IAN GREAVES’ scouting trip to Italy proved far more nervy than his Town side’s game at Chelsea.
A goalless draw in front of 28,207 at Stamford Bridge gave the Leeds Road side another valuable point in their bid for top-flight safety.
Having lost 1-0 at home to second-bottom Burnley the week before, Town were determined to keep a tight rein on Dave Sexton’s fourth-placed team.
Chelsea, who had a big European Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final clash with Bruges on the horizon, had some real flair players.
Charlie Cooke, Alan Hudson and Peter Osgood were all favourites in West London, but they were given little chance to impress against Town.
Greaves’ super-fit side chased and harried their hosts all afternoon, and Sexton’s side had to resort to firing in hopeful crosses.
They proved meat and drink to Town keeper David Lawson, who had stepped up to replace broken leg victim Terry Poole two months earlier.
While Town’s players remained in the capital to prepare for the following Wednesday’s clash at Crystal Palace, manager Greaves and Town chairman Frank Drabble flew out from Heathrow to begin preparations for the forthcoming Anglo-Italian Cup.
Town’s group opponents Sampdoria and Bologna were playing each other in Genoa.
Getting there entailed a change at Milan, but with the connection missed after a delay in leaving London, the pair were forced to take a taxi.
“It’s 120 miles from Milan to Genoa, and with less than two hours for the trip, we didn’t think we had a prayer of making it for kick-off,” said Greaves.
“But before we knew it, we were hurtling down the motorway.
“I’ve never had a scarier journey, but we were in our seats 10 minutes before the match started.
Bologna won 2-1 and Greaves continued: “Playing in competitive European football is going to be a fantastic experience.
“The Italian clubs are going to great lengths in their preparations, and I want to apply the same attention to detail.”