FA Cup classics: 5 thrilling quarter-final ties that stick in the memory
A Ceefax-inspired hero and an erroneous flag feature among our favourite ties from the last eight...
Leicester 1-2 Wycombe, 2001
Football fans of a certain generation often lament the loss of Ceefax.
Yet the pre-internet football news never directly influenced the game as much as this episode.
Roy Essandoh was unemployed after a two-game stint at Rushden & Diamonds, before his agent picked up on a plea from Wycombe manager Lawrie Sanchez for a fit striker, ready to play in an FA Cup quarter-final, on Ceefax.
Quickly snapped up, the Northern Irishman was included on the bench for this game.
Sanchez – who, minutes later, was sent off for disputing a handball decision – introduced him with a quarter of an hour remaining.
And in added time, the unlikely hero’s header was enough to send Premier League Leicester out, and the Chairboys, remarkably, into the semi-finals.
Arsenal 1-3 Watford, 1987
One of the FA Cup’s most famous FA Cup quarter-finals was settled amid much confusion.
With Watford leading 2-1 at Highbury, linesman Graham Carter flagged for an Arsenal penalty after a push inside the box.
But referee Brian Stevens was not in agreement with his assistant, and allowed Luther Blissett to breakaway past the confused, stationary Arsenal defenders, who all assumed that the whistle was forthcoming.
Blissett scored at the second attempt, despite Tony Adams’ last-ditch attempt to rescue the situation, to guarantee the Hornets’ place in the semis.
Disarray ensued, both on the field and in the dugouts, as missiles were pelted at Graham Taylor and his players.
The visitors enjoyed the last laugh, though – winning the game, and defeating the same opposition in the league at Vicarage Road a week later.
Chelsea 3-3 Tottenham, 2007
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said before this game that he did not want a replay.
Yet by full time, he was relieved that his side remained in the competition.
The Portuguese could only watch on as visitors Tottenham raced into a 3-1 lead inside the first 45 minutes of this game, aided by a comical Michael Essien own goal.
But the Blues’ fightback was as inevitable as it was impressive.
Petr Cech’s fine double-save at one end was the pre-cursor for Frank Lampard and Salomon Kalou to make it 3-3.
And in a helter-skelter finish, Jermain Defoe compounded the visitors’ frustrations by striking the crossbar.
By the time he was lifting the trophy at Wembley that May, Mourinho might just have been thankful for the second chance in this tie.
He would not win another piece of English silverware for eight years.
Birmingham 0-7 Liverpool, 2006
OK, Liverpool were still somewhat short of the 26-0 FA Cup winning-margin record, posted by Preston in 1926.
But this was, at least, the biggest quarter-final victory since 1890.
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce was confronted by an angry home supporter before half-time, and forced to endure the second half surrounded by a considerable police presence.
The result looked beyond doubt after Sami Hyppia had headed the visitors into the lead after just 55 seconds, but the hosts were then ripped apart.
Peter Crouch scored twice, Fernando Morientes netted one of his 12 Liverpool goals, and Oliver Tebily converted an own goal before the mauling was up.
Rafa Benitez’s side went on to win the competition.
Bruce, meanwhile, was forced to rebuild from this abject effort, successfully doing so by leading his side to promotion a year later.
Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea, 2008
Barnsley had already beaten Liverpool at Anfield in this cup run, making their quarter-final triumph over holders Chelsea even more remarkable.
Kayode Odejayi, now of Stockport, was the hero – beating Carlo Cudicini to a cross to score the only goal of the game.
Odejayi’s contribution beyond that header was immense, too.
John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho will rarely have had a more difficult day, with the striker’s brutishness the catalyst for a forward-thinking Barnsley impressing in attack as well as defence.
Michael Ballack, Florent Malouda and Shaun Wright-Phillips featured for Avram Grant’s Chelsea.
In addition to being fairly beaten at Oakwell, the Blues then went on to lose the Champions League final by the width of a Moscow post.
Which of these quarter-finals was the best? Do you have a different favourite? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section below.