Manchester City v Aston Villa 1975/76

 Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 prog


League Division 1

7th February 1976

attendance 32,331

Booth(80), Hartford(86)
Villa Gray(7)

Ref George Flint

City  Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Oakes, Barnes, Keegan, Royle, Hartford, Tueart – sub Booth(70)
Aston Villa Burridge, Gidman, Robson, Ross, Phillips, Overton, Graydon, Pimblett, Gray, Hamilton, Carrodus – sub Cowans(82)
Tommy Booth opens the scoring
aston villa home 1975 to 76 booth goal
Asa Hartford cracks in the winner
.Asa Hartford cracks in the winner
Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 hartford winner
.ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE BY JOHN MADDOCKS IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 3RD FEBRUARY 1996…Villa hadn’t won away all season, but after they scored early on, it looked as though Maine Road might stage that success.
It took seven minutes for them to take a lead when Ray Graydon and John Robson carved an opening for Ian Hamilton, who left Kenny Clements trailing in his wake before delivering a centre which was swept in by Andy G ray.
From then on, City were their own worst enemies as they jostled into each other and missed golden opportunities. Exempt from criticism were Hartford and Joe Royle, both of whom played intelligently and calmly.
Peter Barnes was foiled twice by John Burridge, who was to play for the Blues when in his 40s, and another future City stalwart, John Gidman, had an excellent game.
If Villa hadn’t wasted as much time as they did, they might have done better, but City had a secret weapon. Tommy Booth replaced Clements with 20 minutes to go, and in ten minutes, we were level. Hartford centred and Booth was in the right place to head home.
The winner came with four minutes remaining. With his back to goal, Asa hit the ball cleanly past Burridge…
Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 doyle
A MEMORABLE MATCH – an article by Peter Gardner published in the City programme 20th November 1976
ASTON VILLA amazingly completed last season without winning one single away League game. Probably the nearest they came to ending that unenviable record was at Maine Road on Saturday, February 7th when they led Manchester City for 73 minutes of a pulsating game full of incident and outstanding endeavour.
However, a grandstand finish by the Blues saw them scrape home with two goals in six minutes within the final furlong.
City-Villa meetings have been infrequent in my 12 years following the fortunes of the Maine Road club. One of the outstanding clashes was City’s Charity Shield win at Villa Park, but for sheer excitement and drama last season’s game tops the list.
Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 royle
Spice was added to the match with former City manager Ron Saunders paying his first visit back to Maine Road since he was sacked on Maunday Thursday, 1974. Appointed Villa boss the following season, Saunders steered the Midlands club to League Cup Final success at Wembley as well as promotion to the First Division behind Manchester United, Second Division champions that season.
There was, too, the fact that City themselves were shortly due at Wembley for a League Cup Final date and one man that February afternoon certainly played himself into the team for that big date.
Tommy Booth, one time centre half pushed into the background following the signing from Sunderland of £275,000 Dave Watson, forced his way back into the lime-light on the strength of being one of soccer’s super subs . . . the ever-ready reserve who can fit into a variety of roles, no matter how demanding.
Against Villa Booth came on late in the second half, it was the 70th minute to be precise, replacing right back Kenny Clements who had been having a thin time against the sprightly Villa forwards. Ten minutes later Booth swooped to head in a superb Asa Hartford cross to wipe out the seventh minute lead Scottish international Andy Gray had given Villa and then Hartford himself slipped in to clinch both points for the Blues four minutes from the end of a cliff-hanger.
Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 tueart
While Booth’s contribution was important. it was the prodigious workrate and skilful use of the ball by Hartford that made him the outstanding man of the match. I wrote at the time: “His vision and exciting ability to snap up even the half chance are the weapons of a forward Newcastle must fear in the League Cup Final.”
As first goal-maker, then goal-taker, Hartford hauled City from the verge of defeat to deny Villa their first away victory of the season. But it was no one-man performance by City. Far from it.
Joe Corrigan kept his side within sight of the opposition, pulling off at least two timely saves as Villa, negative in the main, sniped menacingly on the break as they bravely attempted to build on their early lead.
Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 tueart2
Joe Royle at the other end hustled and bustled his way into the heart of the Villa defence, unsettling the composure of the visitors who at times had 11 men back shielding their lead. Yet the outcome was never stalemate.
Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart dazzled on the wings and there were clever touches from Ged Keegan. But ultimately it was manager Tony Book’s clever use of his substitute that paved the way to success.
The City boss explained at the time: “Villa were playing with only two men up front against our back four, lt left one man virtually unemployed, that was why I pushed Tommy Booth on as an attacker at the expense of a defender.”
 Aston Villa home 1975 to 76 action 6

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