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Liverpool overcome worst start for 47 yrs to win FA Cup

Written by: Staff
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CARDIFF, May 13 (Reuters) Liverpool emerged as the winners of an incredible FA Cup final today despite making the worst start of any team in the final for 47 years.

In 1959 Nottingham Forest raced into a 2-0 lead against Luton Town inside 14 minutes with goals from Roy Dwight -- the uncle of pop star Elton John -- and centre-forward Tommy Wilson and went on to win the match 2-1, although Dwight ended it in hospital after breaking his leg later in the game.

West Ham were 2-0 up after 28 minutes today with an own goal from Jamie Carragher -- the first in the final since 1991 - and one from striker Dean Ashton.

Liverpool fought back to level early in the second half with goals from Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard.

The last team to lose a 2-0 lead in the FA Cup final were Arsenal in 1979 who allowed Manchester United to come back to 2-2 in the last five minutes, only to win 3-2 with a last minute goal from Alan Sunderland.

No team had come from 2-0 down to win the Cup since Everton beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in 1966 -- so with the match evenly balanced and history beckoning, it looked like it was going West Ham's way when Paul Konchesky made it 3-2 after 64 minutes.

However, as they proved last season when they came from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and win the Champions League final on penalties, Liverpool never know when they are beaten.

With the clock ticking into stoppage time, captain Gerrard blasted home his second goal of the afternoon to make it 3-3 and take the game into extra time.

Gerrard then found himself chasing history as the first man since Stan Mortensen in 1953 to score a Cup final hat-trick -- and only the fourth man to do so since the first final in 1872.

He did get a third goal but it was in the penalty shootout which does not count as a hat-trick. Likewise West Ham substitute Teddy Sheringham missed out on a place in the record books -- although he earned himself a footnote.

When he came on as an 85th minute substitute he became, at 40 years and almost six weeks, the oldest player in the final since 1946 -- and the third oldest in history. If he had scored in the match he would have become the oldest scorer in history, but although he lashed home his penalty in the shoot-out, that too does not count towards the scoring records.

Liverpool, who won the first FA Cup final played in Cardiff in 2001 when they also came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1, went on to win what will almost certainly be last there with the showpiece event due to return to a rebuilt Wembley next season.

Liverpool's seventh FA Cup triumph was sealed by the second successive penalty shootout out in the final following Arsenal's success following a 0-0 draw with Manchester United last year.

It was also the highest scoring final since the 3-3 draw between Manchester United and Crystal Palace in 1990. West Ham's manager Alan Pardew was in the Palace side that afternoon and the one that lost the replay 1-0 the following week.

He repeated his own unwanted little piece of history today by losing again, while Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez created his by becoming the first Spanish manager of an FA Cup winning team.

REUTERS PG PM0043

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