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Battles with Liverpool, Man City and Everton - when Town took the FA Cup seriously!

PUBLISHED: 17:30 17 November 2020 | UPDATED: 17:51 17 November 2020

Town fans have always loved the FA Cup. Photo: PAGEPIX

Town fans have always loved the FA Cup. Photo: PAGEPIX

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Ipswich Town’s FA Cup first round defeat to Portsmouth continued a recent depressing record in the competition. But, believe it or not, there was a time the Blues and the FA Cup were fun. In the final part of this two-part feature, MIKE BACON takes a look.

Kevin Wilson - his goal at Goodison in 1985 saw Town draw 2-2 in 1985. They lost the replay however. Photo: ARCHANTKevin Wilson - his goal at Goodison in 1985 saw Town draw 2-2 in 1985. They lost the replay however. Photo: ARCHANT

I know it might be a trifle hard for younger Ipswich Town fans to compute.

But there was a time when the Blues and the FA Cup were fun. A time when we all looked forward to the Blues pitting their skills against different opposition, maybe from another division.

The excitement of a next round draw, extra money in the coffers. Wembley dreams.... Ah, we all remember it well.

Sadly, today, and including the 1-0 victory in the first round replay at Lincoln last season, Town have won just that solitary game in their last 19 FA Cup matches, stretching back to 2010. Shocker!

In the pursuit of promotions back to either the Premier League or Championship - that have not yet materialised - it appears to Town fans the FA Cup isn’t really for their club, as weakened teams and poor performances have produced that depressing stat of 1 win in 19.

However, winners in 1978, it hasn’t always been this way.

So, let’s indulge ourselves.... And remember a time when Town and the FA Cup did go hand in hand.

SEASON 1984/85

First Division - SIXTH ROUND

After the halcyon days of the early 80s, things were starting to slip at Portman Road.

Bobby Robson had gone to take over England and Town had sold players and were dropping down the First Division table. This season they finished 17th, the next season they were relegated.

Despite pushing for promotion - a promotion they got, John Lyall's Ipswich Town had a cracking run in the FA Cup in 1992. Here Gavin Johnson, running away arm aloft, has just equalised for Town at Anfield. Photo: ARCHANTDespite pushing for promotion - a promotion they got, John Lyall's Ipswich Town had a cracking run in the FA Cup in 1992. Here Gavin Johnson, running away arm aloft, has just equalised for Town at Anfield. Photo: ARCHANT

However, the FA Cup was still big business and Town began their 1984/85 run with a 1-2 win at Bristol Rovers in round three. Gillingham gave Town a great game at Portman Road in the next round, Town winning 3-2 and it was another five-goal thriller in round five, with the Blues coming from behind twice to beat Sheffield Wednesday - Mich D’Avray getting the winner.

It was another thriller in the last eight where Town drew with Everton at Goodison, Kevin Wilson and Romeo Zondervan on target for the Blues, but in the replay Graeme Sharp’s penalty squeezed the Toffees through.

SEASON 1991/92

Second Division - FIFTH ROUND

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If you ever needed a season to show perfectly that you can challenge on both league and cup fronts, then Ipswich Town, under John Lyall showed it here. They were to end up Division Two champions and become a founding member of the newly-named Premiership the following season. Back at the top table after a six-year absence.

However, despite the riches that would bring, Lyall made sure Town also enjoyed an exciting FA Cup run that season, that ended in heroic defeat at Anfield in a fifth round replay.

Before the Anfield defeat, Town saw off Hartlepool in the third round, but not after a disappointing home 1-1 draw - Jason Dozzell the Town scorer. Fortunately Town bucked themselves up for the replay and Dozzell and Simon Milton ensured a 2-0 victory.

Bournemouth were swept aside in round four, Dozzell again, leading scorer Chris Kiwomya and Steve Whitton on target in an easy 3-0 win. Then came mighty Liverpool. A brave draw at Portman Road saw Town head to Anfield where Gavin Johnson equalised Ray Houghton’s goal in normal time before Dozzell memorably put Town in front in extra-time, before goals from Jan Molby and Ronny Rosenthal broke Town’s hearts. But what a season for Town fans.

MORE GREAT FA CUP MEMORIES... and video

Ray Crawford was on target at Maine Road, Manchester in the FA Cup in 1967, but couldn't help Town through after the 1-1 draw. City won the replay 3-0 at Portman Road. Photo: ARCHANTRay Crawford was on target at Maine Road, Manchester in the FA Cup in 1967, but couldn't help Town through after the 1-1 draw. City won the replay 3-0 at Portman Road. Photo: ARCHANT

SEASON 1978/79

First Division - SIXTH ROUND

It was the season after the season before and for the one and only time in their current history, Town were the defending FA Cup winners!

And they made a good fist of trying to go back-to-back as well. Saddled with a fairly good draw, Town made hard work of, but beat third division Carlisle in round three, before sneaking past Leyton Orient in round four - after a replay.

Another nice home draw, this time to Bristol Rovers saw Town again up against lower-league opponents and Bobby Robson’s side thrashed the west Country outfit 6-1, as Town headed once more into the last eight.

But their luck ran out when it came to the draw and mighty Liverpool came to town, a Kenny Dalglish goal early in the second half sealing a 1-0 win for the Merseysiders.

SEASON 1966/67

Second Division - FIFTH ROUND

After the euphoria of winning the First Division title just four years previously, in 1962, Town found themselves back in the Second Division after relegation in 1964. But this 66/67 campaign produced a fifth-placed finish, and set the Blues up for promotion back to the First Division in 1968 and a run of 18 years in the top-flight.

As regards the FA Cup in 66/67 however, Town fans enjoyed a nice little run, starting with a comfortable 4-1 win over Shrewsbury in round three, followed by a 2-0 win over Carlisle in round four. However, First Division Manchester City were the opponents in the last 16. Ray Crawford put Town ahead at Maine Road and a shock looked on the cards, before Neil Young took the game to a replay at Portman Road.

The teams emerging from the tunnel for the 1978 FA Cup Final. The Town fans were massed at the tunnel end. A day Town fans have never forgotten. Photo: ARCHANTThe teams emerging from the tunnel for the 1978 FA Cup Final. The Town fans were massed at the tunnel end. A day Town fans have never forgotten. Photo: ARCHANT

The visitors made no mistake this time, two Mike Summerbee goals put the Mancunians on their way to a 3-0 victory.


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