Matchday memories: Everton v Liverpool FC, FA Cup Final, May 10 1986

12 November 2009 11:59
Saturday May 10, 1986 is a date no Liverpool supporter old enough to remember it will ever forget.

Lime Street is awash with Red and Blue as Merseyside decamps to North London for the day The matchday programme for the 1986 FA Cup Final Everton boss Howard Kendall and Reds player-manager Kenny Dalglish lead the teams out Everton start brightly with an early penalty shout turned down by referee Alan Robinson Ian Rush is well marshalled in the early stages by Welsh international team-mate Kevin Ratcliffe After 28 minutes, a raking through ball by Peter Reid sends Footballer of the Year Gary Lineker clear of Alan Hansen & bearing down on the Liverpool g. Bruce Grobbelaar saves Lineker's first effort but the England striker is first to the rebound and jubilation abounds amongst the Evertonians in the stadium as the Blues go in front Liverpool are in disarray at the start of the second half and Everton pile on the pressure looking for a killer second goal But on 57 minutes, a Gary Stevens error is ferried by Ronnie Whelan and Jan Molby into the path of Ian Rush who rounds Bobby Mimms. and equalises. Liverpool have never lost a game in which the Welshman has scored and Reds fans are praying the Blue tide has turned Sure enough, six minutes later Rush feeds Jan Molby whose ball across the six-yard box is missed by Kenny Dalglish but buried at the far post by Craig. With six minutes left, Ian Rush puts the match beyond doubt, smashing unerringly past Mimms after a sweeping cross-field moved inspired by man-of-the-. Liverpool's achievement of the League and FA Cup double, only the third up to that point in the 20th century, begins to sink in Reds skipper Alan Hansen, just days after his omission from Scotland's World Cup squad, receives the FA Cup from the Duchess of Kent before leading th. Liverpool's Double winners of 1985-86 Left-back Jim Beglin with the Cup King Kenny adjusts his headwear Steve Nicol salutes the travelling Kop Goalscorer Craig Johnston Unsung midfield stalwart Kevin MacDonald Sunday afternoon saw hundreds of thousands turn out on the streets of Merseyside to salute their two great teams Everton players take the acclaim after another outstanding season that finished without reward for them 'Merseypride' - the banner says it all Don't drop them Brucie! The fans show their appreciation Kenny Dalglish chats with a young EvertonianThe Reds had racked up eighteen major trophies over the previous thirteen years in an unprecedented period of success but the League and FA Cup double, a feat only previously accomplished by Tottenham (1961) and Arsenal (1971) in the twentieth century, had always eluded them.

The League championship had been wrested back from Merseyside neighbours Everton the week before when Kenny Dalglish's solitary goal at Stamford Bridge confirmed the title would be crossing Stanley Park but it was to be Howard Kendall's side, themselves playing in their third consecutive FA Cup Final, who would stand in the way at Wembley.

Liverpool's first ever season with a player-manager could not have started in more difficult circumstances but miraculously the club now stood on the brink of unprecedented glory.

Taking over from Joe Fagan the day after the horrors of Heysel, Dalglish had to cope with all the political and footballing repercussions as he tried to rebuild the club's reputation on and off the field.

Stalwarts such as Phil Neal and Alan Kennedy were reaching the end of their illustrious careers with ex-Everton midfielder Steve McMahon the only addition to Joe Fagan's squad which had finished a distant second to the Blues the previous season.

An impressive September win at Goodison Park (with a 25-second opener from the player-boss himself - view below) hadn't been able to mask patchy League form and when Kevin Ratcliffe and Gary Lineker scored second-half goals at Anfield on February 22 to condemn the Reds to a sixth league defeat and leave them trailing the champions by eight points, the season's prospects were not looking too bright.

Skipper Alan Hansen famously remarked to his friend and manager Dalglish that he thought this was the worst Liverpool team that he had played in but, sparked by a last-minute Ian Rush winner at Tottenham, a remarkable run of eleven wins and one draw in the final dozen league games meant Dalglish's volley at Chelsea on the final Saturday rendered Everton's rout of Southampton irrelevant and confirmed the title was bound for Anfield for the eighth time in fourteen years.

The FA Cup though had eluded the Reds throughout Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan's trophy-laden reigns - indeed Liverpool hadn't won the trophy since 1974, nor even reached a final since Dalglish joined the club in 1977, despite semi-final replay defeats in 1979, 1980 and 1985.

In 1986 however, Norwich City, Chelsea, York City, Watford and Southampton were all despatched in the earlier rounds, setting up the perfect confrontation at Wembley between the two best teams in the country, with Mersey neighbours Everton having seen off Exeter City, Blackburn Rovers, Tottenham, Luton Town and Sheffield Wednesday as they sought to exact revenge for the loss of their league crown.

Just two years after the first all-Merseyside Cup Final at Wembley in the Milk Cup, derby fever again swept through the city with tickets like gold-dust and travel plans made for friends and families of mixed persuasion to travel down together again.

City centre store owners braced themselves to feel the pinch with Liverpool resembling a ghost town with everyone either at, or watching, the match - chairman of the city stores committee Michael Dunne said, "Business is bound to be bad. But we won't mind losing a few thousand pounds if the fans behave and do the city a good turn - in the long run it will be good for Liverpool."

Source: Liverpool_Echo

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