17 March 1973 - Derby County 0 Leeds United 1
|FA Cup sixth round - Baseball Ground - 38,350|
|Scorers: Lorimer 29 mins|
|Derby County: Boulton, Webster, Nish, O'Hare, McFarland, Todd, McGovern, Gemmill, Davies, Hector, Powell (Durban 69)|
|Leeds United: Harvey, Reaney, Cherry, Bremner (Bates 57), Madeley, Hunter, Lorimer, Clarke, Jones, Giles, E Gray|
Derby County's capture of the league title in May 1972 came almost by default; they had completed their campaign and were on holiday in Majorca as Leeds United were failing to secure the point they required from their final game of the season at Wolves. The memory of that disappointment left the Elland Road camp with some scores to settle and the 1972/73 campaign provided ample opportunity in that regard.
Leeds completed a League double over the Rams, winning 5-0 at home on 7 October and then earning a 3-2 victory at the Baseball Ground on 3 March, and those results went a long way to healing the scars.
The FA Cup quarter-final pairing of the two clubs a couple of weeks later offered Brian Clough's charges the opportunity for immediate revenge. Ending United's quest to retain the FA Cup would be a rich prize indeed, compensating Derby for their less than consistent defence of the championship crown. Leeds' league victory at the Baseball Ground virtually ended County's fading hopes; that was hard enough for Clough's men to take, but the nature of the win rubbed salt into their wounds.
The game had been ruined by the waterlogged state of the pitch, ill temper and a succession of fouls; two Peter Lorimer penalties proved decisive on the day but the Rams were the architects of their own destruction with two of Leeds' goals the result of ill-considered passes aimed in the general direction of goalkeeper Colin Boulton.
Eric Todd in The Guardian: 'Solely for those people who looked upon Saturday's match at the Baseball Ground as a dress rehearsal for the FA Challenge Cup-tie there, it may be said that Derby County fluffed their lines three times, and Leeds ignored the prompter twice. And, for various reasons - a fussy director, arguments among the cast, and outbursts of theatrical temperament, the play overran by ten minutes. Of course, it could be all right on the night …
'Conditions were deplorable above and below, and tempers never at their best in mud and rain. On a dry day, I cannot believe that these two basically fine teams would concede 55 free kicks, 29 of them against Leeds. Provided the Baseball Ground looks less like a harbour at low tide and both sides are at full strength, it could be a magnificent Cup-tie. To be on the safe side, however, a knowledge of probationary work or guerrilla warfare would be an advantage to the referee appointed.
'The first point of interest was the appearance of Leeds in an all-yellow strip and anything less appropriate would be difficult to imagine for this strong, fearless combination. Come to think of it, their usual virgin white takes some believing too. The second was the first senior appearance of young McQueen, a centre-half from St Mirren, who wore the No 11 shirt and appeared at right-back. Thus may we see how the football world wags.
'For his first party trick, McQueen carted McGovern over the touchline and into the low wall, mercifully without doing any serious damage. Fears of a fractured skull were allayed in the second half. McQueen battled on bravely with damaged ribs and cramp and did enough to convince Don Revie that the money has been well spent. But Leeds must hope that Gray will be available on March 17. Clarke, in stupendous form this season, is entitled to better support.
'Leeds, nevertheless, showed that they can play good football when the mood is upon them, but on Saturday it was the turn of their defenders to take the major honours. Madeley and Hunter were quite magnificent, although only a qualified psychiatrist perhaps could explain why Hunter does such daft things. He exudes more talent and determination than most and he is an inspiration to Leeds and England. But he went and tripped Gemmill and collected his eighth booking of the season. Oh, Norman, you silly lad!
'Derby were much the better side early on, although they did not relish United's softening up tactics in the first five minutes. Cherry, Hunter, Clarke, Giles and Lorimer were spoken to by the referee, and while retaliation cannot be condoned, Derby deserved some sympathy after the interval when they appeared to be preoccupied with physical survival and their impending visit to Czechoslovakia.
'Derby, as they had been at Newcastle, were uninspired in the Leeds penalty area and Davies, who also had his name taken, again found that glory is a transitory thing. Gemmill and McGovern worked hard enough, but before the end Derby realised that they did not carry enough heavy guns to break United's defences, McFarland offered stout resistance when all around him, if not exactly fleeing, were in such a state of uneasiness that Clarke and Lorimer might have added to United's haul.
'When finally the curtain fell on the rehearsal, the multitude departed to conjure up thoughts of the real thing. It would be just too bad, however, if personal vendettas were to subvert common sense and stifle talent.
