CHELSEA 1 CITY 0
European Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
14th April 1971
Ref P Kazakov
Chelsea Phillips, Boyle, Harris, Hollins, Dempsey, Droy, Hudson, Smethurst, Webb, Cooke, Houseman – subs Baldwin, Weller
FROM THE PRESS BOX
MERCER OUT-PATIENTS SURVIVE
KEN JONES WRITING IN THE DAILY MIRROR 15TH APRIL 1971
Manchester City sorted out a team from the lame, the sick, and the inexperienced and drove Chelsea close to despair in their Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final first leg at Stamford Bridge last night,
Thirteen men were used to try to undermine City’s spirit in the face of an injury crisis that would have broken the heart of a lesser club.
But thirteen Chelsea players were only able to manage one goal and it may not be enough to see them through the second leg at Maine Road on April 28 and on to the final in Athens next month.
One goal was their only reward for persistent endeavour which invariably foundered in the face of brave City resistance, or died in the hands of their giant goalkeeper Joe Corrigan.
One by one, City’s top stars top stars have tumbled in pain in recent weeks and three of their substitutes last night would have been unfit to take a vital place in the action.
Chelsea without Peter Osgood’s skill and Ian Hutchinson’s power chose to play defender David Webb among their forwards.
But the space which Webb found against a half-pace Liverpool in the League on Easter Monday was denied him last night by willing youngsters and astute seniors.
Early in the match, when Webb brought determination to Chelsea attacks, there was the suggestion that City would be unable to survive the crisis.
But as the game wore on and they were able to contest the middle of the field with some assurance, Chelsea’s task became harder.
A snap shot from England forward Francis Lee, went wide of John Phillips’ right hand post in the 15th minute to suggest that Chelsea had need of caution in front of their own goal.
But although City’s attacks were only sparodic and Chelsea’s more persistent, there was no sign that the game could be taken away from Joe Mercer’s men.
Throughout it all, the firm control of Russian referee Kazakov kept the mood within acceptable limits and the merest flicker of dissension brought instant admonishment.
Chelsea made a decisive move at the start of the second half, replacing Charlie Cooke with Keith Weller, and wiithin a minute they had taken the lead.
Webb’s determination took him into a position where he could lob the ball on and Smethurst, running cleverly behind City’s defence, prodded a neat goal.
But although attacks struck earlier over the top of City’s defenders were often threatening, it was two throw-ins which took Chelsea closest to another goal.
Webb’s power turned them into half-chances but the ball was helped from the line on both occasions with Corrigan scrambling in confusion.
With time running out, Chelsea brought off Smethurst and sent on Tommy Baldwin.
Weller shot fiercely wide of Corrigan’s left-hand post and Chelsea had to settle for the narrow lead which they now take into the second leg.