• Massive Wednesday Cup Draw Evokes Memories of ‘83

    Number 8……. Brighton & Hove Albion, will play….

    Number 35…...Sheffield Wednesday.

    The third round draw of the 2019/20 FA Cup will see Albion meet Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup for the first time since the historic 1983 meeting at Highbury, then home of Arsenal and the allocated neutral ground for the semi-final contest.

    The draw comes in the week Albion head to Arsenal’s new home, The Emirates, attempting to clinch a first away win at one of the established top six clubs since the club returned to the top flight, having lost its status in the same 1982/83 season that saw the club reach the Wembley showpiece.

    The 1983 semi-final was a thriller in every sense. For most Albion fans, the match is remembered for Jimmy’s Cases thunderbolt. Struck from around 35 yards the ball would possibly still be ascending now if it had not been stopped by the straining Highbury net.

    Michael Robinson netted the other, from close range, as Albion ran out 2-1 winners and a Cup Final date with Manchester United at Wembley.

    On 21 May 1983, Albion hoped to become the side to win the Cup in the same season as they were relegated. Albion took the lead through Gordon Smith, but found themselves trailing 2-1 in the second half. With time beginning to run out, Gary Stevens equalised for the Seagulls forcing extra time. An extra 30 minutes of edgy football ensued, but as a replay seemed inevitable there was a great opportunity for Albion to score the winner in the 120th minute.

    “And Smith must score,” declared the radio commentator that day, but the Scot’s shot was saved by United ‘keeper Gary Bailey and the game ended two goals apiece.

    History shows the replay (who remembers Cup Final replays?!?) was a one-sided affair despite the return of Albion defensive talisman Steve Foster.

    It took 34 years for the club to return to the top table of English football - the club unrecognisable from the 1983 incarnation, based at the lovely old Goldstone Ground. It could have been just 33 - Albion came of-so-close to promotion in the 2015/16 season. After losing out on automatic promotion to Middlesbrough when the sides met in the 46th game of the season, Albion faced Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship play-off semi-final.

    Albion were out on their feet, having given the proverbial 110% in their attempt to avoid the play-off lottery. In complete contrast, Wednesday were able to rest players as they prepared for their tilt at the play-offs. Albion’s weary players dropped one by one in cruel fashion as Wednesday progressed to “the richest game in the world” but they fell at the final hurdle, and it’s now approaching 20 years since they graced the top flight.

    Albion will fancy their chances on progressing to the fourth round of the Cup once again this season, and moving a step closer to a Wembley return. Back in 1983, football betting was very much in its infancy but now, with all the online casinos available on every device, it’s even easier and they offer more than sports betting, too, with Albion currently 66/1 to win this year’s FA Cup.
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