'Durban gave Derby the lead in the twenty-fifth minute when he bent a free kick past Harvey from 25 yards. Three minutes before half time, Boulton dived bravely on to the ball after a dreadful pass back by Davies, but he collected Lorimer's legs as well, and Lorimer scored with the penalty, the award of which was contested vehemently by Derby.
'In the fifty-fourth minute, Hector restored Derby's lead with a fine header from Durban's free kick, but in the sixty-ninth Todd pushed Hunter to the ground and this time there could be no argument. Lorimer chalked up his second penalty. Three minutes later, Todd misjudged a pass back, and Clarke, as usual, accepted the gift with relish.'
There was a war of words between the two camps in the days leading up to the Cup clash, but heads started to cool as kick off time approached and on the Thursday before the game, Albert Barham reported as follows in The Guardian: "The quarter-final tie between the FA Cup holders, Leeds United, and Derby County, the league champions, at the Baseball Ground on Saturday will not be a hate match, a vendetta or even a showdown. The message from both clubs is that it will be as good a Cup-tie as the match of the day should be.
'Too many people said too much after the First Division match at the beginning of the month. Brian Clough since has said that he wants his players to be given the chance to play football and that Leeds are a physical team. Gradually the picture has been built up that the capacity crowd will see a game with exceptional needle between the competitors.
'Don Revie this week has promised otherwise. Referring to the crucial League match which Leeds won at Derby, he said that it was "unusual for anyone to answer Clough back. He usually has all his own say. I just said that I felt his team are physical and strong and are not the pure footballing side he's trying to influence the country they are."
'There was no animosity between him and Clough. Indeed, they had spent considerable time together at interviews and travelling. "We get on well together. There is nothing either between the players and nothing will be carried forward to Saturday's match." Yet the league match had, apart from half a dozen fouls, he said, been a good, honest, hard League game with Derby trying to win to give them confidence for the Cup game, and Leeds trying to keep in the championship challenge.
'Peter Taylor, the assistant to Clough at Derby, put the matter in perspective. All the talk of the league match was water under the bridge. All the talk of vendettas were just not right. But it was a different type of game on Saturday, for the Cup matches had an effect on the temperament of players and in his opinion the most important man on the field was the referee. He is Harry New of Bristol, who yesterday was appointed to control the FA Amateur Cup final at Wembley on 14 April 14.'
Revie: 'Both teams are packed with skilful players and I think if we go out and play as well as we are capable of playing, then football must benefit. This is the main thing. Two teams who can play as entertainingly as Derby and Leeds must go out and give entertaining football.' The Leeds boss acknowledged the benefits of home advantage to Derby, 'But I still fancy us strong. Both sides are evenly matched and we have just as good players on our side capable of scoring as have Derby.'
However, Revie simply could not resist a cautionary note to Clough for his sniping at United defender Norman Hunter: 'I feel that all this criticism of Norman - and not only by Clough - affects the judgement of referees. When they read or hear other managers accusing the player of unfair tactics - and worse - they are bound to be influenced to some extent when they see him go hard into a tackle. We know he's a tough player, but he isn't dirty. Clough has called Norman some disgraceful things recently. Before he condemns him he ought to count the number of bookings one of his own top defenders has had this season. Roy McFarland has been cautioned five times and served a two-match suspension. Clough ought to put his own house in order before he starts criticising others.'
There was some speculation in the days leading up to the game regarding Revie's team selection; the young Scots, Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen, had performed admirably in the two preceding games, against Rapid Bucharest in the Cup Winners' Cup and Everton in the League, both comfortable victories.
However, the manager opted for experience, recalling Paul Reaney and Mick Jones, and switching Paul Madeley to centre-half. Eddie Gray continued his recuperation in the No 11 shirt and Mick Bates was named sub in preference to a number of other strong claimants, including McQueen, Jordan and Terry Yorath.
For Derby, 17-year-old midfielder Steve Powell replaced the injured Alan Hinton, but otherwise the Rams lined up as expected.
In contrast to the previous encounter, the game was played in warm sunshine on a pitch that was in reasonable condition, if a little unpredictable in its bounce. Both sides were forced to forego their normal kit, Derby sporting all-blue and United donning an unfamiliar red, much to the displeasure of many of their supporters.
