10 Most Famous FA Cup Final Moments

Liverpool vs West Ham - 2006 FA Cup Final: Gerrard’s Volley

The 2006 FA Cup final served up a cracking encounter between Liverpool and West Ham, as the Anfield club edged out the final 3-1 on penalties, following saves from Pepe Reina against Bobby Zamora, Paul Konchesky and Anton Ferdinand. However, the Spaniard wasn’t to be the only hero for the Reds on the day.

Rafa Benitez’s side trailed West Ham 3-2 going into stoppage time in what is up there as one of the most dramatic finals in recent memory, as an own goal by Jamie Carragher and Dean Ashton strike inside the half-hour mark gave West Ham a two-goal lead at the Millennium Stadium, before Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard levelled up the scoring. However, a chip from Irons left-back Konchesky deceived Reina in the 64th minute to give Alan Pardew’s men a 3-2 lead.

Time was running out as Liverpool were looking to cap off a lacklustre 2005/06 campaign with a major honour, and the ball fell out to Steven Gerrard around 35 yards out in the 91st minute, who met the ball as sweet as a nut and flashed a volley into the bottom corner past a helpless Shaka Hislop goal to save the day for the Reds.

Chelsea vs Middlesbrough - 1997 FA Cup Final: Di Matteo’s 42 Seconds Stunner

In the 1997 FA Cup final, Chelsea played already-relegated Middlesbrough at Old Wembley, with each side boasting superb foreign talents, with Chelsea having the likes of Frank Leboeuf, Roberto Di Matteo and Gianfranco Zola, whilst Boro lined up with Juninho, Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli.

Chelsea who were managed by Dutch icon Ruud Gullit at the time hadn’t won a trophy since the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup back in 1971 and had been to the final of the FA Cup in 1994 where they were thumped 4-0 by Manchester United and the club were determined to win the famous old club, with surviving member such as Dennis Wise and Steve Clarke featuring in both starting line-ups.

Di Matteo made sure the final started off with a bang for the Blues this time around, as he received the ball 25-yards out and crashed a strike in off the crossbar past a helpless Ben Roberts in the Boro goal, as Gullit’s men went on to win the game 2-0, with Eddie Newton scoring the clinching goal in the 83rd minute, having steered the ball into the net from a clever Zola flick.

Arsenal vs Liverpool 2001 - FA Cup Final: The Michael Owen Final

The 2001 FA Cup final saw a heavyweight clash take place, as Premier League runners up Arsenal took on Liverpool who went on to win a treble of trophies, having won the League Cup, UEFA Cup and the FA Cup final.

Michael Owen will forever go down in FA Cup folklore as he scored a brace in the 83rd and 88th minute, with his second coming from a long pass down the left-wing by Czech Republic midfielder Patrick Berger which released the England international away, who went on to outpace both Tony Adams and Lee Dixon before finishing a shot with pinpoint accuracy into the far corner past David Seaman in the Arsenal goal.

Everton vs Manchester United - 1985 FA Cup Final: Whiteside’s Curler

Everton came into this match as the favourites to win the 1985 cup final, as they were the league champions by a staggering 13 points ahead of Liverpool in the 1984/85 campaign. However, United had a history of winning the famous old cup, having beaten the likes of Brighton and Liverpool in the 1983 and 1977 finals.

The game was tied at 0-0 when United’s Kevin Moran became the first-ever player to be sent off in an FA Cup final in the 78th minute for a professional foul, as he sliced down Peter Reid who was about to go in on goal.

Moran’s dismissal put Ron Atkinson’s side on the back foot, as they held on snatched a winner in extra time through Norman Whiteside, as the Northern Irishman curled an incredible strike around Welsh defender Pat Van Den Hauwe from the right corner of the box into the far bottom corner past Neville Southall to become the youngest scorer in an FA Cup final, aged 18 years and 18 days.

Manchester City vs Stoke 2011 - FA Cup Final: Toure Ends City’s 35-Year Trophy Drought

Manchester City came into the 2011 FA Cup final as firm favourites against Stoke City, having knocked out Manchester United at Wembley 1-0 in the semi-finals via a late Yaya Toure goal in what was a tense Manchester Derby that saw Paul Scholes sent off late on for a high tackle on Pablo Zabaleta.

In the final, it was the Ivorian midfielder who was the hero for the Citizens once again, as he stuck a thunderbolt with his left foot from around 10-yards out having latched onto a loose ball and gave Thomas Sorenson no chance in the Potters goal. This strike won the game for Roberto Mancini’s men 1-0, meaning that City had won their first trophy since the 1975/76 season when they beat Newcastle United 2-1 at the Old Wembley in the League Cup final.

