CITY 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 0
League Division 2
10th November, 1984
Ref Ron Bridges
City Williams, May, Power, Reid, McCarthy, Philips, Smith, McNab, Cunningham, Wilson, Kinsey – sub Melrose(59)
Birmingham Seaman, Gorman, Hagan, Wright, Armstrong, Shearer, Kuhl, Clarke, Harford, Bremner, Hopkins – sub Rees(45)
Following up a fine, and unexpected, mid-week Milk Cup replay win at West Ham, the Blues stayed on song and clinched their 6th home League victory (from 7 games) to move into the top 6 of the table for only the second time this season. And they did it against a Brum side with the best away record in the Division.
The win would have been more convincing but for the top form goalkeeping of David Seaman. The best in his repertoire was a first half save from Neil McNab in which the ’keeper pushed the shot onto his own bar and then pounced to smother the rebound with superb reflex action.
Billy Wright played a captain’s role at the heart of the Brum defence, but it was clear the visitors were below par after a savage run of injury problems.
Sparkling for our City was Clive Wilson and it was typical of the torment he gave the opposition that inspired the move for our winning goal in the 24th minute. With skill and pace he eased away from Jim Hagan and Martin Kuhl and fed the ball into Steve Kinsey, the striker in turn prodding it to David Phillips. It was an accurate low shot from Phillips which found its target, giving the Welshman his first goal for our Blues since being signed the previous summer from Plymouth Argyle.
Wilson deserved a goal of his own with a cheeky chip from 35 yards out which caught Seaman strayed off his line, but the ball just drifted over the top of the bar.
Brum’s approach was tough, living up to their reputation, but it brought first half bookings for Kenny Armstrong for a foul on Tony Cunningham in the 6th minute and a caution for Wayne Clarke who appeared to kick Nicky Reid after the home defender had made a clearance in the 37th minute.
Brum never looked like penetrating the home defence and their best moment came from Wright with a 25 yard free kick. Their cause wasn’t helped with the loss of striker Mick Harford, who was forced to stay in the dressing room at half time due to an early injury. After this, Brum offered no threat at all.
When our Blues introduced Jim Melrose for his debut as replacement for the injured Steve Kinsey (achilles tendon) almost on the hour, there was almost a dream start for the newcomer. Melrose put himself about with great determination to impress and he could easily have made it a scoring start when he had a free header from an excellent Paul Power cross, but he glanced it wide. Melrose then saw Wright kick clear his snap shot with 5 minutes to go.
It was Wi|son’s silky skills, backed up with a grafting job from McNab, that provided the day’s dazzle as the midfielder celebrated his 50th appearance in style. The link down the left flank provided by Power was a vital ingredient, too.
At the centre of defence Reid and Mick McCarthy remained dominant, further indication that their understanding was growing to powerful effect. They made sure that little got through and Alex Williams had only one shot of note to save. Said home manager Bill McNeill: ”Clive Wilson is becoming a very good and exciting player and he now believes in himself. He is entitled to be confident the way he is playing. “This was our biggest gate of the season and l’m pleased we kept up the good work we started in mid-week at West Ham. Maybe people who have been staying away will now come back.”
FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 28TH DECEMBER 1985