Burnley v Liverpool - FA Cup Final, 25th April 1914
Feature by Tony Scholes
Updated Friday, 25th April 2014
The Clarets won the FA Cup for the first and, so far, only time in their history by beating Liverpool 1-0 at Crystal Palace 100 years ago today on 25th April 1914.
Here we recall the game through the eyes of our local newspaper the Burnley Express and their reporter at the game - SPORTSMAN.
BURNLEY 1 LIVERPOOL 0
My first word, so to speak, must be one of congratulation to Burnley and the players at the deservedly happy position in which they find themselves.
They visited the Palace as Finalists and upset the one-time tradition that new-comers are not successful at the first time of asking; but then that was sure to happen because Liverpool, their opponents, were there also for the first time. However, Boyle's men were the successful side, and, in my opinion, just deserved the victory. But it was a near thing, except the all-important factor, the goal which was scored by FREEMAN fourteen minutes after the resumption.
The game will be not only a memorable one from a Burnley point of view, but also from a historical standpoint, for it was the first time that the reigning monarch has graced the proceedings and presented the Cup and medals. Under the circumstances, His Majesty's gracious act, seeing that he is the Duke of Lancaster, was peculiarly appropriate for though the meeting of two Lancashire teams was not unique in the history of the competition, it is of rare occurrence.
And it served to show the loyalty of the followers of football to the throne, and it is questionable whether any act of His Majesty has aroused such enthusiasm as prevailed. Though the game, on the whole, was not up to Burnley's best standard, for which a number of extenuating circumstances can be advanced, and will be dealt with later, the sight at the Palace was worth all the cost and trouble of making the journey.
The outstanding features of the occasion, except Freeman's goal, of course, for I am writing of football, to my mind, were the fine evolutions by the three bands - The Irish Guards, The Liverpool Regiment and the Drum and Fife Band of the same, and the singing of the National Anthem to the accompaniment of the combined bands, the strains of which were nearly drowned so loud was the volume of sound emitted from the throats of 80,000 loyal subjects, which could not fail to make an impression on the King, and compensate him for any trouble he had been put to in arriving on the scene to honour the occasion. It was a spontaneous outburst of loyalty, and the sight of the many thousands of uncovered heads was a most impressive one and will long be remembered, while the National Anthem was never more heartily and spontaneously sung by an assemblage of Britishers, for there were other people there besides Lancashire folk.
If the game was not a best on record - Londoners freely expressed the opinion it was quite as good as any Final for years - and did not produce the greatest sum of money on record, it was nevertheless, a unique occasion, and will probably be known in history as the "Monarch's Match". Burnley have made history many times, but on Saturday they put the coping stone on the magnificent name they have built for themselves in the football world. It was indeed a great occasion and thrilled more thousands than were present for the news of the result was awaited in all quarters of the globe.
Teams for Trying Tussle
There were about 80,000 people on the ground, which presented a fine spectacle, but I don't think the ground is the best in the country on which to play a Final, except, perhaps, for its holding capacity, for the going, at any rate at this time of the year, was anything but conducive to the best football, especially under such beautiful meteorological conditions as prevailed on Saturday, for the weather was summer-like and the surroundings of the Palace were in their richest garb. I have been in the country around many scores of times, though never so early on in the year, except when Burnley played Crystal Palace and decoyed them to Turf Moor in order to annihilate them, but I never saw the foliage of the forest trees to such perfection as on Saturday. The weather was summer-like and quite unsuitable for such a struggle as that in which Burnley and Liverpool were engaged. And the ground was too hard, which combined with the wind and the lively ball to spoil the game from a football point of view.
There was an absentee on each side, Dawson from Burnley and Lowe from Liverpool, and on that score Liverpool were probably the harder hit. Dawson, to his credit be it said, did not think he would be able to do himself full justice, and thus Sewell got his opportunity to distinguish himself, and did much towards achieving the object of the side, the crowing ambition to bring the Cup to Burnley and make themselves possessors of the Cup medal.
The teams who wore their regular colours, lined up as follow:-
Burnley: Sewell; Bamford, Taylor; Halley, Boyle, Watson; Nesbitt, Lindley, Freeman, Hodgson and Mosscrop.
Liverpool: Campbell; Longworth, Pursell; Fairfoul, McKinley, Ferguson; Sheldon, Metcalf, Miller, Lacey and Nicholl.
