History will be made as Manchester City host Bournemouth today for the first time ever in the top flight of English football. In fact, in the league, the Blues have only ever played the Cherries six times – and they’re yet to lose, either home or away. Of course, where City are concerned, there’s a first time for everything, so there should be no chances taken this afternoon.
With only three previous home meetings to look back on, there could only be one game that gets featured for our Halcyon Digest series. Back in May 1989, Mel Machin’s City hosted Harry Redknapp’s Bournemouth, knowing a win would secure them promotion to the First Division. It was an afternoon where ‘Typical City’ would take hold and, while the club did finish in runners up position that campaign and did go up at the end of it, the hosts made this difficult for themselves.
It couldn’t have got off to a better start. Two minutes in and Andy Hinchcliffe’s long ball into the box from the left full back position was nodded down by Cherries captain Mark Newson as he tried to clear. It wasn’t enough to get rid of the danger and Paul Moulden pounced to smack the loose ball into the back of the net.
City continued to have the better of the match, but were struggling to find the net. Six minutes before the break, they doubled their advantage – again following a long pass by Hinchcliffe. He found Trevor Morley in the box, who twisted and turned to find room for the shot, which he eventually curled into the top corner with his right foot.
On the stroke of half time, the Blues looked secured of promotion. A Hinchcliffe free kick deflected towards the bottom corner, where the goalkeeper got down to parry it away. He touched it onto the bar, but was stranded as Moulden arrived to tap home the third goal for the hosts.
At 2-0, injured goalkeeper Andy Dibble – working for the press that afternoon – commented that he felt the team were “home and hosed” and that promotion was virtually a sure thing. It’d take a “superhuman effort” for Bournemouth to get back into it, he thought, so when City added their third, he and the fans must have been celebrating early.
After the change-around, it was a different story. Be it complacency or be it a great recovery from the away side, but Bournemouth got themselves back into the match.
It started when Peter Shearer headed in from a corner. The kick was fired in from the right flank found the midfielder totally unmarked and he powered his effort into the back of the net. A few moments later, a similar routine allowed Matty Holmes to volley through a crowd of players and find the target. The original clearance wasn’t challenged and the ball trickled in.
Deep into stoppage time and the with the score at 3-2 to the home side, it was looking like the Blues had just about done enough to scrape the win they needed for promotion. However, in the 95th minute, Luther Blissett went down in the box under a challenge from Hinchcliffe. The referee pointed to the spot and the striker got up to smash the kick into the top left corner. From 3-0, the visitors had secured a 3-3 draw and the promotion party had to be put on hold.
City goalkeeper Dibble said:
“Second half, we’ve just sat back and they’ve come at us. We’ve got to give them credit. I think we gave them much too much space. It [promotion] was in our own hands. I just hope we haven’t blown it.”
City: Cooper, Lake, Hinchcliffe, Megson, Brightwell, Redmond, White, Moulden (Oldfield), Morley, McNab, Gleghorn
For that game, this was the front cover of the match day programme – courtesy of Manchester City Programmes.
Cinema-goers in the UK at the time of this game were just a couple of weeks away from being able to enjoy Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Written by David Mooney.