Leeds United travelled to play Newcastle United
at the end of September 1972 in good heart after a series of results
that had eased the memory of a grim 4-0
opening day defeat at Chelsea. They had won five and drawn
one of their six home games and were unbeaten on their travels
since the drubbing at Stamford Bridge.
Nevertheless, one had to go back to September 1968
for United's previous victory on Tyneside and that was only the
second victory at St James Park since Leeds regained
their First Division status in 1964.
Their previous visit, on 19 April 1972, had seem
them lose by virtue of a Malcolm Macdonald goal after 81 minutes.
That reverse severely hampered United's
pursuit of the League title and was well deserved by an industrious
and determined Newcastle team.
Manager Don Revie
was under no illusions about the size of the task facing his men,
saying: "Newcastle usually manage to give us a hard fight up there.
I don't expect tomorrow's match to be different. We will have
to try to clamp down on Macdonald and we must also keep a close
watch on Terry Hibbitt, too.
It is nice to see Terry doing so well at Newcastle but we shall
try not to allow him much space in midfield tomorrow."
Under manager Joe Harvey, Newcastle were rebuilding
after winning the Fairs Cup in 1969, when they repeated Leeds'
success of the previous year. Hibbitt and Macdonald had both
been signed in 1971, along with John Tudor and Pat Howard, while
speedy winger Stewart Barrowclough had joined from Barnsley a
year earlier. Newcastle finished 11th the previous season, though
the defeat of Arsenal and a 3-0 victory at Coventry over the fortnight
just ended had hinted that they were heading in the right direction.
For Leeds, David Harvey recovered from a cold to
continue in goal, but Paul Madeley (ankle) and Eddie Gray (thigh)
were both unavailable, while Terry Cooper was still missing after
fracturing his leg at Stoke in April. Paul Reaney for Madeley
was the only change to the side that had come from a goal down
to beat Leicester City 3-1 a week earlier.
Mick Bates continued to deputise for Gray while
the veteran, Jack Charlton,
continued to show there was life in him yet as he kept summer
signing Roy Ellam on the sidelines.
In the Newcastle ranks, Terry Hibbitt was made captain
for the day against his former Elland Road colleagues in the absence
of the injured Bobby Moncur. Hibbitt lost the toss to Billy Bremner,
who elected to let the home side kick off.
United's captain soon had reason to regret that
decision, for Newcastle opened the scoring after just 35 seconds'
The Magpies moved swiftly onto the attack with a
long ball forward by Hibbitt pressuring Leeds. Charlton cleared
from the middle of United's penalty area but the ball only found
right-back David Craig, who went for a one-two down the right
with Malcolm Macdonald. However, the ball instead found Jimmy
Smith on the corner of the penalty area. The languid Scottish
midfielder took the ball on a stride to get it out from under
his feet before firing a shot across Harvey and in off his right
hand post to open the scoring.
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If the goal shook Leeds, they did not show it and
inside 60 seconds they had drawn level.
Reaney's long clearance from deep on United's right
was won in the air by Allan Clarke. The ball was
collected by Mick Jones, who turned and laid it back for the oncoming
Clarke. There was a token narrowing of the space by Hibbitt but
to no avail and the opportunist England forward took careful aim
and, cutting his right foot across the ball, fired in a delectable
swerving drive. It curled, as if at Clarke's will, round the despairing
dive of Newcastle keeper Iam McFaul and inside the far post. A
quality goal from a quality goalscorer, replayed many times on
Match of the Day that season.
It was a breathtaking start to the action and the
excited crowd cheered with pleasure at the quality of the forward
In the seventh minute Newcastle regained the lead.
After a partial headed clearance from Charlton, Bates ballooned
the ball deep into the Newcastle half. A home defender beat Jones
to the ball in the air and it came sailing back into the Leeds
half. Jimmy Smith beat first Bremner to the high ball and then
Cherry to the ground challenge and Barrowclough took up play.
