21st September 1971
FROM THE PRESS BOX
PETER GARDNER WRITING IN THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS
Neil Young, the man now considered a Maine Road misfit, saved Manchester City with an 85th minute equaliser in the friendly against Hertha Berlin.
Most of the 5,775 fans had left in frustration as Young, in typical fashion thundered in a face-saving goal to give the Blues a 1-1 draw against a side who refused to come out of a fiercly defensive shape to make a match out of what had the makings of an open exciting clash between two major European sides of note.
The Goal cames as City despaired of scoring against Hertha who crammed their penalty area tight with defenders from as early as the opening minutes.
Young dropped earlier in the season and seriously considering whether he now has a future with City, whipped over a vicious corner that goalkeeper Volkmar Gross could only palm out to Freddie Hill. He immediately squared to Young, who drove the ball through a wall of defenders to wipe out the shock 74th minute lead Hans Jurgen Spirlich had given the Germans in a game totally dominated by City’s aggressive waves of attack.
Young often revealed flashes of his old self, particurlarly in a fine first half when Hill also provided some neat touches and telling passes to keep the front line ticking at peak efficiency. He and Mellor too, joined in the barrage on a hard-pressed German goal where Gross, looking like a latter day Bert Trautmann handled the ball competently to deprive City of the goals their superiority merited.
Wyn Davies however, was rarely able to utilise his capability in the air against some uncompromising German tactics. But then the big Welshman at times looked slightly jaded after a stiff early season stint and this surely, would have been a good occasion to have given him a well earned rest,too.