It was some time before any meaningful pattern emerged to the action, with the opening exchanges punctuated by tit for tat exchanges as the two teams sought some form of toehold in the tie. The home side were the first to show, with defender Colin Todd sending young striker Roger Davies away on the right before his progress was blocked by Norman Hunter. United snapped back when Todd's wayward crossfield pass fell to Billy Bremner. The Leeds skipper surged forward only to give away the game's first foul when he impeded David Nish in a challenge. Jones' shot from an angle was gathered by Derby keeper Colin Boulton. Then Rams striker Kevin Hector, born in Leeds, rounded Madeley only to run the ball over the touchline.
United were coping well with the home side's forays and found enough time and space to show they were a threat themselves, with the number of elementary mistakes committed by the Derby defence giving cause for optimism.
Hector looked the greatest threat among the Midlanders' ranks; when he ran at Cherry, the Leeds man was forced to impede him on the edge of the area. The striker got on the end of McGovern's lobbed free kick but shot wide of goal.
There had as yet been none of the nastiness shown in the League game but around the 20-minute mark, Todd was lectured by the referee after a scything tackle on Bremner. Minutes later, Allan Clarke was spoken to, apparently for showing dissent.
These were exceptions and the game was a well-contested, but fairly fought, Cup-tie, if devoid of too many goalmouth incidents. After 29 minutes, though, United took the lead.
Peter Lorimer was obstructed by Roy McFarland just outside the Derby area. The Scot took responsibility at the dead ball situation but his shot cannoned off the County wall and fell to Johnny Giles on the right flank. His high cross to the far post was met admirably by a superbly climbing Mick Jones, and a perfect downward header allowed Lorimer to strike cleanly home from 13 yards. United celebrations were momentarily stayed as referee Harry New checked with a linesman before allowing the goal to stand. The officials decided that Clarke, though standing in an offside position, was not interfering with play, and duly awarded the goal.
Lorimer: 'It was a great ball from Mick. He picked me out and laid it in front of me. I knew it was in as soon as I struck it.'
United came close to adding a second shortly afterwards as Jones sought to reach a centre, but McFarland ended the danger at the expense of a corner.
Cherry and Hunter were towering figures in the United defence as they resisted Derby's attempts to recover, but when John O'Hare got in a powerful volley, it was the back of his colleague, Davies, which diverted the effort.
United keeper David Harvey was in confident mood and rose above a crowded area to cleanly claim a high free kick from Todd.
Giles and Bremner had taken a grip in midfield, providing United with the platform to control the rhythm of the game and United went in at the break with their deserved lead intact.
Leeds were first to show at the restart, Lorimer firing over the bar after a good pass from Hunter had put Jones away on the left. United followed this up with another raid which ended with Gray hitting a low, angled shot just past the far post.
O'Hare had moved to centre-forward for the Rams, with Davies and Hector flanking him and Gemmill and McGovern pressing up from midfield. The change brought urgency to Derby's thrusts and one surge was only denied by Reaney's timely headed clearance as Hector and O'Hare lurked ominously. United survived an appeal for hands when McGovern's shot struck Hunter as the home side stoked up the pressure. Harvey couldn't hold a low angled shot from Davies, but as the ball trickled out of his hands, Madeley was there to clear.
After 57 minutes United lost the services of Bremner. The United skipper limped off with a strained calf and was replaced by Mick Bates.
There was a close thing for United after one of their raids was thwarted. A long Derby clearance brought some anxiety and Madeley, harassed by Davies, almost struck a suicidal blow as he sought to turn the ball back to Harvey. The goalkeeper had come running out and the ball rolled slowly past him towards goal. Thankfully, Harvey managed to recover and dropped on the ball, little more than a foot from his line.
Cherry, in his final outing prior to a two-match suspension, was in fine form and he twice cleared threats as Derby pressure grew. But the home side's all-out commitment to attack almost proved their undoing in the 65th minute as United threatened.
Eddie Gray cut out two defenders with a superb through ball to set Clarke away. The England striker took the ball on and when Boulton raced out of his goal Clarke flicked it wide of him only to see it slip past the far post. Then Derby survived a penalty appeal when Clarke was sent sprawling by Todd.
As the game reached its final quarter, Derby brought on experienced Welsh international midfielder, Alan Durban, for young Powell, though the Baseball Ground crowd made it clear that they felt Gemmill should have been the man withdrawn. The Scot was not enjoying one of his better days, but Powell had been equally unable to get into the game.
Fourteen minutes from the end Cherry was booked for a foul on Durban. The free kick was just outside the United box and Durban's low shot sped past the defensive wall, but Harvey went down to gather confidently.
