Mar 072014

7 Mar 2014 15:18

With Everton and Arsenal ready to lock horns at the Emirates tomorrow, we look back to the last FA Cup meeting between the sides

Everton’s jubilant players celebrate their 1981 FA Cup win over Arsenal

You have to rewind more than 30 years to find the last FA Cup duel between Everton and Arsenal, to a time when Gordon Lee was in his final season as manager and a young defender by the name of Kevin Ratcliffe was showing signs of being a future Goodison great.

The teams have not met in FA Cup combat since January 3, 1981.

Injury-hit Everton ran out 2-0 winners at Goodison Park that day, with a Kenny Sansom own goal and a 90th-minute effort from Mike Lyons booking a fourth-round meeting with neighbours Liverpool.

“Gordon Lee’s young lions did him proud on Saturday,” was how the ECHO’s Ian Hargraves opened his match report, under the headline “The Young Stargazers”.

Both goals came inside the final five minutes.

“I’m sure our young lads will have learned from the experience,” Blues boss Lee told the ECHO. “I was pleased they managed to keep their composure under all the pressure.”

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Everton v Arsenal, FA Cup, January 1981

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Ratcliffe was joined in the Blues’ line-up by fellow youngsters Billy Wright, Joe McBride and future England international Steve McMahon, who won the man of the match honours for his ‘truly brilliant performance’.  

They ‘gave an exciting glimpse of what the future has in store’ wrote Hargraves in his report.

The outcome of the fourth round draw, which took place on the following Monday, was splashed all over the back page of that day’s ECHO: “Everton v Liverpool – it’s a cup shocker”.

“The 100th FA Cup threw up a centenary stunner today when Everton and Liverpool were drawn in opposition in the fourth round,” wrote Charles Lambert.

Geoff Nulty, Lee’s number two, told the ECHO man: “It’s not the tie we would have picked, but I’m sure the same goes for Liverpool.”

Despite Nulty’s reservations, Everton would go on to beat their city rivals later that month,  winning 2-1 at Goodison thanks to goals by Peter Eastoe and Imre Varadi.

They conquered Southampton (following a replay) in the fifth round before bowing out of the cup at the quarter-final stage, losing 3-1 in a replay at Maine Road having drawn 2-2 at Goodison.

Blues fans everywhere will be hoping their side can go a few steps further this season – and Roberto Martinez’s men will be aiming to summon up the spirit of ‘81 when they head to the Emirates.

More Everton FC news

Dave Prentice on why brilliant Baines needs no assistance.

FA Cup preview: How Roberto Martinez has come a long way since 1995.

Howard Kendall says Blues can capitalise on Arsenal’s lack of leadership.

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