Everton 1-0 Manchester United
FA Cup final, May 20, 1995
Few gave Everton a prayer against a Manchester United side still bristling from losing out to Blackburn in the title race. Everton had spent the season battling at the other end of the table and been dubbed the ‘Dogs of War’ by manager Joe Royle. Did they have one last bite in them?
Paul Rideout (30)
FA Cup final,
May 20, 1995
Wembley, Referee: Gerald Ashby, Att: 79,592
Everton out-fought United’s off-colour midfield in the first half and took the lead on the half hour mark. United looked far more vibrant in the second half following the introduction of Ryan Giggs, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping from Neville Southall enabled the Toffeemen to hold out for a famous win.
Southall had suffered his ups and downs under previous manager Mike Walker but this was a throwback to his mid-1980s heyday when nothing could get past the big Welshman. Time and time again in the second half he was faced with another United attack but each time he denied the holders. His double save from Paul Scholes must rank among his best ever.
This was not a match for shrinking violets and Watson gave a captain’s performance as United threatened to overrun his side after the break. But Watson refused to fold and there was little to choose between the centre-back, who had joked he would kill his grandma to win the FA Cup, and his goalkeeper when the destination of the Man of the Match award was being decided.
Bruce was one of the best defenders in the country, but United paid the price for his decision to soldier on after tearing his hamstring on 21 minutes. Gary Pallister effectively had to do the work of two men for the remainder of the half and, when Graham Stuart’s shot cannoned off the bar, Bruce was unable to react before Rideout headed home.
Did You Know...?
Paul Rideout had scored on his previous Wembley appearance, when he grabbed a hat-trick playing for England Under-15s against Scotland in 1979.
Neville Southall was the only surviving Everton player from the side that won the FA Cup in 1984.
When Joe Royle climbed the 39 steps and met the Prince of Wales, he told him that he was member of his family. The gag was lost on HRH, though, who had also almost made the mistake of handing the trophy to losing captain Steve Bruce moments earlier, before FA chief Graham Kelly intervened.
What Happened Next
Everton’s FA Cup defence ended at lowly Port Vale at the 4th round stage the following season, but Joe Royle’s side fared far better in the league, finishing 6th in the Premier League - agonisingly close to a UEFA Cup spot. Their European Cup-Winners’ Cup hopes, meanwhile, ended against Feyenoord, whose ground had been the setting for their famous 1985 victory in the same competition.
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