Rewinding to the third of four classic FA Cup meetings in twelve months between regular giant-killers York City and former European Cup holders Liverpool.
Rewinding to the third of four classic FA Cup meetings in twelve months between famed giant-killers York City and former European Cup winners Liverpool – this one a fifth round tie at an absolutely packed Bootham Crescent in February 1986.
The two clubs had already clashed at the identical stage of the competition the previous season, when a tightly contested 1-1 draw in the first game was followed by a crushing 7-0 Liverpool victory in the Anfield replay.
However, the Merseysiders were decidedly fortunate to earn a second chance this time around as their opponents raised their game considerably following a difficult preceding few weeks.
On an awkward playing surface that had been heavily sanded in areas, York proceeded to dominate the opening forty minutes; record £50,000 signing Dale Banton immediately running onto a Gary Ford through pass and shooting inches wide with only Bruce Grobbelaar left to beat.
Defender John MacPhail was then brilliantly denied by the Liverpool keeper when his half-volley from the edge of the area was spectacularly turned aside. Pool’s player-manager Kenny Dalglish had earlier seen his effort saved by Andy Leaning.
The Minstermen unsurprisingly departed the pitch to a standing ovation at the break but must have thought they should already have been clear.
But with just over an hour completed the gallant underdogs were to shock their esteemed visitors amid an absolute crescendo of noise and excitement; Derek Hood’s long throw being helped on by Tony Canham, Banton and Keith Walwyn for York-born right-winger Ford to crack a low drive inside the post.
Four minutes later and perhaps mindful of already denying the overwhelming favourites a penalty when Ian Rush went down under challenge from keeper Leaning, referee Howard Taylor pointed to the spot after Steve Senior was harshly adjudged to have handled Dalglish’s flighted free-kick while under challenge from Craig Johnston.
Danish midfielder Jan Molby stepped up and calmly wrong-footed Leaning from twelve-yards to equalise before Rush later lobbed over the crossbar when released by John Wark as the clubs again couldn’t be separated.
Liverpool player-manager Dalglish later raged at the decision to play the game while describing the pitch as “diabolical and dangerous” and stating that the public had been “cheated”.
His York counterpart Denis Smith appeared slightly more measured, telling The Press: “In the circumstances it was a good game of football. It was possibly the most difficult surface we have played on. But we proved we are not a bad side and Dale [Banton] had a great chance and did everything right, but after picking his spot didn’t hit the target.”
Goal-hero Ford commented: “I suppose the pitch did help us but it wasn’t as bad as they say. I never heard any of the Liverpool players complaining but you could tell they didn’t have much taste for the conditions.”
Regarding the controversial penalty award, City right-back Senior added: “When Dalglish took a free-kick, I challenged Johnston, who headed the ball against my arm as I went up. I couldn’t believe it when he gave a penalty.”
York City: Leaning, Senior, Hood, McAughtrie, MacPhail, Mills, Ford, Banton, Walwyn, Haslegrave, Canham
sub (unused): Houchen
Goals: Ford (61)
Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Lee, Beglin, Lawrenson, Wark, Hansen, Dalglish, Johnston, Rush, Molby, Seagraves
sub (unused): McMahon
Goals: Molby (pen 65)
Ref: H. Taylor (Oadby)
Video Link: Dave Waller