Memory Lane — FA Cup Round 6

A crucial quarter-final against Notts County, remembered from thirty years ago.

Thirty Years Ago — 1983-84 FA Cup Round 6

Everton’s reward for beating Shrewsbury (3-0) in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup at Goodison Park was a trip to Meadow Lane, Nottingham, to face a relegation-threatened Notts County side. Earlier in the campaign, Everton had triumphed with a goal scored by Peter Reid but even the most ardent Evertonian would accept that the victory had been a fortunate one as Notts County did not make the most of the chances they created on the day. Adrian Heath, who had netted a hat-trick in the return game at Goodison Park in Everton’s defeat of County (4-1) just a month ago, had suffered an injury and he would be missed in this Sixth-Round tie. Evertonians would hope that their team had not used up all of their luck on the previous visit to Nottingham and that their side could overcome their opponents in this quarter-final tie.

Notts County’s first ever league game had been at Anfield on 15 September 1888 when they had lost to Everton (2-1) and their first ever league victory had come against Everton (3-1) on 13 October 1888 at Trent Bridge.

The previous occasion that Everton had met Notts County in a domestic cup competition had been in 1975 when the two clubs played out a draw (2-2) at Goodison Park in the Fourth Round of the League Cup; in the replay at Meadow Lane, Notts County triumphed against Everton (2-0) as the ‘Magpies’ hero of the replay Les Bradd recalls: “After beating Leeds in the previous round, we were confident of being able to handle Everton.”

Everton took the lead thanks to a goal from Gary Jones (50’) but County equalised five minutes later from the penalty spot when Ian Scanlon (55’) beat Everton goalkeeper David Lawson with his effort. Once again Everton took the lead at Goodison when David Irving (62’) scored but a tremendous goal from County’s Brian Stubbs (79’) forced a replay:
Everton: Lawson; Darracott, Clements (Telfer), Hurst, McNaught; Lyons, Buckley, Dobson; Irving, Pearson, Jones.

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Les Bradd described the goal that gave County the lead for the first time in the tie: “I recall that we got a corner at the kop end. Steve Carter knocked it in to the near post and I managed to get there first and steer a header into the far corner of the net.

“The second goal which virtually clinched victory midway through the second-half, was also a header but that one stemmed from a cross from the right.

“I went up for the ball with Roger Kenyon and one of us knocked it up in the air, Roger seemed to lose sight of it for a vital split second and I was able to place a header over the goalkeeper.”

Everton: Lawson; Seargeant, Clements, Pearson (Smallman), Kenyon; Lyons, Buckley, Dobson; Latchford, Telfer, Jones.

Everton and Notts County had previously met only once in the FA Cup, that was during the 1950s when the sides were paired together in a Third Round tie held at Goodison Park on Saturday 9 January 1954. Everton were top of the Second Division and Notts County were also a Division Two side. The two league meetings during that campaign had been won by the Toffees as they had beaten the ‘Magpies’ at Goodison Park (3-2) thanks to a brace of goals from Dave Hickson and another goal scored by Tommy Eglington. In the away fixture at Meadow Lane, Tony McNamara and John Willie Parker had scored the goals which had helped to beat Notts County (0-2).

The Third Round cup-tie had also gone Everton’s way as a crowd of just under 50,000 saw Tommy Eglington and Dave Hickson score the goals which helped to beat a County (2-1) team who had a player named B Coole in their line-up, the ‘Magpies’ consolation goal had been scored by County’s Wylie. Everton’s reward for beating Notts County was a home encounter with Swansea in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Everton: O'Neill; Donovan, Lindsay, Farrell, Jones TE; Lello, Wainwright, Fielding; Hickson, Parker, Eglington.

Notts County did however, have fond memories of Goodison Park in the FA Cup as they had won the trophy on the ground ninety years earlier, when in March 1894 they became the first Seond Division club to win the trophy. They beat Bolton Wanderers (4-1) in front of 37,000 spectators; the heroes of the day were County’s Arthur Watson who scored one goal and Scotsman James Logan who scored a hat-trick for the Magpies to help win the cup for the Nottingham club.

The Match: Sports Journalist Don Evans reported on the Quarter-Final tie staged at Meadow Lane and he wrote:

Andy Gray, Milk Cup-tied but determined to get to Wembley with Everton, stooped to incredible lengths at Meadow Lane. Seconds later he was leaping high in joy, after putting Everton into the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Late inclusion Kevin Richardson gave Everton a sixth-minute lead and John Chiedozie brought County a deserved equaliser in the 18th before Gray stooped to conquer a minute after half-time.

