BY STEVE MITCHELL

DALGLISH GOAL GIVES LIVERPOOL NARROW WIN OVER BRISTOL CITY:

A Kenny Dalglish goal after just five minutes gave Liverpool a vital win over Bristol City at Anfield this afternoon.

The win was a tonic for Bob Paisley’s side after their surprise defeat to Aston Villa on Easter Monday and ensured they got revenge on the Robins, who had beaten them in the reverse fixture back in December.

Make no mistake however, Liverpool were far from their best once again today and poor finishing ensured a frustrating 90 minutes for the league leaders, despite Dalglish’s early strike.

The Scotsman’s 23rd goal of the campaign was a scrambled effort after David Johnson’s weak shot was fumbled by City goalkeeper John Shaw; the ace marksman was first to the rebound to settle any early nerves.

Midfielder Ray Kennedy came close to doubling the home side’s lead soon after, but this time, Shaw was on hand to make a spectacular save. The visitors found it hard to get out of defence in the opening 45 minutes and when they did, they found central defender Phil Thompson in excellent form after his calamitous own-goal at Villa Park on Monday.

Former Everton striker Joe Royle, the man who got the winner at Ashton Gate in the reverse fixture, came closest to levelling for the visitors before young striker Kevin Mabbutt tested Liverpool keeper Ray Clemence with a good effort.

On a breezy afternoon on Merseyside, the 43,000 inside Anfield were getting more anxious that their side had not managed to increase the lead as we headed for the interval, and it was City who almost drew level on the stroke of half-time, but Dutch winger Geert Meijer was foiled by a last ditch tackle from Thompson.

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Veteran defender Norman Hunter was having a solid game at the back for the visitors, but he could only stand and watch as Jimmy Case combined well with Kennedy before shooting wide with the goal at his mercy.

The second-half was one-sided affair, but City never looked in danger of conceding a second with Liverpool’s finishing mediocre to say the least. Some of the crowd had their transistor radios to their ears awaiting news of what was happening elsewhere, as the visitors continued to frustrate their hosts.

With just over a quarter of an hour to go, Paisley threw on Steve Heighway in place of the ineffective David Johnson and pushed Case into a more advanced role alongside Heighway and Dalglish. The Scotsman immediately began causing havoc in the City back-line and looked to be on for a shooting chance, before Gerry Sweeney’s late tackle saved the day.

There was a flashpoint in the dying minutes when Hunter flattened Heighway; the former England international picking up a yellow card and as referee Pat Partridge blew for full-time, there was an audible relief all around Anfield as Liverpool maintained a six-point advantage at the top of the table.

FOREST MOVE INTO SECOND AND SEND BIRMINGHAM DOWN:

Nottingham Forest move into second place in the table after a 2-0 win against Birmingham City at St. Andrews. Goals in each half from Garry Birtles and John Robertson put the champions above West Bromwich Albion and at the same time, sent Jim Smith’s side down to Division Two along with Chelsea.

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Forest now head to West Germany next week for the second-leg of their European Cup semi-final against Cologne knowing they will need a positive result to advance to the final in Munich next month.

 

ALBION HELD BY BATTLING WOLVES:

West Brom and Wolves shared the points in a pressurised Black Country derby at The Hawthorns. After a goalless first-half, the home side struck first after the break, when midfielder Bryan Robson reacted quickest to a scuffed shot from Cyrille Regis.

The visitors replied when a free-kick on the left was met by the head of big defender George Berry, he in turn flicked the ball back across the penalty area and there was John Richards to head home and give John Barnwell’s team a priceless away point in their battle against relegation.

FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP:

Queens Park Rangers are now favourites to take the third relegation spot after being beaten 3-1 by Manchester City at Maine Road. A Gary Owen double and one from Barry Silkman gave the home side the points. Martyn Busby got Rangers’ consolation, but the west London side will be relegated this week if results go against them.

News of QPR’s defeat will have been music to the ears of Derby County who beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Baseball Ground. Gerry Daly and Steve Buckley got the goals for the Rams, who need to pick up a point against Wolves at Molineux on Tuesday to ensure First Division survival.

