Retro: When Owls and Blades did city proud in all Sheffield FA Cup-semi-final at Wembley

It was the day 24 years ago that Sheffield took over Wembley - for the city's greatest ever football day out.

Monday, 10th April 2017, 9:16 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:09 pm
Rival managers Dave Bassett and Trevor Francis shake on it before the semi-final

Our two Premier League clubs Wednesday and United won their battle to have their FA Cup semi-final staged at the national stadium after demand for tickets made it clear that there was no other English stadium big enough.

And the fans didn’t let Sheffield down. A crowd of 75,364 made the trek to London and there were only 13 arrests.

Chris Waddle, out of picture, gives Wednesday the lead with a sensational free kick oast United's brilliant keepeer Alan Kelly. Photo: PA Wire

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The match burst into life in the first minute as England international Chris Waddle gave the Owls the lead with a world class long-range free kick.

The Blades threatened and John Gannon shot over and in the 15th minute they had penalty appeals rejected when a Brian Deane header struck the arm of Viv Anderson.

It was end to end as Paul Warhurst hit the bar and a minute later Deane headed wide from a Dane Whitehouse cross.

Waddle shot wide and soon afterwards had an effort well saved by the in-form Alan Kelly.

Alan Cork celebrates his equaliser for United

It was almost two in the 44th minute, Warhurst hitting the bar - but United were to level on the stroke of half time when Alan Cork ran on to Franz Carr’s shot to score.

Warhurst volleyed over in the 48th minute then Kelly was twice in action in quick succession, stopping a close-range Roland Nilsson effort then holding onto a Warhurst volley.

Warhurst went off injured in the 61st minute to be replaced by David Hirst.

Mark Bright blasted a chance into the side netting after being set up by John Sheridan before Harkes chested down a Sheridan cross and volleys over.

Chris Waddle, out of picture, gives Wednesday the lead with a sensational free kick oast United's brilliant keepeer Alan Kelly. Photo: PA Wire

Nigel Worthington was booked for a foul on Carr, meaning he would miss the Coca Cola Cup final against Arsenal having accrued 21 points.

As the last 10 of the 90 minutes drew to a close it’s Kelly to the rescue three times, stopping efforts from Hirst, Sheridan and Harkes. And in injury time a last-ditch tackle from Dane Whitehouse prevented Bright converting a Hirst pass.

The keeper continued to be the Blades hero in extra-time, saving brilliantly with his legs from Hirst and then from Bright.

Harkes and Bright both had the ball in the net but the efforts were correctly ruled out for offside.

Alan Cork celebrates his equaliser for United

But Wednesday weren’t to be denied and Bright headed the 107th minute winner from Harkes’ corner.

Even then, there was more brilliance from Kelly, thwarting Bright.

Hirst led the after-match tributes to Kelly: “He was absolutely brilliant.He had an excellent game which he always seems to against us. I thought my shot was going in until he saved it.”

Hirst had no quibble with manager Trevor Francis’s decision to name him as substitute due to his lack of match fitness.

Owls assistant manager Richie Barker said: “I thought we controlled the game reasonably well but I was never comfortable. Itwas a great day for the city and it was a wonderful atmosphere. “

Kelly said: “All credit to Wednesday, they played well and came forward, but there are a lot of sick players in the United squad right now. For me this has been some season - from Preston Reserves to 75,000 people at Wembley.”

United manager Dave Bassett said: “Some of our players buckled towards the end - maybe it was the occasion and the emotion.

“We got back in it when Corky scored and I thought we might get a replay, but it wasn’t to be.”

* Wednesday: Woods, Nilsson, Worthington, Palmer, Harkes, Anderson, Wilson, Waddle, Warhurst (Hirst 61), Bright, Sheridan (Hyde in extra time).

* United: Kelly, Gage, Whitehouse, Gannon, Gayle, Pemberton, Carr, Ward (Littlejohn in extra-time), Cork, Deane, Hodges (Hoyland, start of extra-time).

* Referee: Kevin Morton (Suffolk).

* Attendance: 75,365