19 February 1980: Arsenal 3 Bolton Wanderers 0 FA Cup

19 February 1980: Bolton Wanderers (H) FA Cup 5th round replay

Arsenal had bowed out of the league cup in this season to Swindon Town (again) at the end of 1979, which reduced the trophies to chase by one.  But they had a third round Cup winners cup match coming up soon after the fifth round of the cup, so a draw in the away game which led to this FA Cup replay was not really what was wanted.

But the previous games in 1980 gave a certain degree of confidence…

  • 19 January: Derby County (H) 2-0 (Football League)
  • 26 January: Brighton And Hove Albion (H) 2-0 (FA Cup)
  • 9 February: Aston Villa (H) 3-1 (Football League)
  • 16 February: Bolton Wanderers (A) 1-1 (FA Cup)

So this being the era when it didn’t take the police and health & safety authorities 10 days to get themselves together to handle a match, the replay was held on the Tuesday following the draw, and despite the shortage of notice 40,504 turned up to watch.

The Arsenal team contained no surprises…

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

and neither did the fact that the scorers were Sunderland, Stapleton.

It was in fact the classic team of the era – the team of the three consecutive cup finals.   We expected a win, and in Arsenal’s first attack Price crossed the ball, Young helped it on and Sunderland bent in half to head in from six yards.

After that, the bravado and swashbuckling style took over which was fun for the crowd.  But it turned out to be at the expense of goals, at least until on 34 minutes when Bolton’s Greaves passed the perfect pass to Sunderland who for a moment looked bemused but then realised his duty and scored.

Then either side of half time Allerdyce went off followed by Gowling who was knocked over by McDonagh, one of his own team mates.  Bolton were in self-destruct mode.

From there on it was all so incredibly simple for Arsenal, and they were pleased to take their opportunities, not least because they knew they would be playing the same team again at Highbury on the following Saturday.

Thus it was that Arsenal won 2-0 and the long run without defeat outside the final in the FA Cup continued towards a third appearance at Wembley.

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