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28 January 2014

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Town see off Liverpool in FA Cup

Liverpool fans won’t need reminding. Kenny Dalglish probably woke up this morning cursing Luton. Pie and programme sellers on Merseyside almost certainly did the same. 

On this day in 1987, the Town and the Reds’ long-running saga in the FA Cup finally came to an end.  

Paired together in the third round of the competition, the Town battled to a goalless draw on a snow-covered pitch with Mike Newell and Mick Harford a handful for Alan Hanson and Gary Gillespie, the Liverpool centre-halves.

Liverpool, who had lifted the Cup the year before, were confident of success in the replay. But on the day of the game icy weather in the south threatened to close the roads leading north. In anticipation, the Town chartered a flight from Luton to Liverpool but once they arrived at Heathrow they found the flights were grounded too. Unable to get to Anfield, the game was postponed and Liverpool were not happy. The pies had been ordered, the programmes had been printed and Dalglish was, well, pretty cheesed off.

When the replay finally took place the Town arrived on Merseyside as public enemy number one. How the Hatters lasted 120 minutes to keep out Liverpool God only knows. Fortune smiled on the Town. In days of the second replay, a coin toss would decide the outcome of the venue. The verdict? We’d all be going back to Kenilworth Road two days later – on 28th January.

So, on this day 27 years ago strikes from Town forwards Brian Stein (a 20-yard free-kick), Mick Harford (from the penalty spot) and Mike Newell sealed a memorable 3-0 win for the Hatters. And that was that. 

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