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It was 20 years ago today...

Posted on 18 May 2011  - 12:00

The team recovered from Gazza's infamous tackle going 1-0 down and Gary Lineker's penalty miss to triumph in the 1991 FA Cup Final on May 18, 1991.

It was 20 years ago today...

The team recovered from Gazza's infamous tackle, going 1-0 down and Gary Lineker's penalty miss to triumph against Nottingham Forest in the 1991 FA Cup Final on May 18, 1991.

The inspiration behind reaching the final with goals against Oxford, Portsmouth, Notts County and then that free-kick in the semi-final against Arsenal, Gazza's dream of walking up the famous steps to the Royal Box was ended as early as the 15th minute when he suffered a serious knee injury in a wreckless tackle on Forest's Gary Charles.

Gazza was stretchered off, Stauart Pearce rifled home the free-kick and the team was up against it.

The bad luck continued in the first half. Lineker had a 'goal' controversially ruled out for offside before missing a penalty as Forest keeper Mark Crossley turned his spot-kick away.

Many teams would have been down and out trudging off 1-0 down at half-time in such circumstances, but it took less then 10 minutes to turn the final on its head in the second half.

Nayim and Paul Allen opened it up for Paul Stewart to drill home the equaliser in the 54th minute.

The final went to extra time and there was a dramatic twist of fate for Forest as England defender Des Walker headed into his own net under pressure from Gary Mabbutt in the 94th minute for what turned out to be the winner.

Skipper 'Mabbsy' reflected: "I remember thinking to myself when I was at the bottom of the steps at Wembley, thinking back to how I used to watch it on television. I then got the cup, turned to our fans and the noise was amazing. It's a very special moment, the defining moment for me and the best memory of my career."

Man-of-the-match and goalscorer Stewart recalled: "Everyone was gutted when Paul went down and had to leave the field but my thoughts were that you might never get another chance to play in a big game like this so you either lie down and get beaten or give it your best shot to get back into it. I think we all did that."

The team famously took the trophy and a winner's medal to Gazza at Princess Grace Hospital straight after the final. Mabbsy said afterwards: "He gave the cup a big hug - it was difficult to getting it back from him."