Date: Saturday, 14th January 1978.
City 2 Leeds
Connelly. Leeds United: Graham (3).
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,
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
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.
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
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
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