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A Tony Currie goal gave Leeds United the points against Everton at Elland Road to keep their faint hopes of a UEFA Cup place alive. The Yorkshire side are four points behind third-placed West Brom but have played three games more.

Bolton Wanderers are out of danger despite being beaten 3-2 by Ipswich Town at Burnden Park this afternoon. A brace from Alan Brazil and a John Wark goal gave the East Anglian side the points; Frank Worthington and Sam Allardyce on target for the home side.

Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United shared the points after a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane; Gordon McQueen putting United in front before Chris Jones levelled for the north London side.

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An Ian Wallace hat-trick for Coventry City helped the Sky Blues to a convincing 4-0 win over Southampton at Highfield Road. Midfielder Andy Blair got the other. Aston Villa backed up their excellent Bank Holiday win over Liverpool with a 2-1 away win against Norwich City. Gary Shelton and Alex Cropley grabbed the away side’s goals; Justin Fashanu replying for the Canaries.

Finally, with relegation confirmed on Monday, Chelsea picked up a home win against Middlesbrough this afternoon. Gary Stanley and Graham Wilkins were on target for the Blues, David Armstrong grabbing a consolation for Boro.

 

RESULTS:

Birmingham City 0-2 Nottingham Forest (Birtles, Robertson)

Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Ipswich Town (Worthington, Allardyce; Brazil 2, Wark)

Chelsea 2-1 Middlesbrough (Stanley, Wilkins G)

Coventry City 4-0 Southampton (Wallace 3, Blair)

Derby County 2-0 Arsenal (Daly, Buckley)

Leeds United 1-0 Everton (Currie)

Liverpool 1-0 Bristol City (Dalglish)

Manchester City 3-1 Q.P.R (Silkman, Owen 2; Busby)

Norwich City 1-2 Aston Villa (Fashanu; Shelton, Cropley)

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United (Jones; McQueen)

W.B.A 1-1 Wolves (Robson; Richards)

League Division One table after close of play on 21 April 1979

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 35 25 6 4 71 14 57 56
2 Nottingham Forest 35 17 16 2 53 22 31 50
3 West Bromwich Albion 34 20 9 5 65 31 34 49
4 Everton 39 16 16 7 50 37 13 48
5 Leeds United 37 16 13 8 60 43 17 45
6 Arsenal 38 17 11 10 58 41 17 45
7 Ipswich Town 38 17 8 13 52 44 8 42
8 Coventry City 40 13 16 11 54 63 -9 42
9 Bristol City 40 15 9 16 47 49 -2 39
10 Aston Villa 35 12 14 9 47 39 8 38
11 Manchester United 36 13 12 11 54 58 -4 38
12 Middlesbrough 38 14 9 15 53 47 6 37
13 Southampton 36 11 14 11 44 47 -3 36
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 11 14 13 42 57 -15 36
15 Norwich City 39 7 21 11 49 54 -5 35
16 Manchester City 36 10 13 13 49 48 1 33
17 Bolton Wanderers 37 12 9 16 50 62 -12 33
18 Derby County 39 10 10 19 44 64 -20 30
19 Wolverhampton Wanderers 37 11 7 19 36 61 -25 29
20 Queens Park Rangers 38 5 13 20 36 61 -25 23
21 Birmingham City 37 5 8 24 32 58 -26 18
22 Chelsea 38 5 8 25 39 85 -46 18

UPCOMING FIXTURES:

TUESDAY APRIL 24:

FIRST DIVISION:

Birmingham City v W.B.A

Manchester City v Middlesbrough

Southampton v Liverpool

Wolves v Derby County

 

WEDNESDAY APRIL 25:

EUROPEAN CUP SEMI-FIANL SECOND-LEG:

FC Cologne (3) v (3) Nottingham Forest

FIRST DIVISION:

Aston Villa v Arsenal

Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers

Manchester United v Norwich City

 

SATURDAY APRIL 28

FIRST DIVISION:

Arsenal v Norwich City

Aston Villa v Chelsea

Bristol City v Leeds United

Everton v Birmingham City

Ipswich Town v Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester United v Derby County

Middlesbrough v W.B.A

Nottingham Forest v Liverpool

Q.P.R v Coventry City

Southampton v Manchester City

Wolves v Bolton Wanderers

FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler

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