3rd round memories
I love FA Cup 3rd round day, despite our god-awful record in the Cup, I always wake with a huge buzz thinking of twin towers and trips the Wales! Admittaely the excitement one has as a fan of a smaller side and potential giantkiller is replaced with complete fear once one's beloved team become an established Premiership club.
I was racking my brain today on a flight back from New York for 3rd round memories and there are loads. My earliest 3rd round memory was playing Maidstone
in 1979. The 1-1 draw at home was remembered for the Hales and Flanagan punch-up lof course and then in the replay at London Road, with us leading 2-1 the floodlights went out! The game was held up for about half an hour before it was restarted and we hung on to win.
The following year we went to Wrexham
dreaming of Wembley. We lost 6-0. In 1982 I remember my Dad taking me to Brisbane Road, we were regular visitors to the O's
in those days. The weather was awful, we were awful, we lost 1-0.
The following season we played the very well regarded Ipswich at home and I remember Eric Gates
diving in the penalty box like he'd been shot by a sniper, to earn them a 3-2 victory and he basically admitted so to the press afterwards. A great day out was had by all the next year (1984) when we went on mass to Colchester's Layer Road
. Excessive bouncing meant that broken wooden terracing had to be lifted onto the pitch in front of the away end as a flukey goal gave us an undeserved 1-0 win.
The 3rd round match in 1985 gave me one of my favourite ever Charlton moments. The away terracing at White Hart Lane was dangerously overpacked and my brother and I were pushed and shoved all around the end as we vociferously cheered the boys on against our, then, more illustrious opponents.
Before the game started red balloons were released by Charlton fans up in The Shelf
and this set the scene for an electric atmosphere. Crooks scored for them but then we were given a 2nd half penalty at our end. It was saved but Flanagan (I think) put in the rebound. We celebrated like we would never see a goal ever again. Flanagan nearly won the game late on, his shot rolling inches wide of a post. I really, to this day, do not know what we would have done if that had gone in.
In 1986, a televised game at Selhurst, saw us lose unluckily to West Ham. The year after in front of a sparse crowd we were beaten by a very impressive lower division Walsall
team 2-1. In 1991 we hosted a very good Everton
side but lost narrowly 2-1.
Up at Elland Road in 1993, we held the 'mighty' Leeds United
to a 1-1 draw. Gary Nelson's excellent goal for us being eclipsed by Scott Minto's remarkable clearance of the line in about the 5th minute of injury time.
10 years ago this weekend we beat the Premiership's Sheffield Wednesday 2-0. Wyn Grant
described it then as "The best game I have seen since the return to The Valley - we played superbly."
In January 1997, in front of the TV cameras we faced Newcastle United and Robert Lee played out of his skin in the 1-1 draw. The ex-Addick got their goal but Mark Kinsella earnt us a replay at St James Park
. We were awesome up there, as Addicks fans swarmed the Quayside before the game, but we were undone by a trade-mark Alan Shearer free-kick in extra time.
It was a top of the table clash in 1998 when we met Nottingham Forest
at home. We won 4-1 and played superb (one of our best performances since the return to the Valley in my
opinion) and a week later I received a letter from the club because of complaint's about my language from Forest fans in our end. Hey, but that's another story, for another day....