LUTON TOWN 3 CITY 1
League Division 1
11th December 1982
Luton Walsh, Hartford(og)
Ref D Axcell
City Corrigan, Ranson, McDonald, Reid, Power, Caton, Tueart, Reeves, Cross, Hartford, Bond sub May(unused)
Luton Findlay, Stephens, Money, Horton, Goodyear, Donaghy, Hill, Stein, Walsh, Turner, Moss
A series of narrow, and in some cases. silly defeats compelled David Pleat. the Luton Town manager to do something appropriately daft to break the pattern last week. So he changed the training around: told the team to forget Manchester City and have Friday off and abandoned the ritualistic pre-match meal. Then on Saturday he told his players to shut their eyes just before the kick-off and “have a dream”.
If 11 players were pinching themselves an hour and three quarters later it was not through surprise at beating Manchester City but at finally beating someone after eight consecutive League matches without a win. Losing can become as much of a habit as winning and it was important that Luton should do something different. So on Saturday they put the boot in, in the nicest possible way. Pleat said: “We’ve discovered that if` you don’t compete physically you won`t last in the first division. It`s more power and pace than skill.”
This new mean streak in Luton‘s game was typified by Donaghy. the archetypal “Mr Nice Guy”. His positional switch into midfield probably had rather more to do with Luton`s success than all those superstitious changes.
Still, this is about all that is left for John Bond the Manchester City manager. whose slump now measures one win in seven matches. It is ironic that Pleat. who has waited all his life to joust with game`s nobility, now finds himself` mixing with impoverished lords no better off than himself. With only 12 senior players on the staff, Manchester City`s team virtually picks itself each week. Bond said he would dearly love to drop one or two but this is impossible. The subsitute on Saturday was an apprentice a Few weeks ago.
One of those in need of some therapeutic demotion [a kick up the pants) is Reeves one of the million pound players whose select little club would now appear to be closed, thankfully. Should it reopen the first new member could be Paul Walsh. He looked twice the player Reeves was, at a third of the price. He is as mischievious as a puppy with a purity to match. ingredients that could yet save our game. The best of his many moments of originality came when, with one hand on the ground. he wheeled inside and out of those two excellent defenders Ranson and Reid, and provided a perfect cross which Hill miscued poorly with his head.
Caton. heir apparent to the throne of the English defence. said he found Walsh an awkward enemy.So clearly did his marker, Reid, who once roughly elbowed him in full view of the television camera, an action which did nothing to sooth relationships between him and his manager. The fact that the referee and Iinesman did not see the incident should not deter Bond from disciplining him.
It is typical of Walsh`s character that he ignored the assault, which followed hard on the heels of his joyous. volleyed goal. Hill, the tireless worker who served it up. could be excused For the misunderstanding with Stephens which led to an unhappy equaliser by Cross. But Stein Fortunately redressed the balance and an own goal by Hartford provided a suitably silly end to a wonderfully silIy week.
CLIVE WHITE WRITING IN THE TIMES 13TH DECEMBER 1982