The third time would surely be the charm for Malcolm Macdonald. His Newcastle side had lost the FA Cup final 1974 to Liverpool and the League Cup final 1976 to Manchester City. Every other year Supermac made the trip to Wembley. In 1978 he had donned Arsenal colours and dragged his new club there with him, scoring in every FA Cup match leading up to the final.
To start their Cup campaign, Arsenal had ran roughshod over Sheffield United in the 3rd Round. Macdonald provided four of the five Arsenal goals on the day. Wolverhampton proved more bothersome. Again it was Macdonald to the rescue, scoring the 2:1 winner in the 90th minute. Walsall were disposed of easily enough, 4:1. Their fellow Third Division outfit Wrexham managed to pull level at 1:1, but in the end were sent home all the same, 3:2. A Macdonald brace at Stamford Bridge ensured the semi-final win over Leyton Orient, 3:0.
So familiar was Macdonald with the hallowed surroundings that, standing in the centre circle of the Wembley pitch, he was relaxed enough moments before kick-off to have a little chat and laugh with Referee Derek Nippard. Maybe he was calmed by the knowledge of Ipswich’s recent run of results. Town had only won one of their last seven league matches before the final. Arsenal would finish 13 spots ahead of their opponents in the final table. (One league match was still to be played for either side, coming on the Tuesday after the final.) Needless to say the Gunners were heavy favourites going into the match. It showed from the beginning. Continue reading