Palace improve record
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Sunday, 16th April 2006
Burnley went eighteen years without playing Crystal Palace, after our relegation at Selhurst Park in 1983 we didn't meet again until after our promotion in 2000.
Since that promotion home wins have been difficult to come by and of the four meetings this side of the Millennium only one of them has gone our way and that was during the first half of the 2001/02 season when we stormed to the top of the league.
When Palace arrived at Burnley in February 2001 we were just recovering from a poor run over Christmas and New Year, the period when Stan Ternent had accused the players of having too much plum duff.
The week before we had been involved in an amazing game at Crewe, a game of four penalties, six goals, and a first goal in league football for a Crewe youngster by the name of Dean Ashton.
The Palace game saw us in much better form and we were soon in front through Paul Cook and looked set for a convincing win. The second goal just wouldn't come, we had a strong shout for a penalty turned down, and eventually Palace drew level with a goal from Finnish striker Mikael Forssell who was on loan from Chelsea.
We went looking for a winner but with ten minutes to go Stan Ternent replaced leading goalscorer Andy Payton with John Mullin. None of us could have ever known at the time but Payts was never to start a game again for the Clarets even though he would remain with us for another two years.
Just as it looked as though we would have to settle for a point it got worse when Clinton Morrison scored a stoppage time winner after a mistake by goalkeeper Nik Michopoulos. The result meant we slipped to tenth in the table.
A year later and, after a fantastic start to the season, we had lost the winning habit and had picked up just two points from the previous five games but Palace were bang in form having won their last seven games. We needed to get back to winning ways and we did just that against Steve Bruce's team.
It was a game that Palace were unfortunate to lose, they out passed us at times but it is a game I will always remember for two individuals – midfielder Paul Cook and referee Mark Clattenburg who was taking charge of a Burnley game for the first time.
As was the case in the previous season we took an early lead through Cooky and this was one to savour. Down at the Jimmy Mac end of the ground, to the right of goal and from a very tight angle Cooky lobbed keeper Matt Clarke. It was a goal that the two managers disagreed on, Stan quite rightly spotted it as a piece of genius, bad loser Bruce incredibly suggested it was a fluke.
He ignored his assistants at every opportunity, missed some bad challenges and elbows, and nitpicked over nothing things.
It is fair to say that he's improved since, although he's been out of the game for the last three months, and at least his total incompetence didn't cost us the game.
Forgive me for getting excited about our 0-0 draw against Palace in the 2002/03 season. It was an awful game with neither side able to create anything close to a real chance. But it was our fifth game of the season and we hadn't collected a single point in the first four whilst conceding ten goals.
It didn't lift us off the bottom of the league but at least it got us going in terms of points and was in fact the start of an unbeaten run that was to last ten games. It's happen as well it did, otherwise we would have been relegated at the end of that season.
There were high hopes when Palace next came calling, on the opening day of the 2003/04 season. It was the season that they ended by winning promotion to the play offs whilst we just about avoided relegation.
But in soaring temperatures hardly suitable for football we were expected to beat them to get the season off to a good start but in a game of five goals, two red cards and a hat trick we found ourselves off to a bad start again.
We looked to have won a penalty in the first minute as Luke Chadwick was brought down but as referee Foy looked set to point to the spot the assistant's flag went up for offside. It was a let off for Palace who were then in front on six minutes through a penalty of their own.
Lee Roche pulled back Dougie Freedman who got up to hit the penalty home past Brian Jensen who was to have something of a nightmare. We needed to get back into the game and five minutes later Foy was pointing to the spot again at the other end and this time there was no intervention from the assistant.
There's no doubt that Chadwick had been fouled but it was some distance outside the penalty box. To make things worse for Palace Wayne Routledge was sent off for the foul. Robbie Blake was about to step up to take the penalty when Foy decided to go and discuss things with the flag waver, and somehow they got it right and gave the free kick. It mattered not as Robbie hammered home the kick for the equaliser.
That should have been game, set and match to the Clarets, in front against ten men in the incredible heat but we had not considered our goalkeeper who was to turn the game on its head with two dreadful mistakes.
On the half hour as Freedman broke down the right he left his line, hesitated, stopped, hesitated again and it all left him in no mans land and made it easy for Freedman to net his second.
Twenty minutes into the second half and the Palace striker completed his hat trick. Jensen got to a Johnson cross but having appeared to catch it he lost it and it dropped invitingly to allow Palace to go back in front.
A minute later and the thug who is Shaun Derry, he was very fortunate to still be on the pitch after two awful challenged in the first half, did finally get sent off and that left Palace defending a lead with nine men for over twenty minutes.
Sadly we didn't have a single shot on goal during that time and Palace had little difficulty in recording a second Turf Moor win. Now it is time to get back to the days of beating them at the Turf.