Referee: Mr. H.S. Bamlett (GATESHEAD); linesmen, Messrs. Talks (LINCOLN) and Rogers (LONDON).
Play in Preliminary Phases
Boyle won the toss and availed himself with the wind and it is no exaggeration to say that the Turf Moor men had the better of the opening phases, they showed the neater approach to good football, for, generally speaking, the play lacked the fire one would expect to see in a game of such vital importance, and the prevailing feeling was that the players at the start were troubled with nerves and one can quite forgive them under the circumstances.
But though Burnley showed neater football, the Liverpool men were quite as dangerous. Inside ten minutes Taylor slipped on the treacherous, slippery turf, due to the summer-like conditions prevailing, and the Burnley goal was endangered in consequence, and at the end of ten minutes he got in the way of a fast shot from Nicholl which struck the Burnley back in the face. It appeared to stun Taylor, but the probability is it saved the Burnley goal, though, of course, Sewell may have saved the shot. The ex-Gainsborough man was eagerness itself and once ran out as the Liverpool centre came with the ball. If he had stayed at home, he might have been beaten, but in all probability he disconcerted the on-coming forward, who shot just outside the post.
While Sewell was tested a few times Campbell had the greater share of the goalkeeping, and one of his best efforts was in saving from Lindley at the expense of a corner. Burnley did the greater part of the pressing, but the best chance fell to Metcalf, but the defence stood the strain of a serious assault at that period. Every now and again, the Burnley wing men got going. Mosscrop centring fairly well on occasions, but the ball was much to lively for the Burnley forwards to control with their usual degree of accuracy, with the result that on quite a number of times the ball went into touch, while at other periods the backs thought discretion the better part of valour and kicked into touch. Off-side also spoiled play at times. The result was that the exhibition was comparatively poor during the initial stage, but, even allowing for the heat, play did not descend to the level of the semi-final at Old Trafford. On the whole, the play of the first stage was even and at the interval there was a blank sheet.
Freeman's Fine Finish - Turfites' Tonic
For the first ten minutes the play was such as to cause the feeling that extra time would be required, but after a few minutes the game underwent a great change, and the struggle was waged a a quicker pace, with the result that there were far more incidents which bordered on the thrilling than had characterised the opening portion of the game. As regards custodianship, Sewell was the first to be troubled, though the first corner, wrested by Lindley, fell to Burnley. Sewell cleared on the "instalment" system two or three times and the Burnley backs were found employment, but at the end of just inside fourteen minutes there was no doubt in the minds of Burnleyites as to the outcome of the fray, though in fairness it should be said Liverpool played up well after the fatal blow, as the sequel showed it to be, inflicted by Freeman.
From a throw-in on the right Nesbitt sent across to Hodgson who cleverly headed the ball to FREEMAN, who in a twinking first time shot, without any pulse-beating preliminaries shot the ball into the far corner of the net. Campbell had not the ghost of a chance. For a spell nobody knew exactly what had happened, but there were a few Burnleyites behind the goal, and they first gave the welcome news to the onlookers at a distance, for they, like the Liverpool defenders, were completely bewildered by the rapidity with which the feat was performed. It was a fine goal and no doubt, and merited the enthusiastic shouts from Turfites assembled and the admiration of others.
For a time, Burnley were, in familiar language, all over their opponents, and with a little steadiness would have scored at least on two occasions. At the same time, as the game progressed Burnley did not get it all their own way. Two splendid chances of scoring were missed. From Mosscrop's fine centre from the line, Lindley was given the best chance of the match but his final touch struck the corner of the post and crossbar, while on the other occasion Mosscrop got down on his own and when at close range shot over.
Towards the end Liverpool caused great anxiety, for three or four fine long shots were directed at the Burnley goal, which Sewell saved in fine style. One was a long, dropping shot from about halfway which he secured after the fashion of an out-fielder at cricket after watching the flight of the ball and patiently waiting for it. Another he saved on his knees and, a third he saved just under the crossbar effecting a clearance from the rebound.
Burnley men had been in the wars. First Taylor was hurt, and then Boyle came out of a collision with Fairfoul badly damaged and fell evidently suffering great agony and was carried to the side of the field for attention. After a few minutes the skipper was able to resume. Then Hodgson received an accidental kick in the face, and received attention resuming with a plaster on his face. These mishaps caused anxiety among the Burnley section, but happily the players were able to finish the game, and the defence being sound, Burnley won a memorable victory by 1-0.