Saturday, March 14, 1987

Watford travelled to Highbury to face Arsenal, then third in the first division, in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

The corresponding league encounter had seen Watford goalkeeper Tony Coton dismissed as the home side won 3-1. That day's referee Brian Stevens was again chosen to preside over a match that is remembered as fondly as any in Graham Taylor's reign.

A rare John McClelland error gave Ian Allinson the opportunity to give the home side the lead but Luther Blissett equalised before half-time with his 164th for the Hornets, a goal that broke Tommy Barnett's club goalscoring record.

David Bardsley's cross was headed in by John Barnes to give the Hornets the lead early in the second period.

In the closing minutes a challenge between Steve Sims and Arsenal striker Niall Quinn in the Watford penalty area caused the linesman to flag. As Arsenal players protested, referee Stevens allowed play to progress and Blissett, who had played to the whistle, escaped into the Arsenal half leaving Tony Adams in his wake to score Watford's third from a rebound having hit his first shot into keeper John Lukic. His goal provoked bedlam, but confirmed the Hornets' semi-final place.

Reproduced by kind permission of Matt Rowson from his book, Watford FC On This Day