of first team appearances whilst also having a brief spell at Luton on loan. Palace paid £150,000 for his services but in over two years he never established himself in the first team squad and after that loan spell with Ward at Bristol he joined the Clarets.
He was in and out at Burnley and played in just about half the games whilst with us and he was one of a number of players who were allowed to go out of contract in the summer of 1998 without the club doing anything about it.
Stan came in but having finally been made an offer he chose to leave and join Northampton Town. He made his debut for them on the opening day of the season and then played in a League Cup tie three days later.
A serious back injury kept him out for the rest of the season but he was back in the squad at the beginning of the 1999/2000 season. A nine minute appearance as a substitute though on the second Saturday was to be his last.
The injury had beaten him and at the age of 28 he had to retire. He is now back where he started, at Chelsea, coaching the youngsters and also does media work and has covered some Burnley games for Radio Lancashire.
He is hoping to return to Burnley in the near future when he could just be making the half time draw.
League results in the last 20 years
Click HERE to see all our results against Crystal Palace since the first meeting, a 4-2 win in 1969 at Turf Moor.
Last Time in the League
Crystal Palace 1 (Morrison 36) Burnley 2 (I Moore 23,63) – Nationwide League Division 1, Saturday 1st December 2001
Perhaps this wasn’t the best we had played all season, in fact there had been any number of better performances, but we did more than enough to see off a Palace side playing in front of their new manager for the first time.
But even when we gave possession away, and we did far too often, we were superb at the back and a couple of occasions apart never looked like conceding. The goal we did concede was a complete mix up as a bit of head tennis was played but that excepted the defence was faultless.
It wasn’t Paul Cook’s game – he had been incredibly banished to Wigan the day before – but it was without doubt Ian Moore’s game. Without a goal in thirteen games he finally came good here and scored both.
The first was followed a weak Palace clearance from a corner but his second was a superb strike after some excellent build up play initially by Kevin Ball and then Alan Moore.
There was no doubt that this was relief for Mooro after such a long time, it had to be because there was no other reason for running round Selhurst Park on a cold December day with no shirt on.
But once we were back in front there was no doubt that we were going to win it and the only think we had to contend with was the constant whinging of Clinton Morrison who just about contested every decision with the officials. Amazingly he never did get a yellow card.
But it was Burnley’s day and Coxy and Arthur stood firm at the back. Things were only going to get better for Arthur, eight days later he arrived at Deepdale.
The teams were,
Crystal Palace: Matt Clarke, Dean Austin, Hayden Mullins, Simon Rodger, Dougie Freedman, Clinton Morrison, Tommy Black, Gregg Berhalter, Aki Riihilahti, Julian Gray, Jovan Kirovski. Subs not used: Alex Kolinko, Christian Edwards, Stephen Thompson, Steven Kabba, Robert Kember.
Burnley: Nik Michopoulos, Dean West, Ian Cox, Arthur Gnohere, Graham Branch, Glen Little (Tony Ellis 80), Paul Weller (Kevin Ball 49), Tony Grant, Lee Briscoe, Alan Moore (Lenny Johnrose 85), Ian Moore. Subs not used: Luigi Cennamo, Andy Payton.
Referee: Paul Taylor (Cheshunt).