April 13 brings a mixed bag of results in Everton’s history. Today, we’ll look back at three at them, including the climax to two cup runs and a victory for one manager nearing the end of his Goodison Park reign. Let’s have a look back:
1977 - Blues fall at League Cup’s final hurdle to Villa
Back in the days of cup final replays, Everton and Aston Villa reconvened on April 13, 1977 to see if the destiny of the 1976-77 League Cup could finally be decided at the third attempt. The initial clash produced a goalless draw at Wembley, followed by a 1-1 stalemate at Hillsborough. Ultimately, though, it would prove third time unlucky for Gordon Lee’s Blues.
So near and yet so far, Bob Latchford put Everton ahead at Old Trafford with a tap-in on 38 minutes; a lead they held until the frantic final stages.
A long-range stunner from Chris Nicholl, who conceded the foul which led to the build-up of Everton’s opener, drew the scores level with ten to play. Two minutes later, Brian Little squeezed in to put Villa ahead, only for Mick Lyons to equalise a minute later and force extra time.
Sadly, though, Little struck again to put Villa 3-2 up in the 118th minute, taking advantage of some inexplicable defending to tuck home and break Evertonian hearts.
1985 - FA Cup semis success against Luton
A cup clash with happier memories for those of a royal blue persuasion arrived on this day in 1985, when Howard Kendall’s treble-chasers advanced to the FA Cup final courtesy of a 2-1 semi-final victory over Luton at Villa Park.
The Hatters, then also in the First Division themselves, were moments away from upsetting the odds, though; Ricky Hill’s perfectly-placed finish from the edge of the area put Luton ahead on 37 minutes, a lead they held until the 86th, when Kevin Sheedy’s sublime free-kick nestled right in the corner of the net.
Another extra-time ordeal, then; though this one would provide a happier ending. This time, Sheedy turned provider; his cross from a free-kick finding the head of Derek Mountfield perfectly, who rose to fire Everton in front on 115 minutes and set up a date at Wembley with Manchester United. It also extended the Blues’ incredible unbeaten run in all competitions to 21 games.
2013 - Comfortable QPR win keeps European chase on course
In the final weeks of David Moyes’ final season at Everton, they comfortably brushed aside doomed QPR on this day seven years ago to keep pace with their rivals for European qualification.
Darron Gibson’s long-range drive opened the scoring just prior to half-time, before Victor Anichebe scrambled home a second just after the interval to seal the points for Moyes’ men.
It kept the Blues in a healthy sixth place, marked their fourth home league win in a row and whetted the appetite nicely for a crucial trip to fellow top four rivals Arsenal the following Tuesday.