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Red Rewind: Controversy as valiant York denied

Red Rewind: Controversy as valiant York denied
Red Rewind ventures back towards an epic FA Cup fifth round replay in February 1986, when a hugely controversial disallowed goal ultimately denied the visitors a famous victory.

Magnificent York City came so close to a first FA Cup quarter-final appearance in more than three decades as they took mighty Liverpool into extra-time before eventually succumbing 3-1 in their Anfield replay.

With former Rowntrees goalkeeper Andy Leaning producing a wonderful starring performance, the visitors pushed their illustrious opponents all the way and but for a bad refereeing decision would surely have been celebrating a truly momentous victory.

The Merseysiders had already enjoyed distinct fortune in the original weekend tie, when awarded a highly dubious penalty within moments of winger Gary Ford earning York a shock 61st minute lead in front of a totally gripped 12,752 Bootham Crescent attendance.

This time, however, it was the overwhelming favourites with an early decisive finish as legendary double-act Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush inspired Scottish international John Wark to register from close in on eighteen minutes.

Danish pass-master Jan Molby soon promised another when his 30-yard thunderbolt was superbly resisted by Leaning, who then frustrated Dalglish before next rescuing on the line as deadly marksman Rush struck at point-blank range. The 22-year-old former British Rail joiner also turned goalscorer Wark's header onto the crossbar.

But following the lead of their massively inspirational keeper, York were always fiercely defiant, and two minutes from the break completely stunned Anfield through a shock equaliser - as 4,000 travelling supporters roared their approval.

Midfielder Simon Mills pressed Molby sufficiently to force an uncharacteristic wayward pass, and superbly lofted down the left towards ex-Harrogate Railway Athletic winger Tony Canham, who skipped beyond a couple of markers and struck low towards goal, where keeper Bruce Grobbelaar could only fumble the ball over the line.

Grobbelaar had earlier only just scrambled across to meet defender John MacPhail's firm drive before also being similarly threatened by chief danger-man Keith Walwyn.

Following their heroic opening half efforts, York were suitably afforded a magnificent reception upon their return, with keeper Leaning also receiving a typically generous and warm ovation as he moved towards the world-famous Kop end.

Despite a heavily strapped thigh, experienced midfielder Sean Haslegrave was continuing to prove a constant source of energy and industry for the visitors, while centre-backs MacPhail and David McAughtie formed a resolute barrier of solid resistance, behind which Leaning was truly exceptional.

And midway through the second period came a moment of huge controversy - an incident that still particularly rankles with those York fans in attendance on the night.

With Walwyn typically producing absolute panic when breaking from halfway and muscling off cultured 'sweeper' Alan Hansen, frantic keeper Grobbelaar suddenly crashed into both Gary Gillespie and the aforementioned Hansen, allowing Walwyn to poke his 23rd goal of the season into an empty net.

Referee Howard Taylor confirmed the goal, but then inexplicably changed his decision and signalled a foul against the big centre-forward. Meanwhile, reprieved keeper Grobbelaar served out the remainder of the tie with his left arm hanging limply by his side.

At the other end of the stadium, Leaning had twice turned aside from Molby, while also keeping out Rush, Dalglish and Gillespie as the hosts forced a succession of corners in the final half-hour, before finally making their extra quality count when inspired by busy substitute Craig Johnston during the opening period of extra-time.

First Rush accepted a Molby pass and smashed a left-footed shot beyond the valiant Leaning, while Dalglish received Sammy Lee's delivery just three minutes later and despite a suspicion of offside, swept into the far corner - to the undoubted relief of the vast majority of the 29,362 in attendance.

Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Lee, Beglin, Lawrenson, Whelan, Hansen, Dalglish, Wark (Johnston 73), Rush, Molby, Gilllespie

Goals: Wark (18), Rush (94), Dalglish (97)

York City: Leaning, Senior, Hood, McAughtrie, MacPhail, Mills, Ford, Banton, Walwyn, Haslegrave (Houchen 90), Canham

Goals: Canham (43)

Ref: H. Taylor (Oadby)

Att: 29,362

Writer:Vital York City
Date:Wednesday February 21 2018
Time: 5:12PM

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