CITY 2 WIDZEW LODZ 2
UEFA Cup 1st Round 1st Leg
14th September 1977
City Barnes, Channon
Widzew lodz Boniek 2(1 pen)
Ref V Byrne
City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Owen, Watson, Booth, Barnes, Channon, Kidd, Hartford, Keegan – subs Royle(78), MacRae(unused), Doyle(unused), Conway(unused), Henry(unused)
Widzew Lodz Burzynski, Kositzewinski, Janas, Chodakowski, Tickinski, Kowenicki, Rozborski, Mozejko, Grebosz, Boniek, Gapinski – used sub Krawczyk(66)
PETER BARNES NIPS IN TO SCORE CITY’S FIRST GOAL
Tony books comments from City programme 24th September 1977
We dismayed our fans, let ourselves down and can feel no satisfaction at having achieved a 2-2 result from the first meeting with the powerful and disciplined Polish side.
I set the target as three clear goals to leave us with a feeling of confidence for the return, and now we go to the textile city of Lodz knowing that only victory is capable of seeing us through next Wednesday night.
Defeat puts us out of the Cup for the second year running at the opening stage, and because away goals count double a stalemate finish of 0-0 0r 1-1 is going to be no.good for our hopes of survival since Widzew scored twice on our ground. We must set out for a win for many reasons, among them personal pride and a way of putting the record straight that the Poles are not our equals. Also, we desperately want to avoid play-off matches in Europe, or replays in domestic Cup competitions, enough pressure without adding to it.
I am going to Poland with the emphasis on experience. I will select a side specifically for this match. the blend which I believe is best suited to putting us through to the second round.
It is a blow, of course, that we will be without our regular left back Willie Donachie who has to pay the penalty for his folly in being sent off in the match against Widzew at Maine Road. Automatically he is punished with a one-match suspension from the next European game, and that should be sufficient to bring all the City players to their senses about the need to keep their cool in these tense matches.
Willie sparked when there was no need for it and it is a failing that he must cure for his own sake. I have always maintained he is the most under-rated full back in British football; he is deservedly in Scotland’s international plans at present; but it can all come unstuck for him if there is no leash put on his temper when the frustration of a match is at its peak.
It was a frustrating night for the players and fans alike against the Poles, particularly when you consider we had a two goal lead and seemed set to coast it. But that must never be used for an excuse to blow a fuse and get into trouble.
We got involved in physical tussles, were too easily baited and concentration lapsed. So the team’s rhythm disintegrated and the Poles cleverly took full advantage of the problems we caused ourselves.
With the benefit of hindsight we can all see what went wrong. We should have capitalised on our two goal lead by dictating the match at the back. We needed to knock the ball about in defence which would have drawn the Poles onto us and created space in forward positions. I know it wouldn’t have been pretty to watch for periods, but it would have provided a much more satisfactory outcome and I think the fans would have preferred us to be going to Poland with a comfortable lead than to throw it all away in the manner we did.
We should never have persisted in throwing long balls into their defensive zone, allowing them chance to pick up and counter. They were so heavily massed that the odds were against us getting through. But though the instructions were shouted. the eagerness to expand that lead and the crowd egging our lads to even greater efforts resulted in a loss of our common sense. At least we have learned from it.
Asa Hartford comments from City programme 24th September 1977
… My booking was unfortunate because I thought I was correct at the time acting the way I did.
Their goalkeeper was blatantly time wasting as he went into the net to retrieve the ball. I pushed him out of the way in an effort to get the ball back into play. I get booked and he gets off free despite provoking the situation.
… It’s going to be very difficult in Poland, but I have definitely got more confidence going to them at 2-2 than I had last year when, we went to Juventus with a 1-0 lead.
Peter Barnes comments from City programme 24th September 1977
I always enjoy scoring, but it is a special thrill to get a goal in European competition.
We should have taken things a bit easier when we were leading 2-0. But we began to rush in an effort to obtain a bigger lead and we made some unforgiveable mistakes.
All the boys are full of confidence that we can win in Poland and I endorse those feelings.