On This Day: Parkes heroics help West Ham start down the road to Wembley
Taking a look back at a classic West Ham United moment on this day in history, in association with RoadX Tyres...
West Ham United started their journey down the road to Wembley and a third FA Cup triumph in earnest on this day in 1980.
Then a Second Division side, the Hammers had held top-flight West Bromwich Albion to a 1-1 draw in their initial third-round tie at The Hawthorns on 5 Janury, where goalkeeper Phil Parkes performed heroics to keep the Baggies at bay until Cyrille Regis equalised a minute from full-time.
Despite that setback, Parkes' performance had captain Billy Bonds believing West Ham's name was on the cup, and he would ultimately be proved right as the Irons defeated Arsenal at Wembley that May!
First, though, the Hammers had to beat West Brom in their third-round replay on 8 January, which they did by scoring a 2-1 win at the Boleyn Ground on this day 41 years ago, with Geoff Pike and Trevor Brooking.
More than four decades on, Parkes reflects on a victory, and a cup run, that he will never forget.
I was nowhere near as busy three days later in the Upton Park replay, which we won 2-1 to set up a fourth-round tie at Orient
"John Lyall had refreshed his squad and assembled a new team by the time the 1979/80 season started," said the giant stopper, who turned 70 last August. "Now, there was a great defence in front of me in the shape of Frank Lampard, Billy Bonds, Alvin Martin and new signing, Ray Stewart.
"Personally, though, my wife Lavinia and myself had endured an awful time, both tragically losing our fathers within just six hours of each other. The FA Cup third round draw at West Bromwich Albion meant it was our first return to our native Black Country since they’d passed away and I knew that there would be both family and schoolfriends at The Hawthorns.
"The Baggies were 16th in the top-flight, while we were eighth in the second tier. They were a good, good side but on 5 January 1980, I had one of those matches that you can only dream about as a goalkeeper.
"I was under pressure from the kick-off and, when Stuart Pearson put us ahead against the run of play on the half-hour mark, the bombardment got heavier and I was working overtime. But in the 89th-minute, Big Cyrille controlled the ball with his hand before finally beating me. I’d got my fingertips to it but just couldn’t keep the ball out and, despite our protests, the referee allowed the equaliser to stand.
"Undoubtedly, that was the best performance of my 900-odd game career and, fortunately, I was nowhere near as busy three days later in the Upton Park replay, which we won 2-1 to set up a fourth-round tie at Orient."
West Ham would go on to beat their near neighbours, Swansea City, Aston Villa and Everton to set up the final meeting with the Gunners at Wembley, where Brooking's goal would famously secure the trophy.
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