Relief and delight
Report by Chris Lawton
The road to the semi final had been relatively straightforward. An
extra time winner by Johnston against Luton had seen us through in a
classic third round battle. In the fourth Charlton were sunk at the
valley and Brighton in the fifth at Vicarage Road in front of 27,500
fans. In the sixth round a potentially tricky away tie at Birmingham was
handled superbly with a belter from Barnes and an even rarer event - a
goal from Les Taylor. So we had made the semi finals for the first time
in fifteen or so years and this time with a chance.
My memories of this great day are few - largely because I was only eleven at
the time. Having endured the sixth round victory against Birmingham on
Ceefax I was allowed to go to the semi final. When he draw came out we
had Derby or Plymouth - the dream ticket. Plymouth beat Derby (also a
Division 3 side at the time?) in the replay with a goal direct from a corner and a
classic David and Goliath scenario was all set.
It was a glorious day weather-wise, something which almost certainly
contributed to the atmosphere - as did the PLymouth fans. At a time when
crowd trouble was a very real problem both sets of fans were a credit to
The game was not a classic but it reflected a titanic effort by
Plymouth. The Horns scored early. Barnes broke free down the left wing
and centred a glorious cross which was powered home by George Reily from
about the penalty spot as the keeper challenged.
For the next ten minutes Watford held the game and were unlucky not to go
two up when Callaghan had a goal disallowed for offside. For Watford as
an attacking force that was pretty much it. The expected onslaught and
glut of goals associated with our football at the time never materialised.
Plymouth instead came into the ascendency and dominated the second half -
which really did seem to last a long time. They had several half chances
and probably should have got an equaliser but somehow the chances slipped
away. As quarter to five approached the unthinkable became reality - we
were on our way to Wembley.
The bench and the fans erupted into joyous celebrations as a dream had
been realised. The friendly atmosphere continued as Plymouth, in their
finest hour, received the plaudits as much as the victorious Horns. This
may sound like a tribute to Plymouth but they deserved it. On the day
they gave us a run for our money.
I'm sure some of you out there will have better memories of this match
than I have. It was a great day but not a classic, simply because we were
expected to win. The excitement was there because of the stage of the
competition and the potential rather than the opponents we were facing.
There are many more memorable victories but perhaps none that have
yielded quite such scenes of relief and delight and the realisation of a