Four days after reaching the League Cup final with a semi-final win over Swindon, Wolves had to face Watford in the FA Cup.
The Hornets had narrowly escaped an upset in the previous round, when they trailed non-league Harlow Town then survived a gutsy fightback before scraping through 4-3.
Watford’s survival in the Second Division was by no means assured but when they went to Molineux but on the day they looked more like a First Division team than Wolves did.
They utterly dominated the match, although they didn’t score their first goal until 15 minutes from the end.
John Barnwell, the Wolves manager, said his players were tired after their League Cup exploits but the simple fact was that they were outclassed.
Ian Bolton and Steve Sims tucked the Wolves strikers David Richards and Andy Gray (yes, that Andy Gray) neatly in their back pockets for the duration of the match. Barnwell’s snarky comment that ‘Ian Bolton looked like a world-class player, which we know he is not,’ was nothing more than sour grapes.
It may have been a cup tie but this victory was as important to Watford’s rise through the divisions as any other. The way they played was proof that they could outplay top flight teams.
In midfield, Martin Patching, playing against his old team, was inspired. Up front, Ross Jenkins and Malcolm Poskett were too physical and too mobile for the former Liverpool and England defender Emlyn Hughes. However, it took Watford a long while to break through.
Wolves brought on John McAlle to rough Sims and Bolton up a bit but the ploy backfired. An awful lunging tackle on Sims left McAlle with a broken leg. Having used their substitute, Wolves had to play the final part of the game with ten men.
When Watford finally made their deserved breakthrough, the floodgates opened. Poskett scored twice in five minutes, then Blissett added the third before the end.
After Poskett grabbed the second, Graham Taylor left the bench and watched the final ten minutes with the fans on the terrace, something he liked to do when the outcome was no longer in doubt so he could see a bit of the game from another perspective.
Watford added another First Division name to their growing list of scalps although they were to come up short against Arsenal in the quarter-finals, losing 2-1 at Vicarage Road.
Watford Steele, Henderson, Harrison, