Matchday Memories: On This Day 1979 – Bottoms Up! The Bare Cheek Of Gunners’ Sky Blue Stalemate!

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Steve Hunt in the Sky Blue

ImageOn this day (3rd April) in 1979 the Sky Blues travelled down to Highbury to take on the Arsenal.

The Gunners were riding high having just made sure of a Wembley date in the F.A.Cup final and had the likes of Pat Jennings, Alan Sunderland, Graham Rix and Frank Stapleton in the side to face City (though Liam Brady was ruled out injured).

The Sky Blues played without our main strikers necessitating City playing three wingers up front. Both Association members, Ian Wallace was out injured and Gary Thompson was, unfortunately, also out with a broken leg.

Bobby McDonald picks the ball out of the net as scorer Sammy Nelson celebrates

SOCCER Sealey/file3...Library file dated 1992 of goalkeeper

Les Sealey in Sky Blue action

In front of just over 30,000, the Sky Blues shocked the Londoners, however, by taking the lead just after the half hour mark with a goal from recent CCFPA recruit Steve Hunt and an away win looked a distinct possibility until the Gooners’ Sammy Nelson scored a blockbuster of a goal after 76 minutes to make it a 1-1 draw at the final whistle. The game was as much remembered for the bare cheek(s) of Sammy’s after match celebration (pictured above) – which left him to face post-match disciplinary proceedings!

The result repeated the scoreline of the previous November between the two sides at Highfield Road. In that game Steve Hunt also scored City’s goal, an equaliser ten minutes from time, after Frank Stapleton grabbed a 52nd minute opener.

Gordon Milne-CCFC gaffer

For the record Gordon Milne‘s Sky Blues that day (CCFPA members underlined) were:-

Les Sealey*, Brian ‘Harry’ Roberts, Bobby McDonald, Terry Yorath, Jim Holton*, Mick Coop, Donato Nardiello, Andy Blair, Steve Hunt, Barry Powell and Tommy Hutchison.

*Sadly both Les and ‘Big Jim’ later passed away at tragically early ages. Good to see ‘Harry’, Andy and Tommy Hutch back in Cov. at the Sky Blues Legends Day 2023 celebrations last year. Hope they can return to take part in LD24 next month!

Terry Neill‘s Gunners’ side comprised:-

Pat Jennings, Pat Rice, Sammy Nelson, Brian Talbot, David O’Leary, Willie Young, Mark Heeley (sub. Steve Walford), Alan Sunderland, Frank Stapleton, Steve Gatting and Graham Rix      Referee:- Clive Thomas

The Sky Blues finished the season in a comfortable tenth place with their opponents three places higher and four points better off. Queens Park Rangers, Birmingham City and bottom club Chelsea were relegated to Division Two.
Liverpool took the Division One title by eight points from Nottingham Forest.
Thanks to CCFPA’s Mike Young (& Dean Nelson) for the images.


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