Why Robins sparks FA Cup memories

Wednesday 28 February 2024 09:22

Mark Robins is, of course, bidding to win the Emirates FA Cup as a player and manager, as his Coventry City side were the first team to book a place in the 2023/24 quarter-finals.

The Sky Blues crushed non-league Maidstone United's dreams with a 5-0 victory on Monday night, and now await Wednesday night's last-eight draw.

Robins will always be remembered for his time at Manchester United, with his most famous goal coming against our next opponents, Nottingham Forest, back in 1990.

The homegrown striker managed to hold off the considerable physical presence of Stuart Pearce to nod home Mark Hughes's sublime pass, as the Reds successfully negotiated the most tricky of third-round ties away to Brian Clough's men.

Mark Robins heads himself into United folklore with this predatory finish in 1990.

Forest were, unusually, back-to-back opponents for United in the competition as, in the previous year's edition, we lost in controversial fashion to Garry Parker's winner, from a Franz Carr cross, at Old Trafford.

The quarter-final exit was a painful one, as the Reds felt a Brian McClair effort had crossed the line to equalise, only for referee Brian Hill to rule otherwise, from an admittedly great vantage position.

The defeat maintained a poor run against Forest in the FA Cup, stretching a winless run to five games (one draw, four defeats), with United failing to score in each of those outings across the years.

Thankfully, Robins's goal ended the hoodoo and sparked a run that would bring Alex Ferguson his first trophy at the club.

The centre-forward also scored the winner in the semi-final replay, against Oldham Athletic, and was key to landing the silverware, even if fellow youth-team product Lee Martin bagged the only goal of the final replay, against Crystal Palace.

We've not met Forest since in the FA Cup, so it's been a 34-year wait after meeting them twice in succession in 1989 and 1990.

However, the sides did compete for a place in last season's Carabao Cup final, as Erik ten Hag's men won 5-0 on aggregate, with the 3-0 away win in the first leg a particularly impressive performance.