Top Fives: FA Cup quarter-finals

By SFC Media time Wed 17 Mar Bournemouth v Saints
Photo by Getty Images

With Southampton set to make the short trip to Bournemouth on Saturday in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-finals, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane to revisit five victories from five different decades at this stage of the famous competition.

Southampton 5-0 Nottingham Forest, 1963

It’s hard to say what was more miraculous – the fact this tie needed two replays to find a winner, or that Saints ultimately eased through with such conviction. The original game seemed to have been decided 10 minutes from time by Forest centre-half Bob McKinlay, only for Terry Paine to equalise. In the first replay at The Dell, Saints were 3-0 down and surely beaten, but three goals in the final 16 minutes forced another rematch, this time on neutral territory at White Hart Lane. Goals from David Burnside and George O’Brien, who struck a brace apiece, and Ken Wimshurst set up Saints’ first semi-final in 36 years.

Road to Wembley? Eyeing a first FA Cup final since 1902, Saints fell short as Denis Law scored the only goal for Matt Busby’s Manchester United at Villa Park.

Ted Bates Forest
All smiles in the dressing room after finally seeing off Forest, including Ted Bates (far right)

Bradford 0-1 Southampton, 1976

Thirteen years later, Saints’ quarter-final success was rather less dramatic, but stands alone as the most important. Facing hosts from the fourth tier, Lawrie McMenemy’s side were big favourites to progress but their performance was resolute rather than spectacular. The only magic was reserved for the only goal: an iconic free-kick late in the first half, as Peter Osgood flicked the ball up and Jim McCalliog brilliantly volleyed home from 20 yards.

Road to Wembley? You bet. Defeating Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, Saints of the Second Division were in the final, where Bobby Stokes scored the most famous goal in the club’s history to stun Manchester United.

Southampton 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday, 1984

The Saints vintage of 1983/84 is among those most fondly remembered by supporters of a certain age. After a goalless draw at Hillsborough, title-challenging Saints have too much for Second Division Wednesday, despite the underdogs edging in front in the replay at The Dell. Steve Williams fired in a free-kick before an own goal from Gavin Oliver turned the tie on its head before half-time. Further goals from Mark Wright, David Armstrong and Steve Moran sealed Saints’ progress, justifying their status as FA Cup favourites.

Road to Wembley? A trip to Highbury to face Everton had Saints fans fuelled by optimism, but there proved no way past inspired goalkeeper Neville Southall, and Adrian Heath headed a cruel winner three minutes from the end of extra time.

Southampton Everton 1984
Peter Shilton punches a high ball in the semi-final against Everton at Highbury

Southampton 2-0 Wolves, 2003

For the fourth round in a row, Saints were handed a home tie, this time hosting Wolves of Division One at St Mary’s. That meant a first return for former boss Dave Jones, whose team started brightly, but Saints improved after the break. Chris Marsden improvised to break the deadlock with a clever hooked finish over his shoulder to settle the nerves 11 minutes into the second half, before defender Paul Butler inadvertently sent Jo Tessem’s cross into his own net.

Road to Wembley? Cardiff, actually, as Saints reached their first FA Cup final since 1976 courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Watford at Villa Park. Back in yellow for the final, just as in ’76, Saints were beaten by Robert Pires’s first-half strike at the Millennium Stadium.

Wigan 0-2 Southampton, 2018

A tie that seemed unlikely at the time of the draw was made possible by Wigan of the third tier upsetting Manchester City. With Mark Hughes having just replaced Mauricio Pellegrino in the dugout, Saints had a serial FA Cup winner to guide them through in his first match in charge. On a day of firsts, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Cédric both scored their first goals for the club in the second half, ensuring Manolo Gabbiadini’s penalty miss did not prove costly as Saints were freed from the pressures of a nerve-shredding survival battle that would go to the wire.

Road to Wembley? Yes, albeit not for the final, as the national stadium played host to both semi-finals, where Chelsea ran out 2-0 victors at Saints’ expense.

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