Manchester City v Manchester United 1981/82

Man utd home 1981 to 82 prog


League Division 1

10th October 1981

Attendance 52,037

ref John Hunting

City Corrigan, Ranson, Bond, Reid, Caton, Tueart, O’Neill, Power, Hutchison, Hartford, Reeves – sub Boyer(unused)

United Bailey, Gidman, Albiston, Moran, Buchan, Robson, Birtles, Wilkins, Stapleton, Moses, McIllroy – sub Coppell(35)


man utd home 1981 to 82 action ROTR



Ronald Aitken writing for The Observer 11th October 1981


EIGHT MILLION pounds worth of skill could riot produce a goal in this 103rd Manchester derby but a bumper Maine Road crowd exceeding 52,000,enjoyed a vigorous and skilful match as their high-priced heroes matched muscles and wits.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action 5

So freely have those high fliers John Bond and Ron Atkinson spent since taking over the Manchester managerships that of the 22 who started this game, only 10 had been in action in the corresponding fixture a year ago. On this evidence Atkinson’s spending in United’s cause seems to have had a more immediate beneficial effect. His players performed with the zest of men who have just heard some good news from the Premium Bonds people: In midfield the involvement of Wilkins was a revelation. He and Robson pushed purposefully through the middle in support of Stapleton and Birtles while, on the wings, Mcllroy and Moses stretched City into an anxious spell of early defending.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action10

Atkinson had decided there could he no room for Coppell, relegating the England man to the substitutes’ bench after 200 consecutive games, and giving the first offlcial hint of his intentions since bringing Moses and Robson from his old club, West Bromwich. ln fact, Coppell was thrown into action any way after 35 minutes when Birtles, whose fitness had been in doubt because of ankle trouble, was withdrawn.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action13

Robson’s skill at stealing into scoring space caused City as much early embarrassment as Stapleton’s strength and determination in the air and there were claims for a penalty after only six minutes when United’s expensive newcomer tumbled under a Bond tackle. Next Moses pumped a lovely ball forward to Birtles, who turned it into Robson’s stride, but somehow Corrigan blocked the shot between his legs.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action11

City looked distinctly shaky in the opening 20 minutes, and again came close to falling behind after Albiston and Blrtles linked to send Mcllroy through on the left side of the penalty area. He lobbed Corrigan cleverly enough but, the ball bounced off the top of the bar.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action12

Eventually Hartford and O‘Neill galvanised City into some retaliatory strikes and a couple of corner kicks from the right wing by Power plunged United into deep trouble. From the first Bond’s back header was cleared off the line by Buchan and from the second a Tueart header was repelled by Bailey’s knees with the goalkeeper knowing little about the save. But between these escapes Wilkins had emphasied the danger and speed of this re-vamped United side with a wickedly curving shot which was thrust away by Corrigan. It was the veteran keeper, playing ln his 23rd derby match, who kept City alive 10 minutes after half- time. Robson, receiving from Coppell, retained control in a penalty spot duel with a couple of defenders, but Corrigan moved out swiftly to block his shot.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action9

Robson did better in the 70th minute, driving high into the net after Coppell once more had laid the ball back for him, but the linesman was already flagging vigorously for an earlier offence by Coppell.

man utd home 1981 to 82 action8

Reeves, an unselfish and impressive worker all through for City, drove just the wrong side of Bailey’s post and as the pace grew more furious. Mr Hunting needed to caution several players and eventually to book O’Neill for a foul on Moses. Towards the end, with Hutchison running threateningly down the right, City pressed just as relentlessly as United had done in the first half, but to no better purpose. If the lack of goals was a disappointment, the draw was a fair result from this excellent match, and the watchlng England manager, Ron Greenwood, must have been pleased by what he had seen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *