BY STEVE MITCHELL
LIVERPOOL WIN SUMMIT BATTLE WITH WEST BROM AT ANFIELD:
The game of the day, some would say the game of the season so far, saw Liverpool overcome West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at Anfield this afternoon, to return to the top of the First Division.
Before the match, Reds boss Bob Paisley explained that it was a â€œfour-pointer,â€ with the men from the Black Country coming into the fixture as league leaders, although having played more games than Liverpool.
The home side dominated for an hour, inspired once again, by Scottish forward Kenny Dalglish. The former Celtic man, who is now idolised on the Kop, gave his side the lead after 21 minutes, finishing off a slick passing move that involved his fellow countryman Graeme Souness and Terry McDermott.
West Brom were getting a taste of their own medicine, having played some scintillating football themselves this season under boss Ron Atkinson. Liverpool defender, Alan Kennedy, managed to nullify the threat from Albionâ€™s Laurie Cunningham, who has been an absolute revelation for the Baggies this term, but the visitors looked lost for ideas in front of a passionate home support that drove their team forward.
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After 53 minutes, Liverpoolâ€™s relentless pressure paid off once again; Dalglish starting off the move that was finished expertly by young David Fairclough. 2-0 flattered Albion and Liverpool should have been out of sight by the time Alistair Brown headed the visitors back into the game on 67 minutes.
Suddenly, Atkinsonâ€™s side looked revitalised, and when big striker Cyrille Regis almost levelled things shortly afterwards, Liverpool fans had a nervous last 20 minutes to endure.
Relief swept around Anfield at the final-whistle, as the majority of the 52 thousand crowd went home happy. Liverpool once again proving that they are the team to beat this season.
DALEY STRIKE SHOCKS EVERTON AT MOLINEUX; SUNDERLAND DOUBLE SINKS UNITED:
Wolves midfielder Steve Daley was the hero at Molineux this afternoon, grabbing the only goal of the game as his struggling side beat title chasing Everton. John Barnwellâ€™s men were desperate for the points to ease their relegation worries and now sit just a point away from safety.
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Arsenal are fourth after an impressive 2-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. A second-half double from striker Alan Sunderland, ensured the Gunners took maximum points and left Dave Sextonâ€™s side languishing in mid-table.
CURRIE TOO HOT FOR COVENTRY; ALLISON GETS HIS FIRST WIN BACK AT CITY:
Jimmy Adamsonâ€™s Leeds United continues to impress and this afternoonâ€™s win at Elland Road against Coventry City leaves them within touching distance of a European place next season. England midfielder Tony Currie was once again on target for the West Yorkshire side.
Down in the capital, Manchester City enjoyed their first league win since the return of Malcolm Allison as Head-Coach. A scintillating performance from England winger Peter Barnes, in which he won the penalty for Cityâ€™s first goal, scored a wonderful second and crossed superbly for Mick Channon to knock in the third, made it a happy trip home for the Maine Road club.
BIRTLES AT THE DOUBLE AS FOREST SEE OFF MIDDLESBROUGH:
The signing of Garry Birtles by Nottingham Forest from non-league football has been one of the revelations of the season and the youngster repaid more faith in his manager Brian Clough, by scoring two in this afternoonâ€™s 3-1 win at Ayresome Park against Middlesbrough. A penalty by Scotland international John Robertson ensured a comfortable afternoon in the North-East for the champions; Mark Proctor getting Boroâ€™s consolation.
WEEK 27 ROUND-UP
Ron Harris celebrated his 600th appearance for Chelsea with a 2-1 win against Birmingham City at Stamford Bridge in a real basement battle. Two goals from Ray Wilkins gave Danny Blanchflowerâ€™s men the valuable two points, to leave them three points from safety. Cityâ€™s consolation came courtesy of Keith Bertschin.
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Bristol City bounced back from their shock FA Cup defeat at Crystal Palace by beating Ipswich Town 3-1 at Ashton Gate. Clive Whitehead, Trevor Tainton and Gerry Gow got the Robinsâ€™ goals, Paul Mariner, whose two goals in midweek at Orient ensured Townâ€™s progress into the next round of the cup, getting a consolation for the visitors.
Derby County, who have reportedly placed Irish midfielder Gerry Daly on the transfer list, grabbed both points in a narrow 2-1 win against Southampton at The Dell. John Duncan and Steve Powell were on target for The Rams, David Peach replying for the home side from the penalty spot.
Finally, Norwich City and Bolton Wanderers played out a goalless draw at Carrow Road; a result that favours neither side in their quest to avoid the drop into the Second Division, although with games in hand, both clubs have plenty left to play for.
FIRST DIVISION RESULTS â€“ SATURDAY FEBRUARY 3:
Bristol City 3-1 Ipswich Town (Whitehead, Tainton, Gow; Mariner)
Chelsea 2-1 Birmingham City (Wilkins R 2; Bertschin)
Leeds United 1-0 Coventry City (Currie)
Liverpool 2-1 W.B.A (Dalglish, Fairclough; Brown A)
Manchester United 0-2 Arsenal (Sunderland 2)
Middlesbrough 1-3 Nottingham Forest (Proctor; Birtles 2, Robertson pen)
Norwich City 0-0 Bolton Wanderers
Southampton 1-2 Derby County (Peach pen; Duncan, Powell)
Tottenham Hotspur 0-3 Manchester City (Kidd pen, Barnes, Channon)
Wolves 1-0 Everton (Daley)
Aston Villa v Queens Park Rangers
League Division One table after close of play on 03 February 1979
|2||West Bromwich Albion||23||14||6||3||48||22||26||34|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||23||4||9||10||20||32||-12||17|
UPCOMING FIXTURES â€“ SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10:
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Bolton Wanderers v Liverpool
Birmingham City v Leeds United
Coventry City v Tottenham Hotspur
Derby County v Norwich City
Everton v Bristol City
Ipswich Town v Southampton
Manchester City v Manchester United
Nottingham Forest v Aston Villa
Q.P.R v Wolves
W.B.A v Chelsea
FOLLOW THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WITH STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler