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Memory Lane 40 Years Ago - 1979/80 - The Season we played in 7 League Cup Ties

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Last season Burton played 7 League Cup Ties and got knocked out in the 2 legged semi final. In 1979/80 we played 7 League Cup ties and got knocked out in the third round!

In those days both the first round and second round were two legged affairs.

The first round first leg should have been played on the Saturday before the league season started and the second leg in midweek a few days later. However the notorious coronation chicken food poisoning meant the first game was postponed from the Saturday to the Wednesday with second leg being played the following Tuesday.

So we took on Brentford on 15th August beat them 2-1 with goals from Gerry Fell and an OG by Jim McNichol. The crowd was recorded as a nice round 3,600. The following Tuesday we all trotted off to Griffin Park where lo and behold a famous 4 -1 victory was recorded with 2 goals from Mickey Touhy and one each from Colin Morris and Derrick Parker in front of 7,820

Due to the delay in playing those fixtures I guess we must have already known that the winners would be playing First Division Bolton Wanderers in the second round.

So off we went to Burnden Park the following Tuesday who the week before had drawn 0-0 with Liverpool at Anfield. There were only 41 more at Bolton than at Brentford. We weren't much of a draw in Bolton. However those who went witnessed one of the most gutsiest performances from Blues as we won at a first division ground for the first time ever. Quoting from Peter Miles and David Goody - 50 of the finest matches:

"The referee Michael Peck was a central figure in the game and seemed to many supporters to judge tackles differently depending on who was the aggressor. In the opening minute Len Cantello clattered into Colin Morris who required lengthy treatment but was let off with a mild admonishment. Roy Greaves and Peter Nicholson also made some ugly challenges which went unpunished. Yet every time the Blues made a tackle the result was at best a severe talking to and more often a yellow card was brandished. One yellow card was brandished at Dave Cusack in 14th minute when he flattened Alan Gowling but in 34th minute Cusack won the ball fairly from Neil Whatmore but was inexplicably shown a second yellow and sent down the tunnel."

So there we were down to 10 men after just 34 minutes away to a first division side.

The inevetiable happened in 51st minute when Bolton took the lead but 3 minutes later a 50 yard ball from Tony Hadley found Colin Morris and 1-1. 9 minutes later another ball from Hadley who was now playing at centre half was flicked on by Touhy to Morris 2-1 - amazing. We held on till the end thanks to magical Merv Cawston for a famous victory.

The second leg was played the following Monday at Roots Hall in front of 9894 when a 0-0 won us the tie. we were in the third round or the first time in 10 years and who came out of the hat- second division West Ham at Upton Park.

Tuesday 25th September 1-1 at Upton Park in front of 19,658.
If I recall correctly Ronnie Pountney put us in front in the first half, Phil Dudley missed a sitter that would have put us 2-0 up and David Cross equalised for the Hammers just before half time.

So Monday 1st October back at Roots Hall in front of 22,429 and a 0-0 after extra time. Even though they were in the 2nd division West Ham had Phil Parkes, Ray Stewart, Billy Bonds, Alvin, Paul Brush, Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire and Stuart Pearson on their books.

So what happened the next - the toss of the coin said we were going back to Upton Park the following Monday. We were now severely depleted without Steve Yates, Tuohy, Parker and succumbed 5-1 after being 2-1 down at half time in front of another 19,718. Billy Lansdowne got hat trick for them our goal came from Terry Gray.

Cawston, Cusack, Dudley, Moody ,Morris, Otulakowski and Stead played in all 7 games, Steve Yates 6, Gray, Parker and Hadley 4 of them , Pountney 3 and Fell and Walker 1.

To cap that week off we then lost at home to Colchester on the following Friday.

But it was all great fun whilst it lasted!

Wouldn't it be great if we could manage just of a couple of ties in one season again!
 
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