Five of the best from the quarter-finals

By SFC Media Wed 14 Mar Wigan v Saints
Photo by Getty Images | Chris Marsden

With Southampton set to travel to Wigan in the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday, we take a trip down memory lane to revisit some famous quarter-final ties from days gone by...

1963
Southampton 5-0 Nottingham Forest (Replay)

An epic tie that takes three games in ten days to finally resolve in Saints’ favour. The original fixture, played at the City Ground, looks to have been decided ten minutes from time by a header from Forest centre-half Bob McKinlay, but proves just the start of the drama. Saints equalise through Terry Paine’s perfect lob, only to find themselves 3-0 down in the replay at The Dell. Once again, Saints are on the brink, but back they come. George Kirby responds with only 16 minutes to play, but Saints have momentum, and soon goalkeeper Peter Grummitt pushes the ball into his own net to reduce the deficit further. In the 89th minute, with the home fans in a frenzy, David Burnside’s low shot finds the net and both sides have to start over. Again. The second replay would take place on neutral territory, at White Hart Lane, with an estimated 25,000 Saints fans in attendance. For 40 minutes, the tie remains in the balance, until Burnside and Ken Wimshurst strike twice in quick succession before the break. Further goals from Burnside and a brace from George O’Brien complete the rout, and Saints are marching on to a first semi-final since 1927.

Dressing room smiles after eventually seeing off Forest, including Ted Bates (far right)

Road to Wembley? 
Eyeing a first FA Cup final in more than 60 years, Saints fall short against Matt Busby’s Manchester United at Villa Park. Denis Law scores the only goal midway through the first half of a game in which Saints never hit the heights of White Hart Lane. Four minutes from time, David Gaskell brilliantly denies O’Brien and the dream is over.

1976
Bradford City 0-1 Southampton

Thirteen years later, Saints’ quarter-final success is rather less dramatic, but stands alone as the most important. Facing hosts from the fourth tier, Lawrie McMenemy’s side are big favourites to progress. Bradford use the occasion to their financial gain, trebling ticket prices, and the result is a crowd of 14,195 – the lowest for a quarter-final, by some distance, since the War. At least the only goal is worth the entrance fee, for the visiting fans at least, arriving four minutes before half time from a 20-yard free kick. Peter Osgood casually flicks it up; Jim McCalliog brilliantly volleys home an iconic Saints goal. The nerves are jangling in the closing stages, but Saints hold on for victory.

Jim McCalliog's stunning free kick is enough to see off Fourth Division Bradford

Road to Wembley? 
You bet. McCalliog’s winner sets up a semi-final meeting with Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge. Attacking the Shed End in the second half, Saints make the breakthrough when Gilchrist’s low shot finds the bottom corner, before David Peach’s penalty makes the game safe. With seven minutes to go at Wembley, Bobby Stokes latches on to McCalliog’s ball over the top to score the most famous goal in Saints history and avenge the semi-final defeat of ’63.

1984
Southampton 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Replay)

The Saints vintage of 1983/84 is among those most fondly remembered by fans alive to see it, and become favourites to lift the cup after Liverpool go crashing out to Brighton. For the third round running, Saints travel to Second Division opponents, but struggle to showcase their superiority and ultimately settle for a goalless draw. Fancying their chances on home soil, the game adopts a very different pattern. Wednesday come out firing and take a deserved lead, but Steve Williams fires home a free kick before Gavin Oliver turns a cross from Mick Mills into his own net. Mark Wright’s header after the interval offers breathing space, while David Armstrong and Steve Moran strike late to give the result a one-sided look.

David Armstrong adds to his goal at Blackburn (above) with another against the Owls

Road to Wembley?
A trip to Highbury to face Everton has Saints fans fuelled by optimism, with McMenemy naming an unchanged line-up from the quarter-final. Try as they might, Saints cannot find a way past Neville Southall in the Everton goal, before Adrian Heath heads a cruel winner three minutes from the end of extra time.

1986
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Southampton

Just five days after winning by the odd goal at Millwall in round five, Saints are back in FA Cup action along the south coast at Brighton. Sixth in the Second Division, the Seagulls fly out of the blocks only to have their wings clipped by Steve Moran’s diving header in the 14th minute. Moran then wins a tackle in his own half and releases Andy Townsend, who finds Glenn Cockerill. Still with plenty to do, Cockerill does it brilliantly, twisting and turning away from three defenders before steering a cool finish into the net. Saints had done what they needed to do before half time, and never look back.

Steve Moran puts his head in where it hurts to open the scoring at Brighton

Road to Wembley?
Back in north London to face Merseyside opposition for a second semi-final in three years, this time Saints head to White Hart Lane with Liverpool standing in their way. An already uphill task takes on a steeper incline when Mark Wright is stretchered off before half time. Saints manfully take the tie into extra time, only for Ian Rush to strike twice in quick succession and keep Liverpool’s dream of a league and cup double alive. 

2003
Southampton 2-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers

For the fourth round in a row, Saints are handed a home tie, as they face Wolves of Division One at St Mary’s. That means a first return for former boss Dave Jones, whose team start brightly as Mark Kennedy forces a fine save from Antti Niemi in the most notable moment of the first half. Saints improve after the break and open the scoring 11 minutes into the second period, as Chris Marsden improvises to hook a left-footed shot into the corner of the net – Saints’ first goal from a corner all season. Suddenly in control, Saints complete the job when Paul Butler sends Jo Tessem’s cross past his own goalkeeper.

Chris Marsden's unorthodox volley against Wolves loops into the corner of the net

Road to Wembley?
Yes. Well, Cardiff, as Saints reach their first FA Cup final since 1976. Another second-tier opponent, Watford, stand between themselves and a trip to the Millennium Stadium, who are dispatched by Brett Ormerod’s first-half header and an own goal from Paul Robinson. Back in yellow for the final, just as in ’76, this time the only goal of the game is scored at Saints’ expense, as Robert Pires strikes the winner shortly before half time.

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