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View From The North Stand: Cup Classics

Steve Bone looks back at some of his favourite Pompey ties

27 November 2020

I love the FA Cup and I think more people do than you’d believe if you went by the stories trotted out annually claiming the competition has little of the magic it used to have.

That may be so for some club owners, managers and players who have become 'Premierised' and believe finishing 4th or 17th in the top-flight is more important than getting to Wembley for the big one. But I’m convinced the cup still means plenty to the masses.

So while holding out hope we make it to a round which fans will be able to watch in person, I thought I’d pick out a few Blues FA Cup ties that stick in my memory.

Going for the finals and semi-finals we’ve had in the past 30 years would be too obvious, so here are five of the best of the rest.

Blackburn 1 Pompey 2
Round Three

We were on a hiding to nothing going up to Ewood Park in January 1988. We were struggling in the old Division One, Rovers were going well in Division Two and we’d just sold Mick Kennedy.

It was delicately poised at 1-1 and we’d probably have taken a replay – then Kevin Dillon took one touch to control a Terry Gennoe goal-kick just inside Blackburn’s half and another to smash it back past him into the top corner for one of the best Pompey goals I’ve ever seen.

Pompey 3 Bradford 0
Round Five

Another one from the same season – and a classic case of the Blues sticking two fingers up at the world.

Three days earlier, the club had survived a High Court winding-up order, so there was a sense on the day of just being glad to still have a club to support (this may also sound familiar to younger supporters).

But in early spring sunshine, goals by Noel Blake, Mick Quinn and Terry Connor bashed Bradford and put Pompey in the last eight.

Pompey 1 Nottingham Forest 0
Round Six

Everyone still talks about the Liverpool semi-final and its replay, but it’s the Forest game I remember most fondly from the ‘92 run.

Stuart Pearce had been told by Brian Clough to get stuck into Darren Anderton early and he did, right in front of me and many others packed into the lovely old North Terrace, fouling him for a free-kick that Mark Crossley dropped and Alan McLoughlin poked in for the only goal. A glorious, rocking Fratton afternoon.

Blackburn 3 Pompey 3
Round Three

The 93/94 season was a funny one. Jim Smith’s team never quite found the levels in the league that had taken them close to promotion the previous campaign, but in the space of five days in January, they visited two of the strongest sides in the country and held them to draws.

At Ewood Park, three times Rovers (who were to finish second in the Premiership that season) led, three times Alan McLoughlin equalised.

A great week got better four days later when we drew 2-2 at Manchester United (who were to win the Premiership) in the League Cup. And had an obvious penalty not given.

Liverpool 1 Pompey 1
Round Five

Alongside young Jordan Cross, I covered this game for The News and it was memorable, not least for the cheese sandwiches and crescent of crisps presented to us on our late-night return to our Liverpool B&B.

Things didn’t look good when Michael Owen put the Reds 1-0 up less than two minutes in, but Shaka Hislop kept us in it and Matt Taylor equalised with 15 to go before running the length of Anfield, and almost on to Goodison Park too, to celebrate.

It set up a replay that a Richard Hughes goal won for the Blues.

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