CITY 1 EVERTON 0
FA Cup Semi-Final
Played at Villa Park
22nd March 1969
Ref W Handley
City Dowd, Book, Pardoe, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Summerbee, Bell, Lee, Young, Connor – sub Owen(unused)
TOMMY BOOTH BOOKS A PLACE AT WEMBLEY
MY DREAM GAME – TOMMY BOOTH AN ARTICLE BY PETER GARDNER, CITY PROGRAMME 8TH NOV 1975
Scoring the crucial semi-final goal that sent Manchester City to the 1969 FA Cup final proved even more memorable than winning at Wembley for Tommy Booth, the Middleton-born centre-half who made a first team return helping in the classic comeback from being two goals down at Tottenham.
Booth, a teenager in his first season of top-class football at that time, came up to grab the last-gasp match-clincher in a Villa Park cliff-hanger that kept the momentum of success flowing at the height of the Mercer-Allison regime at Maine Road.
Says Booth: “That goal will remain as the most important I have ever scored in my career. It was fantastic getting to the Cup Final, but hitting the winner against Everton makes it a must as my dream match.”
Recalling that moment of magic in the dying stages of a finely balanced clash, Booth says: “Neil Young had gone through on the left flank and cut inside to try a shot. He sty ick the ball well and Gordon West, the Everton goalkeeper, did not know much about it, But fortunately for West, the ball struck his shoulder and cannoned ahay for a corner.
thought that was it – our last chance of the game gone and a replay on the way. However, I still went up for the corner which Neil floated over. Mike Summerbee headed the ball down to my feet and I just turned to hit it with all I had got.
“You can imagine the delight when the ball flew into the roof of the Everton net. There was just time for the kick-off and a rapid Everton raid before the match was over and we were in the Cup Final.”
What of the rest of the game? Says Booth: “We had been constantly working at pushing up on Everton. Joe Royle is always good in the air and the main task had been to keep him out of the picture.
“In addition we had David Connor in the team-and you know the sort of job he always used to do in shadowing Alan Ball all over the park. Overall, I feel we emerged the better side on the day and thoroughly deserved our victory.”
You can’t argue with Booth. City were the better team although at the same time I felt Everton were the frightened men of that particular semi-final. The pre-match build-up hailed the clash as one fit to grace Wembley itself. But Everton scorned the attacking flair for which they were famous at that time.
City won because they were bold and because they were brave enough to come out battling all the way. Everton, I maintain, were beaten before the start with manager Harry Catterick planning holding tactics in the hope that his side might snatch a break with a goal to which they could hold on to.
In fact, they were almost identical tactics that Everton had employed in 1966 when beating Manchester United in the semifinal and again in 1968 when they beat Leeds at the same stage.
It didn’t quite work out that way against the Blues, however. Tommy Booth saw to that in a glorious finale to a nail-biting semi final. A few weeks later Booth helped to complete the job as City beat Leicester 1-0 at Wembley, Young getting on the mark.
City deservedly took the cup, and Booth got a winners medal in his first season at the top.
MIKE DOYLE SUSTAINS AN INJURY AND FRANCIS LEE IS BOOKED
…It was a really hard fought game at the ground where I had made my debut eight years earlier. The Toffees were a very strong outfit at the time.
…They were strong in all departments and had internationals throughout their side. However we were the team that possessed all the really skillful players. We were the team who were happy to have the ball at our feet. It was 0-0 at half-time and Joe said we just had to get out there and play the same way. We were carrying out these instructions as best as we could but with the crowd looking at their watches, I had one last shot at goal which was tipped away by the Everton keeper Gordon West. I thought a vital last chance had gone. Somewhat disconsolately I floated over the resultant corner and Doyle flicked it on, in the resulting scramble young Tommy Booth bundled home the winner.
We were so elated we nearly crushed Boothy as we all piled on top of him. City were back at Wembley after thirteen long years.
BIG MAL CELEBRATES
The thoughts of Everton fan Peter Fisher (thanks for taking the time to write this Peter)
During the 1968/69 season Everton were described by the Chairman of Wolves as the finest football team in the post-war years. Sadly I was at Villa Park on that freezing cold grey day they lost to City. Having already done double on City that season Everton simply didn’t get going against a City team that flooded midfield and played Lee and Young on the break with some success. Late in the game Johnny Morrissey escaped his two markers and crossed for Alan Ball to turn a shot into the corner of the goal only for Harry Dowd to make a superb stop that was cleared off the line by Alan Oakes. The Villa Park PA system announced the venue and date for the reply ( Burnden Park, Bolton the following Wednesday ) just before City scored. Lots of Evertonians behind the goal at the Holt End started leaving the ground saying we couldn’t play any worse that we did today.
Tommy Booth then scored from a corner in the very last minute scuppering the chance to put things right after a poor performance that day. City, who were current league champions deserved to win. Everton went on to become league champions the next season, but sadly would disappoint again in an FA Cup semi final two years later,
The hideous Yellow and blue second kit they wore at Villa Park made them look transparent and diminutive. Everton had also worn this kit in the 1968 FA Cup final when they also drew a blank and lost in the dying stages.
Fabulous memories of two great teams from the late 1960s when the FA Cup provided more excitement and drama than todays diminished FA Cup competition.