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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

The Giant Killers of


York City

Fourth Round, Saturday February 26th 1985, Bootham Crescent, York, Attendance: 10,840

1-0 vs Arsenal

Scorer: Keith Houchen {Pen - 89}

The magic of the cup was shown before this tie when the York City fans were joined by many travelling Arsenal fans to help clear snow from the pitch and ensure this cup fourth round tie could go ahead. York were lying eighth in the Third Division but promotion to Division Two already seemed highly unlikely. The Minstermen had come through their three cup ties so far without conceding a goal and being drawn at home to Arsenal naturally rekindled stories of the club's greatest ever cup run, which ended in a Semi Final replay in 1955 and accounted for the scalps of Tottenham and Blackpool along the way. Unlike those two sides, both of whom had been battling against relegation, Arsenal had been early pace setters in the title race under Don Howe, topping the table into November but a run of indifferent form since had seen them drop to fourth with their title ambitions looking increasingly slim.

Their star studded team found life difficult on the hard Botham Crescent surface and The Gunners were caught short in defence time and again by York's counter attacking style. The Minstermen were unable to turn the opportunities into goals however and as the game ticked into the final minute a replay at Highbury seemed certain. A draw would still have been a great result for Denis Smith's men but York hadn't settled for that yet and when Keith Houchen went down under a challenge from Steve Williams, the referee pointed to the spot. The Arsenal players protested for a free kick instead and had a case as it did appear that the initial contact was outside the area but Houchen went down in the box and the ref wouldn't be swayed.

Houchen himself stepped up and sent Lukic the wrong way to all but seal Arsenal's fate. There was injury time but it was York who spent it on the attack to claim their biggest cup scalp since Birmingham had been hammered there almost thirty years earlier. Liverpool, at the time the dominant force in the land came out of the hat and across the radio waves on Monday lunchtime to a cheer from the team gathered for first team training. The Reds were unusually

lying on the fringes of the title race instead of blazing the trail as they often did in recent years but were still the scariest prospect in English Football. On another great day at Botham Crescent they were unable to pull off another cupset but came as good as, holding the mighty Reds to a 1-1 draw. The replay sadly saw Liverpool put the Third Division side to the sword with a comprehensive 7-0 victory.

City: 1:Mike Astbury, 2:Steve Senior, 3:Alan Hay, 4:Ricky Sbragia, 5:John MacPhail, 6:Sean Haselgrave, 7:Gary Ford, 8:Martin Butler, 9:Keith Walwyn, 10:Keith Houchen, 11:Alan Pearce. Manager:Denis Smith

Arsenal:1:John Lukic, 2:Viv Anderson, 3:Kenny Sansom, 4:Brian Talbot, 5:David O'Leary, 6:Tommy Caton, 7:Stewart Robson, 8:Steve Williams, 9:Paul Mariner, 10:Tony Woodcock, 11:Charlie Nicholas {sub}:Ian Allinson. Manager: Don Howe

Orient 2-1 West Bromwich Albion

Third Round: Saturday February 5th 1985



Ranked at the time: 149