Hector was only inches away from heading the equaliser ten minutes from the end and then in the closing minutes he was in the picture again, but Harvey produced a fine parry, palming the ball across goal and to safety. The referee also turned down Derby claims that Lorimer had used his arm to control the ball in his own area.
An all-ticket crowd of 38,350 had paid £23,750 to see a well-fought game. Derby pressed United hard in the latter stages, but the reality of the piece was that Don Revie's men always looked to have the temperament, class and presence of mind to secure the victory that their authoritative play merited.
As the Derbyshire Evening Telegraph acknowledged, 'There could be no complaints this time. Derby County were just not good enough to beat Leeds United … Although the Rams had possession enough to have won … they could not pass the magnificent central defenders, Paul Madeley and Norman Hunter. At least, though, the match was won and lost on skill. The good sense of British professional footballers saw to that.
'There were no fouls of any consequence until the 22nd minute, when Todd dumped Bremner to the ground like a sack of potatoes, and nothing of any note after that. If anything, Harry New refereed too fussily but, after the publicity and mud-slinging that followed the recent league match between these two sides, nobody could blame him for that. Trevor Cherry had his name taken for tripping Hector and could consider himself unfortunate. It was a foul, certainly, but by no stretch of the imagination vicious or dangerous. The players proved that they can meet in a civilised way, however high the stakes. One hopes they have done enough to end the silly feud that has blown up between Brian Clough and Don Revie in the past few weeks.
;Derby rallied with tremendous spirit. They came at Leeds time and time again, forcing them back almost under their own crossbar. At times, the Leeds clearances were wild, but the defence did not buckle. They have soaked up this kind of pressure all over Europe. Norman Hunter, especially, was magnificent. He tackled firmly and fairly, read the game intelligently and confirmed that he is a player of great quality. By his side, Madeley was equally immovable. These two did not put a foot wrong between them. Nothing can take away the credit from the Leeds defence. They were too solid and too composed for the Rams.'
The game was not the classic that had been hoped for, but that suited Don Revie, who could be satisfied with a thoroughly professional performance and smooth progress to another FA Cup semi-final. He said later, 'The pitch was tricky. We tried not to take any risks and play it very, very safe. We are just pleased to be in the last four and I was pleased it was a clean match.'
To hope for a victory against an in form United side, for whom this was a ninth victory in eleven games, Derby needed to be at their very best and never attained that level. They sorely missed the guile and goal threat of Alan Hinton, and their approach lacked breadth and variety.
The dry pitch rendered control something of a lottery and the Rams gambled on a hurried, long ball game, which did not play to their strengths. It gave them territorial advantage but few clear chances on a day when cool heads were needed. United's shorter game was always the more effective.
Barry Foster in the Yorkshire Post: 'Once Peter Lorimer had supplied the killer punch after almost half an hour on Saturday afternoon, Derby County might as well have put their clocks on there and then for British summer time and gone home. Leeds were in that kind of invincible mood, complete in every department of the game to such a degree that in the end the game they admitted was going to be their toughest hurdle of the season so far was taken in comfort.
'It was the second time in a fortnight that they had whipped Derby at the Baseball Ground and the third time they had beaten them this season in three goes so now the noises from Derby about how there is no way Leeds can beat them should stop. Leeds controlled the game from midfield throughout the first half, providing almost all the worthwhile football, dictating the pace, and in the second half soaking up Derby's pressure without problems, counter punching at their goal in lethal style whenever Derby stopped to catch breath.
'Leeds looked the complete Cup side, giving notice that it is going to take a mighty performance to stop them retaining the trophy. They used their most experienced players to see them through, as I suggested on Saturday morning, and with Cherry, Hunter and Gray in complete command of the left and the rest of the side making no slips there was little an off colour Derby could do to stop Leeds.
'It will be interesting now to see if the champions Derby can raise their game for their attempt to reach the European Cup semi-finals this week. They managed only one clear chance against Leeds but Hector, their most persistent attacker, headed wide. They lacked an ideas man in midfield, although they used four men there at times. Durban might have supplied some of the answers but when he was eventually sent on the die was cast. Giles had shown the way it should be done in the first half, dictating the speed and much of the pattern of Leeds on the move.'
For Leeds United, it was on to a sixth FA Cup semi-final in nine seasons and hopes of a treble; for Derby County there was success in the European Cup quarter finals against Spartak Trnava before losing out to Juventus in a controversial match in Turin which was plagued with allegations that the Italian club had bribed the match officials. Clough emerged from the dressing room and told the expectant Italian reporters, 'No cheating bastards do I talk to. I will not talk to any cheating bastards.'