CITY 2 BLACKBURN ROVERS 1
League Division 2
27th October 1984
City Lowey(24 og), May(34)
Ref Alan Saunders
City Williams, May, Power, Reid, McCarthy, Phillips, Smith, Baker, Cunningham, Wilson, Kinsey – Sub Beckford.
Blackburn O’Keefe, Branagan, Rathbone, Hamilton, Keeley, Fazackerley, Miller, Lowey, Garner, Thompson, Brotherston – sub Quinn
ANDY MAY SHOOTS CITY INTO A 2-0 FIRST HALF LEAD
…It might have been claimed that Blackburn were unlucky not to salvage something from the game. Some press reports made them out to be quite City’s equals in the first 45 minutes . . yet the Blues were two up.
There was a suspicion of handball by Andy May early in the first half as he blocked a John Lowey header but referee Alan Saunders, gave the City defender the benefit of the doubt.
The first goal came from the boot of Lowey after 24 minutes. City indulged in an effective fiveman passing movement which ended with Steve Kinsey sweeping the ball into the box looking for a City striker.
He didn’t find one but he did locate the outstretched boot of Lowey. The defender had been running back and he deflected the ball into his own net past ex-Torquay goalkeeper, Vince O’Keefe.
The visitors immediately tried to level matters and their leading scorer, Chris Thompson, had a chance to place a header past Alex Williams, but his effort bounced up and over the bar.
Come the 34th minute and City went two in front. Phillips put in a cross from the left and it was only partially cleared as the bubbling Kinsey blocked off the escape routes. May swooped and in a flash the ball was nestling in the back of the net.
The Blackburn manager, Bobby Saxton – later to work for the Maine Road club – must have had some inspiring words to say to his team at half-time. Even before the crowd had settled properly, Blackburn had pulled a goal back, courtesy of the late Noel Brotherston.
There was a mix-up in the heart of the Blues’ defence as Thompson crossed into the box. Paul Power was wrong-footed and could only parry the ball as far as the Northern Ireland international who beat Williams from close range.
Straight after that incident, Brotherston set up a great chance for former England youth captain David Hamilton, but he fired wide. Next, Clive Wilson popped up on the line to deny substitute Jimmy Quinn, whose header was well on the way to bringing the scores level.
City defender Mick McCarthy picked up his fifth booking of the season, needing just one more before an automatic ban was imposed. But manager Billy McNeill refused to condemn him on that score. “You have got to expect a centre half to be banned at some time,” was the opinion of the City boss. “Otherwise,” he added, “he has not been doing his job correctly.”
The City chief went on to say that he thought the tangle that led to the booking – between McCarthy and Rovers’ Simon Garner – had been innocuous. “What I object to is players getting booked for stupid things like dissent.”
There were some good individual performances on the day by City players, namely Nicky Reid – “This boy will run and run for Manchester City,” enthused his manager – Gordon Smith, Steve Kinsey, David Phillips and Clive Wilson.
Bobby Saxton was less happy with his team. He fumed: “I got the impression just a couple of minutes after the final whistle that some players were content just to lose 1-2.
“Whether it’s because we were beaten here 0-6 last season, I don’t know. But the attitude of some players – and I stress some players – has hit me harder than the result.”
ADAPTED FROM ‘ONE TO REMEMBER’ IN THE CITY PROGRAMME 2ND MARCH 1996