Kevin Sheedy floated across a free-kick, Graeme Sharp appeared to get the merest flick of a head to it, and as the ball dropped to earth, Gray went down so low that his nose could well have been cultivating the goalmouth soil as he headed in the winner. “I had to improvise. You could say I headed the ball in on the half-volley,” said Gray. I had to throw myself full length. It was the only way I could get to the ball because I saw it late. Even then it bounced before I headed it. It could have gone anywhere but that’s the little bit of luck you need in the cup. Now I am one step nearer Wembley personally but this is not about Andy Gray but about Everton. I intend to miss only one more game this season – the Milk Cup Final….

…Richardson, who came in for injured top scorer Adrian Heath and play with a light cast on his injured arm, was left unmarked by the far post to comfortably net a long throw-in from Gary Stevens. “I did not expect to play after I’d been knocked back earlier this week when the referee refused to let me play because of my arm injury – in a reserve game. But I was wearing a sponge kind of strapping today. I do not score many goals but seem to be getting important ones this season.

Howard Kendall said that he felt a certain amount of relief in winning the Quarter-Final tie at Notts County as people were expecting Everton to go to Nottingham and win. Howard said that Everton were scratching about in the first-half and felt that once Andy Gray had given the Blues the lead, Everton were on top although they should have put the tie out of reach of the home side and should not have had to endure a nervous last five to ten minutes.

So Everton had made amends for last season’s disappointment of losing at Old Trafford in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup – but could they do even better and go on to reach the FA Cup Final at Wembley in 1984? The energy and momentum was certainly with the Everton team and their supporters but four other teams stood in their way as they too had designs on lifting the FA Cup at Wembley in May.

Those sides included Plymouth Argyle who had defeated Derby County (1-0) at Home Park, Watford who had beaten Birmingham City (1-3) at St. Andrews and Sheffield Wednesday or Southampton who had played out a goalless draw at Hillsborough and required a replay to settle their tie. Whichever team Everton were drawn against the following Monday, would know that they would be in for a battle as Howard Kendall’s charges were a youthful and hungry bunch of players who had the whole of the blue section of Merseyside behind them and that is a very powerful combination for any team to overcome.

1983-84 — FA Cup Sixth Round; Saturday, 10 March 1984
Notts County @ Meadow Lane, Score: 1-2 (Richardson, Gray) Att: 19,534
Everton: Southall; Stevens, Bailey, Ratcliffe, Mountfield; Reid, Irvine, Richardson; Sharp, Gray, Sheedy (Harper).

[Here is a link to the MotD highlights which are about 20 minutes in total: if you manage to watch see Alan Harper’s reaction shortly following Andy Gray’s goal – he’s just like a fan sitting on the bench.]

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Reader Comments (4)

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Andy Meighan
1 Posted 07/03/2014 at 19:56:31
Great stuff again Patrick. But I was just thinking what an underrated and unlucky player Kevin Richardson was imagine him playing in today's game he'd be starting or Coming off the bench every week for any top side he just played In an age were we never seemed to get a glut of injuries. Maybe one or two.

And when he come in he always seemed to pop up with a vital goal or assist. You never seem to hear what he's doing these days. Is he coaching or something I couldn't tell you. But what a vital cog he was hope someone enlightens me. Or will I have to google him. Yawn

Karl Masters
2 Posted 08/03/2014 at 00:48:44
My 18th birthday and a Cup Quarter-Final victory. What a great present!

30 years on and it's my Birthday weekend again, how I'd love another 2-1 away win!

Great article, Patrick, can't wait to read about the Semi-Final that year!

Karl Masters
3 Posted 08/03/2014 at 00:52:16
I think Kevin Richardson is on the coaching staff at Southampton. Definitely somewhere like that.
Graham Mockford
4 Posted 08/03/2014 at 11:00:01
One of the games that stands out the most in my memory.

Got the National Express coach from Sheffield bus station along with about half a dozen other Blues.

First time I had ever been to Meadow Lane and it truly was a toilet of a ground. The away end was completely uncovered and it absolutely pissed down all game. I had come suitably attired in my diamond Pringle jumper which by the end of the game weighed about 20lb.

County played really well with Chiedozie running us ragged. However typically of that era, sheer will seemed to get us through and Gray 's winner was like no other I've ever seen. A diving header to a cross that was already on the ground by the time he headed it.

Bus back to Sheffield, straight out and I got lucky. Top top day.

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