Alan Young & Steve Lynex

Beating Southampton, Going In Goal & Reaching The Last-Four – Lynex's FA Cup Memories

Steve Lynex signed for Leicester City in February 1981 and his first full season at the Club involved a thrilling run to the last-four of the FA Cup.
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Ahead of City's Emirates FA Cup Semi-Final clash with Southampton on Sunday, spoke to a man who went on to make over 200 appearances for the Foxes, including appearing in all five cup fixtures that campaign.

Under the management of Jock Wallace, the journey began at Filbert Street in the third round, ironically against the Saints. The hosts ran out 3-1 winners with Alan Young's brace and a goal from Gary Lineker enough to progress into the next round.

Playing in the second tier that term following relegation, City had caused a major upset against a top-flight side who would go on to finish seventh in the First Division and secure a spot in the UEFA Cup.

After also seeing off fourth-tier Hereford 1-0, thanks to Larry May's strike, the Foxes met league rivals Watford at home in round five, registering a 2-0 victory with David O'Neil on the scoresheet.

Lynex, primarily a centre forward, alongside Lineker and Young, would play a very different role in the quarter-final. An injury to goalkeeper Mark Wallington led to the frontman briefly going between the sticks against Shrewsbury Town, before assisting the Foxes' third goal in a 5-2 win.

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Alan Young & Steve Lynex

Striker Alan Young changes into a goalkeeper kit, replacing Steve Lynex in goal, against Shrewsbury.

"Mark Wallington took a bad injury though a challenge from Chic Bates and then he came off," Lynex explained. "We sent up Alan Young, the big, hard Scotsman, 'the godfather'... he took over and went in goal.

"And then he came out for the ball, I think it was Chic Bates again who got underneath him and flipped him over and he landed on his back. He was quite badly winded so then he had to go off.

"I used to mess about a bit in training going in goal so they threw me back in and I was there for about 10 minutes. I absolutely loved it, made one good save. I told all my mates to watch it later on Match of the Day and they cut it! They didn't show it and I was gutted!

"But then we got a message off the bench from Jock saying that Al was now alright and we put the big lad back in goal. As soon as I came out, I got the ball down the wing, crossed it and Jimmy Melrose put it in the back of the net."

At the time when the semi-finals were played at a neutral venue, rather than at Wembley Stadium, Villa Park was chosen for City's tie with top-flight Tottenham Hotspur, which kicked off at the traditional time of 3pm on Saturday 3 April.

Carrying the confidence of knocking out higher-ranked opposition in previous rounds, Lynex felt the Foxes had the momentum going into the game, which was an occasion to saviour, despite the end result not going in Leicester's favour.

The build-up to it was the best part of the day because we didn't get the result, but the day itself, you have to be there to experience it and it was a cracking day.

Steve Lynex

With the scores locked at 0-0 going into the second half, Garth Crooks broke the deadlock on 57 minutes and, after Tommy Williams had to be carried off the field with a suspected broken leg, City were forced to play the rest of the tie with 10 men, having already used their one substitute.

An Ian Wilson own goal sealed the Lilywhites' spot in the final, which they won, defeating Queens Park Rangers in a replay, while it was the end of an era at Filbert Street as Wallace called time on his spell in the Leicester dugout after the conclusion of the league campaign.

"It's one of the days you'll never forget," Lynex recalled. "The build-up to it was the best part of the day because we didn't get the result, but the day itself, you have to be there to experience it and it was a cracking day.

"We were on such a high because the game prior, the Shrewsbury game... that had everything and you're running on adrenaline. We really thought we could go on and win the competition.

"We'd got into this rhythm and we were playing really well. We knew, individually, each other's games and we didn't really have a game plan in those days. You just had to go out there and out-battle your opponent and then get out on top.

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Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker alongside Ian Wilson, Alan Smith and Steve Lynex.

"And then I don't know what happened on the day but it's one of those things where it didn't gel, it didn't feel right when we got on the pitch and then the injury to Tommy Williams, who was a great player.

"We got to half-time and we were 45 minutes away from Wembley. It was frustrating because we never got into the rhythm that we had in previous rounds. At the time, Tottenham were there to beat.

"For some reason, it just didn't happen. We were battling but we weren't getting in positions to create anything."

It has taken Leicester 39 years to reach another FA Cup Semi-Final and Lynex also spoke about the current crop of players, explaining why the quarter-final victory over Manchester United was so impressive and also why he is backing them to lift the FA Cup for the first time ever.

That's my favourite thing about Leicester, the never-say-die, the collective Leicester City and I think when they are together, that is Leicester City.

Steve Lynex

He added: "It's a fantastic competition, it was one of the best growing up and I still think it is now. I'm hoping the Leicester City that played against Manchester United are the Leicester City that play against Southampton. To me, that was the perfect game.

"Everything went right at the right time, everybody knew what they were doing, everyone was fighting, everybody was chasing and, when Leicester play like that, I think they are unstoppable. Leicester need to do exactly what they did against Manchester United.

"Southampton will be hard if they let them play, but if they close them down, attack like they do, it will be Southampton who will be more worried.

"You've got your individuals but collectively, that's what I like to see and that's my favourite thing about Leicester, the never-say-die, collective effort and I think, when they are together, that is Leicester City."

Leicester City Crest

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