CITY 3 MANCHESTER UNITED 4
League Division 1
5th May 1971
City Hill(46), Lee(78), Mellor(?)
United Charlton(15), Law(38), Best(40 & ?)
Ref Clive Thomas
City Healey, Book, Connor, Towers, Heslop, Donachie, Carter, Mellor, Lee, Hill, Young – sub Bowyer(unused)
United Stepney, O’Neil, Burns, Crerand, James, Sadler, Gowling, Kidd, Best, Charlton, Law – sub Sartori
FROM THE CITY MAGAZINE APRIL 1996
Nobody expected too much from this, the final game of the season for both clubs. City, hit by a horrendous injury list, had won only one of the previous 18 league games and both sides were firmly anchored in mid-table on 41 points.
There were names in the Blues’ lineup which people were gradually beginning to recognise, many of the established stars having been sidelined for one reason or another, while the Reds used the occasion to give a League baptism to Tommy O’Neil.
Prior to the kick off on trotted the late Eamon Andrews to inform Sir Matt Busby tht This Was His Life, on the ground where he had made his name as a player 40 years earlier.
United celebrated the fame brought to their chief by establishing a three goal lead. Bobby Charlton showed an errant Neil Young how to finish – the City player had wasted at least three good chances – on the quarter hour following a Denis Law free kick, the ball taking a nasty deflection to confuse young keeper Ronnie Healey.
The Reds then scored two in as many minutes. A typical piece of opportunism by Law secured the first after a Charlton effort had run to him, then George Best tried to break Healey’s net.
Alex Stepney took some sort of pity on City in the second half straight from the kick off and cleared a ball straight to Freddy Hill, who lobbed the United keeper gratefully. The United firwards now found the City defence in a nore determined mood and Hill, Neil Young and Ian Mellor all had chances to make the scorelinse more respectable.
Against the run of play Best headed United into a 4-1 lead, but the Reds then had a severe shock as the Blues proceeded to reduce the arrears and almost draw level.
Young provided a centre from which Franny Lee, in changed boots, made it 2-4, then Dave Connor found Mellor for ‘Spider’ to provide a final scoreline of 3-4. At the end United were glad to hear the final whistle.
BY JOHN MADDOCKS