Friday, August 5, 2016

5 August 1970 - Hull City Pays The Penalty

On 5 August 1970, Manchester United and Hull City met in the semifinals of the Watney Cup, with the contest decided by England's first penalty shootout.

The Watney Mann Invitational, sponsored by the brewery of the same name, was established as a preseason tournament for the teams who scored the most in their Football League divisions the previous season, but were neither promoted nor playing in Europe. Two teams from each division participated and in 1970, the competition's first year, those teams were First Division sides Manchester United and Derby County, the Second Division's Hull City and Sheffield United, the Third Division's Fulham and Reading, and the Fourth Division's Aldershot and Peterborough United.

For the semifinal, Hull hosted Manchester United at Boothferry Park and took an early lead before Denis Law found a late equalizer. Still even at 1-1 after extra time, the match then went into a penalty shootout. Both FIFA and UEFA had just adopted the procedure for the 1970-71 season and the Watney Cup was England's first crack at it.

George Best added to his already impressive list of achievements by taking--and converting--the first kick. Denis Law earned the dubious distinction of being the first to miss a kick when Hull keeper Ian McKechnie made the first save. The day soon turned sour for McKechnie, though, as it was his own missed kick that sent Manchester United through to the final, where they lost to Derby County.

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