Manchester City vs Wigan Athletic - 2013 FA Cup Final: Watson’s Winner

The 2013 FA Cup final saw Premier League runners up City take on Wigan Athletic at Wembley, with the Citizens looking to win their third trophy in three years, having won the cup in 2011 against Stoke and the league title in 2012 for the first time since 1968, via Sergio Aguero’s last kick winner against QPR.

Wigan would go on to be relegated from the Premier League, but, in the FA Cup final Roberto Martinez’s side gave as good as they got, as Callum McManaman managed to win the man of the match reward, whilst Joel Robles had the game of his life in the Latics goal.

As the game went on, City looked rather edgy in defence, as Argentinian right-back Zabaleta was sent off in the 84th minute, following a cynical foul late on to stop Wigan from going through on goal, before Ben Watson headered in a corner from the right-hand side into the top left corner past Joe Hart in the 91st minute of the game to send the Latics fans behind the goal into delirium, winning them their first-ever major trophy.

Liverpool vs Wimbledon - 1988 FA Cup Final: Beasant’s Penalty Save

League champions Liverpool took on Wimbledon in the 1988 FA Cup final and came into this match as firm favourites, as Kenny Dalglish’s men lined up with talents such as Peter Beardsley and John Barnes.

However, the final didn’t go to plan, as Wimbledon took a shock lead, courtesy of a Lawrie Sanchez header in the 37th minute. The Dons goal was under siege from Liverpool throughout the match, with captain Dave Beasant having the best game of his life in goal.

The pivotal moment of the match came on the hour mark though, as Wimbledon defender Clive Goodyear was deemed to have fouled John Aldridge in the penalty area which gifted the Reds and golden chance to equalise and surely start the end of the Don’s FA Cup dream. However, despite the Ireland international having 29 goals to his name that season, Beasant read the penalty and dived high to his left-hand side and became the first player to save a penalty in FA Cup final history as his side went on to win the trophy by a solitary goal.

John Motson on commentary famously that “The Crazy Gang have beaten the Culture Club” at full time, one of his most memorable quotes.

Leeds United vs Sunderland – 1973 FA Cup Final: Montgomery Double Save

The 1973 FA Cup final saw third-placed Leeds United face Sunderland who were sixth place in the second tier, with Don Revie’s side coming into this match as overwhelming favourites, boasting the likes of Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter, Peter Lorimer and Eddie Gray in his starting line-up.

Sunderland took a shock lead late on in the first half thanks to an Ian Porterfield strike which predictably forced Leeds into a reaction, as they peppered Jimmy Montgomery’s goal with a number of shots. What proved to be the defining moment of the match, was Montgomery’s sensational double save midway through the second half, as he palmed away a close-range header from Trevor Cherry into the path of Lorimer who blasted a shot from 10-yards with the goal at his mercy, forcing Black Cats’ keeper Montgomery into a desperate dive which diverted the ball onto the crossbar and out.

Montgomery’s heroics won Sunderland and Bob Stokoe the final in 1973, which is the Wearside club’s last major honour.

Blackpool vs Bolton Wanderers – 1953 FA Cup Final: The Matthews Final

The 1953 FA Cup final saw Blackpool beat Bolton Wanderers 4-3 and is nicknamed “The Matthews Final”, not due to the former Ballon d’Or winner’s goalscoring prowess, but due to him making three assists, inspiring his side from 3-1 down to beat Bolton, with Stan Mortensen’s hattrick goal in the 89th minute of the game levelling up the score.

Matthews whipped in a cross with virtually the last kick of the final from the right-wing which eluded Mortensen from a fourth goal, and landed straight to the feet of Bill Perry who completed the stunning comeback, leading to Bolton legend Natt Lofthouse applauding Matthew’s for his stunning performance.

Liverpool vs Manchester United – 1996 FA Cup Final: Cantona’s Volley

The 1996 FA Cup final saw two bitter rivals come head-to-head as Liverpool took on United at the Old Wembley, with Sir Alex Ferguson’s side looking to do the double, having won the league ahead of Newcastle United by four points. Liverpool famously turned up for this game in white suits and were nicknamed “the Spice Boys”.

United would go on to be the first team to do the double double in English football history of the league title and FA Cup via a stunning volley from Eric Cantona with just five minutes to go, as the Frenchman latched onto a poor headed clearance which forced him to back peddled and he managed to balanced himself to control a powerful volley into the right-hand side of the goal.


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