Manchester City v Manchester United 1980/81

man utd home 1980 to 81 prog


League Division 1

21st February 1981

Attendance 50,114

Scorer MacKenzie(58)

ref Trelford Mills

City Corrigan, Henry, McDonald, Reid, Booth, Gow, MacKenzie, Power, Hutchison, Bennett, Reeves – sub Tueart(unused)

United Bailey, Nicholl, Albiston, Moran, Buchan, Birtles, Wilkins, Coppell, Duxbury, Macari, McIllroy – sub McGarvey(75)

man utd home 1980 to 81 action
A solitary goal, if that, was always likely to be the maximum ratio in yesterday’s intense and private confrontation at Maine Road and it was privilege of Mackenzie to drive it spectacularly home after a frantic hour.
Normal judgement has to be suspended for games like this with so many emotional implications, but the result keeps City on the course mapped out for them by John Bond. It does nothing, however, to make life easier for Dave Sexton, not withstanding a spirited United performance.
On a raw afternoon, it was soon obvious that one of football’s actions, namely that the closer the proximity of the two teams the more hectic and frenzied the contest, readily applied here.
There were a good deal of nervous errors and if City were slightly more cultured in their build-up, United showed sufficient commitment to wipe away memories of their recent League form. Thus they enjoyed a generous part of the first half even though the blustery wind and uneven pitch tended to make close control something of a lottery.
Early on, Bailey was obliged to make a good save at the near post from Power as City began with a fluent piece of football that was remarkable for this type of game. United’s riposte was an excellent through ball from Macari, an early influence on the game in his more advanced role alongside Birtles.
Birtles, the butt of some cruel jokes because of his inability to find the net for United (sample: what was the first question the American hostages asked on their release? … has Gary Birtles scored yet) had one of the more clearcut opportunities of this inevitably tight match when Wilkin’s diagonal ball sent him clear. The United striker seemed to freeze fractionally and Corrigan, racing off his line, booted the ball away.
Bailey made an important save early in the second half, flinging himself to his right to palm away Bennett’s header from Henry’s cross. Not long afterwards, with the more positive virtues of either side tending to cancel each other out, it looked as if there would not be anything as clear cut again. On the hour, however, came Mackenzie’s match-winning goal.
City again managed to put together some of the more fluent football that had characterised their start to the afternoon and when the move was carried on, Bennett turned neatly passed a defender before moving the ball on to Power. Ironicaly, his cross appeared not to go to it’s intended destination but found Mackenzie with time and room at his disposal and he did the necessary.
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