A right Royal show by Pools against the Palace

Twenty-six years ago this weekend, Pools pulled off one of the great upsets of the FA Cup '“ and did it in front of the TV cameras.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 04 January, 2019, 10:00
Goalscoring hero Andy Saville shields the ball from Palace player Eric Young.

Crystal Palace were the form team in the Premier League and Steve Coppell’s side arrived in the North East on the back of six successive wins.

But a crowd of more than 6,000 fans were keen to roar Pools home – and what followed was a pulsating encounter which was in the balance until the very end.

Brian Honour in action.

Pool boss Alan Murray named an unchanged side for the tie while Palace were fresh from a 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Balloons and streamers greeted the teams as they ran out but the match settled into a cautious start.

Lenny Johnrose for Pools and Chris Armstrong for Palace went close early on but neither side could carve out a proper opening.

The first real breakthrough for Palace came on 11 minutes when Pools keeper Steve Jones had to dive at the feet of England midfielder Geoff Thomas. Pools replied through a Johnrose shot which sailed over the bar.

As the half wore on, Palace forced a succession of corners which only ended when Emerson cleared.

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Pools went close again through an Olsson shot and Johnrose almost got on the end of a cross on 39 minutes. And with the half almost up, Emerson got free to send a dipping header towards the Palace goal, only for it to just clear the bar.

The second half saw Pools in the ascendancy and Johnrose came closest when he found himself clear, but his connection was not a good one and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

But Pools were dominant and a Johnrose shot brought a diving save out of Martyn.

Time was running out and with 11 minutes to go, Pools had the ball in the net through a Saville header but it was ruled out for offside. The crowd, though, were sensing it was going to be the home side’s day.

Saville went crashing to the turf on 82 minutes but the referee waved play on.

But when Southall was sent sprawling in the area, the ref had no option but to point to the spot. Up stepped Saville to take the penalty and Martyn dived the right way. But the spot kick was so good it went beyond the reach of the diving keeper.

Not long after, the final whistle went and it prompted a pitch invasion with Pools on their way to the FA Cup fourth round. After the match, Andy Saville said: “There was a lot of pressure on me but I just put my head down and hit it.”