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Can Watford shock Man City slickers? The FA Cup Final upsets that can inspire Hornets

Leigh Copson 8 May 2019
Wimbledon celebrate their 1988 cup final win over Liverpool (credit:Peter Robinson/EMPICS Sport)

According to the bookmakers this season’s FA Cup Final between Manchester City and Watford is a foregone conclusion, but cup final upsets do happen and has been looking back at the Wembley shockers that could inspire the Hornets to victory on May 18.

READ MORE: Find out how Man City & Watford made it to the FA Cup Final.

2013: Wigan Athletic 1 Manchester City 0

Could we start with any other match but this one? Manchester City were overwhelming favourites to beat a Wigan Athletic side that were on the brink of being relegated from the Premier League, but they were stunned when an 81st minute goal from substitute Ben Watson snatched a 1-0 victory for the Latics. City responded to the embarrassing loss by sacking manager Roberto Mancini two days later, and 24 hours after that Wigan entered the history books by becoming the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season, with a 4-1 hammering at Arsenal condemning them to the drop.

1988: Wimbledon 1 Liverpool 0

Liverpool were the team of the 80s in English football as they racked up league title after league title and collected other silverware along the way. They went into the 1988 FA Cup Final having suffered only two league defeats all season and they were widely expected to make straightforward work of Wimbledon’s ‘Crazy Gang’, who had enjoyed an incredible rise from non-league football to the top flight between 1977 and 1986. That did not happen though. The Dons stunned their more esteemed opponents when Lawrie Sanchez headed them in front and goalkeeper Dave Beasant then played the role of hero as he became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup Final, keeping out John Aldridge’s effort to help Wimbledon record the biggest upset in the history of the final.

1987: Coventry City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Tottenham Hotspur were a team that was synonymous with FA Cup success in the 80s, having won the competition in 1981 and 1982 to take their impressive tally to seven, and they were expected to lift the trophy for an eighth time when they stepped out onto the hallowed Wembley turf to face Coventry City in 1987. The match looked set to follow the script when Clive Allen took just two minutes to open the scoring, but the Sky Blues showed they would be no pushovers as Dave Bennett cancelled out that strike six minutes later and Keith Houchen then responded to a Gary Mabbutt goal to force extra time. Mabbutt would get his name on the scoresheet again in the 95th minute, but it was at the wrong end as he put the ball past his own goalkeeper to hand Coventry victory.

1978: Ipswich Town 1 Arsenal 0

What is the worst way you can warm up for an FA Cup Final appearance? That is easy – do what Ipswich Town did and lose 6-1 to Aston Villa on the eve of the 1978 Final! Few gave the Tractor Boys much of a shot at beating Arsenal in the wake of that embarrassing loss, but they issued a tremendous response to dominate the match at Wembley and run out deserved winners. Roger Osbourne got the only goal of the game, but the scoreline could have been much more convincing because Ipswich did strike the frame of the goal no less than three times. It was still a major shock though and match-winner Osbourne was so surprised he fainted and had to be revived with smelling salts!

1976: Southampton 1 Manchester United 0

Manchester United missed out on the English title in 1975/76, but there was an opportunity to claim a consolation prize when they headed to Wembley for the FA Cup Final. Tommy Docherty’s men were expected to wipe the floor with a Southampton side that had failed to earn promotion out of the second tier that season, but that was not how it played out. Instead Saints turned into the Red Devils’s sinners as they ensured Manchester United would endure a trophy-less season, with Bobby Stokes’ goal settling the tie seven minutes from time.

1973: Sunderland 1 Leeds United 0

Leeds United were one of the premier teams in English football in the early 70s, and they were seeking back-to-back FA Cup Final victories when they made the trip to the capital in 1973. Providing the opposition were second division Sunderland, so for many it was simply a case of how many would Leeds win by? The Black Cats proved to be unlucky for Don Revie’s men though and they sent Leeds back to Yorkshire with their tails firmly between their legs. 100,000 fans looked on as Ian Porterfield got the only goal of the game and goalkeeper Jim Montgomery provided the heroics to keep out Leeds.

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Can Watford shock Man City slickers? The FA Cup Final upsets that can inspire Hornets

FA Cup Final upsets do happen and has been looking back at the Wembley shockers that could inspire the Watford to victory on May 18.

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