Saturday 27 Jun
Updated Saturday 27 Jun 15:00
History

#50GreatestMatches - #3 West Ham United 1-0 Arsenal


West Ham United celebrates its 125th anniversary on 29 June – and as part of our celebrations we're counting down to the date with the Club’s #50GreatestMatches – brought to you by Monster Energy!

Since the Hammers were formed as Thames Ironworks FC in 1895, we have played in excess of 5,500 matches – reaching five FA Cup finals - and one women's FA Cup final, lifting European silverware and competing across the globe and enjoying thousands of memorable moments.

With your help and recommendations, we've whittled down that list of 5,500 matches to a top 50, featuring landmark goals, trophies held aloft, heroic individual performances and remarkable collective efforts.

We continue the #50GreatestMatches countdown by recalling our third FA Cup triumph under the Twin Towers...
 


 

In 1980 it was Second Division West Ham United's turn to be underdogs against Terry Neill's FA Cup holders, making their record third successive final appearance.

This may not have been the greatest spectacle but no-one from east London was complaining as the sun shone on the Twin Towers and the men in all white.

West Ham's winner came from the unlikely source of Trevor Brooking's forehead with just 13 minutes on the clock.

In this, the 99th final, Alan Devonshire climaxed his speedy run down the left-flank with a deep, low cross which was met initially by David Cross. The ball dropped to Stuart Pearson, who mis-hit his shot across goal.

Brooking reacted quickest, falling back and stooping to guide a rare header past Arsenal goalkeeper Pat Jennings from eight yards. It was poetic justice for the elegant Brooking, who had been taunted before the game by Brian Clough who claimed that Brooking 'floats like a butterfly - and stings like one!'

With a goal in the bag, Hammers fought like lions, while John Lyall's tactical masterstroke in playing Cross as a lone striker, with Pearson in a slightly withdrawn midfield role, simply left the Gunners unable to beat Phil Parkes.

And but for the booked Willie Young's cynical, late trip on the breaking Paul Allen - at 17 years, 256 days the youngest player ever to appear in an FA Cup final - West Ham would surely have extended their winning margin.

Yet while Hammers headed back to the East End with the Cup for the second time in five years, Arsenal's agony was set to be compounded by a European Cup Winners' Cup final penalty shootout defeat by Spanish side Valencia four days later.
 

Hammers stars of 1980 reflect on FA Cup success