14 March, 1964
FA Cup semi-final
Manchester United 1-3 West Ham United
West Ham United overcame all the odds to secure their first FA Cup final appearance since the 1923 showpiece and their magnificent showing would give them the confidence to go all the way.
Just seven days earlier, the Reds had played a league game at the Boleyn Ground and won 2-0. As they left the East End ahead of their forthcoming semi-final, Matt Busby's side must have felt that they were well and truly on their way to Wembley. One week on though, United had other ideas.
Although torrential rain had turned the Hillsborough pitch into a quagmire, as early as the ninth-minute, George Best was still able to wade through the mud and rattle the crossbar. As the interval approached, the defiant Hammers went close themselves on three occasions and trudging off the stodgy pitch all square at the break, the Londoners had certainly done enough to suggest that this could, indeed, still be their afternoon.
Sure enough, following a couple of chances at each end, Ronnie Boyce's 55th-minute chip found the net to put West Ham United in front. As Manchester United - inspired by Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Best - pushed forward looking for an equaliser, Jack Burkett and John Sissons made them pay the penalty when they combined to set up Boyce for his second goal on 62 minutes.
Ron Greenwood's outsiders may have been within sight of Wembley's Twin Towers, but they suffered a significant scare when Jim Standen skidded into Law, causing play to be held up for almost five minutes. As soon as proceedings restarted, striker Law took full advantage of the groggy goalkeeper to set ¬up an intriguing and heart-stopping final 12 minutes.
West Ham United were in no mood though to surrender their hard-earned 2-1 advantage and, in the dying minutes, Bobby Moore turned defence into attack by setting up Geoff Hurst, who burst through to plant the ball wide of David Gaskell in the Manchester United goal. The FA Cup final awaited.
West Ham United: Standen, Bond, Burkett, Bovington, Brown, Moore, Brabrook, Boyce, Byrne, Hurst, Sissons.