Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Day We Won The Cup

When Geoff went up to lift the Zenith Cup ... We were there!!

The Zenith Data Systems Cup was a rather odd competition. Better known as the Full Members Cup before the advertising took hold. The third club trophy up for grabs and always the poor relation, just as the Carling Cup is these days. But clubs always took all competitions seriously. None of this resting players nonsense.

The competition was set up in two sections, northern and southern. The 1990/91 season was always going to be tough to live up to events of the previous. Our first game in this cup competition was in the second round when we faced Bristol Rovers at home. They had knocked out Watford in the first round but we ground out a hard fought 2-1 win. This set up a mouth watering tie away to our old foes Brighton as their wreck of a ground, The Goldstone.

The midweek February fixture was a sell out. And it was a particularly tense affair which went into extra time. But two extra time goals for Palace sent the faithful home from the south coast in raptures and with that a place in the southern section semi final. This was to be a week later and a 3-1 home win over Luton set up southern area final against Norwich City over two games. The first at Carrow Road ended one goal a piece, so it was to Selhurst to battle it out for a place in the final at Wembley. A 2-0 win home win secured a 3-1 aggregate win and a place in the final. Our second cup final in as many seasons.

The final was unforgettable. It was played the day after my birthday and against the team who I liked as a kid, Everton. What could go wrong? Against a team that were striving to relive their eighties hayday, it was always going to be tough. And so it proved. The first half was goal less but it was captain Geoff Thomas that broke the deadline with a trademark goal. That was short lived as Everton struck back through Warzycha and with no more goals it was extra time on the draining Wembley surface.

But the sea of red and blue need not have worried. With two goals from Ian Wright and one from John Salako, Palace had won their first competitive cup competition. and by some scoreline too against arguably one of the top sides in the country. It was all quite unbelievable. No appearances at Wembley then three in just under a year. And a trophy to boot. The simple sight of seeing Geoff lift the cup brought tears to my eyes.

I would argue that Palace have had some of the best memories a fan could want and this one is one of the best. It hasn't been all joy but you have to take the rough with the smooth. That is why this trophy was oh so sweet and just as good to remember.

Click the link for some highlights and post match comment from the local media .... Palace win ZDS radio clips


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