Thirty Years Ago — 1983-84 League Cup: Round 4
Upton Park was the venue for the Milk Cup 4th Round tie and there were few harder ties that Everton could have been given, following their last gasp win over Coventry City in the previous round. Going into the game, West Ham United had been just one point behind league leaders Liverpool and in joint second place with Manchester United.
In the previous round, the Hammers had defeated Brighton at Upton Park thanks to a goal scored by David Swindlehurst who had managed to head the ball into the net past Joe Corrigan. West Ham United’s 2nd Round tie had been far more straightforward as they had followed their first-leg victory over Neville Southall’s former employers, Bury (2-1) at Gigg Lane, with a thumping ten goals to nil victory at Upton Park, in the second leg, where teenage striker Tony Cottee, had managed to score four times.
Having beaten Everton at Goodison Park in the early part of the season, the Hammers would have looked forward to playing the Blues, whilst both teams would have hoped that the scheduled fixture on 24 March 1984 between the two sides at Upton Park, would have had to be moved as that had been the weekend that had been set aside for the Milk Cup Final at Wembley,
Everton’s recent cup record against West Ham had been poor, as they had lost (1-2) the last time the clubs had met in 1981-82, in an FA Cup 3rd Round meeting, in which Peter Eastoe scored the Blues’ consolation goal, and had also lost (0-1) in March 1963 in an FA Cup 5th Round tie to a Johnny Byrne penalty which, according to the match day programme, had been a controversial award given for a push on England legend Bobby Moore; Johnny Byrne had despatched the penalty amidst disturbances created by the visiting fans.
All of the previous meetings between the two clubs had been in the FA Cup and so this tie would be their first meeting in the League Cup. Apart from that game in 1963, all previous cup games between the two clubs had ended with the victorious team eventually winning the game by two goals to one – including the FA Cup Semi-Final replay in 1980 which the Hammers had won (2-1) following a drawn match (1-1) at Villa Park.
Trevor Brooking in his column reflected upon the fact that he had reached a century of goals for West Ham United; his landmark goal had come in the away victory at Wolves (3-0). Unsurprisingly among his favourite goals had been his header that had defeated Arsenal in the FA Cup Final of 1981 and he felt that his best goal for England had come in a World Cup qualifier against Hungary in Budapest later that year.
Everton got off to a flyer in this tie as Peter Reid opened the scoring in the second minute, but Derek Mountfield with an own goal equalised for the Hammers in the latter stages of the first half. Ten minutes into the second-half, Kevin Sheedy put Everton ahead and the Blues’ led by that magical score-line in this fixture (2-1)... but Geoff Pike struck in the 87th minute to force the tie into a replay, to be held at Goodison a little under a week later.
1983-84 League Cup — Round 4: Wednesday, 30 November 1983
West Ham United @ Upton Park, Score 2-2 (Reid, Sheedy); Attendance: 19,702
Southall; Stevens, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Higgins; Reid, Irvine, Heath; Sharp, King, Sheedy. Unused Sub: Harper.
Howard Kendall had been delighted with his team's performance at Upton Park, but he had also been slightly disappointed, as he had thought his side had played well enough to go into the next round at the first time of asking. Whilst he had not been taking anything for granted, Howard said that he hoped his team could win the replay and thereby set up a meeting with Manchester United at Old Trafford unless of course Oxford United served up a giant-killing act at Old Trafford in the replay...
In another evenly matched contest between the two sides, Everton triumphed thanks to extra-time goals scored by Andy King (95’) and Kevin Sheedy (116’) – his first goal at Goodison that season. Howard Kendall believed that the toss of the coin which had decided the venue for the second replay had helped the Toffees to focus in extra-time as his players probably hadn’t fancied returning to Upton Park.
Everton, instead of having to organise a visit to Old Trafford in the quarter-finals, were faced with the longer journey to Oxford United in a what may have proved to have been a tricky tie at the Manor Ground early in the New Year. Oxford United were one of three Third Division sides who had managed to get through to the last eight of the competition, the other two being Rotherham United who had overcome fellow Third Division rivals Wimbledon (1-0) and Walsall who had stunned Arsenal (3-1) at Highbury in their fourth round tie. But surely Oxford United, who had beaten Manchester United at the third time of asking, with both replays being held at Old Trafford, deserved the tag of team of the round.
