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On This Day In History 17th March Part 3
Tuesday, 17th Mar 2020 12:33

There seem to be a lot of things happen in Saints Land on 17th March, here message board stalwart Dirk Doon looks at the 1979 League Cup Final.

The late 70s was one of the best times to be a Saints fan. After winning our only major trophy in 1976, we rapidly built up one of the biggest and most passionate away followings in the country so the demand for tickets for the 1979 Wembley final was huge.

After our allocation was sold out, the club scouted around the country and managed to buy up extra batches of tickets, which resulted in us having not just the whole of our end but also a large section at the front of the Forest end filled with Saints fans. For this reason, I preferred the atmosphere at the '79 final to the '76 one, where all of the neutral tickets seemed to end up in the hands of Man United fans.

Expectations were high. In spite of the fact that Brian Clough's great Forest team were league champions and about to become back-to-back European champions, we believed our fans could drive us to victory against anyone, as we had done 2 years earlier against Forest in the FA Cup, when 13,000 Saints fans had packed into the City Ground.

The teams that day:


1 Peter Shilton
2 Colin Barrett
3 Frank Clark
4 John McGovern (c)
5 Larry Lloyd
6 David Needham
7 Martin O'Neill
8 Archie Gemmill
9 Garry Birtles
10 Tony Woodcock
11 John Robertson
12 Ian Bowyer


1 Terry Gennoe
2 Ivan Golac
3 David Peach
4 Steve Williams
5 Chris Nicholl
6 Malcolm Waldron
7 Alan Ball (c)
8 Phil Boyer
9 Austin Hayes
10 Nick Holmes
11 Terry Curran
12 Tony Sealy

In many ways, it was the proverbial game of two halves. Saints dominated the first half and took the lead with a rare goal from full-back, David Peach, who rounded Shilton and slotted the ball home following an attacking move he had started himself, to give Saints a 1-0 lead at half-time.

But as soon as the second half started it was clear that the momentum had shifted to Forest. The funny thing about cup finals at the old Wembley was that you could feel the momentum shifts on the pitch more than at any other stadium. Two goals from Gary Birtles , the first resulting from a defensive mix-up between Nicholl and Gennoe, and one from Tony Woodcock put Forest 3-1 up until a goal from Nick Holmes in the 88th minute gave us some hope. But, to be fair, the best team in Europe won that day as they did again two months later when they won the European Cup Final.

Photo: Action Images

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ThereIn76 added 20:48 - Mar 17
A bittersweet day. At half time I was sure we had our hands on the Cup. About five minutes into the second half it was clear that we hadn’t. Sadly almost every player had their worst game of the season. Only the two survivors of the 76 victors, Peach and Holmes, played to their capabilities (and both scored). Alan Ball said years later that he felt as if the Wembley pitch was getting bigger and bigger as the second half wore on. 13 years after winning the World Cup there.

saintmark1976 added 23:39 - Mar 17
I was at the game and recall that in the days leading up to the match the weather had been very bad with snow still showing behind the goals and the pitch being very heavy.Terry Gennoe had a mare of a game.On one ocassion I recall the ball literally rolling along his goal line with him floundering before someone hoofed it clear to save him further embarrassment.

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