CITY 6 WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1
Charity Shield played at Maine Road
3rd August 1968
City Owen(2), Lee(2), Lovett(o.g.), Young
West Brom Krzywicki
Ref H New
City Mulhearn, Connor, Pardoe, Doyle, Heslop, Oakes, Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Owen, Young – Sub Kennedy(unused)
West Brom Osborne, Fraser, Wiliiams, Lovett, Talbut, Kaye, Stephens, Brown, Krzywicki, Collard, Hartford – used sub Merrick
BOBBY OWEN SCORES CITY’S FIRST GOAL ON HIS DEBUT
The Charity Shield in the 60s was played on the Champion’s home ground and so Maine Road was treated to a masterclass in football by The Blues.
An impressive debut by City’s new signing Bobby Owen saw him open the scoring in the first minute. The Baggies then scored an own goal through Lovett and then a tremendous set piece free kick saw Francis Lee make it 3-0.
LOVETT’S OWN GOAL
Welsh International Krzywicki notched Albion’s only goal before half-time.
A bad mistake by custodian Osborne gifted Bobby Owen his second goal after the break, then goals from Young and again from Franny Lee sealed a memorable 6-1 win and another trophy was added to the Maine Road trophy cabinet.
BACK IN the days when charity began at home, ilterally, reigning League Champions City took on FA Cup holders West Bromwich Albion in the annual top-flight curtain raiser.
It was the Blues‘ fourth Charity Shield match having lost 4-0 against Arsenal in 1934, beaten Sunderland 2-0 in 1937 and lost 1-0 to Manchester United in 1956.
Having won the title on the final day of the 1967/68 season, the Blues had embarked on a mammoth month-long tour ot the USA. There, the exhausted squad managed just one win in nine games against teams they would have normally been expected to beat with ease.
The Fatigue would follow them into the new season, but as in this game, there were moments when it was clear to see City were still a cut above the rest of the division when the mood took them. In those days the venue for the Charity Shield match was generally the home ground of the League Champions, with Wembley not considered a deserving site for a match that was little more than a showpiece friendly.
With partially re-charged batteries, Joe Mercer’s side, featuring new signing Bobby Owen, walked out to a sun-drenched Maine Road in front of a more-than-respectable 35,510 fans with something of a point to prove.
Albion had beaten City twice in five days on their way to the title and had been the only team to record a league double that season, an anomaly in an otherwise excellent campaign but one that very nearly cost City the title.
The home support was still in celeblatory mood, fully expecting their team to challenge strongly for the title once again and, with the prospect of a ﬁrst foray into the European Cup to look forward to, it was a period of unprecedented optimism for the blue half of the city.
With barely a minute on the clock. a youthful Asa Hartford played a poor pass into the middie that Colin Bell easilly intercepted and then quickly played a 40 yard ball into the path of Mike Summerbee on the right flank. Summerbee spotted Owen’s intelligent run and played a superb cross into his path and the former Bury striker deftly placed the ball past Osborne in the Baggies’ goal to get his City career off to a flying start, a goal inside 60 seconds with his first touch. it doesn’t get much better than that. Bell was dominating the middle of the park and he sprayed the ball out to Summerbee whose tempting cross was nodded into his own goal by Lovett to put City 2-0 up. But it was the third goal that proved just how brilliant and influential Bell, Francis Lee and Summerbee were to this magniﬁcent Mercer/Allison side. A Free-kick on the edge of the box suggested Lee was shaping up to smash the ball goalwards, the crowd thought as much and the Albion defenders were certainly convinced… But Lee ran past the ball as Bell instead passed to Summerbee on the penalty spot, Summerbee then passed to Lee who had continued his run and the Blues’ number 9 slotted the ball home to make it 3-0. It was so simple, yet brilliant and innovative and it had the home crowd in raptures.
Merrick replaced Osborne in goat at the break but the new Albion keeper’s ﬁrst job was to pick the ball out of the net after he allowed Owen’s tame shot to somehow pass under his dive and trickle over the line.
Terrible defending not long after meant Mike Doyle’s hopeful punt into the box suddenly became a good scoring chance for Neil Young after Fraser completely missed his attempt at a headed clearance. Young made no mistake with a rocket shot past the hapless Merrick who wasn’t being helped by the Fred Karno-type circus defending in front of him.
The sixth and final goal was again partly down to goalkeeping that left much to be desired.
Alan Oakes fed Bell on the left and his looping cross found Summerbee who nodded down to Lee. Lee’s shot was straight at Merrick who capped a woeful display as he crouched to collect the ball by allowing it to somehow evade his grasp and trickle home For number six. For Albion. the Final whistle couldn’t come quickly enough on a day nobody from the Black Country will want to remember.