A packed Elland Road witnessed a flowing classic of a match from the very first whistle. With Barnes and Tueart swapping wings throughout the first half, City took the game to a heavily fancied Leeds side. Fed by the inspirational Colin Bell, four games into his tear jerking comeback, Gary Owen and a typical never-say-die performance from Asa Hartford, City were firing on all cylinders up front. The first half involved such heavy pressure on the Leeds rearguard, with Tueart heading just wide after great work on the right by Owen and Barnes’ jinking run ending with McQueen upending him for a penalty that the referee decided against giving, that by the end of it the Leeds players had taken to fighting amongst themselves. After a series of City corners threatened to create havoc, David Harvey and Gordon McQueen were spoken to by the referee after swinging wild punches at each other. The referee even saw fit to walk to the touchline and warn Leeds manager Jimmy Armfield to get his team under control. This would be a prelude to more serious problems later in the game, as some of the Leeds support would decide to ape their heroes’ unprofessional behaviour. Somehow, however, Leeds survived the onslaught to retreat to the shelter of the changing rooms at 0-0.
City’s attacks did not let up after the interval and, after McQueen had fouled Brian Kidd on 62 minutes, they got the richly deserved breakthrough. With the City fans packing the terraces behind the goal and all the way down the side of the ground as far as the half way line, there was a huge upswell of noise as Watson lofted the ball forward, Bell bravely looped the ball on with his head and Tueart flung himself through the bodies to head high past Harvey. As the net bulged, Tueart was treated to a mouthful of turf as Paul Reaney arrived too late and squashed him into the penalty area mud. A mass of sky blue scarves greeted the goal, but City were not finished. Leeds, committed now to chasing the equaliser, were leaving gaps at the back, as the game ebbed and flowed furiously. City’s second goal came with 18 minutes to go, as Donachie crossed from the left wing, Bell got up above Frank Gray to head powerfully forward, Harvey –mistiming his jump slightly- pushed the ball up onto the bar and, as players rushed in on the loose ball, Barnes got a toe end to it and it was in the back of the net for two-nil. Clarke’s rugged challenge on big Joe Corrigan just after this earned him a talking-to, as the atmosphere on the Leeds Kop began to change palpably for the worse. Sure enough, with 13 minutes left on the clock, a massive surge of Leeds fans carried those at the front onto the pitch at the Kop end. With City dominating the home team, this was the home fans’ solution: to try and get the game abandoned. Referee Seal took the teams off and reappeared with a tiny microphone to tell the stadium that “this match will not be abandoned”. He repeated his mantra for effect (earning great cheers from the Blues following) before the players finally reappeared some fifteen minutes later. By now, the game had lost its pattern, the crowd were being held back by police horses and most wanted it to finish as quickly as possible. City continued to press. Tueart had a great chance on the breakaway to make it 3-0, but it was Tony Currie who was bossing things now and he it was who inspired Leeds’ mini come-back, being upended by Corrigan in the box at the end of a weaving run. The penalty was despatched low to the City keeper’s left by Frank Gray, to create a tense finale. With the thousands of Blues fans singing their songs of victory, the whistle finally went with the clocks past five pm to end an epic day of cup football. The draw for the fourth round was unkind in the extreme – after the valiant effort of beating Leeds on their own turf, City were drawn at Brian Clough’s Forest and went out 2-1. The memories of the battling and swashbuckling display in Yorkshire would not be dimmed, however.
- Sat 7th Jan 1977 - FA Cup 3rd Round: Leeds 1 City 2 (16 mins, colour, Barry Davies commentary)