MAGIC MOMENT: January 3, 1973 - Steve Govier’s goal clinches City’s place at Wembley for the first time
It was the goal that took Norwich City to Wembley for the first time – but matchwinner Steve Govier and his team-mates had to endure all kinds of mental and physical agony before booking their place in the 1973 League Cup final.
The record books show that centre-half Govier scored the goal that gave the Canaries a 1-0 home win over Chelsea in the semi-final, second leg on January 3, completing a 3-0 aggregate success.
But a fortnight earlier, Ron Saunders’ team had been six minutes from Wembley when they led 3-2 in the second leg, and 5-2 on aggregate, before a dense blanket of fog forced the abandonment of the match by referee Gordon Hill.
So, without arguably the worst night of Govier’s career, the best could never have happened – for it was his header from a corner early in the second half that decided the replayed second leg in front of a crowd of 34,265 at Carrow Road.
The 20-year-old defender was on semi-final duty – for what proved to be three matches – because skipper Duncan Forbes had suffered a punctured lung in a collision with Arsenal striker John Radford in the 3-0 quarter-final win at Highbury, a victory secured by Graham Paddon’s hat-trick.
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And Govier had another big name centre-forward to mark in the semi-final in Chelsea’s Peter Osgood.
As City defender Dave Stringer had discovered when he was injured in a League Cup quarter-final tie against Chelsea the previous season, Osgood’s game had a certain edge to it.
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Years after his battle with the England striker, Govier recalled: “He was an excellent player on his day when he concentrated on his football . . . he hit me right across the Adam’s apple as we ran out after Kevin Keelan caught a cross.”
Undaunted, Govier had the last laugh with the 51st-minute winning goal in front of the jam-packed River End terrace.
“Osgood came back with me for the corner. I’d beaten him most times in the air and as soon as he jumped I thought he went too soon,” he recalled.
“He was on the way down as I came up and I headed it in, but I didn’t even see it go in.”
It was one of only two goals Govier scored in 30 first team appearances for City, and he missed out on the final, a 1-0 defeat by Tottenham, when Forbes recovered in time to lead out the Canaries.
In 1974, the Watford-born Govier joined Brian Clough’s Brighton and he later signed for Grimsby before his career was ended prematurely by a knee injury in 1977, at the age of 25.
But he secured a place in City history as the man who booked their first Wembley ticket.
• Date: Wednesday, January 3, 1973
• Venue: Carrow Road
• Competition: Football League Cup semi-final, second leg
• Score: Norwich City 1, Chelsea 0 (City won 3-0 on aggregate)
• Attendance: 34,265
• Story: Centre-half Steve Govier scored the goal that clinched City’s place at Wembley for the first time