1983-84 League Cup Round 4 replay — Tuesday 6 December 1983
West Ham United @ Goodison Park, Score 2-0 (King, Sheedy) Attendance: 21,609
Southall; Sevens, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Higgins; Reid, Irvine, Heath; Sharp, King, Sheedy. Unused Sub: Harper.
Twenty Years Ago — 1993-94 League Cup: Round 4
Whilst a home draw in the cup is always welcome, a visit of the Champions and a side who had amassed 103 points from their previous 42 league fixtures – a possible 126 points – was a daunting prospect. But despite the undoubted talent of that particular Man Utd team, the club had only won the League Cup once in its history, thanks to Brian McClair’s winning goal against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest (1-0) in 1992 at Wembley, which had more than made up for their previous defeat in the final of 1991.
In that final Man Utd had had lost to Ron Atkinson’s Division Two side Sheffield Wednesday (0-1) in which the Owl’s John Sheridan had scored the winning goal. Man Utd’s first encounter in the League Cup had come against Exeter City (1-1) in Devon, with the Manchester side winning the replay (4-1) at Old Trafford, before eventually losing away to Bradford City (1-2) in the second round.
This was to be the first occasion that Everton had met United in the League Cup at Goodison. Both of the previous meetings in this competition had taken place at Old Trafford, with the most recent occasion having taken place in October 1984 shortly after the Blues had destroyed Ron Atkinson’s side by five goals without reply in a league fixture at Goodison.
A John Gidman Own Goal and a Graeme Sharp effort had been enough to put Everton (2-1) through to the next round, before the team then somehow managed to lose out to Grimsby Town (0-1) in the 4th round of the competition at Goodison Park, courtesy of a Paul Wilkinson goal, in a game that Everton had dominated to an unbelievable degree.
One of my all-time favourite football memories took place in December 1976 when Everton went to Old Trafford for a League Cup quarter-final tie and the Everton fans had travelled more in hope than expectation but, thanks to goals from Martin Dobson and Andy King (2) in front of a crowd of nearly 58,000, they came away celebrating having witnessed a three-nil victory and happy in the knowledge that their side had gained a place in the Semi-Finals. I can still picture that night in my minds-eye, but alas it was not to be the golden dawn that many of us at the time thought that it might have been.
An early goal from Mark Hughes (12’) and another from Ryan Giggs (53’) just after half-time saw Everton dumped out of the League Cup and any dreams of a Wembley appearance in this competition, had once more drifted off into the Goodison night sky. An opportunity of a way back into the match had presented itself, but Tony Cottee, had failed to beat Peter Schmeichel with his penalty, which came shortly after Ryan Giggs had given United their two-goal lead.
Howard Kendall thought that Manchester United got the rub of the green in this match, but he also admitted that they were the best English side since his all-conquering Everton side of the mid-1980s. Howard said he had seen many similarities between his 1985 Everton team and that Manchester United side, both believed in no nonsense defending allied to a world class keeper and both had four or five players who had a genuine goal threat, these qualities according to Mr Kendall were the required ingredients for a top side and, in Howard's opinion, that is what Alex Ferguson had built.
1993-94 League Cup Round 4: Tuesday, 30 November 1993
Manchester United @ Goodison Park, Score 0-2, Attendance: 34,052
Southall; Jackson, Hinchcliffe, Snodin (Preki), Watson; Ablett, Ward (Barlow), Horne; Cottee, Stuart, Ebbrell: Unused Sub Kearton.
Ten Years Ago — 2003-04 League Cup Round 4
The last time Everton had visited the Riverside, Middlesbrough Manager Steve McClaren had been under severe pressure, but the single goal victory in that game had steadied the ship and his team had become a tough-nut to crack with eight clean sheets in their last eleven competitive matches.
Whilst Everton had beaten Stockport (3-0) and Charlton Athletic (1-0) to reach this stage, this was to be their first game in this competition away from the comforts of Goodison Park. Middlesbrough for their part had beaten Brighton (1-0) at the Riverside and Wigan Athletic (2-1).
Like Everton, Middlesbrough had never won this particular trophy and had played in two losing finals. Their first match in this competition had taken place in 1960 when, despite the Second Division side scoring three goals via Brian Clough (2) and Alan Peacock, they went out to top flight Cardiff City (3-4) at Ayresome Park in front of crowd of 15,695.
