On this day (8th February) in 1964 Manchester City and Bury drew 1-1. It hardly sounds a remarkable game but it was for two reasons – this was Colin Bell’s Bury debut (and he scored!) AND City’s goalkeeper Harry Dowd scored the Blues equaliser.
This was City’s first point of 1964. The Blues were losing 1-0 to a debut goal from Bury youngster and future Blue Colin Bell at Maine Road when Dowd suffered a broken finger in the 54th minute. He was unable to continue in nets but stayed on the field and reverted to centre-forward – a role he’d often played as a youngster.
Scottish forward Matt Gray replaced Dowd in nets and the game continued with the regular ‘keeper keen to impress in attack: “I was restless enough to give it all I’d got. I felt just like a colt on its feet for the first time, pushing and shoving my way through and going for the every ball – many of which I hadn’t a hope of getting. But the moment of glory wasn’t far away, and it seemed the fans were loving every minute of the action.”
“I got the chance to slip the ball to Derek Kevan, his shot hit the bar, and as it bounced down I went lunging in to turn home the equaliser. The newspapers said some very kind things the next day.”
With Dowd’s efforts up front and a fine performance in goal from Gray the Blues secured the point. Gray had managed to keep a clean sheet, although Dowd’s amazing exploits prevented him from receiving the kind of credit that other emergency City ‘keepers Doyle, McDonald, Gleghorn, Quinn and Walker would over the decades that followed.
This game was probably Dowd’s highlight of the season as later on, he found himself dropped with Bert Trautmann returning to the side for three games before even he gave way to Alan Ogley for the final five matches of the season.. At one point Dowd asked for a transfer, but he remained at Maine Road, playing a significant part in the successes that followed under manager Joe Mercer.
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