As part of our Everton Classic Game Rewind, the entire site coverage is taking you back to the fateful weekend of 19th-21st May, 1995 (more details here). Here’s the live blog from the epic win in that FA Cup Final, watch the full game here.
Fulltime Thoughts - What a brave and composed performance from this Everton side. They have looked efficient throughout the entire tournament and even more so today. Strong performances all over the pitch, Limpar led the way early, Watson was a giant in defence and Southall made all the timely saves. Fantastic, fantastic win! Everton’s first major trophy in eight years. and fifth FA Cup win.
90+2’ - Giggs now wins a corner off the tireless Unsworth. Watson and Southall calming down their defence, Schmeichel in the Everton box too.. corner cleared, bobbles past him and now Amokachi breaks out of the box with the ball at his feet, and a gaping goal in front of him seventy yards away!
Schmeichel is not even trying to get back and it takes three United players to foil the Nigerian forward... AND THERE’S THE FINAL WHISTLE!! LIMBSSSS AT WEMBLEY!! Everton have won the FA Cup!!
90+1’ - Irwin launches a ball into the box and the hefty Southall jumps up commandingly and pulls down the ball amidst a crowd of players. The Welshman really cuts an imposing figure on the pitch.
90’ - Now Amokachi concedes a needless freekick just inside his own half, Schmeichel screams at everyone to go into the box and will take this himself. Hoofed up high, Pallister heads back into the box and Hughes goes to shoot.. blocked by Watson! Leading by example our captain!
87’ - United have a freekick and Giggs will take it. What’s this, goalkeeper Schmeichel is up now too! Giggs puts it right at the penalty spot and the Dane jumps for it, but the defence rises highest and head away. Irwin tries to volley the ball back at goal and it bounces wide. Relief, for now.
86’ - It’s starting to boil over now, Hughes is given a yellow card for a nasty tackle on Horne, who then promptly follows him into the book after taking out Ince. Both of United’s centrehalves have taken up residence in the Everton defensive third for now.
80’ - Another couple of chances for United, Ince’s diving header is blocked and Pallister’s header from a cross on the opposite wing gobbled up by inspired Southall. Hearts in mouths as Watson rallies his troops!
77’ - Southall you beauty! The pace of Giggs has been a terrifying for the Toffees to deal with and he set off on a mazy run through the middle before sliding in Scholes free on the right. The midfielder’s first shot was saved by Southall, but the ball was parried away straight back to Scholes and he tried to tap it past the Welshman and again the goalie saves, spreadeagled and kicking the ball away.
76’ - Chance! Ablett catches the United backline napping and feeds a cross into the box, Schmeichel charges out and Big Dunc bravely goes up against him, the goalie gets a fist to the ball just before a crunching collision.
72’ - Alex Ferguson sends on his second and final sub Scholes for Sharpe. Batten down the hatches Blues, this is going to be gripping.
68’ - More drama! Giggs has been lively since he came on, and his deflected cross finds McClair.. his looping header is palmed onto the bar by Southall, and then Parkinson clears as Hughes almost gets the rebound.
Royle knows he needs fresh legs, and takes off the Blues’ Man of the Match Limpar with Amokachi on now.
67’ - Hinchcliffe finds an overlapping Ablett who neither shoots nor crosses as the ball spins away from him towards the corner flag.
64’ - Oh boy. Unsworth put in a desperate tackle on McClair and the ball almost sat perfectly for Sharpe to tie it.
63’ - Now Hinchcliffe, who still doesn’t look at 100%, gets behind the backline and his lofted cross is begging to be headed home, but Schmeichel parries it away.
61’ - Big Dunc almost ends the contest! The Scotsman got past Pallister and with just Schmeichel to beat chooses to cross and it’s cleared.
‘Dream On, Dunc’s Back’ says the banner held by an Everton fan.. and we were dreaming of a Wembley goal for the youngster there.
55’ - More of the same from the first half really, with Everton keeping United out with two solid banks of four. The Red Devils are winning the battle on the wings though and it’ll be an area of concern for Royle.
51’ - Rideout got clattered by Neville and now will make way for Duncan Ferguson who is raring to go today.
47’ - Oof, double mistake almost evens it. Giggs did well to take advantage of a miss by Unsworth, and his low cross into the box was whiffed on by Ablett, and Butt pounced on the loose ball but it was smothered well by the onrushing Southall.
46’ - Bruce does not return for the second half, and Giggs will replace him. His attacking threat is going to keep the Blues on their toes, though the Welsh winger is coming back from a hamstring injury of his own.
Halftime Thoughts - United have controlled possession, but it’s Everton who have looked the most dangerous especially on the counter, and lead 1-0. Limpar has looked very lively and the defence has looked solid.
45+2’ - Butt almost gets in behind Ablett who looked to have tugged him back, no call!
There’s the halftime whistle!
44’ - Blues win a corner on the left, Limpar takes it, blocked and another corner. Limpar takes again but Gary Pallister clears well.
40’ - Limpar has been the best player on the pitch for the Blues at least, right in the thick of everything Everton have done. A raking long ball down the right found Stuart running free, and his shot is blocked for a corner.
Hinchcliffe’s wand of a left foot with an inswinger that is somehow cleared, comes back to the magician and his cross is deflected, a shot from outside the box and another corner. The Blues are ending the half strong... ooh! Ablett nipped in ahead of the Danish goalie but heads it just over!
37’ - Chance! Limpar nicks the ball off Ince at the half line and he finds a streaking Stuart who stretches to shoot and it’s tame, right at the grateful Schmeichel.
The Everton fans behind the United goal are jubilant as if the Blues have this game all sewn up.
31’ - Don’t let if get forgotten that the goal came from a move started by captain Dave Watson just outside his own box.
