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Outsiders win cup

Outsiders at 33-1 before the third round in January, Wimbledon turned the form book upside down to beat Liverpool, recently crowned League champions and one of the hottest favourites for years, in the 107th Challenge Cup Final before a shirt-sleeved 98,000 crowd in the stadium and about 250 million television viewers worldwide.

It proved to be a day for unlikely heroes and Wimbledon, a non-League club just 11 short years ago and playing in the Fourth Division only five years ago, had two outstanding performers in goalkeeper Dave Beasant and midfielder Lawrie Sanchez.

Beasant, 6 foot 4 tall, was responsible for two FA Cup Final 'firsts' as he became the first goalkeeper to receive the Cup and the first to save a penalty kick at Wembley. In fact no one had missed anywhere since Wallave for Sunderland in 1913.

Wimbledon had lived dangerously at times but their luck looked to have run out in the 61st minute, when referee Hill pointed dramatically to the spot after John Aldridge had gone down as Goodyear came sliding in to deny the Liverpool striker a shooting opportunity.

Beasant and his defence were adamant that the man had played the ball but the controversy subsided after Beasant had brilliantly turned Aldridge's spot kick round his left-hand post.

It was Aldridge's first failure in 12 penalties and as he was substituted almost immediately, he must have looked back in frustration at another incident, in the first, when Beasant had foiled him with a spectacular one-handed save from point-blank range.

As the ball looped into the air with the giant goalkeeper lying on his back on the goal-line, an upright John Barnes seemed certain to score, but somehow Beasant stretched up to palm the ball sideways for Jones to hack it away for a corner.

Liverpool felt mightily aggrieved in the 35th minute, when Peter Beardsley broke awayfrom Thorn's illegal tackle on the edge of the penalty area and proceeded to coolly chip the ball over Beasant's dive and gently into the net, only to be called back and given ameaningless free-kick instead.

Within two minutes Wimbledon had got the vital goal that ultimately won the Cup for this unfashionable team from a quiet London suburb.

Full back Terry Phelen was jostled by Nicol near to the corner flag out on the left, and when Dennis Wise's right-footer from the free kick curled in towards the near post, Lawrie Sanchez - born in London with a father from Ecuador and an Irish mother - scored with a simple glancing header into the far corner. It was his first FA Cup goal and only his fifth all season.

Wimbledon might have snatched a second goal just before the interval, but Terry Gibson's left-foot shot from a difficult angle cleared the bar after the leaping Grobbelaar had allowed the ball to drop behind him.

Liverpool, in the quest for a second 'double' in three years, moved purposefully forward throughout the second half, but only in rare moments did Beardsley and Barnes look like producing something to save the day.

Team Details

Wimbledon
: Beasant, Goodyear, Phelen, Jones, Young, Thorn, Gibson (Scales), Cork (Cunningham), Fashanu, Sanchez, Wise Goals: Sanchez 37

Liverpool: Grobbelaar, Gillespie, Ablett, Nicol, Spackman (Molby), Hansen, Beardsley, Aldridge (Johnston), Houghton, Barnes, McMahon

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