Wrexham 2–1 Arsenal

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Wrexham v Arsenal
Wrexham v Arsenal programme.jpg
The match programme cover
Date 4 January 1992
Venue Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Referee Kevin Breen (Liverpool)
Attendance 13,343

Wrexham v Arsenal was a football match played on 4 January 1992 at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. The match was an FA Cup Third Round tie played between Fourth Division side Wrexham and First Division Arsenal, who had been crowned Champions the previous season. Wrexham came from behind to win 2-1 with both Wrexham goals scored in the final 8 minutes of the match and just 2 minutes apart. The match has been described as one of the greatest FA Cup giant-killings of all time.[1][2][3][4][5]

The build-up[edit]

Arsenal were reigning champions of England after winning the title in 1990-91, having lost only one league game that season, whereas Wrexham had finished bottom of the entire Football League the previous season. Wrexham would have been relegated to the Football Conference as they had finished bottom of the Fourth Division, but the Football League announced that there would be no demotion from their lowest division as Aldershot would be expelled at the end of the season.[6]

Wrexham had made it to the third round after beating Winsford United 5-2 in the first round and Telford 1-0 in the second round. As a first Division side, Arsenal entered at the third round stage. Arsenal's side contained seven England internationals in their starting line up and little chance was given to the Welsh side's chances of progression to the fourth round.

Match summary[edit]

Arsenal got the game underway and had the first corner of the match. Arsenal commanded the first half with plenty of possession and chances in front of goal, despite their dominance, Arsenal went into half-time with a slender 1-0 lead after Alan Smith had slid in to meet Paul Merson's cross two minutes before half time. Graham's long ball tactics still saw chances, as Nigel Winterburn hit the bar and Kevin Campbell had a shot blocked by Vince O'Keefe, but the Gunners struggled for creativity. In the 82 minute Wrexham received a free-kick, having faked to take it quickly, Mickey Thomas lined up the shot and it was a goal as soon as it left his boot; arrowing into the top corner past a despairing David Seaman. The goalkeeper had got fingertips from his right-hand to the effort, but not enough to stop it flying in. Riding on the crest of a wave following the equalizer, Wrexham snatched a second within two minutes as Davies latched onto a ball over the top and, instead of volleying an effort on goal, squared for 20-year-old top scorer Steve Watkin to hook the ball into the net as Tony Adams missed his chance to clear to make the score was 2-1 with five minutes left. Arsenal had the ball in the net in the final minutes from Jimmy Carter before it was ruled out for an offside decision, the final whistle was blown moments later and sparked a pitch invasion from the joyous home fans.

Match details[edit]

4 January 1992
15:00
Wrexham 2–1 Arsenal
ThomasGoal 82'
Watkin Goal 84'
Report Smith Goal 43'
Racecourse Ground, Wrexham
Attendance: 13,343
Referee: K. Breen (Liverpool)
GK 1 England Vince O'Keefe
DF 2 England Andy Thackeray
DF 3 Republic of Ireland Phil Hardy
DF 4 Republic of Ireland Brian Carey
MF 5 Wales Mickey Thomas (C)
DF 6 England Mark Sertori
MF 7 Wales Gordon Davies
MF 8 Wales Gareth Owen
FW 9 England Karl Connolly
FW 10 Wales Steve Watkin
MF 11 Wales Wayne Phillips
Substitutes:
DF 12 Wales Joey Jones
MF 14 England Jimmy Kelly
Manager:
Wales Brian Flynn
GK 1 England David Seaman
DF 2 England Lee Dixon
DF 3 England Nigel Winterburn
MF 4 England David Hillier
DF 5 Republic of Ireland David O'Leary
DF 6 England Tony Adams (C)
MF 7 England David Rocastle
FW 8 England Kevin Campball Substituted off
FW 9 England Alan Smith
MF 10 England Paul Merson
MF 11 England Jimmy Carter
Substitutes:
DF 12 England Andy Linighan
MF 14 England Perry Groves Substituted in
Manager:
Scotland George Graham

Aftermath[edit]

Wrexham were drawn to play West Ham United in the fourth round, where they secured a 2-2[7] draw at the Boleyn Ground thanks to goals from Wayne Phillips and Lee Jones, the replay was played on 4 February with a solitary Hammers' goal coming from defender Colin Foster securing a 1-0 win in front of 17,995 fans at the Racecourse Ground.[8] Arsenal recovered to win the FA Cup the following season.

Legacy[edit]

In a 2004 article with The Independent, staunch West Brom fan, Adrian Chiles stated he was at the match with friend and Sky Sports presenter Bryn Law. He said of the match,"One of the better decisions of my football-watching career. And it's a funny thing that although I support another club, being in the Kop there that day is one of my favourite football memories".[9] A 2013 ESPN vote had Wrexham v Arsenal as the biggest ever Cup upset with 48.01% of the vote in the Welsh sides favour. With Sutton defeating Coventry in second with 40.25% of the vote.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]