1976 WFA Cup Final (partially found footage of football match; 1976)

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Southampton celebrating their fifth Final victory.

Status: Partially Found

The 1976 WFA Cup Final (also known as the 1976 Mitre Challenge Trophy Final) culminated the 1975-76 WFA Cup season. Occurring on 25th April 1976 at Bedford Town's The Eeyrie, it featured Southampton defeating Queen's Park Rangers (QPR) 2-1 after extra time, which would be the first of three consecutive Finals featuring the two clubs. This Final was also the first to be televised.


Heading into the Final, Southampton were the defending champions.[1][2] Their road to the Final from the Second Round onwards consisted of beating Droitwich, Warminster, Cope Chat, Kays, and Brighton and Hove Albion.[3] Meanwhile, QPR's campaign from Round 1 saw it overcome Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham City, Notts Rangers, Carr Fastener, Watford, and Belle Vue.[3] This was QPR's first ever Final, whereas Southampton had won four of the first five WFA Cup Finals.[1][2]

With Football League sides again refusing to host the Final, the WFA instead forged an agreement with Southern League club Bedford Town to stage the Final at its ground The Eeyrie for the third time.[2] 1,500 were said to have attended the game.[4][2] However, the Final received more coverage than its predecessors, as BBC cameras were in attendance, capturing footage that would then be showcased on its Cup Final Grandstand six days later.[5][2] It would serve as a prelude to the men's FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Southampton.[2][5]

The Match

The Final itself occurred on 25th April 1976.[2][4] Southampton defender Maggie Kirkland put her side in front, although it is currently unknown when she scored.[2][4] At some point, Southampton conceded a free kick, allowing QPR's captain Margaret McGroaty to fire the ball from 35 yards into the goal's far side, thus securing an equaliser that according to A History of the Women's FA Cup Final, was "would have been worthy of a Wembley final itself."[2][4] Neither side were able to score again in the 80+ minutes allocated, WFA Cup Finals not lasting 90 minutes until the 1990 edition.[2][4]

Thus, 30 minutes of extra time was played, the first instance where this occurred at WFA Cup Final.[2] Despite QPR controlling possession for much of the game, it was Southampton that secured the winning goal, courtesy of Pat Davies successfully lobbing the ball over QPR goalkeeper Pat Cavanagh.[2][4] This marked Davies' fourth instance of scoring at WFA Cup Final, after the 1971, 1974, and 1975 editions.[2] Despite the team's success, it resulted in boos from some of the crowd as they lifted the trophy, with A History of the Women's FA Cup Final interpreting this as the crowd being tired of Southampton's dominance, this being its fifth Cup win in six years.[2][1] Additionally, although not affiliated with the men's side, it was the first instance of both FA Cup winners sharing the same team name, as the Southampton men's side defeated Manchester United 1-0 in the Final.[2] This would not occur until both Arsenal clubs won the 1993 editions.[2][1]

A History of the Women's FA Cup Final was able to interview QPR forward Sandra Choat, who stated how the loss "devastated" her team.[2] She claimed "We had 80 per cent of the possession. We dominated the game but somehow lost it. Games between QPR and Southampton were always close, but in this one despite what the scoreline says, we had the better of the match."[2][1] Nevertheless, QPR would gain vengeance in the subsequent WFA Cup Final in 1977, with both clubs also facing each other in the 1978 Final.[2][1]


As noted in issue 2,738 of Radio Times, 20 minutes of highlights was televised on BBC One on 1st May 1976, with commentary being provided by John Motson.[5] This broadcast has yet to resurface, however. Additionally, A History of the Women's FA Cup Final was only able to find "surviving footage" of the match despite its extensive research, indicating the uncut tape of the event is also missing.[2] Nevertheless, two minutes of highlights, including of Davies' free kick, can be found in a Reuters video. Photos of the match can also be found online and in A History of the Women's FA Cup Final.[2]



See Also

External Link