...first hand match report from Alan Spring:
It was a tense atmosphere at the Gooner end in the Millennium Stadium. The
roof is on and the sun is shining outside.
28 seconds gone long ball from Freddy sends Henry on his way. Being pulled
back he still manages to get his shot in and is denied the fastest goal in the
FA cup history. If it would have been van Horse Alroy it would have been a
penalty and a sending off. Credit to Henry for not going down. Another chance
and DB10 has one kicked off the line.
For 10 minutes its all AFC.
AFC defence starts to get exposed with the unfit Keown and Lauren. Seaman
making a good couple of saves and Luzhny rising to the occasion. The tension can
still be felt at the Gooner end.
GOAL!! Pires and we take the roof off the stadium. It was a simple build up
involving Henry, DB10 and Freddy.
Should have been two with Henry teasing the defence and Pires unlucky not to
It's backs to the wall time for Southampton, but they survive the onslaught
from Arsenal. Unfortunately the half time whistle goes.
Half time and its time to reflect. Attention in the stand is electric with
Gooners thinking of the cup final two years ago.
Luzhny and Gilberto stand out in the first half with great performances. DB10
in his possible swan song for the Gooners shining with some great touches.
Luzhny still holding the defence up. Up the other end DB10 still showing us
what he is capable of with Freddy missing a good chance to score his third in
three cup finals.
Henry is denied by the keeper after a great counter attack by AFC.
IT's ONLY PARLOUR!! . . . No, not this year and the Southampton defence is
holding up well.
Southampton keeper goes down and the AFC end is screaming at the Ref to stop
play. The Ref finally realising after a Southampton attack had finished to stop
play. A great shame to see someone being carried off at an FA Cup Final. He gets
a standing ovation.
Tessem gets a chance but once again the defence is strong. Ormerod warms
Seaman's hands and AFC is on the back foot. The AFC Captain is rising to the
Henry denied again after great save from replacement keeper. AFC rise above
and for 10 minutes Southampton can't get the ball. The Gooners are tense and
feel they are going to get caught out. Southampton finally get the ball and from
a corner Beattie gets a header in only to be stopped on the line by Cole. It's
hearts in mouths time.
IT'S ALL OVER! AFC retain the FA Cup, the last time this was done was in 1982
by an unknown team. . .
Southampton fans should not be too disappointed - their team didn't let them
A tense final in which unlikely players rose to the occasion. Luzhny rose
above all others to produce his best performance in an AFC shirt and for many
Gooners the man of the match.
Ifs buts and maybes AFC's name is on the trophy after sweeping aside Chelsea
and Man U there was only going to be one winner.
73,726 in attendance and 73,726 of them see Seaman and Vieira lift the trophy
the ninth time in AFC's history. Credit to the Southampton fans who stayed to
Small consolation for giving the premiership to Man U but there is nothing
quite like winning the FA Cup.