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18 February 1978 Arsenal 4 Walsall 1… heading for the cup final

  • 18 February 1978
  • Arsenal 4 Walsall 1;  FA Cup 5th round
  • Attendance: 43,789

The tie seemed just about as easy as a fifth found tie could be, but the build up to this cup match did not give Arsenal fans absolutely hope and expectation.  The recent scores were…

  • 4 February 1978: Arsenal 0 Aston Villa 1 (Football League)
  • 7 February 1978: Liverpool 2 Arsenal 1 (Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st leg)
  • 11 February 1978: Leicester City 1 Arsenal 1 (Football League)
  • 14 February 1978: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0 (Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd leg)

So no win in the four games, and in addition Arsenal were out of the League Cup at the penultimate round.

Thus we come to Walsall.

Stories of Herbert Chapman’s last ever cup game were dragged out ahead of the match largely because the press and broadcasters were too lazy to think of anything new to fill their time and their column inches, but three goals in 12 minutes before half time made it certain that there would be no repeats, not least because throughout Sunderland showed why Hudson couldn’t get into the side.

For the first goal Price turned the ball to Stapleton who shot at the near post.  For the second Rix chipped a corner to O’Leary who flicked to Macdonald to score.  Sunderland, who ran much of the match, got the third from outside the area and Stapleton the fourth from the near post.  For the visitors Buckley made it 132 goals in 250 games and Walsall left counting their financial take, and hoping for promotion from the third division.

The team

Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Price, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Macdonald, Stapleton, Rix.

Scorers: Stapleton (2), Sunderland, Macdonald.

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