Date: Saturday, 14th January 1978.

Venue: St Andrews, Birmingham.

Competition: First Division.

Score: Birmingham City 2 Leeds United 3.

Scorers: Birmingham City: Bertschin, Connelly. Leeds United: Graham (3).

Attendance: 23,703.



Birmingham City: Montgomery; Page, Styles; Towers, Gallagher, Howard; Connolly, Francis, Bertschin, Hibbitt, Dillon. (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)

Leeds United: Harvey; Reaney, F. Gray; Lorimer, Parkinson, Cherry; E. Gray, Currie, Hankin, Flynn, Graham.

Referee: B.T. Stevens (Stonehouse).


Leeds United's victory at Birmingham City at the start of 1978 was a tactical triumph for Jimmy Armfield. The Elland Road manager was under pressure to get a result from St Andrews after United's previous fixture had ended in a 2-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United, and his gamble on an unfamiliar formation brought instant results from a difficult encounter. Newcastle's victory at Elland Road was one of only two away wins for the Tyne-side club during the 1977-78 season and the loss was Leeds' second in succession as the New Year began in disappointing fashion.

United were never in serious contention for the First Division title, but Armfield took a brave approach at St Andrews and succeeded in beginning a sequence of five successive victories which lifted Leeds up the table. Jimmy Armfield dropped Carl Harris from his line-up and set United loose at St Andrews in a 4-3-3 formation and the tactics paid off against Birmingham, who had recently recruited Sir Alf Ramsay as their consultant manager.
A dazzling performance from Eddie Gray inspired United's victory, and the Scottish winger had a hand in United's opening goal in the sixty-fifth minute. Gray's high cross flew towards Arthur Graham, who forced City's Pat Howard to turn the ball goal-wards and beyond keeper Jim Montgomery. Montgomery claimed afterwards that Gray's delivery had curled out of play before sailing into the box, but City were rattled and Graham secured the points with a rapid double.

Tony Towers' misplaced pass saw Arthur Graham beat Jim Montgomery with a low finish two minutes later, and his snap-shot on sixty-nine minutes appeared to leave no way back for the hosts. Graham held a claim to a hat-trick, insisting he had produced the final touch after Pat Howard played his part in the opening goal, but the importance of the result surpassed any dispute.

Birmingham refused to concede defeat, however, and David Harvey produced a series of excellent saves before two late goals presented Leeds with a late test of nerve. Keith Bertschin reduced United's lead after a goalmouth scramble and John Connolly hit the net in injury-time, but the response came too late to spoil Armfield's day.



Match Report: (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)






Hat-trick Hero Arthur Graham                     Keith Bertschin and John Connolly scored for Birmingham



Carl Harris was dropped                David Harvey pulled off some fine saves         Keith Parkinson made a rare appearance at centre-half



Pat Howard was at fault for the first Leeds goal.  A Tony Towers miss-hit backpass caused a goal and Jim Montgomery was compromised



Malcolm Page and Archie Styles were the full-back pairing                                      Joe Gallagher was in central defence



Terry Hibbitt and Kevin Dillon were in midfield                                                   Trevor Francis was one of the strikers