Date: Wednesday 9th February 1983.

Venue: Highbury, London.

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round Second Replay.

Score: Arsenal 2 Leeds United 1

Scorers: Arsenal: Woodcock, Rix. Leeds United: Connor.

Attendance: 26,802.

Teams:

Arsenal: Jennings; Hollins, Sansom; Robson, OíLeary, Nicholas; Talbot, Meade, Petrovic, Woodcock, Rix. Unused Sub: Davis

Leeds United: Lukic; Aspin, E. Gray; Sheridan, Hart, Dickinson; Thomas, Butterworth, Connor, F. Gray, Graham. Unused Sub: Hird

Referee: Mr J. Hunting (Leicester)

 

If you mention the names of Aidan Butterworth and Terry Connor, the chances are that few present day supporters would have heard of them let alone seen them play. They were given their first team chances in the late 1970ís and early 1980ís when United were a fading force in English football and were eventually relegated to Division Two in 1982. Both were regarded as very promising young strikers after making excellent impressions in junior and reserve team football before their elevation to the senior ranks.

 

Leeds-born Terry Connor made a story-book start to his Elland Road career when he made his debut as a substitute in November 1979 and scored the only goal of the game against West Bromwich Albion. Former Tadcaster Grammar school pupil, Aidan Butterworth, who was also born in Leeds made his debut for United, as a substitute, in April 1981 in a 3-0 win over Coventry City but did not score. He had to wait until the following season to make his run-on debut with the first team at Nottingham Forest and marked it with a goal in a 2-1 defeat.

 

It was during the following season, 1982-83 when Connor and Butterworth played in tandem for a good part of the season, with Butterworth ending up leading goal-scorer with thirteen goals and Connor chipping in with eight to finish second on Unitedís goal-scoring list. Each had the distinction of scoring in the epic Fourth Round tie against Arsenal in the FA Cup. More than 85,000 spectators saw that tie as it took three attempts to settle it and that was the combined attendance. A welcome addition to United coffers when money was tight.

 

Eddie Gray was manager of United then and after his side had beaten Preston North End 3-0 at home in the Third Round, with goals from John Sheridan, Terry Connor and Arthur Graham, they were drawn against Arsenal at Highbury in the next round. After their relegation from the top flight at the end of the previous season, this tie gave United an early return to the big time, if only a brief one, and they acquitted themselves well. They managed to come away from Highbury with a 1-1 draw in the first meeting. Thanks to an own goal from Peter Nicholas which gave United a sixty-first minute lead, but Alan Sunderland soon struck for the equaliser.

 

The Elland Road pitch was in a heavy state for the replay and though both United and Arsenal showed a refreshing willingness to attack, the game was goalless at the end of ninety minutes. United thought they had won it, when, with extra-time fast running out, they pierced the Gunnersí defence. Good approach work on the left pushed Arsenal back and Terry Connor did well to beat his marker before hitting a low cross into the penalty area, where Butterworth was waiting to stab the ball into the goal. Elland Road went wild with delight but tragedy struck United, and goalkeeper John Lukic in particular, only seconds later, when Graham Rix took a free-kick thirty yards out and sent the ball skidding into the United net at the near post. There was hardly any time left for the referee to restart the game and worse was to follow for United when Arsenal won the toss to stage the second replay at Highbury.

 

Unitedís dogged resistance came to an end in the third meeting, but not before they had given their top division opponents a good run for their money. It was a bitterly cold night and during a goalless first-half there was a snowstorm to add to the playerís problems.

 

The game had been scheduled for Monday, but was put back forty-eight hours because of the state of the Arsenal pitch, the postponement coming too late for some United fans who made the trip to London before realising that the game was off. United welcomed back young John Sheridan after suspension. His probing and Eddie Grayís overlapping runs down the left kept Arsenal preoccupied as United tried to attack at every opportunity in a fine open game.

 

United had a let-off in the forty-ninth minute when Raphael Meade side-footed the ball in only for the referee to disallow the goal as Graham Rix was offside. It was to prove only a temporary stay of execution as Arsenal took the lead five minutes later. Yugoslavian International midfielder Vladimir Petrovic picked our Graham Rix on the left and the ball was slipped inside to Tony Woodcock, who turned sharply to clip it past John Lukic from twelve yards out after fifty-four minutes. It put Arsenal ahead for the first time after two hundred and sixty-four minutes play. However, United were in no mood to give up lightly and they were back on level terms in the seventieth minute when Terry Connor pierced the Arsenal defence. Arthur Graham sent in a cross-cum-shot which was palmed upwards onto the bar by Pat Jennings and the ball dropped for Terry Connor, in the right place at the right time, to net a simple equalizer.

 

Both sides pushed hard for a winner but Unitedís fate was sealed, though, eight minutes from time when Graham Rix, who had rescued his side with that last gasp equaliser in the Elland Road replay, struck the goal that put the Gunners through. Vladimir Petrovic opened United up down the left with a telling pass to Tony Woodcock, who surged forward before rolling the ball back for Graham Rix to fire a low twenty-yard shot past John Lukic. The beaten United keeper was to join Arsenal in a £125,000 deal before the start of the following season, winning League and League Cup honours with the Gunners.

 

Eddie Grayís men had done their best and had certainly not been disgraced and now they were left to concentrate their efforts solely on trying to regain the top flight status they had lost the previous season. The task, however, proved too great and they had to be content with eighth pace in the Second Division.

