It’s in… Pardew… 4-3 Palace! (Part 1)
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 24, 2016
It’s been 26 years since Crystal Palace last featured in a domestic cup final, the 1990 FA Cup produced an extraordinary chapter in the famous Red and Blue history. Now, over a quarter of a century later, Palace are just 90 minutes away from another historic FA Cup final at Wembley.
Saturday 6th January 1990- FA Cup 3rd round
It was the start of what was to become a magical FA Cup campaign; a home tie against Portsmouth. Palace always looked the stronger team, creating a mass of chances; however completely against the run of play, Portsmouth took the lead, Steve Wigley’s cross meeting the head of Guy Whittingham, who looped the ball over a helpless Nigel Martyn. Nevertheless, Geoff Thomas was introduced to the game as a substitute and made an immediate impact, dispatching his shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner. There was to be late controversy, as the ref awarded a penalty for an alleged foul on Andy Gray, although replays would suggest otherwise. Despite this, Gray made no mistake and sent a very relieved Crystal Palace into the fourth round of the Cup.
The real attraction of the weekend was being played 130 miles away, at the City Ground. Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest entertained Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, it was widely speculated in the media that nothing less than a win would save Ferguson’s job. Luckily for everyone connected with United Mark Robbins came off the bench late on and scored the winner from a Mark Hughes cross.
Saturday 27th January 1990- FA Cup 4th round
The fourth round produced a fairly straight forward task for Steve Coppell’s men, another home tie; this time against division 3 Huddersfield. The first came from a set piece, Gary O’Reilly pouncing onto a loose ball and placing his first time finish into the keeper’s bottom right. The second wasn’t too far behind, Mark Bright making himself a nuisance in the box and forcing the Huddersfield defender into putting the ball into his own net. Bright then bagged himself a goal and put the tie to bed, Phil Barber delivered a great set piece into the danger area, where it was met by the head of an unmarked Bright. Finally, Salako finished off an emphatic 4-0 victory with a tidy finish, tucking the ball under an on rushing Steve Hardwick.
Meanwhile, Manchester United scraped victory against Hereford United, Mike Duxbury producing a dazzling run which was finished off by Clayton Blackmore, netting the only goal of the game with just 4 minutes to play.
Saturday 17th February 1990- FA Cup 5th round
A lot of focus was aimed at 4th division side Rochdale who reached the 5th round of the competition for the very first time in their history; a remarkable achievement and the 1000/1 outsiders were rewarded with a trip to Selhurst. Palace hammered the Rochdale goal but 21 year old Keith Welch was in inspired form, keeping Bright at bay and making a double save following Salako’s header which was tipped onto the post. However, around the hour mark, Palace made the breakthrough. A long throw from Salako, flicked on by Bright and expertly finished off by Phil Barber. However, right at the death, Peter Ward almost forced a replay, if not for a brilliant save from Nigel Martyn.
On Tyneside, Newcastle hosted Manchester United in a 5 goal thriller; Newcastle recovering twice from being a goal down before McClair poked in his first goal for 17 games to secure United’s place in the hat for the quarter finals.
Saturday 10th March 1990- FA Cup Quarter Finals
Palace’s kind run had earned them a quarter final spot, this time an away trip to 4th division Cambridge was on the agenda. For Cambridge this was by far the biggest game in the club’s history, with a record gate income of around £60,000. 8 of the starting 11 joined Cambridge United on free transfers, former Aston Villa and England international Dion Dublin was among those names. It proved to be a scrappy game that offered very little in the way of chances, Ian Wright having the pick of the bunch, saved by the legs of Vaughan. Palace finally took the lead but it took 78 minutes for Geoff Thomas to unlock the Cambridge defence, a shot from the edge of the box, somehow ended up in the back of the net.
Manchester United kept marching on; a single goal from Brian McClair was enough to see Alex Ferguson’s side into the semi-finals along with Crystal palace, Liverpool and Oldham.