PLYMOUTH ARGYLE 1 CITY 1
League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
23rd January 1974
Ref Mr Read replaced after 26 minutes by John Yates
City MacRae, Barrett, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Towers, Summerbee, Bell, Lee, Law, Marsh – sub Leman(50)
Plymouth Furnell, Randall, Sullivan, Hore, Saxton, Hague, Welsh, Davey, Mariner, Machin, Rogers – sub Provan(unused)
AN ARTICLE FROM THE CITY PROGRAMME 30TH JANUARY 1974 ‘THE BLUES TAKE YOU THROUGH THE FIRST LEG’
3rd minute: Flying save at the upright by Furnell as Donachie drives a snorting shot from outside the penalty area. DONACHIE: “l just had a swipe at it, The ball broke loose from the Plymouth box and l went for it and so did Tony Towers. l just heard Tony shouting “hit it”, and that’s what I did.”
15th minute: Marsh teases the home defence on the left-hand side of the penalty area and finally works room on the outside to clip in a short left-foot cross which Law heads into the Argyle net. Deputy referee Eric Read disallows it. LAW: “He said it was a’foul, but l wasn’t aware of committing one. When you go up for a ball you don’t really know who you touch, l didn’t jump on anyone.”
19th minute: A quick combination between Summerbee and Law saw the City winger wriggle into a shooting position, but just inches from the corner of the six yard area he was knocked off his stride.
SUMMERBEE: “That’s the best incident l recall from the match. A couple of one-twos between Denis and I got me through the Plymouth area and created space for me coming in from the right. Suddenly I was hit by a sliding tackle which tripped me from my stride, If that had happened to Francis or Denis there would have been a penalty because they would have known it had been a foul and there was no hope of recovering for a shot. But I carried on to try and get the ball.”
23rd minute: A bad goal kick by Furnell drops straight into the path of Summerbee, who has an unhindered run through the middle with Law in support at his right hand side. But as the winger cuts from the right and Furnell advances to deny a clear sight, the shot zips low just outside the ‘keeper’s right hand post.
SUMMERBEE: “lt was an easy chance, an easy situation to score. If that had been any of the other four City forwards they would have netted. But finishing them off has always been the failure in my game, I saw Denis out of the corner of my eye, but I was already moving forward to shoot.”
24th minute: Doyle booked for a forceful tackle from behind on Davey just 10 yards inside the City half.
26th minute: Referee John Yates, called in as an emergency replacement for Swansea referee Tom Reynolds (who ricked his neck overnight), appears from the tunnel after a hectic dash from his home in Redditch (Worcester- shire). He signals he is ready to take over from deputy Read, of Bristol, who started the match in the referee’s role because he was senior linesman.
SAUNDERS: “It’s the first time I have ever seen a game like that where the referee is allowed to come on and take over from someone else. It shouldn’t be allowed. A referee has to play himself into a game, just like a player, and get the tempo of the match.”
28th minute: Summerbee booked for making a late challenge on Argyle winger Rogers, who had just played the ball away by the half-way line. The City winger had taken a buffeting only seconds earlier from one of many biting tackles by Argyle’s outstanding Ieft back Sullivan
SUMMERBEE: “I tried to get the ball, but I caught the Plymouth player. I had taken a lot of stick up to that point, which the new referee probably hadn’t seen,‘ and I thought he reacted very quickly to my offence.
MARSH: “For a referee to come on the pitch with almost half an hour of the tie gone and to react to the situation in the manner he did was quite ludicrous. He had no idea of the tempo of the game at that stage, and to book a player within two minutes of taking over was a bad thing.”
35th minute: Remarkable flying save from Macrae as Hore streaked through the mud down the right-hand side and lashed a terrific 25 yard shot that was bound inside the ‘keeper’s left post. MacRae flicked it away for a corner. MACRAE: “l was behind Booth and couldn’t really see the Plymouth player charging through, I knew he’d hit the ball and I just dived in that direction, it probably hit me more than I saved it.”
37th minute: Law injured by the touchline after going up to flick a header back to a supporting colleague.
LAW: “l got up to the ball O.K., but the ground was so soft that when I landed my foot stuck at least four inches into_ the ground. And as I rolled away I twisted my ankle. I was strapped up at half-time, but after a couple of early runs I knew it would be a waste of time carrying on.”