Middlesbrough’s two finals had come in consecutive seasons when they had lost to Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City (0-1) at Hillsborough, in a replay thanks to a goal scored by Steve Claridge. The Foxes had prevented Middlesbrough winning the trophy at Wembley in the first game thanks to a last minute extra-time goal from Emile Heskey after Fabrizio Ravenelli had given Boro the lead.
The following year Bryan Robson’s Middlesbrough had once again lost out as they were defeated by Chelsea (2-0) in the Final, due to the goals scored by Roberto Di Mateo and Frank Sinclair during extra-time.
In his Captain’s Log, Gareth Southgate reiterated the importance of this competition and felt that if his team could beat Everton they would have a good chance of reaching Cardiff for the final in the New Year. He also congratulated the England Rugby Union team on their triumph in Australia, where Clive Woodward and his men had beaten the home nation to win the Rugby World Cup.
The last time that Middlesbrough had entertained Everton in the League Cup, Walter Smith had been in his first season as Everton manager and his team had triumphed in a five-goal thriller. The 3rd round game had ended 1-1 after 90 minutes as Duncan Ferguson (67’) equalised Boro’s opening goal scored by Mark Summerbell (64’) in the second-half.
Ibrahima Bakayoko (103’) made amends for his 53rd minute failure to convert a penalty, which had been saved by Boro keeper Mark Beresford, and Don Hutchinson (108’) gave Everton an extra-time two goal cushion. Hamilton Ricard (118’) scored for Boro to give the home team hope, but Everton held on to progress into the next round, where they had faced Sunderland at Goodison.
That game ended in a draw (1-1) after extra time, Everton’s goal scorer being John Collins (74’) who had equalised Michael Bridges (29’) first-half opener for Sunderland, Everton lost once again in a penalty shoot-out (4-5) where Ibrahima Bakayoko and John Oster were the unfortunate players who had failed to convert their spot-kicks.
Another League Cup meeting between Middlesbrough and Everton was recalled when following a draw at Goodison (2-2), Everton travelled up to Ayresome Park for the 4th Round replay. Gordon Lee’s Everton had hoped to go one better than the previous season and actually win the trophy that had so tantalisingly eluded them at Old Trafford in April.
Andy King (45’) put Everton ahead on the stroke of half-time and he could have put the tie out of the reach of the visitors but he missed a penalty on the hour mark before Boro took full advantage of their good fortune when Billy Woof , who was standing in for Billy Ashcroft, equalised (73’). George Telfer (84’) scored to regain the lead for the Blues but David Mills (87’) scored a second equaliser to take the tie to a replay.
At Ayresome Park, Mike Lyons (12’) gave Everton the lead and Jim Pearson (37’) doubled their advantage just prior to half-time before David Mills (45’) pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, but Everton held on to win and earn a trip to play Sheffield Wednesday in the next round.
When I was searching for Billy Woof’s Christian name, I came across a snippet of information that he had been voted the eleventh worst English footballer in a Times online poll circa 2008, I wonder which players had made the top ten?
Unfortunately for Everton, the curse of the penalty shoot-out once again put paid to their chances of winning this competition as extra-time substitute Leon Osman saw his effort saved by Boro’s Mark Schwarzer and the Blues went out (4-5) as Middlesbrough successfully converted all of their spot-kicks while Gaizka Mendieta took all the plaudits when his penalty had beaten Nigel Martyn which had given the home team the victory.
David Moyes reflected upon the unfortunate defeat at the hands of Boro and said that at least the fans had seen a performance from his team, ‘…that was more in keeping with our Latin motto – Nil Satis Nisi Optimum’. Mr Moyes had also been disappointed that the decision to take the penalties at the end populated by Boro supporters had been taken by the Police, and not by the toss of a coin, which he said had been the rules in place and that they should have been adhered to.
The Police said they had taken the decision due to safety concerns, even though according to David Moyes there had been no suggestion or hint of unrest from the end where most of the Everton fans had been situated.
2003-04 League Cup — Round 4: Wednesday, 3 December 2003
Middlesbrough @ Riverside Stadium, Score 0-0 (AET: Lost 4-5 on pens), Attendance: 18,568
Martyn: Hibbert, Stubbs, Unsworth, Naysmith; Li Tie (Linderoth), Gravesen, Carsley; McFadden, Rooney (Radzinski), Jeffers (Osman): Unused Subs: Simonsen, Clarke.
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