Also that shot of Royle’s sly wink is one that should go down in history.
30’ - GOAL!! Everton take a shock lead! Stuart’s thumping shot comes back off the underside of the bar, bounces up into the air and Rideout reacts quickest with Bruce on the goal line and Schmeichel out of position to head home.. 1-0 Toffees!
Limpar had set off on a 4-on-2 counter attack as United had committed too many men forward, and he’d fed Jackson to the right. The rightback’s low cross was met by Stuart who really should have scored but his side-footed shot went off the woodwork.
27’ - Hinchliffe does well to find Ablett charging clear down the left, his centre into the box is poor though and cleared.
24’ - Blues win a freekick in the middle third on the left, Hinchcliffe’s cross into the box is cleared, falls to Limpar outside the box and his shot is wayward.
21’ - United might have an issue here, with Bruce hobbling around now holding his hamstring after a swift kick to his thigh. He’s trying to walk it off but is limping significantly.
20’ - The ref is letting a number of tackles go by and the Everton fans are not happy, as it’s been mostly in United’s favour.
16’ - Oooh close. Ball falls to Sharpe after another couple of heavy tackles, and scuffs it straight to Southall. Ince’s shot earlier was well blocked by captain Dave Watson.
12’ - Now Dennis Irwin has a go from distance with a 30plus yard freekick, blocked and it falls to Brian McClair, his shot is chipped just over the bar.
10’ - Chance for United. Sharpe gets free down the left and his cross is cleared for a corner by Ablett. Ince came rushing in to head it but it’s wide and resplendent in jazzy yellow, goalie Neville Southall has that covered.
6’ - The Red Devils strength is the wings, where Everton are weak, but the Blues are doing well to keep the play in the middle where they are thundering into tackles as Paul Ince is furious after getting clattered by Joe Parkinson.
3’ - United looking strong on the ball early on, rushing forward in droves. Lee Sharpe got his head to a Butt cross that went well over.
Now Everton attack on the right and Anders Limpar has a snap shot from just inside the box, Peter Schmeichel saves low at his near post and the Blues have the first corner of the game. Punched away for another corner. Taken short and eventually cleared.
1’ - Referee Gerald Ashby gets us underway with Graham Stuart and Paul Rideout kicking off.
Her Majesty’s Royal Marines are assembled here to play the unique Wembley hymn ‘Abide With Me’, once of those curious traditions about British football that we’ve grown to love over the years.
The players are now coming out of the tunnel to a great roar from the nearly-80,000 crowd. The guest of honour today is the The Prince of Wales, with his sons Princes William and Harry here for their first FA Cup Final. The teams are lined up facing each other for the national anthem now.
Starting lineups - No real surprises here for the Blues, with Daniel Amokachi and Ferguson on the bench for Royle to throw on in the second half. Starting rightback Earl Barrett is cup-tied and unavailable hence Matt Jackson getting the nod.
Alex Ferguson is very confident, and has youngsters Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes on the bench, having named a mostly-veteran starting eleven apart from Gary Neville and Nicky Butt.
Thank God this miserable season is almost behind us, and Everton have a chance to finish this in style despite the horrendous start. When the Toffees started the year with no wins in twelve games it did not look like things would end this way, but Premiership survival has been secured and now we have a decent shot at winning the FA Cup, so not all bad then.
Opponents Manchester United are wounded and dangerous - Alex Ferguson’s side saw their chances of a domestic double go up in smoke last weekend needing a win at West Ham United, and Blackburn Rovers still lifted the Premier League title despite losing at manager Kenny Dalglish’s former side Liverpool.
Joe Royle came in when the Blues were at their lowest in November and provided a shot in the arm with a Merseyside Derby win at Goodison Park in his debut. An inconsistent season plagued with injuries saw the Toffees save their top tier status by a narrow margin, but have been elite in the FA Cup getting to Wembley with just one goal conceded - a contentious penalty in the 4-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-finals at Elland Road.
United though are United, laden with savvy veterans and talented youngsters, and led by one of the best managers in the modern game. The suspension of Eric Cantona for a violent flying kick incident at Crystal Palace was barely a speed bump on their domestic road where they remained competitive until the final weekend of the league. If anything, the Red Devils showed they were weaker on the road with a draw at Galatasaray and deflating losses at Barcelona and group winners IFK Gothenburg led to a disappointing group stage exit in the Champions League.
Royle is going to look to set his ‘Dogs of War’ among the possibly vulnerable defending champions, with a close-fought game decided from a setpiece likely the result.
Competition: FA Cup Final
Date and start time: Saturday, May 20th at 8:00 a.m. PT / 11:00 a.m ET / 3:00 p.m. BST
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London, England, United Kingdom
Weather: 57°F/14°C, partly cloudy, 5% chance of precipitation, 10 mph winds
Starting XI - Southall; Ablett, Unsworth, Watson (c), Jackson; Hinchcliffe, Horne, Parkinson, Limpar; Stuart; Rideout
Subs - Kearton, Ferguson, Amokachi
Starting XI - Schmeichel; Irwin, Pallister, Bruce (c), G. Neville; Sharpe, Ince, Butt, Keane; McClair, Hughes
Subs - Walsh, Giggs, Scholes
With the Blues mired in a relegation scrap all season long Everton hosted Manchester United in February trying to save their skins. The Dogs of War responded to the full-throated Goodison support on the day, and went hammer-and-tongs at the Red Devils and were deserved 1-0 winners thanks to a towering header from Duncan Ferguson.
More famously, the Blues had taken on the Red Devils in the FA Cup Final like today but a decade ago. On that day though, Everton were the clear favourites and a scrappy United side had upset them 1-0 to win the coveted trophy - today, the Blues will be looking to turn the tables.