Memory Lane - League Cup Semi-Final

Looking back at semi-finals against Aston Vllla from 1977 and 1984

Thirty-Seven Years Ago 1976-77 LC Semi-Final

Aston Villa had travelled to Goodison in the hope of reaching yet another League Cup Final, as their record in the competition had been far superior to that of Everton who had only reached Wembley on one previous occasion and that had been in 1977, when Aston Villa had eventually triumphed when they had beaten Everton (2-3) following a goalless draw at Wembley and another draw at Hillsborough (1-1). Villa had won the competition on three previous occasions, they had won the inaugural competition in 1961 and had triumphed at Wembley in 1975 and their most recent victory had come in that match with Everton in 1977 at Old Trafford.

In 1977 Everton had beaten Second Division Bolton Wanderers (2-1) on aggregate to reach Wembley and similarly to the 1984 campaign had also made good progress in the FA Cup. On January 18th 1977, Steve Burtenshaws Everton Billy Bingham had been relieved of his duties following the 3rd round FA Cup victory over Stoke - had taken the lead at Goodison courtesy of a goal from Duncan McKenzie (33), following a Ronnie Goodlass corner-kick. The match had remained at that scoreline until late in the game when David Lawson had been penalised for the four-step rule and Boltons Neil Whatmore (88) had blasted the resultant free-kick into the Everton net to earn the Trotters a draw (1-1). The 54,032 fans who had packed into Goodison would have to wait almost a month to see which of the two sides would reach Wembley.

1977 Goodison First Leg Line-up
Everton: Lawson, Robinson, Jones, Lyons, McNaught, Hamilton, King, Dobson, Latchford, McKenzie, Goodlass

The second-leg at Burnden Park played on February 15th attracted 50,413 people - and those of us who had a ticket but had been chased by the Bolton mad-lads, who had then proceeded to rob us of our money and more importantly our tickets also robbed us of our chance to see Everton reach Wembley, and we had to listen to the radio commentary in a local hostelry while we waited for our parents to collect us Bob Latchford (24) had opened the scoring with what many have described as a goal good enough to win any match as he powerfully headed a Ronnie Goodlass cross into the Bolton goal midway through the first-half and Duncan McKenzie (65) had frustratingly spurned the opportunity to truly ignite the Everton party midway through the second-half when he had put his penalty-kick wide of the goal.

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Fortunately there were no more goals to report and Bob Latchfords goal had been enough to secure a place at Wembley to face Aston Villa. It had been the first time that Everton had reached a final at Wembley in my time of watching and I couldnt believe that I had been literally robbed of the opportunity of attending that match. It had been reported in a future Everton v Bolton Wanderers programme that the floodlights on one side of Burnden Park had failed and that the Referee - according to the Bolton magazine - Jack Taylor had been temporarily knocked-out, I assume it had been nothing more sinister than him being hit by the football. Future Everton players in the Bolton side included a 20 year old Peter Reid, Jim McDonagh and Mike Walsh and Bolton also had West Ham Uniteds current manager Sam Allardyce in their line-up.

1977 Burnden Park Second Leg Line-up
Everton: Lawson, Bernard, Jones, Lyons, McNaught, Hamilton, King, Dobson, Latchford, McKenzie, Goodlass

Thirty Years Ago 1983-84 LC Semi-Final

Everton had met Aston Villa a couple of times in the League Cup competition apart from that infamous final of 1977. They had first encountered Villa in the competition in September 1974 when following a draw at Villa Park (1-1) in which Bob Latchford (49) had equalised Chris Nicholls (32) opening goal, Ron Saunders Villa travelled to Goodison Park for the replay and triumphed (0-3) thanks to goals from Sammy Morgan, Frank Carrodus and Ray Graydon I have never sat in the Top Balcony since that day as I had also sat there when Fulham had beaten Everton in the FA Cup earlier in 1975. Everton had gained a little revenge over Aston Villa in 1979 when following a goalless draw at Villa Park, Gordon Lees Everton had beaten Villa (4-1) at Goodison Park, thanks to goals from Brian Kidd, Bob Latchford (2) and an own goal by Villas keeper Jimmy Rimmer in front of 22, 080 supporters.

