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Archive - Monday, 2 February 1998
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Claret and blue battering
BIZARRE. Simply bizarre.
One could almost hear a shiny-faced, prattling television talking head exclaiming - how did they do that?
Anyone tuning in to Saturday tea-time scores would have thought York City have been well and truly stuffed. And it's true, a 7-2 defeat does not look good on anyone's season CV.
But those who witnessed the club's heaviest League defeat for more than three decades may well have been candidates for the casualty ward suffering from mass neck-ache. The shaking of heads in sheer disbelief was of epidemic proportions.
A studied look back in anguish of the switch-back match reveals that for almost half of its duration City were the better side - and not just marginally either.
The visitors were in control for all but the final five minutes of the first-half by which time they were leading to a power strike from Alan Pouton. Burnley were as edgy as you might expect from a team lodged at the bottom of the division. They could not string one pass, let alone two, together.
All Burnley had had to cheer until then was a panicky clearance from Mark Winstanley bobbling back off the roof of the Bob Lord stand to hit City defender Barry Jones on the head just as he was about to take a throw-in with a replacement ball.
The most wild imagination would not have predicted a seven-down dazed for City concussed by an astonishing transformation to a game that went belly-up.
Even as a claret and blue tide of goals zipped, slipped, scuffed and whistled into the City rigging, by the time the game was up Burnley had still not played exceptionally well, while City maintained a purposeful buzz going forward.
As if to underscore that incredulous notion Burnley manager Chris Waddle brought on scrapper Jamie Hoyland to stiffen the home midfield because City were pulling all the creative chords even as the hosts were 5-1 to the good.
But while Burnley's defence looked far from solid City's back-line finished the Turf Moor torture about as convincing as protestations from the White House that Bill Clinton is a monogamous saint.
From a Mount Rushmore cragginess which had blunted Burnley in those opening 40 minutes City degenerated into rank blush more.
Once Burnley levelled and then quickly took the lead in the five minutes before half-time the Minstermen's rearguard committed suicide.
No-one was exempt from the lurch from inspiring to inept. Even goalkeeper Andy Warrington, who had risen above the errors that undermined last week's crash at home to Millwall, was ensnared by a mistake-riddled last - and lost - 50 minutes in Lancashire.
Burnley's first goal was an excellent riposte to Pouton's 70-yard gallop right down the middle that capitalised on a Winstanley air-kick to let the midfielder smash home from 15 yards.
Burnley's lone impressive centre-back Neil Moore levelled with a brave, rasping header. Then a blunder by the recalled Paddy Atkinson, who, until then, had shone down the left in tandem with Paul Stephenson, opened a route for a vicious cross from Glen Little touched in by skipper Tony Barras. At full-stretch Barras had no option but to lunge in ahead of the predatory Andy Payton.
Little did he or any of his team-mates, or anyone else in the ground, realise that his injurious intervention was to be the prelude to a veritable avalanche of goals.
As City caved in Burnley fired number three, four and five - from Chris Brass, Andy Cooke and Cooke again - for a nap hand that, excluding half-time, had taken a mere 18 minutes.
Changes from the bench were blighted by a facial injury to substitute Richard Cresswell, while Barras' looping header to temporarily trim the arrears was scant consolation. Whenever Burnley advanced a goal threatened and almost inevitably materialised.
A trio of players most definitely did not deserve to be on the end of such a hiding. Pouton and midfield ally Steve Bushell were tireless prompters, while striker Gary Bull made the most intelligent use of the ball by anyone on the pitch.
Almost a year ago two goals at Turf Moor eased the Minstermen into club folklore as City's first victors on the Clarets' patch. Two goals this time around and they were embroiled in a quite different, dispiriting, chapter of distress. Now there truly is a character test.
Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.