LIVERPOOL 0 CITY 0
F.A. Cup 4th Round
3rd February 1973
Ref Pat Partridge
City Corrigan, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Jeffries, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh, Lee, Towers – sub Mellor(unused)
Liverpool Clemence, Lawler, Lindsay, Hughes, Lloyd, Thompson, Keegan, Cormack, Heighway, Toshack, Callaghan – sub Hall(unused)
A MEMORABLE MATCH RECALLED BY PETER GARDNER From City programme 29th December 1976
You’ve got to dig deep in the record books to find the last time City won at Anfield, but one of their most inspiring performances against Liverpool in the Mersey cauldron came on a biting February afternoon when the weather matched some of the tackling in an enthralling goalless encounter, crisp, harsh and coldly clinical.
It was a game in which City’s then boss, Malcolm Allison, stood by his vow that his side would scorn their entertaining, attacking approach to adopt a more negative outlook. The ends justified the means with a goalless draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
…However, City were never the brutal bullies they were made out to be in a tie that was at times a nasty, niggling affair.
On the day, City silenced the Kop.They played it tough to more than earn their draw, but no one could accuse them of being violent in a game where, particularly in the second half, they were clearly the superior side.
Two of the three worst tackles were punished, City’s Tony Book had his name taken for a foul on Steve Heighway, and Larry Lloyd was cautioned when he clashed with Tony Towers. Towers, however, was lucky to escape after a particularly nasty crunch on Peter Cormack early in the first half.
Many critics later pointed to this incident as the spark that ignited the bitterness that was to follow. But the truth is that it was never more than that, bitter. Although City were ahead 37-12 on the foul count, Liverpool also played it uncompromisingly hard and I made the comment later that “too many people subscribe to a theory that opponents must lie down and be steam-rollered when facing Liverpool at Anfield.”
City certainly exposed that myth, when, in the last half hour, their football flowed leaving the Kop gasping for breath. It is a rare occurrence to hear that noisy embankment actually whistling for a game to be ended. Yes, City were THAT good. They achieved all they set out to do and at the end none summed it up better than Mike Doyle when he said: “I have never seen us better organised. If we had been wearing red shirts you would have thought we were Liverpool at their peak”
The secret of City’s success came in their midfield domination where Doyle, Colin Bell and Towers, who was particularly outstanding, completely overshadowed the Liverpool trio.
Rodney Marsh was never really in the game, it was not his cup of tea that day, and Francis Lee shouldered the attacking weight with Mike Summerbee also constantly troubling the home Side.
But for me the man of the match that afternoon was Derek Jeffries, an immaculate defender who was then reminding Sir Alf Ramsey about his England under-23 credentials… Jeffries, a latter day Bobby Moore, plugged every gap and used the ball magnificently in a defence that yielded nothing as the Blues went a long way towards laying that Anfield hoodoo.
Highlights of the clash saw Corrigan save brilliantly from Cormack’s flying header, a Lee effort go over the line only for it to be disallowed for a previous foul on Clemence and another great Corrigan save, this time when he came out to smother an effort from Toshack who was allowed to carry on though looking at least five yards offside.
Then, in the closing minutes, City looked as though they would get the break for which they had worked so hard when Summerbee rose high to turn in a header that bounced off the top of the crossbar.
Seconds from the end, Marsh caught Clemence off his line, chipped the ball over the head of the Liverpool goalkeeper only for Cormack to clear with a kick over his own bar.