Manchester United 3-3 Crystal Palace aet
The FA Cup Final
12 May 1990
Appearing in their first FA Cup Final, Steve Coppell's Crystal Palace came within seven minutes of lifting the famous old trophy in a classic first match against a Manchester United team which had reputedly cost £13 million to assemble.
Then Palace lost in a hard-fought replay five days later to a goal by a United defender who had cost nothing.
The 109th Final matched two sides which had finished in the lower half of the First Division - United were 13th and Palace 15th - and which had emerged respectively from two tremendously exciting semi-final ties against Liverpool (4-3 after extra time) and Oldham Athletic (3-3 after extra time and 2-1 in the replay) that had entralled millions on television.
United were attempting to join Villa and Tottenham as seven-times winners of the Cup, while Palace were in uncharted territory for them - their best run before had been to a semi-final under Allison and fedora in 1976.
Palace came out to an explosion of red and blue balloons as Wembley went 'all-seater' for the first time for a Cup Final and 18 minutes and 26 seconds after the start they went ahead.
Barber swung in a left-footed free-kick from the right and Gary O'Reilly got above the taller Pallister to loop in a header that the flailing Leighton and lunging Bruce could not keep out.
The Londoners continued to play confidently, despite a scare when Bright's wayward header almost beat his own £1 million goalkeeper, Nigel Martyn.
Then Gray was dispossessed just inside the Palace half on 35 minutes and, as the move developed via Wallace's lay-off to McClair and a cross for Bryan Robson's downward header, it was an unlucky deflection off Pemberton's right shin that finally defeated Martyn.
A lapse in concentration in the second half, as Palace passed up several opportunities to clear the lines, was punished by United's Mark Hughes lashing the ball in after Thorn's attempted clearance had struck Webb's outstretched foot and rebounded conveniently into the Welshman's stride.
Half of Palace's traditionally prolific Wright-Bright partnership had suffered two leg fractures during the season and was not expected to be fit for the Final. Yet, with 20 minutes left, Ian Wright came bounding on to replace Barber and his first touch saw him collect Bright's short pass, avoid challenges from Phelen and the flat-footed Pallister and in turn inside to coolly steer the ball under the diving Leighton.
Wright's next trick, after the teams had finished normal time locked at 2-2, was to volley Palace in front two minutes into the extra period as Salako's centre drifted beyond Leighton at the far post.
But back came Hughes to round off another memorable afternoon of Cup football, running onto Wallace's short pass through the middle and squeezing the ball past O'Reilly and Martyn as they closed in.
Manchester United won the replay, a totally different kind of match with Palace criticised afterwards for their physical approach, with a 59th minute goal from an unlikely source - 22 year old left-back Lee Martin who had not actually scored all season and had been substituted in normal time in the first match.
Webb's long pass from the centre of the field dipped past Gray on the United left and found Martin racing into the penalty area. His shot was hard and true and left Martyn with no chance.Team DetailsManchester United
: Leighton, Ince, Martin (Blackmore), Bruce, Phelen, Pallister (Robins), Robson, Webb, McClair, Hughes, Wallace (Sealey replaced Leighton for replay, when no substitutes were used)
Goals: Robson 35, Hughes 62, 113
Crystal Palace: Martyn, Pemberton, Shaw, Gray (Madden), O'Reilly, Thorn, Barber (Wright), Thomas, Bright, Salako, Pardew
(Wright substituted Barber and Madden for Salako in the replay)
Goals: O'Reilly 18, Wright 72, 92