It’s in… Pardew… 4-3 Palace! (Part 2)
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 31, 2016
Tuesday 12th September 1989- Division 1 (Game week 5)
Newly promoted Crystal Palace visited Anfield as they prepared to take on one of the best sides England has ever seen. A difficult start to the season as The Eagles managed only 1 win in their opening 4 games. 35,779 people observed as Liverpool recorded their biggest ever top flight win and Palace recorded their biggest ever top flight loss. It took just 7 minutes for Nicol to open the scoring; McMahon then doubled Liverpool’s lead on 15 minutes. Right on half time, Ian Rush gave The Reds a comfortable lead and pretty much ended any chance of Palace bringing the game back. It took just 11 minutes in the second half for Liverpool to snatch a fourth, Gillespie contributing to Liverpool’s goal difference. Beardsley then helped himself to a bit of the action; the game was in danger of becoming extremely embarrassing. At 5-0 Kenny Dalglish introduced John Aldridge, who converted a penalty a minute later. However, at the other end, Palace managed to win themselves a penalty, it was just not to be as Geoff Thomas smashed the ball over the bar right in front of the Kop. Barnes, Hysen and another goal from Nicol concluded Liverpool’s incredible 9-0 win.
However, this awful result could have proved a pivotal point in the season, Perry Suckling never recovered from that day, and Nigel Martyn was brought in as a replacement. Suckling then went onto replace David James at Watford.
Sunday 8th April 1990- FA Cup Semi-Finals
‘Number 3… Crystal Palace. And they will play number 4 QPR or Liverpool’
Liverpool edged the replay 1-0, so Crystal Palace were set to play Liverpool at Villa Park.
Liverpool did not take the game lightly: Bruce Grobbelaar, Gary Gillespie, Glenn Hysen, David Burrows, Ronnie Whelan, Alan Hansen, Peter Beardsley, Ray Houghton, Ian Rush, John Barnes and Steve McMahon were all involved in the starting 11. For Crystal palace, Nigel Martyn, John Pemberton, Richard Shaw, Andy Gray, Gary O’Reilly, Andy Thorn, Phil barber, Geoff Thomas, Mark Bright, John Salako and Alan Pardew.
It started as a routine afternoon for Liverpool, Ian Rush scoring inside the first 15 minutes to give Liverpool the lead. Pardew giving the ball away cheaply in midfield, McMahon playing a lovely ball into Ian Rush, who expertly finished with a little chip over Martyn. It seemed that Liverpool were more than happy to take the 1 goal lead into half time, just another day at the office for the 4 times European champions.
Steve Coppell’s team talk must have been fantastic; Pemberton made an immense run down the right hand side, delivered the ball into Barber and somehow found Bright who smashed it into the roof of the net. Then, 25 minutes later the impossible happened, Liverpool failed to deal with a set piece that fell invitingly for O’Reilly, 2-1 Palace. Incredible. It took just 11 minutes for Liverpool to respond, a clever free kick from the training ground caught the whole Palace defence out, Venison then picked out McMahon and Liverpool were back level. Then just 2 minutes later Pemberton was deemed to have fouled Staunton inside the area, John Barnes stepped up and made no mistake, it seemed Liverpool were going to be FA Cup finalists.
Palace had to throw everything at Liverpool; a free kick on the halfway line produced one last chance to get the ball into the Liverpool penalty area, Geoff Thomas flicked it on, Bruce Grobbelaar went for it but couldn’t get there, Geoff Thomas got his head on it again, Staunton failed to deal with the awkward bouncing ball and out of nowhere, Andy Gray was on hand to nod the ball into the back of the net. 3-3.
So, with no decisive goal in 90 minutes, an extra 30 were needed to settle this exhilarating semi-final. The first half of extra time produced nothing.
Liverpool started the second half of extra time on the front foot, looking to take a foot hold in the game but Palace kept them at bay. A long ball down field from Thorn found Bright, who won a corner. Andy Gray went across to take it, delivered into the near post, flicked on by Thorn and headed home by Pardew. 4-3 Palace.
Pardew had booked Crystal palace into the 109th FA Cup final against either Manchester United or Oldham. At the start of the season Crystal Palace stood 66/1 to win the FA Cup, I imagine those odds would have plummeted by now.
Manchester United took on Oldham in their semi-final at Maine Road, then home to Manchester City. Oldham took an early lead, Earl Barrett scoring in the first 5 minutes. Only to be cancelled out by Bryan Robson on the half hour mark, United then took the lead just after 70 minutes through Neil Webb, only for that to be cancelled out moments later too. Just like in the game at Villa Park, this was heading for extra time. Just 2 minutes into extra time Danny Wallace gave Alex Ferguson’s side the lead again but former Man City striker Roger Palmer forced a replay with just over 5 minutes left.
The replay was again played at Maine Road on 11th April 1990; Manchester United progressed to the final winning 2-1 after extra time.
Saturday 12th May 1990- FA Cup Final- Crystal Palace VS Manchester United
For the first time in the clubs history, Crystal Palace had made it through to the FA Cup final; they faced Manchester United, who had already won 6. Palace were the obvious underdogs and the fact that Ian Wright was very doubtful due to a broken leg earlier in the season meant it was not looking good.
It looked as if the FA Cup dream was going to carry on when Steve Bruce failed to clear O’Reilly’s header off the line, Crystal Palace 1-0 Manchester United. However, United did respond 15 minutes later when Bryan Robson levelled, perhaps questions as to whether Nigel Martyn could have done better. Just after an hour Mark Hughes put Manchester United back on track, dispatching his shot from close range into the top corner.
With palace a 2-1 down, it was time for a change. Steve Coppell decided it was just the right time to use Ian Wright and what a substitute it was. Just 3 minutes later Wright ran down the left, avoiding the attempted tackle from Mike Phelan, cutting inside of Steve Bruce (leaving him on the floor in the process) and burying it into Jim Leighton’s bottom left. Ian Wright was not quite finished there; the game went into extra time and the super sub popped up again with a 92nd minute goal, still another 18 minutes to hold on but what a position to be in. Nevertheless, there was to be yet more drama in what was an extraordinary FA Cup, Mark Hughes, who was really Manchester United’s player of the competition claimed his second goal of the game, toe poking the ball past Martyn. With just 7 minutes left on the watch.
The FA Cup final went to a replay, a replay! Who thought that the right way to conduct a final of anything was to play extra time and then go to a replay? Ridiculous. Plus, who thought it would be a good idea to have the replay on a Thursday? The final of the oldest and most prestigious trophy in the world being played midweek?
Thursday 17th May 1990- FA Cup Final Replay
Unfortunately for Palace, this was to be the day that Sir Alex Fergusson won his first trophy with Manchester United. After an hour, Neil Webb picked out a pin point long ball for Lee Martin who had made a 40 yard run from left back, he took it on his chest and smashed it right footed past Nigel Martyn.
Pardew then came mightily close with West Ham, reaching the 2006 FA Cup final. Only to draw 3-3 with Liverpool and lose on penalties. So, in this roller-coaster of a season, Alan Pardew will be hoping that he can take Crystal Palace one step further and clinch the first FA Cup in the history of the club.