After two convincing results for the Dons in the United States, the next stop on the Aberdeen - Wolves tour was the Great White North. This would mark the first of three games that Aberdeen would play in Canada on this trek. Vancouver football fans were hoping for some of the same magic that Aberdeen displayed in their last game at Empire Stadium in 1956, where they played two games: A 2-2 draw against the British Columbia All-Stars, and a 3-3 draw versus Everton in front of over 18,000 fans.
The Vancouver press was one of the few throughout the 1972 North American tour to reference the games that Aberdeen and Wolves had played thus far in order to help sell tickets to the match. Some football columnists predicted they would need at least 7,500 fans to make a profit. Whatever it was that the B.C. Soccer Commission did seemed to work as Aberdeen enjoyed its largest attendance of the entire tour with 9,160 people going to Empire Stadium. This match would follow the theme of the other games between Aberdeen and Wolves, in the sense of it being decidedly one sided - however, this time, not the result Aberdeen fans would have liked.
Billed as the "Match of Champions," maybe this was slightly optimistic as Wolves had not collected silverware for over a decade, and Aberdeen last won the Scottish Cup two years previously and had not won the league in 17 years. However, perhaps the Dons won the "Sottish First Division" (as the programme mis-identified the top-tier league) and the history books were wrong!
Having played five games in 10 days, the Dons would be sporting a slightly weakened team with many players expressing fatigue or muscle-related aches and pains. The loss of Henning Boel also could not be ignored - his tour was finished after having broken his nose in the previous match and requiring surgery.
Tired legs seemed prevalent as Aberdeen came crashing down to earth. The Dons were the stronger of the two teams for the first 15 minutes, but then Wolves started to show their dominance on the pitch. After 26 minutes Wolves would break the deadlock with Ken Hibbitt's diving header on the end of a David Wagstaffe cross.
Aberdeen would go into the break one down, but came out a little better at the start of the second half. Wolves' Phil Parkes had two good saves in quick succession, denying Davie Robb from point blank range and then diving at the feet of Ian Taylor. It was a risky manoeuvre, bearing in mind the game was being played on AstroTurf.
A blunder by Andy Geoghegan gifted Wolves their second goal of the game at the 51st minute. The 'keeper went to gather a Hibbitt shot but dropped the ball at the feet of John Richards, and Richards was not going to turn that golden opportunity down. Wolves' third goal of the evening at the 60th minute was once again the result of the ball finding the back of an open net. However, this time it had less to do with Geoghegan, and more to do with quick reactions by the Wolves' offence. Wagstaffe crossed to the head of Alan Sutherland' Geoghegan parried the powerful shot, but instead of finding an Aberdeen defender to clear his lines it found Hugh Curran who steered it home.
This continued the theme of the winning team scoring three goals with Wolves coming out deserved winners. It was a humbling effort for the Dons after the early successes of the tour. Full time: Aberdeen - 0, Wolves - 3.
The four-game West Coast tour would conclude in Los Angeles, California. Those with good memories will recall that L.A. was where Wolves and Aberdeen had met five years earlier on July 14, 1967 in front of 17,824. This was the famous match when Aberdeen (as the Washington Whips) lost in extra time to Wolves (as the L.A. Wolves) 6-5.
Author: George Pirie
Wolverhampton Wanderers Teamsheet
Parkes, Taylor, Parkin (Shaw), Bailey, Munro, McAlle, Hibbitt (Daley), McCalliog, Richards, Curran (Eastoe), Wagstaffe.
Aberdeen Teamsheet Geoghegan
Venue: Empire Stadium, Vancouver
Referee: Werner Winesmann