BY STEVE MITCHELL
It’s been another action-packed week of football with big games in both the First Division and the FA Cup.
Highlights include the second Merseyside derby of the season and the FA Cup quarter-final replay between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, following their epic encounter at White Hart Lane last Saturday.
KING ON TARGET FOR EVERTON AGAIN IN ANFIELD THRILLER:
Everton midfielder Andy King scored a late second-half equaliser to break Liverpool hearts once again in the Merseyside derby at Anfield.
Having got the winner at Goodison Park in the corresponding fixture earlier in the campaign, King’s 74th minute leveller cancelled out Kenny Dalglish’s first-half opener in one of the best games between these two city rivals for many years.
The home side were coming off the back of two goalless draws and were determined to put their title quest back on track and at the end of a pulsating 90 minutes, manager Bob Paisley and the majority inside Anfield must have wondered how they had managed to surrender the lead after dominating three quarters of the contest.
Everton had their goalkeeper George Wood to thank after a string of excellent saves kept the home side at bay. Not a bad time for the Scot to show his class in front of national team boss Jock Stein.Embed from Getty Images
Paisley summed it up perfectly in the post-match press-conference when he declared that; “We played all the football but their goalkeeper saved them.”
After Dalglish had given Liverpool the lead on 14 minutes following a corner that resulted from a splendid Wood save to deny Jimmy Case from a free-kick, the writing looked to be on the wall for the visitors, who still have title aspirations of their own.
A series of missed chances from the hosts however, gave Everton the belief that they could rescue something from the evening.
Indeed, Dalglish should have doubled his side’s advantage in the early stages, but his shot was cleared off the line by Everton skipper Mick Lyons. Wood then saved at the feet of his international team-mate, who should have helped himself to a first-half hat-trick.
Always a feisty occasion, Lyons and Case seemed to be having their own personal battle and both men were eventually booked for their provocation – two of the six cards handed out by referee Mr. Reeves.
Dalglish, Terry McDermott and David Johnson all tested Wood before the interval but somehow, Everton made it to half-time just the one goal down.
The second-half started like the first had finished, with Liverpool controlling the game. But when Wood pulled off his best save of the night, foiling a point-blank effort from Johnson before somehow blocking Dalglish’s follow up, the pendulum swung in the away side’s favour for the first time.
England international striker Bob Latchford won an aerial dual with Phil Thompson which gave King his first sniff at goal. The warning signs were there for Liverpool but they ignored them, and when King was given almost a carbon copy chance with 17 minutes to go, he smashed the ball high into the net to leave Ray Clemence helpless.Embed from Getty Images
From a seemingly impossible scenario at half-time. Everton were looking like the side most likely to win the game; Latchford continued to cause havoc in the Liverpool rear guard as Clemence became the busier of the two keepers.
Despite their final efforts, the visitors could not breach their opponent’s goal for what would have been an unlikely win. Liverpool, led by the magnificent Dalglish, will wonder how they only took one point from a game that should have been sealed long before King’s intervention.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP:
West Bromwich Albion remain in third place in the table, six points behind the leaders Liverpool, but with two games in hand.
Ron Atkinson’s men, who have been on a punishing schedule of games due to the awful winter weather since the turn of the year, were playing just 48 hours after suffering FA Cup heartbreak against Southampton at The Dell.
Albion pulled their sleeves up however, beating Chelsea 1-0 at The Hawthorns last night thanks to another goal from Ally Brown.Embed from Getty Images
Also last night, Nottingham Forest kept up their recent good league form beating Norwich City 2-1 at the City Ground. A brace from Tony Woodcock saw Brian Clough’s men consolidate sixth place in the table; Justin Fashanu grabbing City’s consolation. Forest now look forward to this weekend’s League Cup Final against Southampton.
24 hours earlier, Ipswich Town suffered more disappointment when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Coventry City at Portman Road. Having lost their grip on the FA Cup last weekend after a home defeat by Liverpool, Dutchman Arnold Muhren gave the home side a first-half lead, before striker Garry Thompson levelled for the visitors in the second-half.
