Cardiff 0 Manchester Utd 1
Cardiff City 0 Manchester United 1, Ninian Park, English Football League Second Division, August 31, 1974. Promotion hunting Manchester United defeated lowly placed Cardiff City in front of a 22,000 crowd at Ninian Park to gain their fourth successive Second Division win of the 1974-75 season. United eventually won the clash with City through a penalty by midfielder Gerry Daly early in the first period.
Newly relegated Manchester United came into the Second Division encounter against Welsh Cup winners Cardiff City looking for their fourth consecutive victory of the 1974-75 campaign following convincing and confidence-boosting triumphs over Orient, Millwall, and Portsmouth respectively. It had also been a excellent start to the season on a personal level for Northern Ireland international Sammy McIlroy who had been instrumental in the previous three matches. And just for the sake of football history, Manchester United and Cardiff City had not played against each other since a First Division meeting at Old Trafford on the 3rd of February 1962 which The Reds won 3-0, with goals coming from Johnny Giles and the two Nobbies; Stiles and Lawton. Manchester United, who were sporting their all-white away strip for the occasion, got themselves off off to a good start at Ninian Park when Republic of Ireland international Gerry Daly expertly beat Cardifff City goalkeeper Ron Healey, previously with Manchester City, from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of proceedings after summer signing Stuart “Pancho” Pearson had been illegally brought down inside the eighteen-yard area by ex-Scotland U23 stopper Don Murray. Alas, Pearson was forced to leave the field with a thigh strain a mere sixteen minutes later and the former Hull City goal plunderer was replaced by versatile defender Tony Young who would operate in midfield, while England U23 player Brian Greenhoff moved up front to support McIlroy. The Welshmen defended themselves well, though, and the two teams went in at the half-time break 1-0.
Manchester United, led in attack by the irrepressible Sammy McIlroy, began the second half the better and the rampant visiting side started to run rings around the Cardiff City defence. The Old Trafford side created a string of quality scoring opportunities to stretch their advantage as time moved on, but Tommy Docherty´s troops failed in their attempts to convert them into goals and the somewhat one-sided affair finished with a narrow, but well-deserved, 1-0 victory for the Division Two leaders. The encounter between Cardiff City and Manchester United at a fully packed Ninian Park may not have been a classic game, but it was nevertheless two more important points to the visitors from England. There was, however, severe crowd trouble before, during, and after the match in Cardiff and a large number of hooligans from both sides were arrested and jailed by the local police force. Now, in order to discuss the problem of violence following the incidents in the capital of Wales, Manchester United Football Club organised a meeting with some of their supporters the very next day, but unfortunately the fighting would just continue, and even escalate, in the months to come.
In other Second Division games played concurrently, Bristol Rovers overcame Hull City by 2-0 at Eastville Stadium thanks to a penalty from ex-Bradford City frontman Bruce Bannister and one goal by Gordon Fearnley, Orient were held to a 1-1 draw against Portsmouth at Brisbane Road, West Bromwich Albion defeated Sunderland 1-0 at The Hawthorns courtesy of a goal from versatile midfielder Allan Glover, Fulham succumbed to a 2-0 defeat against London neighbours Millwall at The Den, Oxford United edged out Nottingham Forest 2-1 at City Ground, Bolton Wanderers beat Aston Villa 1-0 at Burnden Park where Paul Jones hit the winner for The Trotters, Notts County managed a 2-2 draw against York City at Bootham Crescent, Southampton and Blackpool shared the spoils during a 1-1 draw at The Dell, Bristol City were beaten 2-0 at Boundary Park by Oldham Athletic, whose goals came from former Blackburn Rovers players George Jones and Maurice Whittle, while Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1 before a crowd of over 20,000 people at Carrow Road, with local born attacker Steve Grapes scoring for The Canaries and Tommy Craig, a £100,000 club record acquisition from Aberdeen, notching for The Owls. After getting the better of Cardiff City at Ninian Park, Manchester United were now topping the Division Two table with eight points, one point in front of Fulham and Norwich City. Cardiff City Team: Ron Healy, Albert Larmour, Phil Dwyer, Clive Charles, Don Murray, Leighton Phillips, Freddie Pethard, James McInch, Gil Reece, Derek Showers, Willie Anderson. Substitute: Peter Sayer. Manchester United Team: Alex Stepney, Alex Forsyth, Stewart Houston, Martin Buchan, Jim Holton, Brian Greenhoff, Mick Martin, Gerry Daly, Stuart Pearson, Sammy McIlroy, Willie Morgan. Substitute: Anthony Young.
Manchester United Quickfacts
Despite playing in the Second Division, Manchester United were the best supported team by far in the Football League in the 1974-75 season with an average crowd of 48,389 per game.
Manchester United´s Previous Ten Matches
Norwich City 0 Manchester United 2
Manchester United 1 Newcastle United 0
Manchester United 3 Everton 0
Southampton 1 Manchester United 1
Everton 1 Manchester United 0
Manchester United 0 Manchester City 1
Stoke City 1 Manchester United 0
Orient 0 Manchester United 2
Manchester United 4 Millwall 0
Manchester United 2 Portsmouth 0
Manager: Tommy Docherty