Amazing scenes after semi win

IT WAS Paul Mariner who set Ipswich on their way to FA Cup glory in 1978.The England centre forward scored twice as Ipswich began their campaign with a 2-0 win away to Cardiff.

Nick Garnham

IT WAS Paul Mariner who set Ipswich on their way to FA Cup glory in 1978.

The England centre forward scored twice as Ipswich began their campaign with a 2-0 win away to Cardiff.

The draw had handed Ipswich a tricky third round tie at Ninian Park, and


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no-one could have envisaged that they would lift the trophy just four months later - certainly not Mariner.

“No, I didn't,” he admitted. “If my memory serves me well we were struggling in the league and didn't have a settled side because of injuries, so

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no-one would have predicted that.

“It is always difficult going away from home. It doesn't matter who you are playing. We were lucky enough to pull through, but it was a tough game.”

Mariner, who won 35 England caps - 33 while at Ipswich and two while with Arsenal, scoring 14 times for his country - was on target in each of the next three rounds - once against both Hartlepool and Bristol Rovers, before netting a hat-trick at Millwall in the sixth round.

“Millwall were a very tough team in those days to play against at The Den.

“I remember we were nervous about going there. My room-mate Johnny Wark was very nervous and I think that made me anxious.

“They had a very partisan crowd, but we came out of the blocks very fast, playing our usual style, and George (Burley) scored an absolute screamer. I think that took the wind out of their sails and I remember we steamrollered them.”

The 6-1 win set up the semi-final against West Bromwich Albion in which Ipswich took a 2-0 lead that they held until Allan Hunter threw the Baggies a lifeline when he conceded a penalty which Tony Brown converted.

“We were playing pretty well. We were not cruising, but we did not think they could hurt us. Although they had Cyrille Regis and Tony Brown up front, Allan Hunter and Kevin Beattie were very strong and experienced.

“When they scored from the penalty to make it 2-1 we started to get nervous but held out until we had a corner late on. Everyone asked afterwards whether it was a move we had rehearsed, but it wasn't.

“Some of us took their defenders to the near post which left Johnny (Wark) free to head home - they just forgot all about him!

“To get to the cup final was such a wonderful feeling, especially at Highbury which was a great ground to play at.

“Ipswich always did well there. The scenes after in the dressing room were great.”

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