1986 FA Cup Final Howard Kendall and Kenny Dalglish lead out their teams at Wembley
The 1986 FA Cup Final was one of the most exciting and dramatic games in the history of the competition. It brought together the two best teams in the country in an all Merseyside affair. Their route to the final began in January 1986. Everton overcame Exeter 1-0 in the 3rd Round while Liverpool thrashed Norwich 5-0 at Anfield. Their reward was a very tough 4th Round fixture away to Chelsea live on ITV. Liverpool put on an impressive display to win 2-1 with goals from Ian Rush and Mark Lawrenson. Everton saw off Blackburn 3-1 and faced Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the 5th Round. Goals from Trevor Steven and Gary Lineker gave the Toffees an impressive 2-1 victory. Liverpool were given a scare by York City who forced a replay at Anfield after a 1-1 draw but the Reds triumphed 3-1 in the return game. In the quarter finals Everton came back from 2-0 down at Luton to draw 2-2 and they won the replay 1-0 at Goodison Park, as Gary Lineker’s goal sent them into the semi finals. Liverpool were fortunate to beat Watford in a quarter final replay. Future star John Barnes gave them the lead from a fee kick and only a late Jan Molby penalty and an extra time Ian Rush goal sent them into the semi finals.
On Saturday 5th April 1986 both FA Cup semi finals took place with Everton facing Sheffield Wednesday at Villa Park and Liverpool facing Southampton at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane. It was in the days before the semi finals were both played at Wembley and both games kicked off at 3pm. Everton took the lead when Alan Harper lobbed the goalkeeper but Carl Shutt equalised a few minutes later. In extra time Graeme Sharp volleyed home a magnificent winner to give Everton a 2-1 win and a place at Wembley.
In the other semi final Liverpool faced a stubborn Southampton team. Mark Wright broke his leg in the first half ruling him out of the 1986 World Cup. Liverpool created several chances but were denied by England goalkeeper Peter Shilton as the game went into extra time. However Ian Rush finally broke their resistance with two strikes to give Liverpool a 2-0 victory and a place in the final.
Liverpool clinched the 1986 First Division Championship on the final day of the season as Kenny Dalglish fired the winner in win 1-0 at Chelsea. Everton had failed to retain their title despite finishing on 86 points two points behind Liverpool. Gary Lineker was named PFA Player of the Year after his 30 goals made him First Division top scorer. For Liverpool it was a dream first season for Player Manager Kenny Dalglish who had won the Championship in his first season in charge of Liverpool.
On Saturday 10th May 1986 Everton faced Liverpool at Wembley desperate to beat their rivals and deny them the League and Cup Double. Everton were appearing in their third FA Cup Final in a row after winning it in 1984 and losing the 1985 Final. For Liverpool it was their first final since 1977 and they had not won the FA Cup since 1974. Kenny Dalglish led out Liverpool in his tracksuit as he would play alongside Ian Rush up front. Bob Paisley, Ronnie Moran and Roy Evans would be directing things from the bench. Howard Kendall was confident Everton could win but they would be without their inspirational goalkeeper Neville Southall who was injured with Bobby Mimms replacing him. In front of 98,000 fans with red and blue together in the stand both teams lined up as follows:
Everton: Mimms, Stevens (Heath) Van Den Hauwe, Ratcliffe (C), Mountfield, Reid, Steven, Lineker, Sharp, Bracewell, Sheedy
Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Lawrenson, Beglin, Nicol, Whelan, Hansen (C), Dalglish, Johnston, Rush, Molby, MacDonald
The game began cautiously with neither team wanting to give anything away. Everton had more possession and on 15 minutes they felt they should have had a penalty when Graeme Sharp was felled in the box after a challenge by Steve Nicol. It looked like a clumsy challenge but Everton appeals were waved away by referee Alan Robinson. On 27 minutes Everton took the lead. Kenny Dalglish’s misplaced pass was seized on by Peter Reid who played a superb long through ball to Gary Lineker. He outpaced Alan Hansen and fired past Grobbelaar at the second attempt. It was the England striker’s 40th goal of the season and Everton were in the driving seat.
Liverpool almost equalised a few minutes later but Mimms saved well at the feet of Craig Johnston. Everton continued to keep the ball well and Liverpool could not break them down and the first half finished with Everton 1-0 in front.
Liverpool made no changes at half time as they tried to find a foothold in the game. Trevor Steven drove a shot wide at the start of the second half as Everton continued to press forward. They almost increased their lead when Kevin Sheedy took advantage of a mix up at the edge of the box and fired wide of the far post. He then fired in a freekick from 25 yards which Grobbelaar pushed round the post. Liverpool were all over the place at the back and Beglin and Grobbelaar got in each other’s way before the keeper gathered the ball and pushed his team mate.
Then in the 57th minute Liverpool equalised. Ronnie Whelan collected Gary Stevens loose pass and fed Jan Molby. The Dane’s perfect through ball was pounced on by Rush who rounded Mimms and scored the equaliser. Liverpool were back in the game and now it was all to play for.
Everton almost took the lead again after Alan Hansen’s rushed clearance fell to Graeme Sharp. With Grobbelaar out of position he sent a powerful header towards goal but the keeper scrambled back to claw the ball over. It was a brilliant save and it deflated Everton.
1986 FA Cup Final Bruce Grobbelaar makes a flying save at Wembley
On 62 minutes Liverpool took the lead. Ian Rush played the ball to Jan Molby who ran into the box and fired across the face of goal to Craig Johnston who scored unmarked at the far post.
1986 FA Cup Final Craig Johnston scores at Wembley
The game had turned on it’s head and Danish playmaker Jan Molby was running the midfield. He almost scored the goal his performance deserved when he burst through the Everton defence but Mimms made a fine save to deny him. Howard Kendall threw on striker Adrian Heath with 20 minutes to go to try and find an equaliser but it was Liverpool who struck again. Ronnie Whelan strode forward from midfield and his cross to the far post was controlled by Rush who fired past Mimms to give Liverpool a 3-1 lead in the 83rd minute.
Liverpool had come strong in the last half an hour as Everton faded. Ian Rush almost scored a hat trick, which would have been the first in an FA Cup Final since 1953 but his chip was saved by Bobby Mimms. It was the last action of the match and the full time whistle soon blew. Liverpool had beaten Everton 3-1 to complete the League and Cup Double for the first time in their history. It had been one of the most exciting finals for years. Everton were the better side for the first hour, before Liverpool outpowered them in the last 30 minutes. Liverpool became the first team to win the FA Cup with no English players in their team. Ian Rush was named man of the match but Jan Molby was also a star man as his midfield skill and power set up two goals. Kenny Dalglish became the first Player/Manager to win the FA Cup and Merseyside had shown the watching millions on television the best of football.