Manchester City travel to EFL Championship side Huddersfield Town this weekend for their tie in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. The two sides are in very different places in the landscape of English football— Huddersfield are battling for a playoff place while City will undoubtedly have one eye on their Champions League clash with Monaco next week.
But it’s becoming easier to forget that City weren’t always the well-funded juggernaut they are now. It wasn’t all that long ago that they were a struggling second-division outfit. And that a league meeting with Huddersfield wasn’t exactly the obscene mismatch that their game this weekend will be. Still, even then, City were capable of taking it to their opponents when they wanted to.
This week we take a look back at a memorable second division clash between Man City and Huddersfield from 1987.
There’s not a whole lot you need to know heading into this match. City and Huddersfield were both struggling in the old Second Division, and with the festive season right around the corner both sides were looking to build up some momentum.
What happened that gloomy evening at Maine Road was something else.
There’s no real point in going through the proceedings with much scrutiny. It was barely a game. It was more of a skeet shoot.
Neil McNab in the 13th minute, hitting a daisy cutter that rolls just inside the near post.
Paul Stewart in the 29th minute, hitting from the right.
Tony Adcock in the 34th minute, heading in from a cross. This should’ve done the trick. But City were far from done.
David White in the 41st minute, tapping in a low cross into an empty net.
City went into the tunnel up 4-0 and having barely broken a sweat. You would think they’d ease up on the gas a little. You would be wrong.
After Frank Worthington’s dismal assessment at halftime, the teams came out for Act II. Whatever designs Huddersfield had for trying to get back into the game were comprehensively dashed by the hour mark.
Adcock again, in the 53rd minute, beating the keeper to a diagonal cross and finding the net.
Stewart, the 67th, with a looping header.
Adcock, a minute later, bagging his hat trick at the end of a charging run.
Stewart, with his hat trick, in the 81st minute, tapping into an empty net.
White, in the 85th, shooting through traffic in the box for his brace.
Finally, Huddersfield get on the board in the 89th minute. A merciful penalty call, dutifully converted by Andy May to deny City their clean sheet.
A minute later, Stewart grabbed a his own hat trick, rounding the keeper in no-man’s land and capping off an absolutely imperious performance by the home side.
At long last, the whistle blew for full time. City 10, Huddersfield 1. Three hat tricks. 20,000 fans gone off their rocker. An astonishing evening.
City finished that season in 9th place, level on points with Oldham Athletic but with a superior goal difference. (This game almost certainly made the difference there.) Huddersfield had an absolutely dismal season, finishing the campaign at the bottom of the Second Division with only 28 points. The next season, City were promoted to the First Division.
The two sides meet again this Saturday in the FA Cup at the Kirklees Stadium. Huddersfield fans must surely be praying to avoid a repeat of that awful night in 1987. Kickoff is at 10am Eastern on Fox Sports 1.