BY STEVE MITCHELL
LIVERPOOL BACK TO WINNING WAYS AFTER FA CUP DISAPPOINTMENT:
After seeing their hopes of a possible league and cup double disappear on Wednesday night, Liverpool bounced straight back to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Arsenal at Anfield.
In a game that might have been a dress rehearsal for the FA Cup Final next month, three second-half goals kept the league leaders on course for the First Division title.
The mood around Anfield was buoyant, despite the defeat to Manchester United at Goodison Park in midweek, and a near capacity crowd welcomed the teams on to the field with tremendous enthusiasm.
Most inside the ground knew of the importance of this game with West Bromwich Albion breathing down Liverpoolâ€™s necks in the race for the championship.
Liverpool were soon into gear however, and midfielder Jimmy Case had an early effort that was deflected off Willie Young and behind for a corner.
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The visitors then went close on a couple of occasions, as both Brian Talbot and Alan Sunderland missed gilt-edged chances. The Gunnersâ€™ off-side trap was taking the flow out of the contest.
The home side should have taken the lead just before the half-hour mark; Kenny Dalglish, who was once again having an outstanding afternoon, found Alan Kennedy who was making his return to the first-team. He then laid the ball on to Terry McDermott who shot wide.
This gave Liverpool a lift and before the interval, both Case and David Johnson went close for home side, but the scoresheet was blank as the teams headed back to the dressing-rooms.
The Anfield crowd did not have to wait too long after the break to see the hosts take the lead however; Arsenal full-back Pat Rice was caught in possession and after the ball fell to the feet of Case, he carried it a good 25 yards before planting a shot past Pat Jennings in the Arsenal goal.
Eight minutes later, Jennings was picking the ball out of his net again, but referee Baker ruled it out for a challenge by Dalglish on the big Irish keeper. Replays showed that it was a harsh decision as it seemed as though Jennings had been the one committing the foul.
Dalglish was determined to put the game beyond the visitors as he inspired his team-mates to continue to pepper the Arsenal goal. Both McDermott and Case had opportunities before on 73 minutes, Dalglish himself settled the contest by tapping in from a shot from Graeme Souness that Jennings could only parry.
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The Arsenal fire had been extinguished and two minutes from time, McDermott started and finished the move that put the icing on the cake and kept Bob Paisleyâ€™s men in the driving seat heading into the final month of the campaign.
FIRST DIVISION ROUND-UP:
An 83rd minute goal from Ally Brown ensured West Bromwich Albion kept up the pressure on Liverpool at the top as they beat Everton 1-0 at The Hawthorns. The Toffees now slip to fourth place and are completely out of the title picture.
Trevor Francis scored his third goal in as many games, as Nottingham Forest all but confirmed Chelseaâ€™s relegation with a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge. Martin Oâ€™Neill and Ian Bowyer were the other scorers for Brian Cloughâ€™s side, who now move into third-place ahead of their European Cup semi-final first-leg against Cologne next week.
*Ray Wilkins got Chelseaâ€™s consolation as the west London side sit rock-bottom of the table; nine points from safety.
Birmingham Cityâ€™s 2-2 home draw with Southampton leaves them eight points from safety and it looks as if the club from the second city will join Chelsea in Division Two next season. Stuart Barrowclough got the home sideâ€™s goals this afternoon, Graham Baker and Austin Hayes replying for the visitors.
Queens Park Rangers lost 2-1 to Bolton Wanderers at Burnden Park to complete the relegation picture at this moment. Paul Goddardâ€™s goal not enough as Frank Worthington and Alan Gowling ensured the home side took maximum points.
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Wolvesâ€™ 3-1 defeat to Manchester City at Maine Road keeps them in the relegation picture. Mick Channon, Roger Palmer and Barry Silkman got the goals for Malcolm Allisonâ€™s side; Kenny Hibbitt grabbing the Wolves consolation.
Leeds United still have an outside chance of a European place next season but will be disappointed to have dropped a home point against Ipswich Town. Trevor Cherry was on target for the West Yorkshire side, Eric Gates replying for Town.
Manchester United drew 2-2 at Norwich City after their heroic efforts in the FA Cup. Gordon McQueen and Lou Macari got the goals for the visitors, with Graham Paddon and Keith Robson replying for the Canaries.
Coventry City and Aston Villa played out a 1-1 draw at Highfield Road; Tommy Hutchinson put the home side ahead, but Villa levelled through John Deehan.
Derby County are not completely safe yet after they lost 1-0 at home to Bristol City; a Tom Ritchie goal enough to separate the two teams.
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Finally, Mark Proctor continued his fine scoring form for Middlesbrough as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 at White Hart Lane. Billy Ashcroft was the other Boro scorer, with Peter Taylor getting Spursâ€™ consolation from the penalty spot.
SATURDAY APRIL 7:
Birmingham City 2-2 Southampton (Barrowclough 2, 1 pen; Baker, Hayes)
Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Q.P.R (Worthington, Gowling; Goddard)
Chelsea 1-3 Nottingham Forest (Wilkins; Francis, Oâ€™Neill, Bowyer)
Coventry City 1-1 Aston Villa (Hutchinson, Deehan)
Derby County 0-1 Bristol City (Ritchie)
Leeds United 1-1 Ipswich Town (Cherry; Gates)
Liverpool 3-0 Arsenal (Case, Dalglish, McDermott)
Manchester City 3-1 Wolves (Channon, Palmer, Silkman; Hibbitt)
Norwich City 2-2 Manchester United (Paddon, Robson; McQueen, Macari) (FULL MATCH PROGRAMME BELOW)
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Middlesbrough (Taylor pen; Proctor, Ashcroft)
W.B.A 1-0 Everton (Brown A)
League Division One table after close of play on 07 April 1979
|2||West Bromwich Albion||30||20||6||4||62||27||35||46|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||35||5||11||19||34||57||-23||21|
TUESDAY APRIL 10:
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
Bristol City v Chelsea
Everton v Coventry City
Middlesbrough v Leeds United
Wolves v Liverpool
WEDNESDAY APRIL 11
EUROPEAN CUP SEMI-FINAL FIRST-LEG:
Nottingham Forest v Cologne
Aston Villa v Derby County
Manchester United v Bolton Wanderers
FRIDAY APRIL 13:
Q.P.R v Norwich City
Southampton v W.B.A
SATURDAY APRIL 14:
Birmingham City v Wolves
Bolton Wanderers v Middlesbrough
Chelsea v Southampton
Coventry City v Bristol City
Derby County v Nottingham Forest
Leeds United v Aston Villa
Liverpool v Manchester United
Manchester City v Everton
Norwich City v Ipswich Town
Tottenham Hotspur v Q.P.R
W.B.A v Arsenal
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*On Wednesday it was announced that Ray Wilkins had sadly passed away after failing to recover from a heart attack.
A player ahead of his time in terms of skill, passing and precision, Wilkins represented Chelsea, Manchester United, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, Queens Park Rangers, Wycombe Wanderers, Hibernian, Millwall and Leyton Orient.
He was also in charge at QPR, Fulham and had caretaker spells in charge of Chelsea and assistant manager roles at Stamford Bridge, Fulham and Aston Villa.
Capped 84 times for England, Wilkinsâ€™ commitment on the field and his kind-heartedness off it, made him one of the gameâ€™s most respected individuals.
Everyone at The Football Pink would like to send their deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this difficult time.
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