BY STEVE MITCHELL
COPPELL DOUBLE HELPS BRING DERBY DAY JOY TO MANCHESTER UNITED:
Manchester United are top dogs in the city after a convincing 3-0 win over neighbours Manchester City at Maine Road this afternoon.
Both sides were desperate for a win after less than impressive recent league form has left both cut adrift from the European places for next season. United are still in the FA Cup and have a fourth-round replay against Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday.
City however, despite last weekâ€™s win at White Hart Lane against Spurs, are having a season to forget having been eliminated from the cup by Shrewsbury Town in the last round.
Since his return to the club, Malcolm Allison has only seen his side perform to its full potential in the capital last week and the larger than life Londoner will be under more scrutiny after this latest performance.
Played on a surface that was rock hard in places, both teams went for the kill from kick-off. Northern Ireland midfielder Sammy Mcllroy had an early chance for the visitors, before more sorcery on the left from Peter Barnes, gave United old boy Brian Kidd a chance against his former club, but his shot was deflected wide by Gordon McQueen.
Then came the breakthrough for United; Mcllroy setting off on a dynamic run on the left which took him right into the City penalty area, after keeping his balance superbly, he rounded goalkeeper Joe Corrigan, cut the ball back and there was Steve Coppell, to drive the ball home despite Corriganâ€™s brave effort to keep it out.
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Cue delirium on the terraces from the hordes of United fans, whoâ€™d infiltrated every part of Maine Road. They didnâ€™t have long to wait before their joy was repeated either; after Jimmy Greenhoff set Coppell free on the right, the England man then produced an exquisite chip to leave Corrigan stranded.
Despite being two goals down, City battled back and Barnes, by far their most influential player again, should have grabbed a goal back when his shot fizzed just wide of Gary Baileyâ€™s goal. One sensed it was not going to be Cityâ€™s afternoon.
In the second-half, those fears for the home fans were confirmed when a loose back pass from Brian Greenhoff, let in Kidd. Greenhoffâ€™s blushes however, were saved by a wonderful last ditch tackle from Arthur Albiston.
Kidd seemed to be on a personal mission to score against his former employers and he wasted another chance from a Barnes corner, by firing over the crossbar.
City have only won once in 13 matches and their confidence began to ebb away as the game entered the closing stages.
Young United striker Andy Ritchie should have put the result beyond any doubt, when gifted a chance from seven yards out. Shortly afterwards however, he got his goal on his derby debut, crashing home after Mcllroyâ€™s shot was deflected into his path.
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As the home fans left in their droves, Allison remained unmoved on the City bench; his opposite number, Dave Sexton, looked exactly the same, but their two worlds could not have been further apart.
There was just time for Bailey to push a shot from Willy Donachie behind for a corner, before the curtain came down on what was a memorable day for the red half of Manchester.
City are now just four points away from the relegation places.
WEEK 28 ROUND-UP:
The bad weather deprived Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion of any Saturday action, so Everton took over top spot after a crushing 4-1 win against Bristol City at Goodison Park. Andy King took home the match ball after netting a hat-trick, young defender Billy Wright grabbing the other. Clive Whitehead got a consolation goal for the Robins.
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Arsenal failed to capitalise on Liverpool and West Bromâ€™s inactivity, as they were held to a goalless draw at Highbury by Middlesbrough. That allowed Leeds United to close the gap on the Gunners to just a point, after the West Yorkshire side won 1-0 at Birmingham City. A Frank Gray penalty in the second-half secured the points in a match that was marred by crowd trouble.
There was an astonishing basement battle at Loftus Road this afternoon which saw Queens Park Rangers and Wolves share six goals in a 3-3 thriller. Glenn Roeder, Martin Busby and Ian Gillard were on target for the home side; Norman Bell, Wayne Clarke and Martin Patching replying for the visitors.
Spurs bounced back from last weekâ€™s home defeat by Manchester City by winning 3-1 at Highfield Road against Coventry City. Two goals from Peter Taylor and another from Colin Lee sealed the points for the North London side, Bobby McDonald netting for the Sky Blues.
Ipswich Town and Southampton played out a goalless draw at Portman Road with Derby County and Norwich City also sharing the points at the Baseball Ground after a 1-1 draw. Steve Buckley was on target for the Rams, midfield stalwart Martin Peters replying for Norwich.
FIRST DIVISION RESULTS â€“ SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10:
Arsenal 0-0 Middlesbrough
Birmingham City 0-1 Leeds United (Gray F pen)
Coventry City 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur (McDonald; Taylor 2, Lee) (DOWNLOAD FULL MATCH PROGRAMME BELOW)
Derby County 1-1 Norwich City (Buckley; Peters)
Everton 4-1 Bristol City (King 3, Wright; Whitehead)
Ipswich Town 0-0 Southampton
Manchester City 0-3 Manchester United (Coppell 2, Ritchie)
Q.P.R. 3-3 Wolves (Roeder, Busby, Gillard; Bell, Clarke, Patching)
Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
W.B.A v Chelsea
League Division One table after close of play on 10 February 1979
|3||West Bromwich Albion||23||14||6||3||48||22||26||34|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||24||4||10||10||23||35||-12||18|
UPCOMING FIXTURES â€“ MONDAY FEBRUARY 12:
FA CUP FOURTH ROUND:
Burnley v Sunderland
Leeds United v W.B.A.
Oldham Athletic v Leicester City
Preston North End v Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur v Wrexham
FOURTH ROUND REPLAY:
Manchester United v Fulham
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13:
Liverpool v Birmingham City
Q.P.R. v Arsenal
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 17:
Aston Villa v Coventry City
Bristol City v Q.P.R.
Chelsea v Derby County
Leeds United v Bolton Wanderers
Liverpool v Norwich City
Manchester City v Birmingham City
Southampton v Everton
FA CUP FIFTH ROUND:
Aldershot v Shrewsbury Town
Colchester United v Manchester United/Fulham
Ipswich Town v Bristol Rovers
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal
FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler
PROGRAMMES COURTESY OF MILES MCCLAGAN https://www.flickr.com/photos/114058793@N05/sets