1976 was Newcastle's first League Cup final appearance. Their previous best in the competition was reaching the quarter finals, achieved the preceding season. Their 1975–76 League Cup campaign started with a 6–0 demolition of Fourth Division Southport in the second round. Newcastle required a replay to overcome Bristol Rovers in the third round, and then beat Queens Park Rangers 3–1 at Loftus Road to reach the quarter-finals. A 1–0 win at home to fellow MagpiesNotts County secured a semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur. The first leg of the semi-final resulted in a 1–0 defeat, but Newcastle overcame the deficit in the home leg by winning 3–1.
Manchester City fielded a line-up unchanged from their previous match, a 3–0 home win against Everton in the league. Colin Bell was absent through injury, having suffered what later transpired to be a career-ending injury in the fourth round derby. Dave Watson was an injury doubt due to a slipped disc, but was selected despite his inability to train in the preceding week.
The opening goal was scored early in the match. Newcastle's Glenn Keeley fouled Joe Royle in the middle of the Newcastle half. The resulting free-kick was hoisted into the penalty area by Asa Hartford, where it was headed across goal by Mike Doyle. Teenage winger Peter Barnes then scored to give Manchester City the lead. Newcastle equalised in the 35th minute, Alan Gowling finishing from a Malcolm Macdonald cross. At the start of the second half a Manchester City attack led to the winning goal, scored by Dennis Tueart, who had supported Newcastle as a boy. A ball by Willie Donachie to the far post was headed across by Tommy Booth. Tueart, with his back to goal, performed an overhead kick that bounced beyond Mike Mahoney into the bottom left corner of the net. After the match Tueart described the goal as "the greatest of my career". No more goals were scored in the match, though Royle had an effort disallowed. City captain Doyle lifted the trophy, and Tony Book became the first man to win the competition as both a player and a manager.