WEST HAM UNITED 0 CITY 1
League Division 1
27th August 1977
Ref A Glasson
City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Booth, Kidd, Channon, Royle, Hartford, Tueart – sub Barnes(unused)
West Ham Day, Lampard, Brush, Pike, T Taylor, Lock, A Taylor, Robson, Radford, Curbishley, Devonshire – used sub Otulakowski
FROM THE PRESS BOX
ROYLE DOES NOTHING TO LIFT LONDON’S CLOUD
Thunder and lightning and a passing cloudburst just before half-time;
a senseless young supporter on the field attacking Donachie as he was cautioned for a tackle on Devonshire. an event which will be reported to higher authority by the referee;
an outstanding save by each goalkeeper, Corrigan and Day;
and at the end of the day West Ham United’s third successive defeat in a week as they lost 1-0 to Manchester City through a goal by Royle five minutes after the interval. Such was the sum of events at Upton Park.
Without their driving captain, Bonds, or their coordinator, Brooking, who are part of a lengthy injury list, West Ham have again made a depressing start after fighting the threat of relegation all last season. They are part of the cloud that hangs over London’s first division clubs, who have so far totalled only two wins in 12 matches.
Yet they will play far worse than this and win. They had a greater share of the ball and built approach play neatly, only to fail where it most mattered, inside the penalty box. Their major fault here was to loft too many high lobs into the Manchester area, where a tall and physically strong City defence, in the persons of Watson (none too particular in his toppling of opponents, particurlarly Radford), Booth, Doyle, Clements and Corrigan were always masters of any aerial combat.
West Ham had planned quick low crosses to the near posts to outwit this big rearguard, then signally failed to carry out their stratagem. Basically, too they are in urgent need of a finisher. Radford has been with them for eight months as a striker yet still searches for his first goal.
On Saturday he seemed to have broken his duck when, for once, he eluded Watson (who seemed to climb on his back most of the afternoon) to head Lampard’s free kick firmly to the top corner. But there was the giant Corrigan stretching like an elastic band to achieve a great finger tip save.
Day, too, pulled off a dazzling reflex save at the other end to deny City. When Watson shot Tueart’s corner first time, the ball was diverted by Booth in a crowded area, yet Day somehow changed direction in mid-air like a swallow to palm the ball away.
All this was positive action in an open enough game, yet curiously, when the winning goal arrived it came as something of an apology. Royle and the probing Tueart set the hard running Channon free on the right; and when Royle was up to meet Channon’s low pass close in, the shot was a partial miscue, as it limped home like a deflated balloon on crutches.
GEOFFREY GREEN WRITING IN THE TIMES 29TH AUGUST 1977