Date: Wednesday 9th February 1983.
Venue: Highbury, London.
Cup Fourth Round Second Replay.
Score: Arsenal 2 Leeds
Woodcock, Rix. Leeds United:
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Paul Hart outjumps
David OíLeary and Eddie Gray
Terry Connor scored for Leeds†††††††††††††††††††††††† Tony Woodcock and
Graham Rix scored for Arsenal