The FA Cup Final was a drab affair for 60 minutes until the introduction of Andy Carroll sparked it into life. And if it hadn’t have been for an astonishing stop from Petr Cech, he could have won the game for Liverpool. The ‘did it, didn’t it’ question will ever be synonymous with 2012, providing yet another memorable moment in the history of this fantastic competition. Here are ten other memorable moments from previous FA Cup Finals:

  • Steven Gerrard  Liverpool vs. West Ham, 2006 – The Reds’ skipper may not have picked up the trophy this time around, but he got that honour in 2006 thanks in part to his own heroics. A ding dong battle with the Hammers saw Alan Pardew’s men surprisingly lead 3-2 with just injury time remaining. The ball bounced out of the penalty area as West Ham looked to clear their lines only for Stevie G to lash it home from fully 35 yards. This took the game to extra time and after Marlon Harewood missed a sitter, Liverpool took home the cup after Pepe Reina proved their shoot-out hero.
  • Roberto Di Matteo  Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough, 1997 – The interim Blues boss picked up the trophy twice as a player and he made significant contributions to the games, scoring in both. The 1997 final saw Di Matteo bag a 30-yeard screamer off the underside of the crossbar after breaking from the halfway line, scoring the quickest goal recorded in a Cup Final after 42 seconds (though Louis Saha broke that in 2009 for Everton). Chelsea went onto win 2-0 and 15 years on as manager, Di Matteo is once again praising the underside of the Wembley crossbar.
  • Dave Beasant  Wimbledon vs. Liverpool, 1988 – The Crazy Gang were widely unfancied given Liverpool’s reputation as the best side around. However, after Lawrie Sanchez’s header gave them the lead on 37 minutes, nodding home a Dennis Wise cross, a shock looked on the cards. That shock was completed when skipper Dave Beasant became the first goalkeeper to save a penalty in an FA Cup Final, keeping out John Aldridge’s effort to win the cup for Wimbledon.
  • Ricky Villa  Tottenham vs. Manchester City, 1981 – With the final forced to a replay after an original 1-1 draw, the sides were locked at 2-2 with just 15 minutes to go. Argentinean Ricky Villa then lit up Wembley, scoring a goal still voted the best in Cup Final history, by weaving through the City defence before slotting the ball home. Simply magnificent.
  • Stanley Matthews  Blackpool vs. Bolton, 1953 – Stan Mortensen may have grabbed a hat trick for Blackpool, but he still wasn’t the best player on the pitch. In what has become known as ‘the Matthews Final’, the wizard of the dribble delighted the capacity ground with his skills at 38 years of age. With Blackpool 3-1 down, Matthews conjured up two goals for Mortensen before setting up the winner for Bill Perry in stoppage time. A true great.
  • Michael Owen  Liverpool vs. Arsenal, 2001 – Believe it or not, Michael Owen actually used to make it off the substitute’s bench and boy, to what effect! Owen was England’s darling back in 2oo1, though he broke the Gunners’ hearts in this game. In the first final at the Millennium Stadium, Liverpool looked set for defeat after Freddy Ljungberg gave Arsenal the lead late on. However, Owen had other ideas, producing a couple of quality finishes on 83 and then 88 minutes to give Gerard Houllier’s men a treble of cups. 
  • Jim Montgomery  Sunderland vs. Leeds, 1973 – Second division Sunderland hadn’t a hope in hell of beating the mighty Leeds in 1973, as Don Revie’s side were the most feared in the land. Although Ian Porterfield gave Sunderland the lead in the first half, no one seriously expected them to hold onto it. Jim Montgomery had other ideas though, producing a string of splendid saves to keep the Whites at bay. However, the best came later after he clawed out a Trevor Cherry header, before turning away the follow-up from Peter Lorimer, the man with the fastest shot in the country. Potentially the best save in the Cup’s history, until Cech produced his heroics.
  • Bert Trautmann  Manchester City vs. Birmingham City, 1956 – Manchester City’s goalkeeper was no stranger to controversy considering he was a German POW who refused repatriation to remain as a farmer in Lancashire. 20,000 people protested at his signing in 1949, but seven years later, their complaints weren’t so vociferous when Trautmann produced an extraordinary display in the Cup Final. The keeper badly injured himself diving at the feet of opposition forward Peter Murphy, but manfully carried on in the days before substitutions. This fact became all the more remarkable when post-match X-Rays revealed Trautmann had actually broken his neck in the incident. Sergio Busquets should take some lessons.
  • Billie the Horse  Bolton vs. West Ham, 1923 – No this isn’t a distant relative of Peter Crouch or even a player at all, but Billie the Horse is a memorable part of FA Cup Final history. With the 1923 match attracting approximately double of Wembley’s 125,000 capacity, the spectators crowded onto the pitch, making the game impossible to play. Mounted policeman saved the day however, clearing the crowds from the sidelines so the game could start. The iconic image of the white horse became symbolic with the FA Cup from then on. Bolton won the game 2-0 and the match is dubbed as the ‘White Horse Final.’ 
  • Eric Cantona  Manchester United vs. Liverpool, 1996 – The pre-match talk surrounded the Liverpool players’ infamous cream suits, but the game itself turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. However, as he so often did, Mr Cantona popped up with the bit of magic to change the game, making the most of David James’s flap at a cross to volley home the winner with minutes remaining. United won the double and Liverpool still couldn’t beat their illustrious rivals. Some things haven’t changed then.