30 Years On And It's Deja Vu
Friday, 4th Jan 2019 11:45
For those of us of a certain age it will feel familiar on Saturday, we will be doing exactly the same thing as we did on the same weekend back in 1989, heading to Derby in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
On 7th January 1989 we travelled to Derby County for a 3rd round FA Cup tie and here we are again on Saturday doing the same thing only two days short of the 30th anniversary.
Undoubtedly there will be a fair few at Pride Park who were also at the Baseball Ground all those years ago, however much has changed, as mentioned we will be heading for Pride Park, Derby's home for the past 20 years and not the Baseball Ground a hotchpotch of a stadium that almost made the Dell look normal.
A look in the mirror will be different as well, there will be old age pensioners going this weekend who were in their mid 30's back then, men in their 50's who were fresh faced 20 somethings and middle aged men who had not even started secondary school back then, it seems so long ago, but then again barely yesterday just where did those 30 years go.
in 1989 17,178 assembled at the Baseball Ground including if my memory serves me right around 3,000 Saints supporters, Derby were a decent team back then, they had signed both Peter Shilton and Mark Wright from us and would finish 5th in the League and here is a little bit more deja vu for those who have been moaning about players leaving Saints, there was a feeling that in the past few years, players of this quality had been allowed to leave and had been replaced with inferior players.
Our team only a few years earlier for an FA Cup Semi Final had read Shilton, Holmes, Dennis, Wright, Case, Bond, Lawrence, Cockerill, Moran, Armstrong, D Wallace with Andy Townsend as sub, it wasn't quite as strong as two years before that but still formidable.
For the trip to Derby our team read, Burridge, Forrest, Statham, Blake, Moore, Osman, Le Tissier, Case D Wallace, G Baker, Rod Wallace sub Rideout, on paper far weaker than the side of a couple of seasons or so earlier.
But there is a moral, yes we weren't happy with the team back then, but we had several youngsters about to break through, Le Tissier was still just promising and the likes of Rod Wallace, Shearer etc yet to emerge, but in the following 12 months they would blossom alongside astute signings like Neil Ruddock and we would flourish again, so for those not around 30 years ago things can change quickly in football.
Back to 1989 though, this game finished 1-1 , Derek Statham had given us a second half lead from the penalty spot and we looked good for a win and had several good chances either squandered or saved, it was looking good as the final minute approached we looked comfortable and Derby had barely troubled us when Derby humped it forward more in hope than expectation, but we had dropped our concentration, the ball sailed past several of our men who really should have cleared it and at the back post was another ex Saint, this time Trevor Hebberd to head home, does this all sound familiar, I thought it might, so all those who rant on social media about Saints should be aware, nothing has happened in the past two years that we haven't seen before and come through.
The replay at the Dell was only three days later, 16,233 were in attendance, back then the cup meant something, this was around 1,500 more than our average for the season, but they had seen it all before even back then, Saints dominated the first half and indeed the early stages of the second but on the hour were undone, a poor back pass saw Derby capitalise and take a lead they barely deserved.
However we levelled within a minute with a low drive from Gerry Forrest and Saints resumed their domination, but they found Peter Shilton in fine form and couldn't force a winner.
Extra time came and within 5 minutes Saints were behind again with Callaghan scoring for the visitors with a 25 yard drive out of nowhere, this time there would be no way back we were deflated and Derby saw out the last 25 minutes with Saints knowing they had dominated 210 minutes of football, well all bar 3 and yet were still out of the cup, again this would not be the first time nor the last that Saints fans had witnessed this.
So here we are again back ar Derby 30 years later, a lot has changed in that time, we have seen perhaps the lowest point in the Club's history and some great high's, football is a game where there is no guarantee's, we go week in week out for those rare high's and they are all the sweeter when they come for the experience of the lows.
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