Classic Match: Blues 5 Man Utd 1

By Brian Cartlidge
Last updated : 19 September 2009
Alberto Tarantini
Blues were having a wretched start to the 1978/79 season. Manager Jim Smith had used 22 players already in the opening three months of the season as the team seemed to lack any real pattern or resilience. So it was hardly surprising that despite it being the middle of November they were yet to register their first victory.

With only three points and rooted to the bottom of the table there was no reason to expect anything other than a comfortable away victory when Manchester United came to town.

But much to everyone's astonishment, Blues blew mighty United away that day with a performance that made a complete mockery of their league position.

At the time the trend of buying foreigners was just beginning to creep into the English game, and Blues had gambled £175,000 on the talents of Alberto Tarantini, one of Argentina's stars in the World Cup finals of the previous summer.

Recent signing from Walsall, Alan Buckley, also figured in the game making his home debut.

Despite starting well Blues were rocked when United took a 13th minute lead.

Welshman Malcolm Page was caught in possession by Lou Macari, the ball ran loose to Joe Jordan and the big striker rounded keeper Neil Freeman to roll the ball into an empty net.

Considering the severity of Blues position it was expected that they would just roll over and die, but instead they showed guts and spirit to fight their way back into the game.

Therefore, it was no less than they deserved when Kevin Dillon equalised ten minutes later, hammering a fierce right-footed drive past the helpless Roach.

Bouyed on by the equaliser Blues went on to score twice more in the next ten minutes.

In the 32nd minute Buckley leapt at the far post to nod home Don Givens' looping header and Blues were in front.

And with the crowd still celebrating, Givens set up Buckley again who sent an inch perfect chip over Roach and just under the bar to make it 3-1.

The second half was just six minutes old when victory was assured. The brilliant Irishman Givens got the goal he deserved, rounding off a sparkling move involving Towers, Dennis and Calderwood by heading powerfully past Roach.

From then on United seemed just happy to keep the score down and they looked like doing that until the last minute when Givens, who had a hand in every goal, nodded the ball into the path of Jimmy Calderwood who smashed the ball low into the net to complete a five star afternoon for Blues.

Line Up: Freeman, Tarantini, Dennis, Towers, Gallagher, Page, Dillon, Buckley, Givens, Calderwood, Fox.


For a detailed head-to-head between the two sides, click here

League Table 11/11/1978


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