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Coral pick out five classic FA Cup Final matches

Nick Murphy | 18 May 2018

Which matches make it onto our list?

The annals of FA Cup history are chock-full of classic final encounters.

Who could forget Wimbledon v Liverpool in 1988? Or Alan Sunderland’s last-gasp success against Manchester United in 1979?

There are so many magic moments to choose from, but the Coral News Team have whittled it all down and come up with their top-five classic FA Cup Finals…

Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers – 1953

This match will forever be known as the Matthews Final. But it was Stan Mortensen who did the damage against Bolton Wanderers. The South Shields-born forward hit a hat-trick against the Trotters, who had taken the lead early on in the contest through the immortal Nat Lofthouse.

Matthews, though, was sublime. The winger – better known as an outside right back in the day – inspired his sides’ incredible comeback from 3-1 down to lift the famous FA Cup trophy at the third attempt.

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United – 1979

The 1979 FA Cup Final didn’t really come to life until the final 10 minutes. Goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton in the first-half looked to have given Arsenal an unassailable 2-0 lead.

With four minutes remaining in the tie, Gordon McQueen pulled one back for Manchester United. And then two minutes later, the unthinkable happened. Having looked dead and buried five minutes earlier, Dave Sexton’s side conjured an equaliser after Sammy McIlroy skipped through the Gunners defence and slotted past Pat Jennings.

But the drama wasn’t finished there. With a replay looming, Arsenal went up the other end and retook the lead when Alan Sunderland turned home Graham Rix’s cross.

Coventry City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur – 1987

Up until the 16th May 1987, Tottenham Hotspur had never lost in the FA Cup final. Spurs had won all seven they had appeared in and were going for a record ninth success against unfancied Coventry City.

However, on a day of slick passing and exquisite football, it was the Sky Blues that emerged triumphant. Clive Allen and Gary Mabbutt gave Spurs the lead at half-time to cancel out David Bennett’s eighth-minute equaliser.

Keith Houchen drew the Midlanders level in the second-half before Lloyd McGrath’s strike deflected off Mabbutt in extra-time to give Coventry their first FA Cup success.

Wimbledon 1-0 Liverpool – 1988

“The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club”. Those immortal words are still fresh in the memory for a generation of supporters who witnessed one of the most unlikely upsets in FA Cup history, as Wimbledon saw off title winners Liverpool.

Vinnie Jones’ early leveller on Steve McMahon set the tone for the afternoon. And the Dons took the lead not long after when Lawrie Sanchez turned home Dennis Wise’s free-kick with a delicious looping header.

Liverpool should have equalised midway through the second-half, but Dave Beasant was equal to John Aldridge’s penalty to become the first goalkeeper to save a spot-kick in the cup final.

The Dons clung on to secure their first major trophy just 11 years after being elected to the Football League for the very first time.

Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United (3-1 on pens) – 2006

The last FA Cup Final at the Millenium Stadium was one to remember. West Ham had taken a 2-0 lead through a Jamie Carragher own-goal and Dean Ashton’s rebound.

Liverpool mounted a comeback either side of half-time as strikes from Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard pegged Alan Pardew’s men back to 2-2. Parity didn’t last for long, though, as Paul Konchesky’s cross-cum-shot beat Reds stopper Pepe Reina to give the East Londoners a 3-2 advantage.

And that’s how it stayed until the first minute of added time when Gerrard latched onto the ball from 30-yards-out and unleashed a ferocious strike which beat Shaka Hislop all ends up.

After a goalless period of extra-time, Liverpool got the job done on penalties after Bobby Zamora, Anton Ferdinand and Konchesky all missed for the Hammers.

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