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FA Cup Poll - Greatest Goals

Jon Carter
January 21, 2013

To coincide with ESPN's coverage of the 2012-13 FA Cup in the UK and Ireland, we are asking you to vote on our short-list of greatest ever FA Cup moments. We'll announce the results of the poll as part of our all-day, live build-up to the 2013 FA Cup Final.

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED - Thanks for all your votes, tune in to ESPN TV on FA Cup final day for the results.

Final 1984-85: Manchester United 1-0 Everton - Norman Whiteside

The view from the ESPN team

  • DEREK RAE
  • Manchester United 1-0 Everton - Norman Whiteside: A goal fit to win any final. Everton that year were the gold standard of English football. Truly a special goal on the Wembley stage. Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal - Dennis Bergkamp: Bergkamp's goal will live long in the memory. It was brilliance personified. Out of this world. The work of an artist. Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough - Roberto Di Matteo: The '97 final was only 42 seconds old when Di Matteo pounced. The fastest goal in FA Cup final history at the time.

Unusually, it was Manchester United who were underdogs for this game as Howard Kendall's Everton stood on the brink of the treble, but the Toffees did not count on the brilliance of Norman Whiteside.

As United held off the Everton attack in the first half, their job became harder as defender Kevin Moran brought down Peter Reid when he was through on goal after the break. Moran was the first man ever to be sent off in a Wembley cup final, but the ten-men rallied and had the better of the game before it went into extra-time goalless. Then Whiteside struck.

With the clock ticking down in the second period, Mark Hughes picked up the ball in his own half before releasing the striker down the right with a fine curled pass from the outside of his foot. Whiteside collected it coolly, cut inside with a step-over to outfox Kevin Ratcliffe before bending a beautiful shot beyond Neville Southall and into the corner of the net. The cup was won and Whiteside later said it was "every kid's dream to be a professional footballer and score a goal in a cup final".

Third Round Replay 1996-97: Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal - Dennis Bergkamp

Just three months into Arsene Wenger's reign at Arsenal, Dennis Bergkamp provided a glimpse of his incredible talent in the Gunners' third meeting with Sunderland in 11 days. Narrowly losing their Premier League encounter, Arsenal were keen to avenge their defeat and keep their cup run going.

An uneventful first-half passed, but then Bergkamp took over a minute into the second. Initially being knocked off the ball on the edge of the box, the Dutchman chased it down and beat two defenders with a perfect "double-dragback", which found him facing the goal again. Needing no second invitation, Bergkamp quickly moved into the box, eyeing up the far corner despite the presence of another defender facing him, and clipped a delightful effort past Lionel Perez into the roof of the net.

Peter Reid, the hosts' manager on the day, admitted after the game: "I starting clapping myself, until I realised I was Sunderland's manager." The win was sealed by Stephen Hughes' effort soon after.

Final 1996-97: Chelsea 2-0 Middlesbrough - Roberto Di Matteo

The view from the ESPN team

  • NAT COOMBS
  • Barnsley 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur - David GinolaVintage Ginola, proving the old Peter Beardsley adage that "placing it in the net is as good as smashing it". Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United - Ryan Giggs: One of the great goals in football, let alone the FA Cup, Giggs' goal looked like some kind of cheat mode on a video game.

Starved of success since the European Cup-Winners' Cup of 1971, Chelsea's win in the 1997 FA Cup against Middlesbrough sparked a glut of trophy wins in the years to come and contained the fastest goal in the competition's history (until it was eclipsed by Louis Saha's effort for Everton against Chelsea in 2009, which was timed at 25 seconds).

Only 42 seconds went by before Roberto Di Matteo's strike found the back of the net and put Chelsea on their way to glory. Allowed to run from within his own half, the Italian drove at the defence and hammered a shot from 30 yards that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar with goalkeeper Ben Roberts grasping at air.

"I was bombing down the right, expecting him to pass and he's taking a shot," team-mate Frank Sinclair said after the game. "I'm thinking, 'What's he doing?' All of a sudden it's in the back of the net. It was mind-blowing."

Often forgotten is the second goal, which killed the game off in the 83rd minute as Eddie Newton forced the ball in from six yards after a smart flick from Gianfranco Zola. Chelsea would never be the same again.

Sixth Round 1998-99: Barnsley 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur - David Ginola

Few in the English game could match Frenchman David Ginola for artistry and creativity, but it took the presence of former Arsenal boss George Graham to finally bring him out of his shell at Tottenham.

Ginola found his best form out on the wing and, at Oakwell, avenged Spurs' defeat to Barnsley in the FA Cup the previous season with a fine solo goal. With Adie Moses sent off for two fairly innocuous bookings, Ginola was able to find space and, in the 66th minute, he cut inside to run at the heart of defence. Slaloming his way past four players into the box, a shake of the hips saw him dispatch his shot under the advancing Tony Bullock and seal his side's progress in the next round.

The great George Best said later: "It was the sort of goal you would have been happy to knock in during a practice match, let alone a cup quarter-final. When Ginola gets the ball, there is only one thing in his mind and that is to take someone on - a bit like I was, I suppose, and, like me, he doesn't care if there are two or three of them."

Semi-Final Replay 1998-99: Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United - Ryan Giggs

In what has gone down as one of the greatest games in FA Cup history, one of the greatest goals helped to maintain Manchester United's charge towards the treble.

The first game had ended in a dour 0-0 draw, but the replay at Villa Park saw much more action as David Beckham opened the scoring before Dennis Bergkamp's shot deflected off Jaap Stam for the equaliser. United captain Roy Keane was sent off and, in the last minute of normal time, the Gunners were awarded a penalty, which was dramatically saved by Peter Schmeichel.

United's ten men rallied once more in extra-time as Ryan Giggs took off on a solo run from his own half following a loose pass from Patrick Vieira. Beating Vieira, who was tracking back to atone for his error, with a drop of the shoulder, Giggs then cut across and forced full-back Lee Dixon inside - Sir Alex Ferguson coined the phrase "twisted blood" when trying to describe the move - before squeezing past three men into the box and hammering a shot over goalkeeper David Seaman at the near post. Cue what is surely the most famous (shirtless) celebration in FA Cup history to date as United sealed their progress to the final.

ESPN has live and exclusive coverage of three matches from the FA Cup Fourth Round including Manchester Utd v Fulham on Saturday 26th January, plus Brentford v Chelsea and Leeds v Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 27th January. ESPN Classic will offer up a range of classic FA Cup programming before and during every round in the tournament proper featuring matches and special documentaries on the world's oldest domestic cup competition.

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