THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

8 April ~ Aston Villa will be relegated this weekend if they fail to beat Bournemouth and Norwich better their result. Yet the Villa can at least take comfort from the fact that the Cherries are one of just three teams they have beaten in the league this season – on the opening day in August.

The fixture also conjures up memories of their meeting in Division Three in 1972. They went into the match at Villa Park first and second in the table, with the home team two points clear of their promotion rivals. The match drew a crowd of 48,110, a record for the Third Division at the time which has only since been beaten by the derby between Sheffield Wednesday and United at Hillsborough on Boxing Day, 1979.

In the match itself Bournemouth took a first-half lead through Ted MacDougall’s classic diving header. However, after the break Villa came storming back in front of a packed Holte End, with Geoff Vowden heading in at the back post before Andy Lochhead completed the comeback with a low volley into the bottom corner.

Villa lost just two more games all season and went on to win the title by five points from Brighton. Less than a decade later they were First Division champions, having been promoted back to the top flight in 1975. Bournemouth, meanwhile, just missed out on their second successive promotion and wouldn’t come that close to the second tier again until they won Division Three in 1987.

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