Greatest FA Cup Final Goals
Whilst the pressure of the FA Cup final often leads to extremely tight and cagey matches, it's also been the stage for some fantastic moments and memorable matches, whilst every now and then we'll get a flash of magic and a goal that's fit to grace the occasion. And we're not just talking about worldies, a great goal doesn't necessarily need to be a 35 yard screamer into the top corner, it could be a memorable goal for another reason, a goal that had a big impact on the game, shifting its momentum or grabbing glory for an underdog. Basically, goals that are remembered and still talked about for years afterwards.
Anyway, here's our list of the greatest FA Cup final goals of all-time.
No. 10 1983 Ray Wilkins for Manchester United (vs Brighton and Hove Albion)
A lovely left-footed curler from Ray Wilkins (made all the better by Brighton and Hove Albion keeper Graham Moseley's no-handed dive seemingly following the arc of ball into the top corner) looked like it had won the match for United with 18 minutes to go, before Gary Stevens levelled things up for the Seagulls with three minutes to go and Gordon "and Smith must score" Smith nearly won it deep into extra-time.
No.9 1974 Kevin Keegan for Liverpool (vs Newcastle United)
A fitting end to a dominant second-half performance by Liverpool which had seen Keegan open the scoring 12 minutes after the interval and then Steve Heighway double the lead 17 minutes later. But it was this goal, with just two minutes left, which was the icing on the cake. An eleven pass move, with the ball switching wings three times, culminated with a tap-in by Keegan and resulted in David Coleman commenting that Newcastle United'sdefence had been "stripped naked" by Liverpool.
No.8 1971 Charlie George for Arsenal (vs Liverpool)
The 1970s was a great decade for the FA Cup, with plenty of memorable finals and moments, and this goal by Arsenal's maverick youngster, Charlie George, was one of its most iconic. With the score tied at 1:1 with less than ten minutes of extra-time to play, George's powerful shot from outside the box beat Ray Clemence to make it 2:1. The Gunners young star would follow up the goal with his trademark celebration - lying on his back with arms outstretched before being lifted up by his team-mates.
No.7 1997 Roberto Di Matteo for Chelsea (vs Middlesbrough)
A wonderful goal by the Italian midfielder, and a great way to cap his first season in English football. Di Matteo picked the ball up in his own half, and with no Middlesbrough midfielders in front of him he was able to carry the ball towards their penalty area before unleashing a tremendous shot straight down the middle of the goal and over Ben Roberts.
It was memorable for two reasons; first of all it was a lovely strike (made sweeter by going in off the underside of the crossbar), and secondly the timing of it - just 42 seconds on the clock when it nestled in the back of the goal, which at the time was the fastest ever FA Cup final goal (a feat surpassed by Louis Saha's lovely volley in 2009).
No.6 2002 Ray Parlour for Arsenal (vs Chelsea)
If you'd just glanced at this Arsenal goal then you might have been forgiven for thinking it was Dennis Bergkamp curling this beauty home from outside the box. But no, it was the Romford Pele himself, Ray Parlour, who opened the scoring after 70 minutes following Sylvain Wiltord's flick-pass. Freddie Ljungberg doubled the lead and sealed the result with another fine goal ten minutes later as the Gunners claimed their 8th FA Cup title.
No. 5 1981 Steve MacKenzie for Manchester City (vs Tottenham Hotspur)
The 'other' great goal from the 1981 FA Cup final replay. Whilst Ricky Villa's brilliant 76th minute dribble quite rightly gets most of the plaudits (after all, it was the winner, as well as a great goal), Steve MacKenzie's 11th minute swivelled-volley is also remembered fondly, a beautiful strike from outside the box that made it 1:1.
No. 4 1985 Norman Whiteside for Manchester United (vs Everton)
A classic from the mid 80s. It had all the ingredients for a great FA Cup final goal - not only was it a fantastic combination of skill and shooting, but it was the only goal in a game that was 20 minutes into extra-time, with United down to ten men following Kevin Moran's sending off (the first player to see red in an FA Cup final) And remember, these were the days of only one substitute, with players shattered and going down with cramp on the huge Wembley turf. Mark Hughes had released Whiteside with a lovely outside-of-the-boot pass down the right, the 20 year-old Northern Ireland international made his way into the corner of the penalty area, did a nice little stepover, and the curled a fantastic left foot shot low past Neville Southall into the far corner.
No. 3 1987 Keith Houchen for Coventry City (vs Tottenham Hotspur)
One of the greatest FA Cup final goals, in one of the greatest FA Cup finals.
No. 2 2006 Steven Gerrard for Liverpool (vs West Ham United)
With Wembley being rebuilt, Cardiff's Millennium Stadium played host to the FA Cup finals, and this was one of its most memorable moments.
With West Ham United leading 3:2, and the match entering injury-time, it looked like the Hammers were all set to lift their first FA Cup trophy since 1980. But commeth the hour (or hour and a half in this case), commeth the man. As West Ham United cleared the ball out of their penalty area, the ball fell as far as the Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard. About 35 yards out, he smashed the ball on the volley and it arrowed low into the corner past the despairing gloves of Shaka Hislop.
A phenomenal strike that would see Liverpool into extra-time and then eventually penalties, which they'd win 3:1 to claim the cup.
No. 1 1981 Ricky Villa for Tottenham Hotspur (vs Manchester City)
Need we say more? Just sit back and enjoy...