Mariners Memories: Grimsby Town's sweet success as Wilko stuns Toffees fans
In the first of a new series, Graham Precious from the Mariners Trust relives some of Grimsby Town's most memorable matches. Here, he recalls the night Paul Wilkinson silenced the home faithful at Goodison Park.
IT was a wet and rainy night to remember just over 28 years ago.
Everton had been top of Division One (the Premier League in today's money) for a month.
In fact, they had won their last ten matches and were unbeaten at Goodison Park all season!
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Town were in Division Two (today's Championship) – our fifth season after promotion and were sitting in seventh place after losing 4-2 at home to Fulham just three days before.
We were destined to finish the season in tenth position.
Everton had beaten Stoke City 4-0 the same day and had beaten Bratislava 3-0 in the European Cup Winners Cup a fortnight before.
They had also beaten Manchester United twice in the previous month – 5-0 at home in the league and 1-0 away in the previous round of the League Cup, or Milk Cup as it was at the time.
Town, managed by Dave Booth, had defeated Barnsley twice in Round Two and Rotherham 6-1 over two legs in Round Three – after a 0-0 away leg.
Everton's side included Welsh international keeper Neville Southall, Pat Van Den Hauwe, Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield, Peter Reid, Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp, Paul Bracewell and Kevin Sheedy, and they brought on Andy Gray as sub.
Town's team included local household names, such as Nigel Batch in goal, Chris Seagraves, Steve Foley, the famous Chris Nicholl in the heart of the defence, with Dean Crombie and Kevin Moore.
Tony Ford, Paul Wilkinson (destined to become the night's hero) Phil Bonnyman, Gary Lund and Paul Emson made up the midfield and strike force. Forward Kevin Drinkell came on as sub, replacing Foley.
The game was a real David v Goliath encounter with virtually all 11 players in defence amid wave after wave of Everton pressure.
Southall was only brought into action in the eighth minute of the clash to save a long shot from Foley.
Everton forced 19 corners – Town none! There were three goal line clearances by Nicholl, Moore and Seagraves with Batch beaten. But Town stood firm and soaked it all up – the Mariners defended like their lives depended on it.
Then, in the 89th minute with the chance of bringing Everton back to Blundell Park, Town won a free-kick just outside the box when Reid brought down Lund.
Town were in no rush to take the free kick. Crombie and Ford stood over the ball and Wilkinson shouted to Bonnyman "just chip it in Phil" – luckily, Phil did just that. And Wilkinson rose above the Everton defence and headed the ball over Southall into the net.
The ground was packed with a gate of 26,298 and the Goodison faithful were stunned into silence.
There were nearly 6,000 travelling Mariners fans, who had made the trip across the M62, in delirium behind the goal and a replay wasn't necessary.
Howard Kendall, the Everton manager, responded by buying Paul Wilkinson for £250,000 from Town before the end of the season.
The Mariners Trust needs 750 members before it can take a seat on the Grimsby Town board. Have you say on the club's future by joining up. Visit www. marinerstrust.co.uk for more information.
EVERTON 0 GRIMSBY TOWN 1
Tuesday, November 20 1984
League Cup Fourth Round