The Emirates FA Cup returns this Sunday afternoon – and with no less than a Semi-Final place at Wembley at stake, Millwall do battle at The Den with Brighton & Hove Albion of the Premier League. The Lions reach their fourth Quarter-Final in 15 years having eliminated Hull City, Everton and AFC Wimbledon; Brighton have escaped the threat of AFC Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Derby County. As we close in on a huge tie in SE16, we take a look back at the record of Brighton in the world’s oldest Cup competition.
Since their foundation in 1901, Brighton & Hove Albion have endured varied success in the FA Cup. Finalists in 1983, The Seagulls’ record in the Cup has taken both upward and downward turns down the years. Chris Hughton’s side are into their second successive Quarter-Final this season, having also reached the last eight this time last year – finally beaten at Old Trafford by runners-up Manchester United. Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry City were beaten en route during the south coast side’s run.
This weekend represents the fourth time Brighton have competed at this stage of the competition, with the club enjoying a run to the Sixth Round in 1986 – three years after their solitary Final. The Seagulls overcame the challenge of Newcastle United, Hull City and Peterborough United as they attempted to gather Cup pedigree, before being knocked out by Southampton.
Brighton have competed in a single Semi-Final, and it turned out to be a successful one as in 1983, the club reached its first ever FA Cup Final. Having again knocked out Newcastle, alongside an impressive 4-0 win over Manchester City and a remarkable 2-1 victory at Anfield over Liverpool, Brighton then overcame Norwich City by a single goal before taking on Sheffield Wednesday in the last four. At the neutral venue of Arsenal’s Highbury, Jimmy Melia’s Seagulls took home a 2-1 victory to secure a place at Wembley against Ron Atkinson’s Manchester United. The original Final panned out to a hard-fought 2-2 draw, in which Gordon Smith and Gary Stevens found the net for underdogs Brighton in a game which could have tilted either way. As was the case, the scoreline forced a replay back at Wembley five days later, which United won 4-0 to deny Albion their first major trophy.
Brighton have reached the Fifth Round a total of 12 times, eliminated in eight. Three of these appearances in the last 16 came in the space of three years between 2011 and 2014 under both Gus Poyet and Oscar Garcia.
Millwall have only met Albion in the FA Cup on two occasions, both in the 1956/57 First Round. The original tie in East Sussex resulted in a 1-1 draw, with John Shepherd on the scoresheet for The Lions. A replay two days later at The Den saw Millwall win 3-1 – Shepherd on target again before he would later join Brighton – along with a brace from Stan Anslow. The Lions went on to reach the Fifth Round that season.