Manchester Utd 2 Wolves 1

Bobby Charlton

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Wolver­hampton Wan­derers, Old Traf­ford, Eng­lish Foot­ball Lea­gue Fir­st Di­vi­sion, Feb­ruary 10, 1973. Fol­low­ing a goal­less fir­st forty-five min­utes, Bob­by Charl­ton fou­nd the net twice for Man­chester Uni­ted in their 2-1 win over Wolver­hampton Wan­derers at ho­me. But des­pite gain­ing two valu­able points, Tom­my Docherty´s te­am were still dan­ger­ously clo­se to the re­leg­a­tion zone.

Man­chester Uni­ted and Wolver­hampton Wan­derers had last met four weeks earli­er in an FA Cup Third Ro­und tie at Mo­lineux Grounds where Bill McGarry´s troops be­at the Old Traf­ford club 1-0 thro­ugh a goal by mid­fielder cap­tain Mi­ke Bai­ley in the sec­ond min­ute of the tussle. In the cor­res­pond­ing meet­ing of the 1971-72 sea­son on the 8th of Jan­uary 1972, Frank O´Farrell´s Uni­ted had suc­cumbed to an em­bar­rass­ing 3-1 loss ag­ainst Wolver­hampton at Old Traf­ford, wi­th mid­field young­ster Sam­my Mc­Ilroy re­gis­ter­ing a late con­sol­a­tion for the hosts, whi­le for­wards Derek Dou­gan and John Richards re­cor­ded one goal each for Wan­derers dur­ing the fir­st pe­riod be­fore pre­vi­ous Shef­field Wed­nesday fa­vour­ite Jim Mc­Cal­liog ad­ded a third for The Old Gold and Black from the twelve-yard spot af­ter the re­sump­tion. As for the re­verse fix­ture of the 1972-73 cam­paign on the 16th of Septem­ber 1972, Wolver­hampton had in­flic­ted a 2-0 de­feat on Man­chester Uni­ted at their Mo­lineux ho­me cour­tesy of a goal apiece from pro­lif­ic stri­kers Dou­gan and Richards in the 24th and 67th min­utes re­spect­ively. Re­leg­a­tion can­did­ates Man­chester Uni­ted, who had ex­per­i­enced a dis­astrous start to the sea­son, had ma­naged a one-all draw ag­ainst Cov­entry City at High­field Road wi­th a fir­st ha­lf goal from re­cent sign­ing Jim Hol­ton in their pre­vi­ous Lea­gue Di­vi­sion One en­counter, where­as mid-ta­ble Wolver­hampton had nar­rowly edged out Fir­st Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­on­ship chal­lengers Liver­pool by a 2-1 mar­gin at Mo­lineux thanks to an early own goal by Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­al Em­lyn Hug­hes and a late win­ner from the in­form John Richards.

Al­though Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated the pos­ses­sion of the ball from the on­set, Wolver­hampton had more shots at goal dur­ing the fir­st pe­riod of the ga­me. Ste­ve Kin­don, who had joi­ned Wol­ves from Sec­ond Di­vi­sion club Burn­ley for a trans­fer fee of £100,000 in the sum­mer of 1972, put Al­ex Step­ney to the test early on when the big stri­ker fired a fe­ro­cious shot from in­side the eight­een-yard box which the sea­soned goal­keeper di­ver­ted for a cor­ner kick. And a few mo­ments la­ter, nine­teen-year-old Wolver­hampton mid­field tal­ent Ste­ve Da­ley, skip­ping across the quag­mire pitch in Man­chester like a mud­lark, for­ced Step­ney to parry a long dis­tance ef­fort away for an­oth­er flag kick, whi­le Jim Mc­Cal­liog had a dan­ger­ous shot saved by the Uni­ted net­mind­er just be­fore the sound of the ha­lf-time whistle. Fol­low­ing the in­ter­mis­sion, Man­chester Uni­ted con­tin­ued to press high up the field and Re­pub­lic of Ire­land play­er Mick Mar­tin came clo­se to put­ting the ho­me si­de in front with­in the fir­st min­ute of the sec­ond ha­lf, on­ly to watch his ef­fort be­ing saved by Wolver­hampton cus­todi­an Phil Par­kes. For­mer Celt­ic hero Lou Ma­cari should have con­ver­ted the sub­sequent cor­ner taken by fel­low coun­try­man Wil­lie Mor­gan, but the new­ly sig­ned for­ward struck the ball wide of the post from six-yards.

Man­chester Uni­ted ev­entually had their open­er three min­utes be­fore the hour ma­rk when ever­green play­maker Bob­by Charl­ton fou­nd the tar­get from the pen­alty spot af­ter Ma­cari had be­en bro­ught down by Wan­derers de­fender Frank Mun­ro in­side the area. And a mere five min­utes la­ter, Charl­ton fou­nd the back of the net ag­ain as he ham­mered an un­stoppable trade­mark shot pa­st Par­kes and in­to the onion bag to make the sco­reline 2-0 in the fa­vour of Man­chester Uni­ted. Shortly af­ter­wards, North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al Dan­ny Hegan ma­naged to pull one back for Wolver­hampton when the strong run­ning mid­field com­batant roun­ded off a quick counter at­tack wi­th an ex­cel­lent chip over Al­ex Step­ney, but wi­th no more goals be­ing sco­red in the sec­ond ha­lf, the fix­ture fin­ished wi­th a 2-1 vic­tory to Uni­ted. The nar­row, but con­vin­cing, ho­me tri­umph ag­ainst Wolver­hampton at a mud-soaked Old Traf­ford was Tom­my Docherty´s fir­st win since tak­ing over the head coach­ing reigns at Man­chester Uni­ted Foot­ball Club shortly be­fore Christ­mas 1972. The res­ult meant that The Man­chester Reds now fou­nd them­selves in 18th po­s­i­tion in the Fir­st Di­vi­sion ta­ble wi­th twenty-two points col­lec­ted from twenty-nine ga­mes played, one point ahead of Crys­tal Pal­ace and Birm­ing­ham City re­spect­ively. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Al­ex Step­ney, Al­ex For­syth, Mar­tin Bu­chan, Jim Hol­ton, Mick Mar­tin, Wil­lie Mor­gan, Ge­orge Gra­ham, An­thony Young, Lou Ma­cari, Bob­by Charl­ton, Ted Mac­Dou­gall. Sub­sti­tute: Bri­an Kidd. Wolver­hampton Wan­derers Te­am: Phil Par­kes, Ger­ry Tay­lor, John Mc­Alle, Ber­hard Shaw, Frank Mun­ro, Derek Jef­fer­son, Jim Mc­Cal­liog, Dan­ny Hegan, John Richards, Ste­ve Kin­don, Ste­ve Da­ley. Sub­sti­tute: Alan Sunderland.

 

Bobby Charlton Quickfacts

Bob­by Charl­ton sco­red a brace as Man­chester Uni­ted drew two-all ag­ainst Ful­ham at Vil­la Park in the 1958 FA Cup Semi-Fi­nals. Matt Busby´s troops won the sub­sequent re­play five goals to three.

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