The winger took on Norman Hunter down the right wing and went
outside him at pace to loop a waist high cross towards the near
post. Tudor bravely got to it ahead of the diving Harvey and flicked
his header into the net.
Again Newcastle could only maintain their lead for
a minute. Leeds broke quickly out of defence and Johnny Giles
held the ball up in midfield before artfully playing Reaney onto
the overlap down the right. The full-back's control was poor,
though, and the ball fell to Newcastle left-back Frank Clark.
He passed back to centre-back David Young to the left of the home
penalty area. As Peter Lorimer and Clarke converged on him to
apply the pressure, Young panicked and attempted to find his keeper
with a back pass. He misjudged it fatally with McFaul far closer
to him than he realised. The ball went into space on the six-yard
line and Jones was onto it instantly to bundle the ball over the
line as the keeper attempted vainly to get back.
So, 2-2 after eight minutes with the crowd brimming
over with excitement at the quality of the attacking play, if
not the defensive performances. It couldn't last, though, as both
back fours started to apply a tighter grip. Nevertheless, the
fare continued to be entertaining with both teams committed to
winning the game.
Cherry had his name taken for the second week in
succession and third time in the season when he tugged Barrowclough's
shirt while attempting to stop the lively winger as the home side
built another move down the right.
A long clearance by Charlton, playing in his final
First Division match in his native North East, led to Jones heading
in a cross from the left after 20 minutes, but the goal was disallowed
United were awarded a free kick in the 25th minute
when Smith stopped Bremner by pulling his shirt but the referee
satisfied himself with a
lecture for Smith and declined to take his name.
Bates was not so fortunate on the half hour when
he was booked for bringing down Macdonald. There was a third caution
in the 32nd minute when Frank Clark felled Lorimer.
The home side were quickest to the ball at both
ends of the field as play swung from end to end in thrilling fashion.
McFaul gathered a high cross from Giles under pressure from Jones
and at the other end Harvey pulled down an 18-yard shot from Tudor.
Allan Clarke needed treatment for an ankle injury
following a hard tackle by Howard near the touchline and resumed
with a heavy limp. He played on for a further five minutes before
going down again and needing further treatment.
This time trainer Les Cocker led Clarke to the far
touchline and while he was doing this Don Revie sent Joe Jordan
on, failing to see the frantic waves from Clarke and Cocker indicating
that the England striker was fit to continue. The referee was
emphatic that the substitution had been made and Jordan stayed
on, Clarke trailing round the edge of the pitch with an unimpressed
Bremner hurt his back in an incident involving Smith
and played on, obviously in some pain.
Harvey came to United's rescue just on half time
when Macdonald, whose speed took him roaring past a strangely
lethargic Hunter, avoided a late tackle by Cherry. The Newcastle
striker, the country's top goalscorer, sped away on a clear run
to United's goal. Harvey, racing out, blocked the shot and the
game reached the interval with the teams still on equal terms.
The biggest attendance of the season at St James
Park had seen some entertaining play from both sides and the game
was still very much in the melting pot when the second half began.
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Charlton blocked a fierce shot from Barrowclough
and a couple of minutes later Cherry brought off a fine tackle
on the lively winger.
Newcastle did most of the pressing in the first
ten minutes of the half. Harvey went up to gather a centre from
Gibb and moments later it was Gibb again with a run down the right
and a fine centre for Tudor, who headed over the bar.
Bremner had his name taken in the 48th minute after
Smith had been brought down, although the caution appeared to
be for an offence which happened after the whistle had gone.
Barry Foster in the Yorkshire Post: "Leeds began
to look more and more vulnerable in defence, though Charlton,
at 37 … had a fine game. He had too much to do, however, on a
day when few things would go right for the usually reliable Hunter."
After 61 minutes, Newcastle regained the lead.
