Magnificent Keegan!

A magnificent goal by Kevin Keegan early in the second half gave Liverpool the lead in the FA. cup final at Wembley this afternoon - a lead which they had deserved all the way as they outclassed Newcastle.

Then Steve Heighway hit a fine second goal with 15 minutes left.

Conditions were perfect - an overcast sky, cool with very little wind.

The Liverpool contingent who were in tremendous voice and seemed to have ignored the Wembley rule about no banners. There were literally dozens of huge banners in bold red and white grouped on the terraces above the players tunnel.

Hughes won the toss for Liverpool and elected to attack the goal where their fans were grouped. Liverpool won two free kicks within a minute. From the second Lindsay sent the ball curling across the goal face but no one could make contact.

Liverpool did all the early attacking, hitting a rhythm quickly and winning the ball in midfield. Thompson broke up the first Newcastle attack and then Moncur did well at the opposite end as Liverpool pressed hard.

From a cross by Lindsay, Howard mis-headed and the ball looped over towards Keegan but Clark did the right thing by heading the ball over the bar for a corner.

Hughes just got his head to a dangerous cross from Hibbit sufficiently to flick the ball out of the way of Tudor, who was standing there ready to accept a gift chance.

Tommy Smith stamped his authority on the game with a tremendous tackle on McDermott to win the ball and the first incident of the game came when Lindsay was spoken to for a heavy tackle on Jimmy Smith.

Kennedy raced 20 yards to bring down Keegan from the back and this brought Liverpool yet another free kick. McFaul went up well to gather Tommy Smith's centre.

The first moment of danger to Liverpool came when Macdonald back-headed the ball into the penalty area and there was a scramble between Hughes and Thompson before Clemence dived among the bodies to grab the ball.

Heighway's pace took him into the Newcastle penalty area. His hard cross from the line went out to Tommy Smith who drove the ball back fiercely but it came so fast to Hall that he could not control it. Liverpool brought everyone back when Hibbit took a free kick 25 yards out. He chipped the ball forward but it was Toshack who headed clear.

MacDonald had his first shot after 20 minutes but the ball struck Lindsay and bounced harmlessly away for a throw in.

The Newcastle defence was getting away with some errors. Moncur and McFaul collided in going for a ball which the keeper should have left to his captain. But there was no Liverpool player in position to make contact as the ball bounced out to the right.

The best shot so far came from Keegan. Seeing that McFaul had come off his line expecting a centre. Keegan aimed at the gap behind him, but the goalkeeper turned quickly and made a good save just by the post.

Brilliant work by Keegan almost brought Liverpool a goal. He raced down the left wing beating two Newcastle tackles, to cross the ball into the goalmouth.

McFaul dropped it as Toshack went for the header but he goalkeeper recovered quickly to dive on the ball before Toshack could move an inch to get it.

Liverpool were on top except for the essential of putting the ball into the net. They had given the Newcastle defenders all sorts of problems particularly Keegan.

Keegan's quickness to chest the ball down gave Toshack a glimpse of a chance, but the shot, quickly struck, was deflected by Howard for a corner.

He had hurt himself in turning quickly for the ball and was clearly well below his normal pace.

Liverpool had dominated the first half from start to finish. Newcastle had caused them no concern and the midfield battle was well and truly in Liverpool's control. It was just a question now of maintaining it in the second half.

Half Time : Liverpool 0 Newcastle Utd 0

Liverpool restarted with a Keegan shot swinging high and wide and then Thompson neatly dispossessed Macdonald and also won a free kick through Thompson's pushing.

Lindsay, who was having a magnificent match, closed in from the left and fired a tremendous shot from just outside the box which McFaul held.

Thompson wasn't far behind Lindsay for the quality of his play and the Liverpool defence had been perfect so far.

After seven minutes of the second half Lindsay beat McFaul with a tremendous cross shot but the flag had gone up seconds before against Keegan who was in an offside position.

It was Keegan who had put the ball across to Lindsay, so Liverpool had to start again to look for the goal their superiority so clearly deserved.

Keegan was also having a splendid match and he raced on to a long pass from Tommy Smith but the linesman signalled that the ball had just run over the line before he crossed it.

Liverpool's dominance stemmed from their complete midfield control. Little had been seen of the Newcastle trio and Liverpool's football generally had been of a higher standard than Newcastle could manage.

It took Liverpool 57 minutes to get the goal that they had been threatening to score from the word go. It came from a great shot by Keegan after Hall had "dummied" to let a right wing cross go past him. Keegan controlled the ball in a flash and from just inside the area drove a right foot shot past the helpless McFaul.

Liverpool raised their pace and game even more after the Keegan goal. Hughes drove a free kick narrowly over the bar as Liverpool pressed forward.

There was a moment of danger for Liverpool when McDermott raced past Lindsay and his low cross went past the goalface and escaped everybody.

Heighway ended another brilliant Liverpool move with a strong left foot shot only a yard off the post and this had been one of Liverpool's best performances, except that they should have been three or four goals in front by now.

The handling of Clemence in taking high balls had been faultless but he had not had one direct save to make, so complete had been Liverpool's control.

With 15 minutes left Liverpool stamped their authority completely on the game with another splendid goal from Heighway. Lindsay hit the ball high up in the middle and Keegan back-headed it to Heighway, who took it round Howard and hit a fine low shot past McFaul.

Newcastle replaced Smith with Gibb before the game restarted amidst a terrific din from Liverpool's Wembley Kop who were chanting "Liverpool we love you."

MacDonald tried a shot for the first time - badly struck and pulled yards wide. The menace of the Supermac had been completely snuffed out by Liverpool's superb defence.

Wembley was ringing now to the sound of the Kop battle hymn. The Liverpool fans had something to cheer about to-day.

Liverpool were turning on the style in these closing minutes with a succession of flowing passes.

The magnificent Tommy Smith laid on a third goal for Liverpool with two minutes to go, going right down the by-line before hitting a low centre which Keegan drove into the net.

Newcastle had been out-played, out-classed and finally completely out-scored.

Copyright - Liverpool Echo

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