Oh when the Saints become devils ... a tale of Goss, Sutton and Co

PUBLISHED: 14:40 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:08 18 March 2020

A memorable FA Cup night for Norwich City against Southampton in 1992 Pictures: Archant

A memorable FA Cup night for Norwich City against Southampton in 1992 Pictures: Archant

Archant Library

Your Posts is a new project which allows you to voice your opinions on the big sporting stories – Dave Major looks at Norwich City’s game against Southampton (no, not that one...)

Write about Southampton they said. Hmmm.

I checked the brief, no one actually said when.

In these strange days of no football I decided against noughts and crosses, or Connect 4 (see the official Norwich City twitter timeline if in doubt) to rack through my own personal watching brief in our games against the Saints.

I was there in the away gallows singing “We’ve seen Elmander score” in that Chris Hughton relegation season in 2014. I was there for the 4-5 home reverse when defending was an optional extra in 1994. On more of a positive note – Nathan Redmond’s first for the club against his now employers, Dean Ashton’s hat-trick in 2005 and Robert Rosario’s goal of the season.

Chris Sutton's header sealed an FA Cup quarter-final extra-time replay win over Southampton in 1992. Picture: Archant LibraryChris Sutton's header sealed an FA Cup quarter-final extra-time replay win over Southampton in 1992. Picture: Archant Library

But the game that dominates my thoughts, particularly at this time, is that last FA Cup quarter-final in 1992, given some 28 years later Norwich find themselves back in such heady company. A 0-0 draw was played out, at the old Dell, before the replay under the floodlights at Carrow Road.

It was, shall we say, a robust Southampton performance; a team dominated by Barry Horne, Neil Ruddock and Glenn Cockerill. One however with 18-goal Alan Shearer leading the line, and the unpredictable flair of Matt Le Tissier. That robustness went too far that night, Le Tissier seeing red for kicking out at Norwich talisman Robert Fleck, and then in extra time Horne doing the same to Colin Woodthorpe.

Before that drama, Southampton had gone ahead just before half-time. Neil Ruddock – circa half of him based on recent appearances – heading in from, shocker, a corner. Some things don’t change, City fans. Come the second half and after Le Tissier’s exit, Rob Newman’s sweetest of half volleys equalised at the River End to take the tie to extra time.

Extra time against nine men was one-way traffic. A lot of huff and puff. Missed chances, golden chances. “The goal line is leading a charmed life,” as legendary commentator John Motson described. On another night the game would have gone to Tim Krul shoot-out territory, but Norwich finally found an unorthodox way.

NCFC v Southampton on 18 March 1992. Picture: Archant LibraryNCFC v Southampton on 18 March 1992. Picture: Archant Library

It came from Jeremy Goss’s scuffed half volley – he still had 18 months before perfecting those in Leeds and Munich. The half volley found Chris Sutton’s head, before looping over Tim Flowers to give Norwich City semi-final delight. Carrow Road was sent into 90s delirium.

That FA Cup run catapulted what was a difficult season into Norwich City folklore; a second semi-final in four years. Sadly, Sunderland eclipsed Norwich in the Hillsborough semi-final in a lacklustre performance typical of that second half of the season, leading to Dave Stringer’s departure a few weeks later.

Which of course heralded perhaps Norwich City’s greatest 18 months. One for another day perhaps.

Watch the highlights (though not whilst working at home you understand)...

NCFC v Southampton on 18 March 1992. Picture: Archant LibraryNCFC v Southampton on 18 March 1992. Picture: Archant Library

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