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On This Day in Everton History: April 10th

A couple of pivotal games and a record breaking milestone

Early Cup Final
The 1897 FA Cup Final

April 10th has been a pretty busy day for Everton in the past with the club playing 26 matches. So, let’s take a look at how this date shaped Everton history as we know it.

1897: Everton fall short in the FA Cup Final

In league play, the 1896-97 season wasn’t much to talk about for Evertonians. The club finished in 7th place with 31 points, 16 behind champions Aston Villa, while losing 6 of their final 9 league matches. But, despite the rough campaign, there was still something to fight for that year. After falling short in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup the year prior, the Toffees came into the 1896-97 season looking to take things one step further in the domestic competition. Thing started off rather smoothly with a couple of 3 goal victories over Burton Wanderers and Bury and a 2 goal, clean sheet victory over Blackburn to advance to the semis. Everton had taken it one step further, but they weren’t done yet. In a match against Derby County at Victoria Grounds, the Toffees managed three goals from Edgar Chadwick, Abe Hartley and Alf Milward to outlast their opponents, 3-2, and advance to the FA Cup Final. That brings us to April 10th, 1897.

With the league title already seemingly locked up by Aston Villa, the Toffees travelled to London to take on the champs in the FA Cup Final. In front of a crowd of about 65,000, Everton came out fighting. Despite giving up a goal in the 18th minute, the Toffees were not flustered and they punched right back. A goal from John Bell in the 23rd minute and a second from Richard Boyle in the 28th had the league champs on the ropes early with Everton leading 2-1. It wouldn’t take long for Villa to tie things back up, though, as Fred Wheldon scored in the 35th minute to make it 2-2. The game was already an instant classic, but, unfortunately, the Toffees would come up short in this one as they gave up a third just before the half as Aston Villa went on to win the double, 3-2. For the second time in their history, the Toffees were runners-up in the FA Cup and it wouldn’t be until 1906 that they would be able to lift that trophy for the first time.

Soccer - European Cup Winners Cup - Final - Everton v Rapid Vienna
Everton's 1985 squad
Photo by Peter Robinson/EMPICS via Getty Images

1985: Everton earn important draw in European Cup Winner’s Cup

We talk about it all the time, but I will say it again...the 1984-85 season was one of the best ever in Everton history. The Toffees came into the campaign confident and it showed as they dominated the league, winning the title by 13 points over rivals Liverpool. On top of that, they had made it to the FA Cup Final before losing to Manchester United, 1-0, but it doesn’t end there. In 1984-85, the Toffees were also in a European competition, the European Cup Winner’s Cup. As with everything over the course of this campaign, the competition started relatively well for Everton. Despite a close-call in their first matchup with University College Dublin, the Toffees rolled through the next two rounds, earning 4 clean sheets and a spot in the semifinals where they would face German giants, Bayern Munich, which brings us to April 10th, 1985.

The first leg of the semifinals took place in Germany as the Toffees travelled to Bayern Munich hoping for a good result to take back to Goodison for the second leg. Once again, Neville Southall showed why he is highly regarded as one of the best goalkeepers we have ever had. Southall didn’t just stop the hosts, he shut them down, earning another clean sheet in the competition, which would prove to be extremely important because the Toffees weren’t able to break down the Bayern defense either. This one ended in a scoreless draw, but that’s all Everton would need as they headed back home for the second leg. In one of the most memorable games at Goodison, the Toffees dominated their opponents 3-1 to advance to the competition’s final, a game they would win by the same scoreline to take home their first-ever European trophy.

2005: James Vaughan becomes Everton’s youngest goalscorer

Born in Birmingham in 1988, James Vaughan was clearly a talented footballer, even at a young age. He caught the attention of the Toffees at just nine years old and, eventually, joined their youth academy in 2002. He would rise through the ranks quickly, doing enough to earn the U-16s player of the season after the 2003-04 campaign. The next year he earned a promotion to the reserve squad where he scored enough goals to grab a spot in the first team by the end of the 2004-05 season, which brings us to April 10th, 2005.

In a game against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park, Vaughan found himself on the bench with hopes of making his debut for the club. Lucky for him, he would get that opportunity that day and make the most of it. When Vaughna took the pitch in the 73rd minute, he became the youngest player ever to play for the club, breaking Joe Royle’s record. That record no longer stands, though, as Jose Baxter would break it on the first day of the 2008-09 campaign, but all was not lost. Just 14 minutes after coming on against Crystal Palace, Vaughn would make his debut even more special. With the Toffees already up 3-0, Kevin Kilbane played a ball into the middle of the box where James Vaughan was racing in to meet it. Getting in front of the defender, the Everton youngster got enough on the shot to find the back of the net for a debut goal. Not only was he now the youngest Everton player to take the pitch, he was also the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history at 16 years, 270 days, a record that still stands today.

And THAT is today in Everton history