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Hi, I’m Harry Dodds and welcome to Overtime’s coverage of the 1979 FA Cup final where Divison 1 runners-up Manchester United meet Arsenal at Wembley for the biggest price in English football.


Arsenal: Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Talbot, O’Leary, Young, Brady, Sunderland, Stapleton, Price, Rix


Manchester United: Bailey, Nicholl, Albiston, McIlroy, McQueen, Buchan, Coppell, Greenhoff, Jordan, Macari, Thomas


The 1979 FA Cup final is underway!

1: A collision between Greenhoff and Stapleton, and both men are down receiving treatment

4: Nicholl receives the ball down the right side, but is flagged offside

5: Brady tries to go on a run for Arsenal but he is pinned down and wins a free kick for Arsenal

5: McIlroy makes a fantastic run down the left at speed, but the cross is tame and Arsenal clear

7: McQueen takes a pop shot from long range, but is nowhere near troubling Pat Jennings

8: Thomas receives the ball in acres of space, and Pat Rice blocks the cross

9: A Manchester United corner finds the head of Jordan, but the Scotsman is unable to get direction on the header

10: The referee stops play so Young can receive some head treatment

GOAL: Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United (Talbot 12′)

Rice controls a brilliant cross low cross and beats the keeper, and plays the ball into the middle where Talbot and Sunderland are lurking. Both men go for the ball but Talbot gets the final touch to poke the ball home from close range. Arsenal take an early lead!

15: Close! Nicholl’s cross drops in the box for McIlroy whose attempted volley is almost touched home by Mickey Thomas but it’s just wide for Manchester United.

17: McIlroy’s in-swinging cross finds Joe Jordan, who does well to get the header off but it flies just over the crossbar

21: It’s a defensive scramble for Arsenal as Manchester United pile on the pressure from the corner with an onslaught of chances. United are knocking on the door of the Arsenal back line.

23: United counter from Arsenal’s pop shot, and Rice is yellow-carded for pulling back an opponent. The Red Devils look frightening on the counter attack, stretching the Gunners with pace every time they come forward.

24: Joe Jordan with another headed attempt. but it goes over the bar. His physical presence is proving to be a problem for Arsenal, but the Scotsman is lacking accuracy

25: Rix’s attempt is easily saved by Bailey, and United try to break away again but to no avail this time

28: Danger for Arsenal again as another long ball into the box finds Joe Jordan, but again the shot is wasted by United’s number 9

31: Greenhoff receives a flicked header and manages to get a shot away, but it goes over and Manchester United continue to waste their chances

35: What an effort! A rare chance for Arsenal as Nelson’s cross finds Stapleton with his bac to goal, who goes for an overhead kick, marginally sending it over the bar

36: The ball drops for Macari in the Arsenal box, who is unable to make a good connection on the header

37: United finally find the back of the net, but it is ruled out for handball against McQueen. Relief for the Arsenal faithful as United are denied a deserved goal

42: Rix pounces on Nicholl’s slip and crosses into the area, but United break away and cross the ball into the Arsenal but are unable to find a man in red

GOAL: Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United (Stapleton 43′)

Arsenal have got another against the run of play. A fantastic run from Brady ends with a cross into Frank Stapleton who heads the ball home to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

45: Another ball into the Arsenal box is defended, and The Gunners try to get the ball up the other end but are unable to threaten. Coppell tries to cause Arsenal problems down the right but Rix defends well.

Half Time: Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

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Manchester United had the bulk of the chances in the first half, but two goals either side of the half sees Arsenal up by two goals at the interval.

Second Half: Kick-Off

49: Chance for McQueen as he out jumps anyone in yellow, but is just unable to find the target. Manchester United will need to find a goal if they are to get back in this cup final

51: Another chance for United as Thomas finds space in the box and directs the ball goalwards beating the keeper, but the tame effort is cleared off the line by Rice. They are keeping Arsenal under pressure

56: Arsenal are starting to muster some chances, but nothing clear-cut as of yet. The gunners have 34 more minutes to hold their lead for. Can they keep Man United at arms length?

59: Chance for Arsenal as RIx’s cross finds Stapleton, but the Irishman’s header is smothered by Bailey to keep United in the game

60: A flurry of corners are dealt with well by United, and they get back on the front foot as Thomas’ cross finds Macari, but Pat Jennings gets a fingertip on the header to tip it over the bar.

62: Man United free kick is laid off to Albiston, who sends it way wide of the target. Manchester United are hanging in there, putting pressure on the leaders

63: McQueen’s header finds Jordan, who scuffs the chance, and Man United continue to waste their chances as Arsenal maintain a two goal lead.

67: Liam Brady is proving to be a real nuisance for Manchester United on the counter attack, with his speed and control keeping United’s defenders on their toes.

69: Another chance! Coppell takes the ball down in Arsenal’s box but fires straight at Pat Jennings. A great chance from a great position goes looming again for United with just over 20 minutes to go

74: Chance for Arsenal as Stapleton breaks away on the counter, finding Rice who’s cross into the box is just about cleared away by Manchester United

78: Coppell’s cross is caught and then spilled by Jennings through a collision but the ball is cleared. The Arsenal goalkeeper looks to have taken a slight knock to the face

80: If Arsenal can continue to keep United at bay they will be FA Cup champions in ten minutes time. But they won’t be counting their chickens yet as they know the threat that their opponents pose.

85: Substitution for Arsenal as David Price makes way for Steve Walford.

GOAL: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United (McQueen 86′)

United are back in it! A free kick is sent into the box finding the feet of Jordan, who knocks it back into the danger area where McQueen taps home to beat Jennings. Are we about to see a miraculous comeback?

GOAL: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United (McIlroy 88′)

Would you believe it? They’ve scored again to level the game. This is incredible stuff. A good ball forward yo McIlroy and the Unitedman beats two Arsenal defenders before sliding it past Jennings to level the game.

GOAL: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United (Sunderland 89′)

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Do not scratch your eyes! Arsenal have snatched it! Arsenal swing the ball into the United box where Bailey misjudges the ball and Sunderland taps into an open net. This will go down in history.

90: One last chance for United as they send in a cross but the header is met by Jennings

Full Time: Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United

Wow, just wow. That will go down as one of the greatest FA Cup finals in history.

Arsenal are FA Cup champions, after leading 2-0 all of the second half, Manchester United scored two in quick succession to level with 4 minutes to go, but Sunderland popped up with the winner with 1 minute remaining. This is the sort of drama only football can give you.

Thank you for tuning into Overtime for our coverage of the 1979 FA Cup final, and it’s one we won’t soon forget.

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June 2024