THE daffodils and snowdrops are starting to emerge and FA Cup fifth-round weekend is on the sporting menu - two sure signs as any that winter’s raw grip has not got long to go and spring is around the corner. Here are TEN memorable FA Cup fifth-round ties involving Yorkshire’s clubs.
What of Yorkshire’s history at the last-16 stage of the world’s most enduring cup competition? There’s been a fair few highs, but lows as well. Mention Colchester United and Bristol City to seasoned Leeds United followers and Cambridge United to Wednesdayites of a certain vintage and they will get the drift.
Anyway, here’s TEN memorable fifth-round ties to savour to get you in the mood as Leeds and Hull City fly the flag for the White Rose this coming weekend.
1. Sheffield United 3 Nottingham Forest 1, February 15, 2014.
Two dramatic late goals from Chris Porter saw the Blades set up a potential Steel City quarter-final with the Owls after a 3-1 success over Nottingham Forest at Bramall Lane.
In front of a fervent crowd of 25,118, Nigel Clough’s League One outfit became the lowest-ranked side to reach the last eight of the competition since 1990 after stunning their Championship opponents.
Billy Davies’s Forest looked like they might extend their 16-game unbeaten run when they went ahead through Jamie Paterson’s headed opener.
But the Blades equalised when Conor Coady tucked into an empty net after Dorus de Vries spilled John Brayford’s cross and super-sub Porter kept his cool to fire in a penalty before turning in Jamie Murphy’s cross - the prelude to a joyous pitch invasion by ecstatic Blades fans.
2. Liverpool 1 Barnsley 2, February 16, 2008.
Brian Howard fired home a sensational late winner in front of the shell-shocked Kop as Simon Davey’s Reds delivered a monumental cup stunner at Anfield.
It looks like a routine home win when Ryan Babel set up Dirk Kuyt for an opener for the hosts, but the Tykes levelled when Stephen Foster headed home Martin Devaney’s cross.
Inspired by a remarkable performance from debutant keeper and Manchester United fan Luke Steele, who had only arrived on loan from West Brom 48 hours before the game - with the club’s regular keepers injured or ineligible - the visitors repelled everything thrown at them before Howard provided one of the most celebrated moments in Oakwell history in injury-time.
3. Barnsley 3 Manchester United 2, February 25, 1998.
Premier League strugglers Barnsley were relegated in 1998 and having been drawn away at reigning champions Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round, were given little hope of progress.
However the Tykes gained a replay thanks to a Peter Schmeichel howler and went onto enjoy the most famous of nights back in South Yorkshire - with unlikely hero Scott Jones netting a brace.
A fine strike from John Hendrie and a brave Jones goal put the Reds in dreamland at 2-0 up at the break and despite a deflected Teddy Sheringham effort pulling a goal back, Jones restored the hosts two-goal buffer with a thumping header in front of the Pontefract Road end.
Andy Cole reduced the arrears eight minutes from time to make it 3-2, but it was Barnsley’s night.
4. Sheffield United 2 Manchester United 1, February 13 1993.
A Valentine’s Day weekend that no Blades supporter worth their salt will forget. A massacre by no means, but a cherished result watched by a nationwide audience in a fifth-round Roses FA Cup tie.
Ryan Giggs put the visitors ahead on the half-hour, but Lancastrian midfielder Hoyland - who started his career at neighbouring Manchester City - bundled in a leveller just four minutes later before the mercurial Glyn Hodges coolly lobbed the winner in the 40th minute. Happy days for the Blades, at least until they were knocked out by Wednesday in the all-Steel City Wembley semi-final.
5. Leeds United 2 QPR 1, February 21, 1987.
An 85th-minute header from captain Brendan Ormsby earned Leeds an uplifting victory over top-flight QPR - and a rewind to better times and halcyon cup days at Elland Road.
Watched by a partisan crowd of 31,234, Billy Bremner was afforded arguably the greatest day of his Whites reign, with Ormsby almost lifting the roof of the Kop with a late winner, with his celebrations going down in club folklore.
Both United goals were made by lanky striker John Pearson, who set up Ian Baird for the hosts’ opener on 18 minutes after knocking down Micky Adams’ centre - with Baird netting his 13th of the season.
A sliced David Rennie clearance presented the R’s with a lifeline on 64 minutes, with his effort flying past Mervyn Day and into his own net.
But a text-book header following a neat set-piece from Ormsby sent Leeds fans into raptures five minutes from time.
6. York City 1 Liverpool 1, February 15, 1986.
Gary Ford found the net as York gave top-flight heavyweights Liverpool a massive cup scare for the second season running.
The club stalwart fired the Minstermen in front just after the hour mark against Kenny Dalglish’s Reds.
Tony Canham’s left-wing cross was flicked on by Banton before Walwyn supplied Ford, who netted with a low shot.
But the lead was short-lived with Liverpool levelling shortly after from the spot after Steve Senior was adjudged to have handled in the box under pressure from Craig Johnston.
Danish midfielder Jan Molby held his nerve to fire the equaliser with Liverpool winning the replay 3-1 at Anfield after extra time, but not without controversy with Keith Walwyn seeing a second-half goal harshly ruled out.
7. York City 1 Liverpool 1, February 16, 1985.
Part One of the York v Liverpool cup double saw Ricky Sbragia earn the Minstermen a replay at Anfield to cancel out Ian Rush’s opener at Bootham Crescent.
A tie with the Reds was the Minstermen’s reward for knocking out Arsenal in the previous round, with the securing of a replay affording Denis Smith’s further cup kudos.
City bowed out 7-0 in the replay at Anfield, with 10,000 travelling York fans swelling the attendance to 43,000, the best of the season on the red half of Merseyside.
8. Middlesbrough 4 Arsenal 1, February 26, 1977.
David Mills fired a hat-trick as Jack Charlton’s Boro sent Terry Neill’s Arsenal unceremoniously packing in a 4-1 success to book the Teessiders’ a place in the last eight.
The Gunners never recovered after conceding two goals in the first 13 minutes with Mills netting a fourth-minute opener after latching onto Stuart Boam’s header.
A Mills rebound doubled the tally before Arsenal hauled their way back into the game with Malcolm MacDonald netting just before the half-hour mark.
Graeme Souness slipped in David Armstrong for a third after the break and Mills recorded a memorable treble just before the end.
9. Norwich City 1 Bradford City 2, February 27, 1976.
In a tie postponed twice due to a flu epidemic among the Bradford squad, the visitors showed themselves to be in good health with a memorable Carrow Road at top-flight opponents.
Don Hutchins stunned the home fans with a cross-shot from out wide that put City one up. England striker, but after Martin Peters equalised soon after, Bradford found themselves under tremendous pressure. In the second half Norwich hit the woodwork three times in one agonising minute, with the visitors rubbing salt in three minutes from time when Billy McGinley firing home a rebound after racing clear.
10. Huddersfield Town 4 West Ham 2, February 26, 1972.
Ian Greaves’ Town made light of their league toils to record a memorable cup victory over West Ham at Leeds Road in front of 27,080.
The Hammers, whose side included Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Pop Robson, Clyde Best, Trevor Brooking, Harry Redknapp and Billy Bonds, were desperate to make it to Wembley after losing out to Stoke in the League Cup semi-finals.
But Town had other ideas, thanks to goals by Jimmy Lawson, Terry Dolan, David Smith and Frank Worthington - with goals from Robson and Best in vain for the Londoners.