Columnist Graham Large takes a trip down memory lane and revisits a magical night at Molineux.
Mention Sheffield Wednesday to almost any Wolves fan and they will immediately cast their mind back to an unforgettable night at Molineux in February 1995.
The Hillsborough leg of their FA Cup fourth-round tie finished goalless with First Division Wolves surviving a late scare against their Premier League opponents, when Paul Jones saved a controversial penalty from Chris Bart-Williams in the 87th minute, to earn a replay on home soil.
The subsequent game was fairly uneventful. David Kelly headed home from a Robbie Dennison corner to put Wolves ahead after 12 minutes. But 11 minutes after the interval, Sheffield Wednesday pulled level. Gordon Cowans cleared Graham Hyde’s shot off the line, but Mark Bright forced the rebound into the net.
Following extra time, the two teams remained deadlocked and a penalty shootout was required to determine who would move on to face Leicester City in the tournament’s fifth round.
And it was one that the visitors had all but won when they raced to a 3–0 lead after Andy Thompson and Dennison both missed their spot kicks.
However, Cowans kept the home team’s hopes alive when he slotted his penalty home and, when Andy Pearce fired his penalty over the bar, there was a glimmer of hope.
Goalscorer Kelly made no mistake with his kick before Jones repeated his Hillsborough heroics by saving from Bart-Williams, and the deficit was now reduced to 3–2. Then, John De Wolf stepped up to tuck away his penalty and suddenly it was all square.
Next up for Sheffield Wednesday would be none other than Chris Waddle, who had not taken a penalty since missing his spot kick for England against Germany in the 1990 World Cup semi-final. Jones later admitted that he knew Waddle would go the opposite way to his famous miss; he did and Jones saved his kick.
So it all came down to Don Goodman, and he duly delivered in style, thumping his penalty into the roof of the net. The crowd erupted. Wolves had come back from the brink of defeat.
After the game, Wolves boss Graham Taylor commented on how Wolves were able to battle back against the odds: “It just takes one thing to change it. Once they’ve missed that first penalty doubt creeps in.”
Five years later, Wednesday exacted their revenge in another penalty shootout following 210 minutes of FA Cup fourth-round action.
Since that day in January 2000, Wolves have had the upper hand against the Yorkshiremen – winning eight of the 17 meetings, losing just once.
Their most recent win came at Hillsborough in December when substitute Leon Clarke struck a late winner to end a run of five straight defeats. Wednesday’s last win in this fixture came in a 3-1 win at Molineux in March 2006.
But it is safe to say that none of these encounters have provided anywhere near the level of excitement of that famous penalty shootout!
Graham is the editor of Wolves retro magazine Old Gold Glory follow the magazine on Twitter @OldGoldGlory.
If you have ever wondered what John De Wolf said to Chris Waddle when their paths crossed prior to Waddle missing his penalty, we will reveal all in an exclusive interview with De Wolf in an upcoming issue of Old Gold Glory to be released later this year.