Middlesbrough eased their relegation fears and moved Derby County closer to the bottom three after a 3-0 win at Ayresome Park. Stuart Boam, David Armstrong and Micky Burns got the Boro goals; Gerry Daly netting for Derby from the penalty spot.
FA CUP SPECIAL – UNITED SET UP SEMI-FINAL SHOWDOWN WITH LIVERPOOL:
Manchester United will face Liverpool in this season’s FA Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 quarter-final replay win over Spurs at Old Trafford last night.
Scotland striker Joe Jordan put the home side in front in the first-half, heading in a Sammy Mcllroy free-kick, but there was controversy leading up to it when Spurs defender Terry Naylor was adjudged by referee Keith Hackett to have fouled United winger Steve Coppell. Replays showed that the England international suffered very little contact from Naylor who was incensed by the decision.
In the second-half, Mickey Thomas, whose first goal for United had rescued a replay at White Hart Lane on Saturday, had a major involvement in his side’s second. The Welshman was fed beautifully by Mcllroy and set off on a run down the left-wing. His low cross into the centre was then met by the Northern Irishman, who had ghosted in, in front of the Spurs defence, to seal the tie.
WOLVES END SHREWSBURY’S FA CUP FAIRYTALE:
Wolverhampton Wanderers have also booked their place in the last four after finally bringing to an end Shrewsbury Town’s FA Cup fairytale.
After Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Molineux, many observers thought that the Shropshire side could make the semi-finals having now forced home advantage, but goals from Willie Carr, Bill Rafferty and Peter Daniel (penalty), secured John Barnwell’s side a last-four berth where they will play the winners of Southampton against Arsenal.Embed from Getty Images
Defender Jack Keay got the home side’s consolation. Shrewsbury have lit-up this year’s competition with some excellent displays, most notably, their fourth-round victory over Manchester City.
SOUTHAMPTON CLOSE TO BOOKING ANOTHER WEMBLEY VISIT THIS SEASON:
With Saturday’s League Cup Final against Nottingham Forest getting ever closer, Southampton started the week by dumping West Brom out of the FA Cup. A David Peach penalty and a goal from Phil Boyer, finally put the Saints into the quarter-finals after an extra-time win over Ron Atkinson’s men.
A tired looking Albion, whose punishing schedule is now taking its toll, replied through Laurie Cunningham, but it wasn’t enough to stop the home side’s march to the last eight where they will face a home tie against Arsenal.
MONDAY MARCH 12
FA CUP FIFTH-ROUND REPLAY
Southampton 2-1 W.B.A (Peach pen, Boyer; Cunningham) aet
TUESDAY MARCH 13:
FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL REPLAY:
Shrewsbury Town 1-3 Wolves (Keay; Carr, Rafferty, Daniel pen)
Ipswich Town 1-1 Coventry City (Muhren; Thompson)
Liverpool 1-1 Everton (Dalglish; King)
Middlesbrough 3-1 Derby County (Boam, Armstrong, Burns; Daley pen)
WEDNESDAY MARCH 13:
FA CUP QUARTER-FINAL REPLAY:
Manchester United 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Jordan, Mcllroy)
Nottingham Forest 2-1 Norwich City (Woodcock 2; Fashanu)
W.B.A 1-0 Chelsea (Brown A)
League Division One table after close of play on 14 March 1979
|3||West Bromwich Albion||26||16||6||4||53||25||28||38|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||29||4||10||15||26||45||-19||18|
SATURDAY MARCH 17:
LEAGUE CUP FINAL:
Nottingham Forest v Southampton (at Wembley)
Birmingham City v W.B.A
Bristol City v Middlesbrough
Chelsea v Q.P.R
Coventry City v Bolton Wanderers
Leeds United v Liverpool
Ipswich Town v Arsenal
Manchester City v Aston Villa
Tottenham Hotspur v Norwich City
Wolves v Derby County
FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler