Magic Moment: 1982 - Keith Bertschin scores twice as Norwich City record first victory on return to Division One
That first league victory of the season can be a psychological barrier to overcome – but there are times when it all clicks and you get off the mark in style.
Thirty years ago, newly-promoted Norwich City did just that with a 5-1 hammering of Birmingham City.
Striker Keith Bertschin did much of the damage with two goals and an assist against his former club.
A year after moving to Carrow Road from St Andrew’s, 26-year-old Bertschin was the star turn in a win which, at the time, equalled the biggest Division One victory in club history.
He scored first and last – and was injured netting his second and City’s fifth goal – to inspire Ken Brown’s team to their first win since clinching promotion from Division Two.
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They needed it badly after crashing 4-0 at Swansea four days earlier, leaving them with just one point from their first three matches on their return to the top flight.
Birmingham manager Ron Saunders, who had been the first man to take Norwich into the first division a decade earlier, was unable to conceal his dismay at his side’s performance.
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“All our wounds were self-inflicted,” he said. “We created five or six good chances out there. Conversely, they didn’t create anything but stuck away the five we handed them on a plate. There are things to be sorted out . . . and we’ll sort them out.”
Brown was understandably upbeat at the way his players bounced back from their Vetch Field nightmare.
“That’s more like it – there’s nothing like goals to bring back the crowds,” he said.
City took the lead after four minutes when Bertschin swept home a cross from Mark Barham. It was 2-0 after 26 minutes when Greg Downs and John Deehan set up Martin O’Neill for a close-range finish. O’Neill scored the third within seconds with a spectacular effort from outside the penalty area.
Birmingham reduced the arrears before the interval when Kevan Broadhust headed in Kevin Dillon’s corner.
But after 57 minutes, City full-back Paul Haylock headed across goal, goalkeeper Jim Blyth flapped under pressure from Bertschin and Barham drove the loose ball into the net.
Bertschin wrapped up victory with his second goal 10 minutes from time, but injured his back in the process and was replaced by defender Colin Smith.
The injury ruled him out of the next match at Everton but he returned quickly and finished the season with 14 goals in all competitions, including two more when the Canaries won 4-0 in the return fixture at Birmingham the following April.
City were in need of some good news when Birmingham arrived at Carrow Road and their goal flurry provided it. The following day they announced a record loss of �501,420 on the year to June 30, 1982, figures described by chairman Sir Arthur South as “horrendous”. But he also forecast a better year ahead on the back of their promotion success.
• MATCH DETAILS
Date: Wednesday, September 8, 1982
Venue: Carrow Road
Competition: Football League Division One
Score: Norwich City 5, Birmingham City 1
Story: Keith Bertschin scored twice against his former club as the Canaries recorded their first victory on their return to Division One, at the expense of a Birmingham side managed by former Carrow Road boss Ron Saunders.