39th minute: A high cross from Rogers is chested down just inside the corner of the City area by Donachie. The full back slips and Davey pounces sharply and drives a fine shot across MacRae’s diving body.
DONACHIE: “l should have headed it away, but I tried to control the ball on my chest and kick it away. I knew a Plymouth player was behind me, but I thought I had time I heard the shout ‘man-on’ and I rushed my attempt to clear and slipped. I really did think I had more time, it was a very bad mistake. There was no chance for our ‘keeper to save the shot, I was upset and put my head down because it was the second mistake I had made in two games, both of them costing goals.The other was at Birmingham on the Saturday. But nobody in the team slated me. They told me to forget about it, which helped. At half-time the boss told me to forget it, too and to get my chin up.”
43rd minute: Plymouth wing half Hague gets into the six-yard area and soars up for the ball to direct a fine header down towards the net. MacRae somehow stop it in the crook of his left arm.
MACRAE: “it was more a reflex save than anything else.”
HALF-TIME: Plymouth Argyle 1 Manchester City 0
50th minute: Leman, having limbered up, replaces the injured Law, who gets a warm reception from the home fans as he heads for the tunnel.
LEMAN: “lt was difficult to warm into the game. The pitch was far worse than I thought it had been while watching from the touchline.”
65th minute: Another Summerbee corner drops over from the right and Booth outleaps everyone to firmly head the equalising goal high into the Plymouth net.
BOOTH: “l had been up for a few high crosses. There was a free kick which Rodney clipped in, which I headed wide, and a corner from Mike l had headed into the box which Rodney only just missed getting to by a foot. Furnell picked that one up. But l knew this cross was going to be mine and I simply headed it with all l could in the direction of the net. l think Hague went up with me, but l was there first
LEMAN: “l was under Tommy’s boots when he went up for the ball. I could see he was going to get it.”
70th minute: The pitch, now heavily cut up, especially in the centre, begins to take its toll.
BOOTH: “l thought they were jiggered in the closing stages of the second half. But I’ve never played on a pitch as bad as that. There were three inches of mud down the middle.”
BELL: “It must be the worst pitch l have played on for many years. I thought they tired quickly in the second half.” LEE: “On that pitch even Charlie Carroli would have looked a bad juggler. l have played on wetter pitches, but not one where the mud has been so cloying, It was really heavy. I’ve had a bad knee since the West Ham match and it had a real testing in that mud.”
SAUNDERS: “All 22 players were heroes to play on a pitch like that, and keep going for 90 minutes, Give them all the praise you can. The pitch won 10-0. l felt we were completely in control for the last 20 minutes and if the pitch had not been so bad I’m certain we would have got two or three goals. Our extra fitness was there to see.” Final quarter-hour: City, relying on dominating displays in defence from Booth and Doyle, handle the Plymouth counters and appear in control, Summerbee and Marsh even try some saucy inter-passing near the touchline.
FINAL SCORE: Plymouth Argyle 1 Manchester City 1
SNAP VERDICTS BARRETT: “Plymouth aren’t a bad side. They work pretty hard for each other. l thought the right winger (Welsh) had a few flashes. l believe we should have won.
DOYLE: “They have better players than either Walsall or York City, whom we beat in the earlier rounds. But l’m sure we’re capable of getting a few goals in the second leg,”
BOOTH: “We should have won. It was only when they scored their goal they pressurised us a little bit ”
TOWERS: “l don’t rate them. l think we’ll have the measure of them in the return. We didn’t really play as well as we can, yet l still think we could have had three goals.” SUMMERBEE: “The most pleasing aspect for me is that we proved again that we can come from behind. Over the last three years our heads have tended to go down when we’ve gone into arrears, but now all that is cured. It’s a great sign.” .
LAW: “Personally, I’m delighted with the draw. Plymouth did very well and can’t be underestimated.”
MARSH: “Eighteen months ago we would have lost that game, but now the application is in the team, There’s so much more determination, the kind we didn’t have last year.”
LEMAN: “They worked hard and fought for everything.”
SAUNDERS: ”lt was a stupid goal we gave them, but we had the style to come back. l didn’t feel alarmed at any time. l couldn’t see anything wrong with the goal which Law headed. And l thought Doyle’s booking was a little bit harsh. We’ll have to wait for the referee’s report, there was possibly something we didn’t see”.