Game | #3360 |

Season | 1974-75 |

Matchday | #36 |

Manager Game | #36 |

Wednesday, 22 January 1975

League Cup | Semi Final 2nd Leg | Home | Chester City | Villa Park | 47,732 |

Game Summary |

Manager | Ron Saunders |

FT Result | Won |

FT Score | 3-2 |

Agg Score | 5-4 |

Last 5 Games | WWDWW |

Scorers | Keith Leonard | 19' | 27' | Brian Little | 83' |

Line Up |

GK Jim Cumbes |

D Ian Ross |

FB John Robson |

D Chris Nicholl |

LB Charlie Aitken |

LB Bobby McDonald |

M Chico Hamilton |

W Ray Graydon |

W Frank Carrodus |

F Brian Little | GOAL | 83' |

F Keith Leonard | GOAL | 19' | 27' |

Unused Substitute |

M Frank Pimblett |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 26.09 | 

Oldest Player | LB Charlie Aitken | 32.75 |

Youngest Player | LB Bobby McDonald | 19.79 |

On this day 22 January 1975

Villa qualify for their fourth League Cup final and their second in 4 years.

Villa were now unbeaten in the last 5 games, winning 4

Match Report

*Birmingham Daily Post*

*Thursday 23 January 1975*

Chester fight back from being two down, but….
Little goal puts Villa in final


Aston Villa 3, Chester 2

Aston Villa reached Wembley for the second time in four years last night but the expected stroll to the League Cup final became a torrid fight for survival before Brian Little scored their winner in the 80th minute.

Now Villa are in their fourth final in 14 years and they play manager Ron Saunders’ former club Norwich, who beat Manchester United last night,


Villa, who have now created a record number of appearances in finals, went into a two goal lead by 27 minutes thanks to Keith Leonard.


It seemed all over but the came a scramble to avoid defeat as first Stewart Mason and then John James scored for the Fourth Division side.


Astonishingly, Chester reached equality without playing well - indeed neither had Villa. Although well on top, Villa had wasted far too much possession and there was always a tinge of panic in their defensive work.


After they had drawn level, Chester began to play smoothly as well as aggressively and it seemed they might incredibly become the first Fourth Division side to reach Wembley.


But with both sides tiring on a tacky surface, Leonard, the hero of the night, headed down Ray Graydon’s corner and little, standing some three yards from goal hooked it over the line.


The explosion of relief from most of the 47,633 crowd must have wobbled the floodlights.


That goal means Saunders returns to Wembley for his third successive League Cup final,, each with a different club.


Two years ago, it was Norwich and defeat by Tottenham. Last year it was Manchester City and defeat by Wolves. This year, Villa, and, hopefully, not a hat trick of failures.


If Leonard’s first goal owed much to the fallibility of Chester’s defence, his second had a classical simplicity. Eighteen minutes of Villa pressure came to a head with Little finding Graydon, whose deep cross was aimed at the penalty spot.



It looked to be Grenville Millington’s property but he collided with Trevor Sturton and Leonard, arriving a split second later, bounced the ball into the net with his shoulder.

Nine minutes later, Frank Carrodus appeared to be holding the ball too long on the right wing but neither Mason nor Reg Matthewson wanted to tackle him so he turned back and crossed.


With Millington hesitant, Leonard pumped at the far post and headed the ball powerfully into the net.


Chester had given little indication that they could score but, after 33 minus, a misplaced clearance from Charlie Aitken flew to Mason at an angle to the right.


He slashed at it and the ball finished up just inside the angle of the post and bar. A speculative but brilliant shot.


After the interval, Graydon shot over from a free kick; Hamilton volleyed wide and Little shot instead of passing to either Leonard or

Gaydon, nothingnesses of whom were unmarked inside the penalty area.


Missed chances


Next, Little, Carrodus and Graydon chose to pass instead of shoot even though they were only a few yards out and then a shot from Bobby McDonald, the best player on the field, was deflected wide. 

From the corner, Gary Moore cleared off the line to stop Leonard scoring a hat trick and it seemed that Villa would have to be content with a 3-1 victory.

But they paid for this inaccuracy when, after 61 minutes, Jim Cumbes dropped a corner from Norman Whitehead and James turned to shoot into the net.

Chester brought on Jimmy Redfern for Dave Lennard after 75 minutes in an attempt to keep up the impetus but it was Villa who found the extra spark.

Even so, with five minutes to go, Whitehead might have equalised again but, after running through, he shot wide.


Post Match

*Birmingham Daily Post*

*Thursday 23 January 1975*

Yes, my first goal was lucky, admits Leonard


Keith Leonard, two-goal hero of Aston Villa's second leg League Cup semi-final victory over Chester, reflected last night on the ironic situation that could take tuns to the Wembley final on March 1. 

Leonard said: "I could have been playing for Port Vale because the Villa manager wanted to sell me earlier in the season. "After Sammy Morgan was injured the deal fell through and I was drafted into Villa's first team squad. 

"I hope that I can retain my place in the side and play at Wembley. It's a dream come true. 


“Four years ago I was playing in the Midland Combination for Highgate as an amateur." 

Leonard. who broke his leg In a car accident two years ago, has had many ups and downs in his career and conceded that his first goal against Chester was lucky. 

"The ball hit me on the shoulder and bounced into the net," he said. 'But I found space and was unmarked when I headed Frank Carrodus's centre in," he added.