BY STEVE MITCHELL
FUTCHER HAT-TRICK HELPS MANCHESTER CITY SINK SORRY CHELSEA:
Manchester City had an afternoon to remember as Tony Bookâ€™s side ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea. The visitors were ahead after just 12 minutes when England front-man Mike Channon, found himself all alone with just keeper Peter Bonetti to beat, which he did easily.
Channon was heavily involved in Cityâ€™s second on 41 minutes after the Chelsea defence went missing once again; a deft flicked header found big striker Ron Futcher in acres of space and he duly rifled the ball past the helpless Bonetti.
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Worse was to follow for the hosts as right on the stroke of half-time, good interplay between Channon and Asa Hartford put Futcher in the clear again and this time he beat Bonetti at his near post to effectively end the contest.
Chelsea only had pride to play for in the second-half but the City machine kept rolling forward on a ground where they had won just once in their previous 14 visits. 10 minutes after the break, City were awarded a corner which was taken by Peter Barnes. Bonetti, playing in his final season before retiring, misjudged the cross and as the ball fell to Hartford he centred back in for Futcher to head home his third of the afternoon.
Chelsea were being totally outclassed by one of the pre-season title favourites, but the hosts did grab a consolation 15 minutes from time when Garry Stanleyâ€™s header hit the post and crawled over the line. The day belonged to City however, and one man in particular â€“ Ron Futcher.
LIVERPOOL BACK ON TRACK AFTER EURO DISAPPOINTMENT:
Liverpool bounced straight back from their midweek defeat at Nottingham Forest in the first-leg of their European Cup first-round tie by beating second placed Coventry City at Anfield. A Graeme Souness goal after 27 minutes was enough to give the leaders the points to maintain their 100 per-cent start to the new campaign.
Sky Blues boss Gordon Milne was impressed with the Reds and after the match declared that the Merseysiders would be the team to beat this season after they inflicted his sideâ€™s first defeat of the new campaign.
FOREST CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE IN THE LEAGUE AFTER OLD TRAFFORD DRAW:
Last season on their way to the title, Nottingham Forest destroyed Manchester United at Old Trafford 4-0. This afternoon however, Brian Cloughâ€™s sideâ€™s disappointing start to the defence of their crown continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at the same venue.
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Ian Bowyer, who was inspirational in the clubâ€™s midweek European Cup triumph over Liverpool got the visitorsâ€™ goal with Jimmy Greenhoff on target once again for the Red Devils. Who knows how much Wednesdayâ€™s efforts affected the champions today but at this moment, it seems as though the East Midlands side are concentrating more on European matters than domestic ones.
WEEK 6 ROUND-UP:
A Frank Stapleton goal gave Arsenal the points against first division new boys Bolton Wanderers at Highbury this afternoon, whilst their North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur made it two wins out of two with a surprise 2-1 victory at Elland Road against Leeds United. Peter Taylor and Colin Lee got the visitorsâ€™ goals, Arthur Graham getting the Leeds consolation.
In a re-run of the 1977 League Cup Final, Aston Villa and Everton drew 1-1 at Villa Park; Tommy Craig scoring for Ron Saundersâ€™ men, new summer signing Mickey Walsh replying for the Toffees. Bristol City picked up a much needed win at Ashton Gate against Southampton. Centre-half David Rodgers made up for his own goal against Spurs last week by scoring at the right end against the Saints, Tom Ritchie grabbing the others in a 3-1 win. Nick Holmes got Southamptonâ€™s consolation.
A five goal thriller at the Baseball Ground saw Derby County run out narrow winners against West Bromwich Albion. John Duncan, Steve Powell and Gerry Daly got the goals for the Rams, Lawrie Cunningham and Cyril Regis replying for Albion.
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Struggling Queens Park Rangers grabbed a much needed win at Ayresome Park against Middlesbrough. Rachid Harkouk and Peter Eastoe ensured the West London side headed back to the capital with the two points.
Birmingham Cityâ€™s troubles continue after they were heavily beaten by Norwich City at Carrow Road. Keith Robson, John Ryan, Martin Chivers and the highly rated Kevin Reeves made it a memorable afternoon for the Canaries.
FA Cup holders Ipswich Town also enjoyed their Saturday as they won 3-1 at Molineux against Wolves. Goals from Paul Mariner, Arnold Muhren and Trevor Whymark put a smile on manager Bobby Robsonâ€™s face, despite a Kevin Beattie own goal for the home side.
FIRST DIVISION RESULTS â€“ SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 16th
Arsenal 1-0 Bolton Wanderers (Stapleton)
Aston Villa 1-1 Everton (Craig; Walsh)
Bristol City 3-1 Southampton (Rodgers, Ritchie 2; Holmes) (DOWNLOAD THE FULL MATCH PROGRAMME BELOW)
Chelsea 1-4 Manchester City (Stanley; Channon, Futcher R 3)
Derby County 3-2 W.B.A. (Duncan, Powell, Daly; Cunningham, Regis)
Leeds United 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur (Graham; Taylor, Lee)
Liverpool 1-0 Coventry City (Souness)
Manchester United 1-1 Nottingham Forest (Greenhoff J; Bowyer)
Middlesbrough 0-2 Q.P.R. (Harkouk, Eastoe)
Norwich City 4-0 Birmingham City (Robson, Ryan pen, Chivers, Reeves)
Wolves 1-3 Ipswich Town (Beattie o.g; Mariner, Muhren, Whymark)
UPCOMING FIXTURES â€“ SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23rd
Arsenal v Manchester United
Birmingham City v Chelsea
Bolton Wanderers v Norwich City
Coventry City v Leeds United
Derby County v Southampton
Everton v Wolves
Ipswich Town v Bristol City
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough
Q.P.R. v Aston Villa
W.B.A. v Liverpool
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