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Old 06-04-2021, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Bipe View Post
So let's get down to brass tacks then...7 April 1991, Palace 4 Everton 1 (AET)

It was a typically fresh early April day, somewhat overcast with the threat of rain in the air which would materialise during the match. Wikipedia has the attendance as 52,460 and Palace must have taken nearly two thirds of those, the 'open to all' ticketing policy providing a great opportunity for those who had missed out on the FA Cup final the previous year plus friends and family etc to enjoy the occasion.

It was a highly competitive and, as mentioned above, at times a physical encounter. Palace certainly gave no quarter and our players, roared on by the huge support, made sure their Everton counterparts knew they were in a game. I note from Wiki that the pitch had hosted an American Football match the previous day, hadn't remembered this but thinking about it now there were some faint white line markings from this on the turf.

Geoff Thomas broke the deadlock midway through the second half, heading home from a Salako corner, but Everton equalised almost immediately through recent Polish signing Robert Warzycha and the game went to extra time. This time we were not to be denied. Wright finished superbly from Martyn's long kick, Salako headed the third and them Wright again put the icing on the cake a few minutes before the finish for an ultimately convincing 4-1 win. In a nice touch Coppell brought on Garry Thompson for the final couple of minutes, he had served us well as a stand-in for the Wright and Bright double act and it was pleasing to see him as part of the squad.

Cue wild celebrations among the Palace faithful, yes it was the poor relation in terms of trophies but this felt like vindication for the traumas of a year previously and the great strides the team had made in the league this season. The players enjoyed it every bit as much as the fans, making the most of their celebration time on the pitch as the Everton end rapidly emptied. In all the commotion it was noted that the Everton goalie Neville Southall had for some reason decided not to join his team-mates in going up to accept their runners-up medals, instead deciding on some form of bizarre sit-down protest in his goalmouth. I never found out what that was all about.

At the time it still felt like this could be the start of something, with UEFA Cup qualification seemingly well within our grasp. As it turned out it was more like the end, 18 months later and we were struggling against relegation with Wright, Bright and Gray all gone, Salako badly injured and Thomas a shadow of his former glory.

But great memories nonetheless, as fans we had made a day of it and the players gave us everything they needed for a win which I still hold in great affection as the pinnacle of this team, Mickey Mouse cup or not.
A great day. I finally got to celebrate a Palace win at Wembley with my Dad - regardless that it was 'just' the ZDS Cup, that moment will live with me forever.

Ahead of the game, I properly remember being worried about the pace of Robert Warzycha. I needn't have worried
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