Portsmouth 0-1 Southampton

FA Cup fourth round, January 28, 1984

When this fixture was pulled out of the hat it had been eight years since the last match between these two fierce rivals. Since then Saints had won the FA Cup and been promoted to the First Division while Pompey had suffered two relegations before bouncing back up to the second tier in 1983. Who would come out on top in the white-hot Fratton Park armosphere?

Portsmouth 0-1 Southampton, FA Cup fourth round, January 28, 1984
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Portsmouth
0-1
Southampton
Steve Moran (90)

FA Cup, January 28, 1984
Fratton Park, Att: 36,000

Roared on by 26,000 of their supporters packed into Fratton Park, Pompey were in the mood for an upset and after striker Alan Biley headed over in the first half, they looked on top. In the last five minutes Pompey drove forward in numbers, determined to avoid a replay at The Dell, and had two chances to win it. First Neil Webb shot wide and then Alan Biley hooked it high as they searched for a winner. It would never come. Instead, Dave Armstrong ran on to a long ball from Frank Worthington and sent in a cross from the right wing where Steve Moran volleyed home to send the watching 10,000 Saints fans wild.

Key Figures

Alan Biley

The blond-haired striker was already a firm favourite at Fratton Park thanks to his scoring record since joining from Everton in 1982, and he so nearly added to his legend when he twice went close to scoring against Southampton in this match. He missed a header in the first half, before missing the chance for a glorious winner two minutes from time when he blazed over.

Steve Williams

The Southampton skipper knew what it meant to play against Portsmouth - he made his debut against them back in 1976 - and he was one of the star performers on the day, giving Saints the edge in the midfield battle.

Steve Moran

Saints forward line hadn't had too many opportunities for most of the game but when his chance came in injury time Moran didn't miss - even with his weaker left foot.

Did You Know...?

As was expected, the game was played in a feisty atmosphere and Southampton left-back Mark Dennis was hit on the back of the head by a coin thrown from the crowd during the game, while the Saints players themselves had to wait until dark before slipping out of the ground.

The next time the sides met in the Cup in 1996, Steve Moran, Dave Armstrong and Pompey keeper Alan Knight had to recreate the winner from 1984 for television. Moran said: “Trouble is, Dave had crossed with his weaker right foot and I had scored with my weaker left. So when it came to trying to come up with a repeat all those years down the line, Dave and I struggled to get it right. It took about 35 takes before we came up with anything like it."

In four attempts, Portsmouth have never managed to beat Southampton in an FA Cup tie.

What Happened Next

Southampton went on to beat Blackburn and Sheffield Wednesday before being knocked out of the Cup by eventual winners Everton in the semi final. They had another near miss in the League, finishing second, just three points behind champions Liverpool in what remains their highest ever League finish. Steve Moran ended the season as second top scorer behind Ian Rush.

Portsmouth finished 16th in the Second Division and Alan Ball took over as manager in the summer. He eventually led them to promotion to the First Division in 1987.

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From the back pages

Portsmouth 0-1 Southampton Published: Thursday January 26, 1984

FA Cup match preview

Portsmouth 0-1 Southampton Published: Saturday, January 28, 1984

Warning to violent fans

Portsmouth 0-1 Southampton Published: Monday, January 30, 1984

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