Goalkeeper McFaul bowled the ball out over arm to
David Craig, who fed on to Smith on the right. The Scottish schemer
made space for himself and glanced forward before curving a ball
unerringly forward with the outside of his right foot to find
Tudor, carefully marshalled by Hunter, touch tight to his back.
turned the ball wide right to Tommy Gibb who advanced into the
acre of space down the side of the Leeds area before cutting the
ball back across the box. Barrowclough and Reaney both went for
it but the full-back was tricked by the winger's dummy and the
ball ran on to Macdonald at the far post. He had time and space
to take aim, swinging the ball right footed back across Harvey
and low into the net.
Cherry and Macdonald were hurt five minutes later
in a challenge as the Leeds man cleared downfield. Cherry soon
recovered but Macdonald, suffering from an injury to his left
ankle, was eventually carried off to be replaced by the young
substitute, Gordon Hodgson, making his second first team appearance.
Hundreds of young Newcastle fans came on to the
field in the closing stages, under the misapprehension that the
referee had blown for time. They were quickly dispersed by police
and the game restarted.
They were able to celebrate for real moments later
when the final whistle did sound.
It was a disappointing result for Leeds, but great
entertainment for the large crowd. As Don Revie said afterwards,
"Naturally we are disappointed at being beaten, but it was a privilege
to see the game. This type of football must bring the crowds back."
Don Warters in the Yorkshire Evening Post: "On a
day when little went right for Hunter, and the Leeds defence was
stretched to cope with the speedy attacks of the Tynesiders, there
was a sterling display from Jack Charlton, and an untiring stint
from skipper Billy Bremner, who was cautioned in the second half.
Jones, too, put in a non-stop performance and Clarke's artistry
stood out boldly before he was injured."
United had made a full contribution to a memorable
day's play and had nothing to apologise for, though the result
dropped them from third to fifth in the League, just a point behind
early leaders Liverpool with ten games played. They would lose
just one more match on their travels before mid-February as they
started to step up their championship challenge.
For Newcastle, the rest of the campaign marked the
start of a small scale revival. They could only finish ninth in
the table, but captured the Anglo-Italian Cup, beating Fiorentina
in the final in June, and made it to the FA Cup final the following
Jimmy 'Jinky' Smith, with a hand in all three of
Newcastle's goals, was the Geordies' man of the match, giving
one of the finest performances of his six years at St James Park.
According to Barry Foster in the Yorkshire Post, he showed "what
a commanding figure he can be in midfield with Gibb and Hibbitt
at his side."
Smith, four times capped by Scotland, was signed
by Newcastle from Aberdeen for a club record £100,000 in July
1969 and became a popular player among the club's supporters with
his ball control and trickery.
Awash with money from the Fairs Cup triumph, manager
Joe Harvey was
determined not to hand it over to the tax man, so went off looking
for an eye-catching entertainer to wow the Geordies.
"Joe loved scouting in Scotland and came back with
Jinky for a record fee," smiled coach Dave Smith. "I liked players
who walked quickly with a purpose, who looked as though they were
up for the job, and when Jinky came over on his first day with
that slow gait of his I thought: 'Oh, hell, what have we got here?'
The guy was never out of first gear. He could be frustrating,
have you tearing your hair out, or in raptures with his skills.
"I always remember when we were on tour in Canada,
Jinky picked up the ball in our left-back position and dribbled
it for fully 60 yards up the touchline with the outside of his
right boot. Things like that stick out in your memory. The lad
could play all right."
Smith's career nosedived badly after he was blamed
for breaking the leg of Birmingham full-back Tony Want in December
1973. Joe Harvey said, "Jimmy doesn't seem to want to play and
I have no intention of playing him." Smith retaliated by saying,
"I always carry the can and I am sick of it. Whenever anything
goes wrong the boss immediately drops me."
Smith retired with a knee injury in 1976 aged just
29. He lost a fortune through gambling and liked a drink, suffering
a heart attack in his fifties. He ended up working as a taxi driver.
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