Birmingham 1 Man United 4

Trevor Francis And Sammy McIlroy

Birm­ing­ham City 1 Man­chester Uni­ted 4, St Andrew´s Sta­dium, Eng­lish Foot­ball Lea­gue Fir­st Di­vi­sion, Au­gust 20, 1977. FA Cup hold­ers Man­chester Uni­ted ini­ti­ated the 1977-78 cam­paign in ex­cel­lent fash­ion wi­th a 4-1 tri­umph ag­ainst Birm­ing­ham City. The meet­ing wi­th The Brummies was Dave Sexton´s fir­st Foot­ball Lea­gue en­counter in charge of Uni­ted af­ter re­pla­cing Tom­my Doc­herty in the summer.

North­ern Ire­land play­er Sam­my Mc­Ilroy had a mag­ni­fi­cent mat­ch ag­ainst Birm­ing­ham City at St Andrew´s, win­ning tackles and dis­trib­ut­ing the ball ar­ound the field. Also hav­ing a great ga­me was Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­al Lou Ma­cari who notched up three goals in the com­pre­hens­ive 4-1 vic­tory over The Blues. The sup­port­ers ar­ound the sta­dium had barely fou­nd their seats be­fore Ma­cari head­ed a well-taken cor­ner by Ste­ve Cop­pell pa­st Birm­ing­ham cus­todi­an Jim­my Mont­gomery and in­to the onion bag af­ter on­ly five min­utes of ac­tion, and the at­tack minded play­maker ad­ded an­oth­er goal for the vis­it­ing te­am when he ham­mered an un­stoppable shot from in­side the pen­alty area bey­ond the reach of Monty and high in­to the roof of the net in the 22nd min­ute. The Black Coun­try club ma­naged to re­duce the de­fi­cit thanks to a goal from ex-New­castle Uni­ted mid­fielder Terry Hi­b­bitt eight min­utes in­to the sec­ond frame, but Man­chester Uni­ted re­gained their two goal ad­vant­age thro­ugh Gor­don Hill who fou­nd the tar­get wi­th a thun­der­ous vol­ley that flew pa­st Mont­gomery and in­to the back of the net in the 75th min­ute, and as the con­test entered the clos­ing sta­ges, The Reds stret­ched their lead even fur­ther when Ma­cari com­pleted his hat-trick by slot­ting the ball ho­me from a few yards out wi­th sev­en min­utes left of nor­mal time. The away win over Birm­ing­ham City was noth­ing but a fant­ast­ic start to the new cam­paign and took Man­chester Uni­ted straight to the top of the Di­vi­sion One ta­ble on goal difference.

And as usu­al, there were a few sur­prise res­ults on the open­ing Sat­urday of the Fir­st Di­vi­sion sea­son, wi­th Bob­by Robson´s Ips­wich To­wn si­de edging out Ar­senal by 1-0 at Port­man Road cour­tesy of a fir­st-ha­lf goal from 19-year-old for­ward Da­vid Ged­dis, Di­vi­sion One new boys Not­ting­ham For­est beat­ing Ever­ton 3-1 at Good­ison Park, and Nor­wich City de­feat­ing West Ham Uni­ted 3-1 at Boleyn Gro­und. There were also up­sets in the Sec­ond Di­vi­sion as freshly pro­moted Mans­field To­wn over­came re­cently re­leg­ated Sto­ke City, ma­naged by for­mer stal­wart Ge­orge East­ham, by a 2-1 score thro­ugh sec­ond-ha­lf goals from stri­ker Dave Syrett and mid­field man Pat Shar­key be­fore a crowd of al­most 15,000 on­look­ers at Field Mill, Sun­der­land, also new­ly re­leg­ated, suf­fered a 3-0 loss at the hands of little fan­cied Hull City at Booth­ferry Park, whi­le Mill­wall suc­cumbed to a 3-0 de­feat to Di­vi­sion Two new­comers Crys­tal Pal­ace at The Den. Next up for Dave Sexton´s Man­chester Uni­ted was a Fir­st Di­vi­sion fix­ture ag­ainst Cov­entry City at their Old Traf­ford fort­ress four days la­ter. Birm­ing­ham City Te­am: Jim­my Mont­gomery, Jim­my Calder­wood, Pat How­ard, Garry Pen­drey, Mal­colm Pa­ge, Terry Hi­b­bitt, An­thony Tow­ers, Tre­vor Fran­cis, Keith Bertschin, Ga­ry Jones, John Con­nolly. Sub­stitutes: No­ne. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Al­ex Step­ney, Ar­thur Al­bis­ton, Jim­my Nich­oll, Bri­an Green­hoff, Mar­tin Bu­chan, Da­vid Mc­Creery, Ste­ve Cop­pell, Sam­my Mc­Ilroy, Stu­art Pear­son, Lou Ma­cari, Gor­don Hill. Sub­sti­tute: Ash­ley Grimes.


Manchester United Quickfacts

Man­chester Uni­ted be­at Birm­ing­ham City by a 4-0 score at St Andrew´s on the 29th of Nov­ember 1958 wi­th a brace by Bob­by Charl­ton and one goal each from War­ren Brad­ley and Al­bert Scanlon.


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