WALSALL 0 CITY 0
League Cup 2nd Round
2nd October 1973
City Healey, Book, Donachie, Doyle, Booth, Oakes, Summerbee, Bell, Marsh, Lee, Towers – sub Barrett(unused)
Walsall Kearns, Harrison, Fry, Taylor, Bennett, Caswell, Atthey, Fraser, Shinton, Wright, Buckley – sub Saunders
FROM THE PRESS BOX
BLUES TO TRY AGAIN
PETER GARDNER WRITING IN THE MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS 3RD OCTOBER 1973
It was never pretty to watch, goalless draws seldom are, but at least the means justified the end as Manchester City achieved their best League Cup result since winning the trophy three years ago.
They deliberately allowed themselves to be hauled down to Third Division level in order to check lively Walsall in a second round tie that was boring and colourless.
Manager Johnny Hart admitted as much when he said: “We had to play them at their own game. It was no use going out to play football and finish up losing.”
The remark has a certain amount of logic about it.
… There were times when Fellows Park might have been another graveyard for City hopes, but survival was achieved and a Maine Road replay should now see the Blues comfortably into round three,
However, few friends were won in a game where once again City revealed their inability to shine away from home. There remains something sadly wrong with the side, but putting a finger on the problem presents great difficulty.
But full marks must go to Ronnie Healey for surviving a personal crisis with a brave display on what may be his last game for the time being.
With City admitting they are ready to spend £150,000 on a new goalkeeper, he kept hopes alive with good saves from the bustling Bernie Wright and, in the last seconds, bravely saving at the feet of Alan Buckley.
City’s best effort was a superb shot from Francis Lee that cannoned off the crossbar following the only real class move of the night.
In fact, it was at times alarming to see star-spangled City struggling against a defence in which 17 year old Brian Caswell, a full time professional for just a month, played magnificently.
It is becoming monotonous saying this, but once again Mike Doyle mopped up superbly in the City defence. And it was Mike Summerbee who also again provided most inspiration up front.
However, Rodney Marsh best summed up the entire match when he said: “Even the ball screamed to be taken off in the end.”