Saturday, 22 February 1975
Villa beat leaders Manchester United in an impressive Villa Park performance to close the gap to the top of the table to five points with a game in hand as their 1975 form transforms their promotion challenge.
Assists(s) | Keith Leonard | 4' | Ray Graydon | 24' |
4’ Goal, 1-0, Ray Graydon, Assist by Keith Leonard
24’ Goal, 2-0, Charlie Aitken, Assist by Ray Graydon
HT Aston Villa 2-0 Manchester United
60’ Sub off, Ray Graydon, Sub on, Keith Masefield DEBUT
FT Aston Villa 2-0 Manchester United
ON THIS DAY
Ron Saunders' Villa make it six unbeaten games in League football in 1975 to record fifteen wins, seven draws and eight defeats in his first thirty League games as Villa boss. Meanwhile, full back Keith Masefield made his debut as a substitute aged 17 having joined from Warwickshire & District Schools on 1 October 1974.
European Cup / Champions League: 🏆
League Champions: 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 🏆🏆
FA Cup Winners: 🏆🏆🏆
League Cup Winners: ❌
Last Trophy: 1967-68
Previous 5 vs. Manchester United: | 🟩 | 🟥 | 🟨 | 🟩 | 🟥 |
Season | 1974-75 |
Matchday | #42 |
League Match | #30 |
Manager Game | #42 |
Saturday, 22 February 1975
Manager | Ron Saunders |
Referee | Harry New, Bristol |
FT Result | Won |
FT Score | 2-0 |
Last 5 Games | WDLWW |
Referee: Harry New | 🏴 | 1960-1975
Chris Nicholl returns from suspension in place of Neil Rioch.
Starting XI Average Age
| 26.27 |
Oldest Player |
LB Charlie Aitken | 32.84 |
Youngest Player |
LB Bobby McDonald | 19.88 |
GK Jim Cumbes |
CB Chris Nicholl |
CB Ian Ross |
FB John Robson |
LB Charlie Aitken |
LB Bobby McDonald |
M Leighton Phillips |
W Ray Graydon |
W Frank Carrodus |
F Keith Leonard |
F Brian Little |
Stepney, Buchan, Forsyth. Houston, Sidebottom. Greenhoff, Martin (Davies), McIlroy, Young, Macari, Pearson. Manager: Tommy Docherty.
F Alun Evans |
Injury | 3 |
M Pat McMahon, Ankle |
RB John Gidman, Eye |
F Sammy Morgan, Stomach muscle |
GK : Goalkeeper
LB, RB, FB : Left Back, Right Back, Full Back
CB, D : Centre Back, Defender
M, W : Midfielder. Winger
F, CF : Forward, Centre Forward
🟢 : Debut 🔴 : Final Game
⚽ | Goal
🔥 | Assist
🔁 | Substitution
🟨 | Booking
🟥 | Sending off
🆘 | Poor refereeing performance
*Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday, 24 February 1975
It was like a comedian evening school in the packed interview-room with Ron Saunders jokingly telling Tommy Docherty to keep quiet. adding “This is my room.”
“I thought so,” Docherty replied “There’s no drink in it.“
When the laughter subsided Docherty continued ”Well I’ve got to win something today even if it’s only an argument “
Indeed the only other thing that United won all afternoon was the scarf twirling session between the supporters. Otherwise it was virtually no contest.
Saunders may have lost the post match confrontation but in terms of preparing and motivating his team - the important aspects - he came out far ahead.
The remarkable thing about the game was that it was not until the second half that Villa’s players could be accused of thinking of next week’s League Cup Final .
In the first half Villa hit United with a fast and breathless rush and if it lacked a little in design, it made up for in excitement.
The Villa roar was loud and proud.
United were handicapped by the absence of their top two centre halves and the third choice Arnold Sidebottom was reduced, like the rest of his defence, to an anxious inadequacy by the strength and persistence of Keith Leonard.
The Villa centre forward, who grows In confidence and authority with every game, set up Ray Graydon’s fourth minute goal - his first touch - and then Graydon’s corner gave Charlie Aitken a headed goal twenty minutes later.
With Brian Little also sharp and dangerous Villa could have scored more than twice - Alex Stepney made one brilliant save from Leonard - but United lived on luck.
Villa’s attacking urgency was helped by a solid defence, and a mobile stifling midfield.
Frank Carrodus lived up to his manager’s theory that he has five lungs, Leighton Phillips went close twice while Bobby McDonald once again looked impressive.
The 19-year old Scot, Docherty’s last schoolboy find when he was Villa’s manager is rapidly becoming a talisman for the team and crowd.
Villa’s present form began with his inclusion in an FA Cup third round tie at Oldham. eleven matches ago and Villa have since won eight and drawn two.
The return of Chris Nlcholl after suspension suggested that Villa’s defence would not allow a two goal lead to slip away for a third successive match, while lan Ross, the captain, was tidy and influential beside him.
When Graydon went off after an hour with a slight groin injury he was replaced by Keith Masefield, a 17-year old full-back, making his first League appearance. It weakened the attack but it did not affect Villa’s control.
Villa’s decision to ease off in the second half was understandable, but if they can reproduce their first half form at Wembley it will be the best final for years.
As far as the Second Division is concerned Villa will be promoted if they can sustain their present mood but United will have to quickly end their slump if they want to be champions.
They are probably too far out in front not to go up but bigger leads than theirs have vanished.