City suffered another bad defeat at Northampton last weekend in a game marred by several pitch invasions and flares on the pitch causing the game to be held up several times. City's chances of a result were not helped by a red card for Jordan Willis in the 19th minute – a somewhat harsh decision but one which was upheld by the FA. Jordan is the fifth City player to receive his marching orders this season, following Dion Kelly-Evans, Jordan Turnbull, Ben Stevenson & Lewis Page. In those five games City went on to win two (West Ham & Chesterfield) and lose three (Bradford, MK Dons & Northampton). The club record of seven red cards in a season is now under threat. That record was set in 2001-02, City's first season out of the top flight for 34 years when the following players 'saw red':
Lee Hughes v Bradford City (a)
Youssef Safri v Gillingham (a)
David Thompson v Millwall (a)
Marc Edworthy v WBA (a)
Lee Hughes v Grimsby (a)
David Thompson v Wolves (a)
Jay Bothroyd v Crystal Palace (a)
All seven were away from Highfield Road and City ended up wining three of them (Gillingham, Grimsby & Palace) with Hughes & Bothroyd both scoring before receiving the red card, and losing the other four. City finished nine points shy of the top six that season & whilst it's all hypothetical if those four games had been won, City would have been in the play-offs!
The following season that number was equalled when the following received their marching orders:-
Calum Davenport v Brighton (a)
Youssef Safri v Crystal Palace (h)
Craig Hignett v Burnley (a)
Dean Gordon v Sheff United (a)
Gary Caldwell v Nottm. Forest (a)
Youssef Chippo v Watford (h)
Gary McSheffrey v Wimbledon (h)
Another unwelcome stat from last Saturday was the third hat-trick of the season by an opposition player. Cobblers' Keshi Anderson followed Bristol Rovers' Billy Bodin and Cambridge's Luke Berry in scoring a hat-trick against the Sky Blues. That is the first time City have conceded three hat-tricks in a season since 1995-96 when Alan Shearer (Blackburn), Gary McAllister (Leeds) and Savo Milosevic (Aston Villa) netted three apiece. The worst season for conceding hat-tricks was in 1925-26 when five opposing players did it. It was City's only season in Division Three North and Fenner (Wigan Borough), Jepson (Accrington), Keetley (Doncaster), Cookson (Chesterfield) and McDonald (Bradford PA) all scored three.
Last week I wrote about Joe Elliott's first ever City game - a friendly against Preston North End in 1956 – and it prompted Rod Dean to write about his memories of the game.
Last week's piece on the Preston 1956 game was massive nostalgia for me. My father had purchased a brand new Ford Popular in 1954 for £390 (he paid in cash utilising my school satchel) - a basic black car with no heater, no indicators (my father added those himself). It was an exciting time for our family and we took trips down to the Cotswolds and travelled to my first City away match at Northampton in the Autumn of 1955 (attendance 20,000 - a bit larger than last Saturday).
We stood on the 'famous duck boards' that were used in the football season and then removed for the cricket season (Northampton's ground was shared with the county cricket team). The only problem was that my father had yet to pass his driving test! He did eventually pass at his third try - a different world in those days when a lot of drivers had never taken tests!
The one thing I remember about the Preston game is the absolute run around Finney gave the 'Ageing' Charlie Timmins - Charlie had been a real 'servant' to the club since the 1940's, was a real favourite with the fans but was coming to the end of the road. Such changes were rare in those days but as you said ' Raynor switched Charlie with Frank Austin at half time' - I can remember my father saying after the match as we walked to the car ' Frank did a real good job and kept Finney quiet' It's over 60 years ago but it only seems like yesterday - some matches you remember like it was yesterday others are a total blank! Yes Frank had a good day!Tom Finney in action
I had been to Wembley the previous season to see England beat Scotland 7-2 but Finney had not been selected so it was my first and last view of this 'English Titan' - he and Stanley Matthews were the scourge of Scottish Football in the 40's and 50's.