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FA Cup Poll - Greatest FA Cup Finals

John Brewin

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 shortlist 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.

This poll is now closed. For the results, tune in to our FA Cup final coverage on ESPN.

Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers, 1953

'The Matthews Final', saw 38-year-old Stanley Matthews finally win the FA Cup, then the most prized trophy in club football. After several near misses, this looked to be his last chance, though he was still playing 12 years later.

The view from ESPN's Derek Rae

  • A classic final still remembered as 'The Matthews Final'. Sir Stanley inspired a thrilling Blackpool comeback from 3-1 down in this all-Lancashire final. It will also go down as 'the Mortensen final'. Blackpool's Stan Mortensen remains the only player to score a hat-trick in an FA Cup final. This of course was in the days before segregation and the old films of the day convey a passionate but friendly atmosphere at Wembley. The story goes that even Bolton's Nat Lofthouse stood and applauded Bill Perry's winner for Blackpool. A different era.

Blackpool had been 3-1 down after 55 minutes, and few believed they could recover. However, Stan Mortensen, scorer of the Seasiders' first goal, made it 3-2 when he converted Matthews' cross, and they were level in the 89th minute when Mortensen fired home a free-kick to complete his hat-trick. Bolton were hampered by an injury to wing-half Eric Bell, though he had still managed to score Wanderers' third from his position as passenger on the wing.

With 92 minutes on the clock, Matthews beat two defenders and crossed for South African left winger Bill Perry to complete the comeback. The old man was carried from the field.

Sunderland 1-0 Leeds, 1973

Sunderland were in the Second Division when they faced up against Don Revie's all-conquering Leeds side of the 70s.

The view from ESPN's Derek Rae

  • Leeds were massive favourites and certainly had the better players. But there was a resilience about Sunderland that day. They rolled up their sleeves and fought as though their lives depended on it. Ian Porterfield's goal has rightly gone down in FA Cup folklore but Jim Montgomery's save to deny Peter Lorimer was no less important. Without doubt one of the greatest saves in FA Cup final history. Those who watched on TV that day will remember Bob Stokoe galloping across the pitch holding his trilby hat.

Leeds, the holders, were the heaviest of favourites to pick up the trophy they won in 1972, but an inspired performance from Sunderland's goalkeeper Jim Montgomery - including a double save from Peter Lorimer and Trevor Cherry that has been ranked as one of the greatest of all-time - and a goal from Ian Porterfield sealed the biggest shock in the history of the competition's showpiece event.

Rokerites manager Bob Stokoe, a Geordie and a sworn enemy of Revie, wearing a red and white cap, staged a merry dance across the Wembley quagmire in celebration.

Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Manchester City, 1981

The late John Bond led City to their last final for 30 years but they were denied by one of the first foreign imports to grace the English game.

The view from ESPN's Derek Rae

  • Perhaps the most memorable FA Cup final for those of us born in the mid to late 60s. It was held on a Thursday night after a 1-1 draw at the first time of asking. It was the first FA Cup final to go to a replay for 11 years and the first FA Cup final replay ever staged at Wembley. This final is synonymous with one man - Ricky Villa. Up until that point, Villa was the lower profile Argentinian at Spurs - Ossie Ardiles generated most of the headlines for his play on the pitch. Villa score twice. His second goal is one of the best ever seen in an FA Cup final.

The initial final had been a 1-1 draw with City midfielder Tommy Hutchison suffering the dubious honour of scoring at both ends. Argentine midfielder Ricky Villa scored first for Spurs only for Steve Mackenzie to rattle in a blockbuster for City, who took the lead in the 50th minute through striker Kevin Reeves.

Garth Crooks levelled for Spurs before Villa, usually in the shadow of compatriot Ossie Ardiles, set off on a twisting run deep into the City box. He slotted home as he fell to the ground and then began a riotous run of celebration of the winner.

Coventry City 3-2 Tottenham Hotspur, 1987

"Gary Mabbutt's Knee" is the name of a long-running Coventry City fanzine, its name a tribute to the winning goal of a truly excellent final. Coventry were a long-standing First Division club of the time but this was the greatest day in Sky Blue history. Tottenham, who had pushed on three fronts for glory, ended the season potless despite boasting an all-star line-up that included Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle.

The view from ESPN's Derek Rae

  • One of the most free-flowing FA Cup finals ever played. Both teams went for it resulting in a five-goal thriller. That Coventry prevailed made it an even bigger story, given that they defeated strong favourites in Spurs. Keith Houchen headed home the winner. John Sillett, the co-manager, celebrated boisterously on the pitch.

Spurs' Clive Allen scored his 49th goal of the season in the second minute from a Waddle assist, only for Dave Bennett to equalise. Spurs centre-back Mabbutt put the favourites in front, but then Keith Houchen's goal, a diving header, was one of Wembley's finest. Extra time in baking sun followed and once Lloyd McGrath's cross had deflected off Mabbutt and looped over goalkeeper Ray Clemence, Coventry clung on for their finest hour. Coventry co-managers John Sillett and George Curtis celebrated wildly on the Wembley turf.

Liverpool 3-3 West Ham United, 2006

The other major trophy of Rafa Benitez's Liverpool reign was collected in just as breathless a fashion as the Champions League final in 2005.

The view from ESPN's Derek Rae

  • I watched this from a bar in Paris, funnily enough. I was in France ahead of the Champions League final between Barcelona and Arsenal. It looked as though West Ham were going to do it until Steven Gerrard's moment of inspiration. Shaka Hislop didn't have a chance. Tense stuff.

West Ham will always rue the late miss from Marlon Harewood that meant the final, played for the last time in the FA Cup final's temporary home of Cardiff, eventually went to penalties. Liverpool fans will recall this as another day when Steve Gerrard saved them and then inspired them to success.

A Jamie Carragher own-goal and a Dean Ashton strike had the Hammers in front but Djibril Cisse and Gerrard both volleyed in for Liverpool. Pepe Reina's mistake from a Paul Konchesky cross left Liverpool needing an equaliser in added time. Gerrard, seemingly finished by cramp, crashed in a 30-yard strike to push the game in extra time.

There, Harewood missed the chance that would have won the match for the Hammers, his injured left foot flailing the ball wide. Reina made amends for a poor match with three penalty saves, the last coming from Anton Ferdinand.

ESPN will bring fans the 2013 FA Cup Final between Wigan Athletic and Manchester City on Saturday 11th May commercial free, as part of a full day of live FA Cup programming from Wembley Stadium that continues the tradition of broadcasting all day around the final of the world's oldest domestic cup competition.

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