On this day in 1957, Aston Villa won the FA Cup for the first time in 37 years, beating Manchester United in controversial circumstances. The Villans won 2-1 in front of 99,225 supporters at Wembley, collecting a record seventh FA Cup, but it wasn’t without drama.
Villa reached the final after beating Luton Town 2-0 in the third-round replay, beating Middlesbrough 3-2 in the fourth round, beating Bristol City 2-1 in the fifth round, beating Burnley 2-0 in the quarter-final and beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0 in the semi-final.
Eric Houghton started Nigel Sims, Stan Lynn, Peter Aldis, Stan Crowther, Jimmy Dugdale, Pat Saward, Les Smith, Jackie Sewell, Bill Myerscough, Johnny Dixon and Peter McParland against United, and it was McParland’s brace who helped Villa put the Red Devils to the sword.
He broke the deadlock in the 68th minute but broke the cheekbone of United’s goalkeeper Roy Wood earlier in the match from a collision which resulted in the shot-stopper having to play outfield while a defender went in goal. There were no substitutes at the time, so United were effectively playing with 10-men.
McParland would be the victim of hate mail following the win.