THIS match wasn’t about the football it was about a big club helping out their smaller neighbours in a time of dire need - and it was spot on.

In 1962, many Stanley fans blamed Burnley for contributing to the Reds infamous exit from the Football League.

It’s documented that Clarets chairman Bob Lord recommended then Stanley Vice President Sam Pilkington should close the club due to the Stanley’s £60,000 debt and the fact National Insurance contributions hadn’t been paid.

Pilkington listened to his friend, a letter of resignation was sent to the Football League and the rest is history as Accrington Stanley ceased to exist - for six years at least.

But, if the Reds survive their recent threat to their existence and pay the tax man some of £308,000 they owe him in the next two months, then this time they owe a great deal of gratitude to their Turf Moor neighbours.

Burnley boss Owen Coyle was quick to leap to Stanley’s rescue after hearing of their plight and, in less than a week, a hastily arranged fundraiser at Turf Moor on Tuesday night added around £40,000 towards saving Stanley.

5,301 fans turned up in the rain and wind to support the Reds as well as Coyle attracting the Burnley fans, during international break, by playing new loan signing David Nugent along with a number of his million pound players.

The football didn’t matter - although Stanley boss John Coleman is always the first to claim he hates losing anything from tiddlewinks to football but he will have accepted this loss with gratitude.

And the reaction of both fans was heart-warming in a time where the divide between the "have’s" and "have nots" in football has never been greater - with Manchester City star Robinho reportedly the highest paid player in the Premiership on £160,000 a week. Two weeks of his wages and Stanley would be saved.

The Accrington fans - famous in League Two for their banners - unveiled a "Thank you Clarets" which was greeted with a round of applause by the home fans.

Everyone joined in the rendition of "There’s Only One Owen Coyle" and even a "Stand up if you hate Blackburn" although Stanley fans will be mute on this if their Ewood Park neighbours can help them in their time of need too.

One song which has been sung around the various League Two grounds of "You’re only here for the Stanley" has never been so appropriate.

The football was a sideshow although try telling that to ex-Burnley youth team player and Clarets fan Chris Turner who got to play on Turf Moor on what must have been a memorable moment for him.

Or for the young lads which Coleman gave a run out to, getting to play on a perfect surface in front of probably the biggest crowd of their young lives.

Or indeed to Scottish Under 21 international keeper Alan Martin - Coyle has a number of fellow Scots in his side and he must have been impressed by the Reds loan stopper. Burnley fans got the chance to see their new hitman Nugent for the first time and got a good look at Ecuador winger Fernando Guerrero who, with his nifty footwork, looks like he will become a firm favourite at Turf Moor.

He was the one who opened the scoring, running at a make-shift Stanley defence which included youngster Bee Ami and trialist Ross Lloyd, and firing past Martin.

Wideman Chris Eagles, bought for around £1.5m, took a quick free kick which was deflected past Martin for the second while the ex-Manchester United man could have had a hat-trick.
But the best moment of the first half for Stanley was Burnley-born Turner rifling a 20-yard shot just over Diego Penny’s goal - that could have been the best moment of his career so far if it had found it’s way into the net.

"I get knocked down and I get up again," was an appropriate song to play as the players came out in the second half with a variety of changes in the friendly.

Another young Burnley talent Jay Rodriguez got on the end of Eagles’ cross to make it three before scoring a fourth at the death.

Nugent missed a host of chances when it looked easier to score although the Clarets fans are hoping Evertonian Nugent is saving them for their Premiership clash with Liverpool tomorrow.

But the Reds did have their chances to give the visiting 1000 fans more to cheer - Michael Symes forced a superb one-handed save from Penny as the ex-Shrewsbury striker looks stronger every game he plays for the Reds and his chip was narrowly over the goal.

The score didn’t matter and, as chief executive Rob Heys summed up: "In 1962, the heart was ripped out of the town with the loss of Accrington Stanley FC.

"The club has come a long way since then and it will not happen again"

At least Burnley did their bit to fight it.

BURNLEY BOSS Owen Coyle said: "There was more than 5,000 fans here and that speaks volumes. everyone is delighted and there was some good quality football on show.

"Everyone played their part. Both Accrington and Burnley fans played their part and everyone was signing from the same hymn sheet.

"A lot of hard workwas put into Tuesday night at short notice but everyone wanted to help.

ACCRINGTON Stanley mananger John Coleman said: "It was a fantastic response certainly from Burnley and something that won’t be forgotten for a long time.

"At such short notice and with the foul weather, you begin to think things are consipiring against you but fair play to everyone who came on.

"I think our supporters are grateful for the amount of people who turned up although I was slightly disappointed that there wasn’t more from Accrington.

"But everyone who came should be applauded because they are true football fans.

"They have some good quality players and it will have done our YTS’s theworld of good to come up against that calibre of players.

"Burnley have got some fantastic players and hopefully they can build on the platform they have given themselves at the start of the season and go on to better things and stay up.

I paid to get in to the Burnley game and I tried to encourage as many people as I could to pay. This is just the start - we have got to push on now for the next eight weeks.


Burnley starting XI: Diego Penny; Richard Eckersley, Michael Duff, David Edgar, Brian Easton; Chris Eagles, Kevin McDonald, Jay Rodriguez, Fernando Guerrero; David Nugent, Steven Thompson. Sub not used: Danny McDonald.

Stanley starting XI: Alan Martin; Ross Lloyd, Bee Ami, Darran Kempson, Peter Murphy; Chris Turner, Andy Procter, Louis Melo, John Miles; Sean McConville, Gary King.