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YCX-Files: Keith Houchen

YCX-Files: Keith Houchen
Keith Houchen wrote his name into York City folklore forever after converting a last-minute penalty to earn them a sensational 1-0 victory over Arsenal in an FA Cup fourth round tie at Bootham Crescent in January 1985.

Middlesbrough-born Houchen actually began his career with Hartlepool United in 1978, and proved a regular goalscorer for them until leaving for the capital and joining Orient. However, he was to return much closer to his roots when York came calling and a 15,000 fee took him to North Yorkshire in March 1984.

After his arrival Houchen made a dramatic debut for the Minstermen in a 4-1 victory at Aldershot the following month, when despite appearing as a substitute, he managed to score his first goal for the club, miss a penalty and also earn a caution.

However, the tall forward was to play a major role the next season as he finished as top scorer with eighteen goals, which included a hat-trick in a 7-1 thrashing of Gillingham in November 1984.

In total he managed 27 goals in 88 senior appearances for York despite usually operating in a more deep-lying midfield role for them. He was transferred to Scunthorpe United for a 20,000 fee in March 1986 before in turn completing a surprise move to first division Coventry City.

Once at Highfield Road, his love affair with the FA Cup was soon rekindled, and he helped the Sky Blues to a memorable 3-2 FA Cup final triumph over favourites Tottenham Hotspur in May 1987 - in the process scoring one of the greatest-ever goals at Wembley with a spectacular diving header.

He later moved on to Scottish Premier League side Hibernian and represented them in the UEFA Cup before subsequent spells at Port Vale and former club Hartlepool, where he was to finish his playing days and also have a spell as their manager. During his career he had netted 151 league goals in 534 games.

Houchen worked for the media in the North East following his retirement, and continued to report on games from Bootham Crescent - which was perhaps rather fitting given it was the place where he had first made the national headlines following 'that' memorable penalty.

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Writer:Vital York
Date:Monday August 23 2010
Time: 3:36PM

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