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Flashback: League Cup 1980

12 February 2013

On this day, 33 years ago, Swindon Town came 90 minutes away from reaching a League Cup final at Wembley for just the second time in their history.

In the 1979/80 campaign, Bob Smith guided Town to the semi-final of the League Cup, famously knocking out First Division giants Arsenal in the quarter finals.

Their reward for knocking out Arsenal was a two-legged tie against a Wolverhampton Wanderers side boasting the likes of Scotland striker Andy Gray. 

In the first match at The County Ground, 26,000 supporters crammed into the stadium to witness Town run out 2-1 winners. Andy Rowland notched after 13 minutes to give Town the lead only for the visitors to equalise before the break. It was left to Alan Mayes to net a late winner and tee up a finely-poised second leg in the Black Country.

Over 40,000 flocked to see the second leg at Molineux on Tuesday 12th February, 1980. Town appeared to make the perfect start: Billy Tucker found the net only to have his goal chalked off. John Richards and Mel Eves then both scored to put the home side ahead. Just after the hour mark, Alan Mayes was fouled by the Wolves goalkeeper Paul Bradshaw and Ray McHale despatched a penalty to level the tie at 3-3 on aggregate.

Richards scored again to break Town hearts and send Wolves through to the final. Led by former European Cup-winning Liverpool skipper Emlyn Hughes, Wolves went on to shock Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side and lift the League Cup at Wembley.

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