On this day (17 January) in 1925 Manchester City’s Frank Roberts scored four as Liverpool were defeated 5-0 in Division One.
Roberts’ feat was remarkable because he was playing as centre-forward (a position he seemingly was not keen on playing) due to regular centre-forward Tommy Browell being struck down with influenza.
He normally played as City’s inside-right, his preferred position.
It was Roberts’ first outing as centre-forward that season and it was the first time he’d ever scored four in a game. It made him the League’s top scorer with 24 goals so far that season.
City’s opening goal had been scored by legendary, amateur footballer Max Woosnam in the opening minute. Sadly, accurate time keeping was not a feature of football then (some would argue that some referees still don’t have accurate time keeping but that’s for another day) and so we don’t know how few seconds this was actually netted in. Some reports say straight from the kick-off.
The Liverpool Echo talked of the game starting in a gale which worked against the Liverpool club (some local newspapers still make excuses for their teams). The Athletic News makes no such comment preferring, instead, to talk of City’s ‘lightening like movements’ and their approach being ‘the way to win’.
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City hadn’t had a manager since November and were struggling in the League when the Blues played a FA Cup fifth round tie against Crystal Palace on this day (20th February) in 1926. The tie, played at Maine Road turned out to be a fifteen goal thriller with City in rampant form.
By half-time the score was 7-0 to the Blues, but Palace would not give up and quickly pulled back four goals. City were knocked out of their period of complacency and soon found their goalscoring touch again.
By the end it was 11-4 and, according to a number of spectators present on the day, Manchester fans rushed on at the final whistle and carried off the Palace ‘keeper Callendar shoulder high. Apparently he had played extremely well and, somehow, managed to keep the score down, although one cannot help wondering if he’d have been given such a reception had the scores been reversed.
Frank Roberts was the City star for this particular game, scoring a remarkable five, while Tommy Browell also earned a few plaudits with his hat-trick. Browell had been ill for most of the week and had been unable to train.
With no management and such a miserable time in the League, no one could believe how City had been able to deliver such strong cup performances.
Remarkably, film of the game has survived and can be viewed here:
On this day (30th January) in 1926 managerless Manchester City faced Huddersfield Town in a FA Cup tie at Maine Road, watched by 74,799. The following article, for subscribers to GJFootballArchive.com, provides the background story to the tie and film of the game.
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