Previous League Cup results :
1977-78 Rd 2 H 4-0 Duncan 3 Osgood (pen)
1985-66 Rd 3 H 2-0 Mabbutt, Leworthy
The 1977 meeting was Wimbledon's first ever League Cup tie following their election to
the Football League two months earlier. As the score line indicated,
Wimbledon were playing with the team that had won the Southern League
championship two seasons on the trot and had recently beaten Burnley in an
FA Cup tie at Turf Moor. At that time, Burnley were still in the old First
Division and had yet to tumble to the nether regions of the League. I
forget now why I didn't go to the game but I do know I missed this one and
had to wait until Wimbledon, by then a very different team, were promoted
to the old First Division before I saw them for the first time.
Ed:- Brian must have also missed the November 1985 meeting between the two clubs, also in this competition, when goals by Gary Mabbutt and substitute Dave Leworthy gave us a 2-0 win. Wimbledon's side included Dave Beasant, Nigel Winterburn (pre Arsenal days), Ian Holloway and Lawrie Sanchez. Leworthy had replaced 20 year old winger Richard Cooke making only his 12th start for Spurs.
As there are few memories to recall, I thought I would have a look at some
of the previous matches we have played at this stage of the competition.
Our first semi-final appearance was against Arsenal in 1968-69. I saw both
legs of that tie. In the match played at Highbury, they scored in the last
thirty seconds of the game (bloody John Radford - grrr!) to snatch a
slight advantage. The second leg was a bad-tempered affair with both sides
more intent on paying off old scores and feuding throughout the game. The
red shirted heathen unfortunately secured a 1-1 draw to go through to the
Final. Greaves scored our goal but perhaps was guilty of missing a few
good chances. (The one redeeming feature of this result was that we were
able to enjoy the sight of Swindon Town stuffing the Gooners 3-1 and
observing Bob Wilson looking a total prat in goal for them.)
Two seasons later, we were on our way to our first League Cup win. We
played Bristol City at the Semi-Final stage. We drew 1-1 at Ashton Gate
thanks to a vital goal scored by Alan Gilzean. We won the second leg 2-0
at Tottenham, Chivers and Pearce scoring the vital goals. But Mike England
broke an ankle and missed the rest of the season.
A year later, we lost to Chelsea, a result that still rankles. We lost 3-2
at the Bridge, Naylor and Chivers scoring for us. Naylor played a
brilliant game, making only one mistake, but it cost us that single goal
difference. We drew the second leg 2-2, Chivers and Peters (penalty)
scoring our goals. But it was the last minute goal that Chelsea scored
that really rankles. The referee awarded a free kick to Chelsea on the
left and definitely indicated it was an *INDIRECT* free kick. Hudson took
the kick and Cyril Knowles looked to have it covered. We all screamed to
Cyril to "Boot it anywhere!" as there were only seconds left. But Cyril
evidently remembered the referee's decision and somehow allowed it to
creep over the goal-line. It was then the referee - bloody Rex Tinkler, if
I correctly recall - awarded a goal to Chelsea. We were all stunned. The
Tottenham players swarmed like angry wasps around the referee but he was
awarding a goal and wasn't listening. Unsurprisingly, Bill Nicholson
heavily criticised Cyril Knowles for not playing to the whistle. However,
we had the last laugh as Chelsea lost to Stoke City in the Final.
Another twelve months and we were in the Semi-Finals again, this time to
Wolves. Memories were still fresh in our minds of our UEFA Cup victory
over Wolves in the previous May. Peters and Pratt scored the goals that
gave us a slim 2-1 lead for the second leg. At Tottenham, the match was
played on a Saturday afternoon because of the three day week and energy
crisis. We should have been playing Wolves in a League match anyway. The
tie went to extra time before we knew we were going back to Wembley.
Chivers and Peters scored the vital goals. We went on to beat Norwich City
in what was undoubtedly our worst ever Cup Final victory. It was so boring
that the only things that stick in my mind was Pratt's unlucky
substitution because of injury after only nine minutes and Ralph Coates'
lucky mis-kick that won us the Cup.
We then had to wait until 1975-76 for another journey to the Semi-Finals.
This time it was Newcastle United. The team had been totally transformed
with all our better players transferred out by Terry Neill, quietly
preparing us for relegation before achieving a successful mission and
returning to Highbury. John Pratt gave us a solitary goal to defend in the
second leg on Tyneside but we lost the second leg 3-1. Don McAllister
scored our only goal up there. Manchester City beat Newcastle 2-1 in the
Our next semi-final was not until 1981-82 in a season where we looked
likely to win four trophies but ended up with only one. We drew 0-0 at the
Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion but won the second leg 1-0 thanks
to Micky Hazard. In the Final, we were leading 1-0 with four minutes to go
when Archibald hit a post to prevent us winning 2-0. Liverpool broke away
to equalise and then beat us in extra time.
We then had to wait until 1986-87 for our next Semi-Final, which was
against Arsenal. George Graham was in his first season as their manager.
Clive Allen scored the only goal of the match at their place but we lost
the second leg 2-1 after extra time. Allen again scored. In those days we
did not have penalty kicks to settle a result so we had to play a third
match. We won the toss to decide where it should be played but lost the
replay 2-1, despite Clive Allen giving us an early lead. They went on to
lift the Cup, beating Liverpool, 2-1.
Our last Semi-Final was in 1991-92 when we played Nottingham Forest. We
drew 1-1 up there, thanks to a Gary Lineker penalty. No one will ever
forget the replay. The start of the game was delayed for 90 minutes
because of a hoax bomb alert by the IRA which kept everyone standing in
the High Road in a torrential downpour whilst the bomb squad checked to
see whether there was a bomb there. Forest were least affected by the
delay and won 2-1, Lineker scoring our goal. The lasting impression I have
of that game is the tireless way Stuart Pearce marshalled his defence. He
always led from the front, a typical hard working, hard but fair tackling
I personally admired the way he sent himself up in the pizza commercial in
the wake of Gareth Southgate missing *his* penalty for England. It must
have hurt Pearce (and Waddle) to be reminded of their failures but I still
laughed as Southgate walked in to a pillar as Pearce chortled, "'e it the
As to the outcome of tomorrow night's tie with Wimbledon, we do need to
extract an advantage if we can do so. If we can do that, Wimbledon will
have to recover their position at Selhurst Park and will have to attack
us, leaving themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack as they were
exposed when Klinsmann scored four goals against them last May. But I
suspect it will be another very tight and very close match. I will not be
surprised if it ends goal-less. If there is a goal, then whoever scores
that will, I think, go on to the Final. Let us hope it is Tottenham who
benefit from a goal!
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