 

Alternate Report: Courtesy Mark Ledgard:

 

Graham Rix, the man whose goal saved Arsenal with seconds left in the first replay just one week previous, finished off Leeds United in their FA Cup marathon in the second replay at Highbury. But Leeds went out with their heads held high. They managed to bounce back once after Tony Woodcock, a weekend influenza victim who was a doubtful starter, before before Mondayís postponement, had made one breakthrough. In the end Arsena ldid just enough in this second replay of the Fourth Round tie to earn a visit to Middlesbrough in the Fifth Round on Saturday one week hence. Their victory then meant Arsenal had disposed of three Yorkshire sides in Cup football that season with Huddersfield Town and Sheffield Wednesday having fallen to them in the Milk, or League, Cup. Now it was up to Middlesbrough to hit back for the county. A crowd of 26,802 turned up on a cold night at Highbury that night to lift the total aggregate for the tie to over 85,000. At the end the 2,000 Leeds followers sang their satisfaction at the way their team performed. Player-Manager Eddie Gray inspired his side but it was also a night when his youngsters grew up considerably.

 

Snow flurries accompanied the kick-off. The pitch that was so soggy on Monday was hard down one side and very soft under the main stand. Arsenal brought Raphael Meade into their attack for the injured Sunderland, John Sheridan was back in midfield, after suspension, for Leeds, but the pattern of play was very much as before. The two previous drawn games had been tight and full of tactical awareness and as the snow swirled there was still little light between the sides. Once, a left-footed twenty-yard drive from Peter Nicholas had John Lukic at full stretch to cover. Once, Arthur Graham broke clear and beat Pat Jennings, who had raced out of his penalty area to meet the threat. Arsenal recovered with a timely right-wing tackle by Peter Nicholas, who had to concede one of the nightís many corners. Arsenal paid John Sheridan the considerable compliment of detailing Brian Talbot as his watcher. The eighteen-year-oldís attacking instincts, however, brought many close calls for Arsenal. Leeds got their men back in great numbers at the slightest hint of trouble. It was always fast and not very often pretty.

 

Throughout Leeds had considerable problems keeping check on Graham Rix, who wandered in and out of all the midfield roles looking for the opening from which he finally won the match with only eight minutes left. Arsenal too had their work cut out to hold the left wing runs of Eddie Gray and when the Leeds Manager combined with John Sheridan the understanding was there. Yet chances were few. The man on the ball always had to pull out that little bit extra to beat well-drilled defensive set-ups. In one raid just before the interval Tony Woodcock worked overtime to beat Neil Aspin on the right to force a crisp cross to the far post. Brian Talbot soared but could not make the last vital inches with the goal gaping. Both teams were prepared to concede corners to subdue attacking moves. Arsenal took seven on the way to the break and Leeds five. Arsenal got the ball in the net in the forty-ninth minute, when Raphael Meade side-footed Kenny Sansomís wayward long shot. The striker was offside but Arsenal did surge ahead in the fifty-fourth minute, the first time in the tie, then two-hundred and sixty-four minutes old, they had held the lead. In the previous two episodes Arsenal had hit back within seconds of Leeds taking the lead. Though the response by the Second Division side to Arsenalís breakthrough was not as immediate in was just as telling.

 

Arsenalís deadlock breaker developed from Vladimir Petrovicís midfield pass to Graham Rix forty yards out on the left. He sought ot Tony Woodcock in the inside left channel just inside the Leeds penalty area. The England striker took the ball with his back to goal, turned his man, and hit home crisply from twelve yards just inside the near post. Leeds set about their task with great fortitude. John Sheridanís curling thirty-five yard free-kick was just wide. Frank and Eddie Gray pressed hard down the left and. after a sixty-seventh minute push, Sheridan was marginally wide as Arsenalís defence rocked under pressure. The equaliser was not long away. It came on the spring-board of an inspired one-handed save by John Lukic, when he dived to cut out Vladimir Petrovicís right wing cross. The ball was pushed up the right by Leeds and from thirty yards Arthur Graham floated a cunning shot towards the roof of the Arsenal net. Pat Jennings stretched and gained several inches but could do no more than palm the ball one-handed onto the crossbar. The goal gaped and Terry Connor was first to the loose ball. After seventy minutes Leeds were level and the tie, with seemingly no end, looked as though it was heading for another spell of extra-time. John Lukic turned one fierce thirty yard drive from Graham Rix over his crossbar to give Arsenal their twelfth corner. Leeds bounced back with John Sheridan, again in the thick of the aggression, appealing for a penalty when he went down ten yards from goal. But in the eighty-second minute the kind of pass that wins matches was pulled out of the hat by the former Yugoslav and Red Star midfield player Vladimir Petrovic. It cut the Leeds defence in two down the left and put Tony Woodcock in an attacking position on the corner of the penalty area. He went at the Leeds defence, drew men, and rolled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area to the waiting Graham Rix. The man who had stunned Leeds in the first replay was ready and willing for a repeat performance. His fierce low twenty yard shot flew just inside the near post and Leedsí gallant fight was over.

 

 

Match Action: (Courtesy Mark Ledgard)

 

Paul Hart outjumps David OíLeary and Eddie Gray

 

Players:

 

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Terry Connor scored for Leeds†††††††††††††††††††††††† Tony Woodcock and Graham Rix scored for Arsenal