1984 Goodison Park First Leg: Kevin Sheedy (28) Had opened the scoring for the Toffees and Kevin Richardson (82) then added an all-important second goal as Everton had beaten Aston Villa (2-0) in the first leg of the Semi-Final, Aston Villas players and supporters had been very upset that they hadnt been awarded a penalty late in the game as it had appeared to them that Kevin Richardson had handled the ball on the Everton goal-line, whether that Kevin Richardson strike would be enough for Everton to reach Wembley would be decided in Birmingham in a weeks time.

1983-84 LC Semi-Final first leg Wednesday, 15th February 1984
Aston Villa @ Goodison Park 2-0 (Sheedy & Richardson) Attendance: 40,006

Everton: Southall, Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid, Irvine, Heath, Sharp, Richardson, Sheedy Unused Sub King
Aston Villa: Spink, Williams, Gibson, Evans, Bremner, Mortimer, Curbishley, Shaw, Withe, McMahon, Walters

1984 Villa Park Second Leg: Evertons first leg hero Kevin Richardson had been the only absentee from the return match with Aston Villa as that other Everton folk-hero Andy King had taken his place in the side. Aston Villa had been unchanged, but a future Everton Cup Final hero, Paul Rideout (62) had scored the goal for Villa, just four minutes after replacing former Everton star Steve McMahon, that had put Evertons march to Wembley in some doubt, but a steadfast defence aided by the raucous support of the Blue hordes enabled Everton to win through to the Final and in all probability a date with Liverpool at Wembley for what would be the first all Merseyside domestic Cup Final. This would not be last time that Evertonians would celebrate a place at Wembley at Villa Park as future visits to the stadium would result in Everton scarves and banners being waved in celebration. The match-ball for the game at Villa Park had been sponsored by Kenrick Maintenance Services any connections to the esteemed Toffeeweb editor I wonder?

1983-84 LC Semi-Final second leg, Wednesday 22nd February1984
Aston Villa @ Villa Park 0-1 (Everton won 2-1 on aggregate) Att: 42,426

Everton: Southall, Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Reid, Irvine, Heath, Sharp, King, Sheedy Unused Sub Harper
Aston Villa: Spink, Williams, Gibson, Evans, Bremner, Mortimer, Curbishley, Shaw, Withe, McMahon (Rideout), Walters

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Reader Comments (4)

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David Ellis
1 Posted 09/01/2014 at 11:06:02
The OP is a bit confusing at the beginning to those who don't know the order of events. We met Villa in the final in 76-77 beating Bolton in the semis. We met Villa in the semis in '84 on our way to losing to Liverpool in the final.

I have vivid memories of the '77 semi-final second leg listening to it on Radio 2 whilst in North Wales.

The'84 second leg, I recall Kendall saying he was disappointed we lost, even though we won on aggregate, because it was the first game we had lost in 1984. That really got my attention because in 1983 we were awful. We hardly lost a game all that year, won the Cup and finished the year top of the league.

Gary Reeves
2 Posted 09/01/2014 at 11:47:43
I remember the floodlight failure at Burnden Park. It was on the old-fashioned pylons that grounds used to have in the corners. (I think Goodison was the first to remove all that type of pylon system??) The bulbs blew with quite a bang, sending glass and metal down on the crowd below. If it happened today, the claims would be unbelievable!

McKenzie did my head in with his penalty that night. If hed had scored, wed have put the tie to bed, but he tried to be a smart-arse. Bolton were a really handy 2nd Division side at the time but we hung on to get through. Mike Bernard was MotM but Lee didnt fancy him and he was dropped for the Final.

Patrick Murphy
3 Posted 09/01/2014 at 12:58:00
Sorry about that, David, I'll try and write it in English next time.
Sean Allinson
4 Posted 09/01/2014 at 13:48:37
I remember the '77 Goodison semi. They had this brilliant midfielder who ran the game for them. We couldn't get near him. it was one of the best all-round midfield performances I'd ever seen. I kept hoping we'd sign him. About 4 years later we did. Peter Reid.

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