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On This Day in Everton History: May 18th

Two games, two FA Cup final defeats in today’s feature

1985 FA Cup Final Manchester United v Everton
Everton faced Man Utd in the FA Cup final on this day in 1985
Photo by David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images

Everton have only played two games in their history on May 18; and unfortunately, the two are carbon copies of each other.

Both FA Cup finals, both 1-0 defeats after extra time, today won’t bring back the brightest of memories to Evertonians. Let’s look back at both of them:

1968 - Astle goal ensured Baggies beat Blues

On the verge of an encouraging fifth-placed finish in the First Division, it was on this day in 1968 that Harry Catterick led FA Cup finalists Everton to Wembley.

Having seen off Southport, Carlisle, Tranmere, Leicester and Leeds in previous rounds, the Blues were definite favourites against Alan Ashman’s West Brom. The Baggies finished only three places below Everton in eighth but were beaten home and away by them in the league, including a 6-2 thumping at The Hawthorns in March.

But at a sodden Wembley, Everton were made to rue a host of missed chances, not least Jimmy Husband inexplicably heading wide towards the end of normal time.

Jeff Astle’s sharp finish three minutes into extra time proved the only goal of a game Everton will have many regrets about, causing a positive season to end on a rather sour note.

1985 - Whiteside breaks Everton hearts as United triumph at Wembley

And it was more of the same for the Blues 17 years later, when the runaway title winners and Cup Winner’s Cup champions could not complete an historic treble just three days after that unforgettable night in Rotterdam.

Again, Everton forced extra time after 90 goalless minutes against Manchester United, but again they fell to a 1-0 defeat, as Norman Whiteside curled home on 113 minutes to seal the FA Cup for United.

It was another case of what might have been for Everton, particularly when Kevin Moran fouled Peter Reid when through on goal, earning himself a red card; this after Reid had hit the post early in the first half, too.

But it only took a little gloss off an otherwise stunning season; one where Everton announced themselves as a real force both nationally and beyond.