COVENTRY CITY 4 CITY 2
League Division 1
4th October 1977
City Tueart, Barnes
ref B Martin
City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Kidd, Watson, Booth, Barnes, Power, Royle, Hartford, Tueart – sub Henry(unused)
Coventry Sealey, Oakey, McDonald, Yorath, Holton, Coop, Beck, Wallace, Ferguson, Powell, Hutchison
The Coventry Evening Telegraph described it as one of the most gripping First Division games for years and any ” Coventry fan present at this match will still remember it as one of the highlights of following their club. ln the second half of the game Coventry touched heights never equalled before or since, scoring three times in the final seventeen minutes to turn probable defeat into exhilarating triumph.
During the 1960‘s and 70’s the Maine Road club produced some dazzling teams, none better than that which descended on Highfield Road in October 1977 as unbeaten league leaders; having conceded only four goals in eight games. Coventry, too, had started the season promisingly, and prior to a home defeat by West Brom on the previous Saturday had lost only at Old Trafford and Anfield.
…For the match in question injuries forced Milne to make his first changes, bringing in young Les Sealey for jim Blyth and John Beck for Ray Graydon. Sealey was called into action as early as the fourth minute, stooping to pick the ball out of the net after Dennis Tueart had scored from Joe Royle’s headed pass.
The Manchester club, also playing 4-2-4, dominated the early stages. Wingers Peter Barnes and Tueart were in devastating form, giving Coventry’s full-backs a torrid time. Coventry were grateful not to fall further behind, but then stunned the visitors with an equaliser on the half hour. Wallace held the ball up, allowing Beck to overlap and centre for Ferguson to shoot home.
‘Ferguson’s goal raised the temperature of the match.
Manchester attacked incessantly and Barnes restored their lead on the stroke of half-time, latching onto a long punt over Coventry’s static defence before shooting past Sealey.
Throughout the second half Coventry camped in the visitors‘ half; attacking relentlessly and creating chances galore. ln the 73rd minute the dam broke; Beck flicked on Oakey‘s cross and Fergie lobbed Corrigan to make it 2-2. Six minutes later Yorath, architect of many attacks, swung over a cross. Ferguson glided a header into Wallace’s path and the Scotsman beat Corrigan with ease.
Manchester hit back. Barnes climaxed a dazzling run with a shot that flew narrowly wide, leaving Coventry fans baying for the final whistle. With a minute left Ferguson completed his hat-trick, putting the result beyond doubt with a classic goal. Hutchison crossed from the left and the big man took it on his chest and smote the dropping ball past Corrigan…
EXTRACTS FROM AN ARTICLE IN THE COVENTRY CITY PROGRAMME 1ST JANUARY 2001