CITY 2 ASTON VILLA 1
League Division 1
5th September 1990
City Ward(pen 47), Pointon(80)
Villa Platt(pen 82)
Ref J Watson
City Dibble, Brightwell, Pointon, Reid, Hendry, Brennan, White, Lake, Ward, Quinn, Heath – subs Redmond(55), Allen(unused)
Villa Spink, Price, Mountfield, McGrath, Gray, Nielsen, Daley, Platt, Cascarino, Cowans, Gage – subs Olney(84), Yorke(unused)
GOALS FROM MARK WARD AND NEIL POINTON
… We were up against Aston Villa at Maine Road, only my third outing wearing the captain’s armband.
… I jogged onto the pitch guiding the City mascot with one hand and saluting the City fans with the other. I let the little lad take a pot shot at Andy Dibble before steering him towards the centre circle for the perfunctory photos and toss of the coin. As the mascot dashed back to the tunnel to his proud parents, I took the opportunity to mobolise my back four in the final moments before kick-off.
“Remember your jobs today lads, especially at those set pieces. Don’t stop talking, communication’s the key, okay, and let’s try and keep ourselves switched on for 90 minutes.”
And after some handclaps and backslaps we all took up our positions ready for the battle to commence.
The first hour of the match saw us comfortably holding Villa’s attack with the two Tony’s, Cascarino and Daley failing to make much of an impact. It was after half-time though, that we started to get more of a grip on the game. In the 65th minute I advanced towards goal in a mazy run, skinning Cascarino and Paul McGrath, nutmegging Derek Mountfield before having the ball nicked off my toes by a diving Nigel Spink.
Then it happened.
Intercepting a pass to Cascarino. I jumped in and clipped the ball to my team mate Mark Brennan. As I did so my right boot got stuck in the turf, my body twisted awkwardly and, with an almighty crunch, I landed in a heap on the ground. As I hit the deck I felt a wierd clunk in my knee, followed by a sharp searing pain.
I lay on the pitch in the foetal position, frozen with shock, totally unaware that my life had changed forever.
I was carried off the pitch flanked by physio Roy Bailey and the club doctor, Norman Luft, too dazed and shell shocked to acknowledge the thousands of upstanding City fans.
…”Try to relax, Lakey” said Roy “I’ll pack it with ice now, and I’ll have another look at it after the game, we’ll probably know more in the morning, too be honest,” he added, before grabbing his medical bag and rushing back to his pitch-side duties.
I lay on the treatment table, my leg throbbing, my heart racing and my head swimming with frantic questions. What kind of injury is it? Have I broken something? Is it just a bad twist? What’s Graham Taylor thinking right now? Will he think I’m injury prone? How long will I be out? Just a fortnight? Maybe a month? Please god don’t let it be the whole season.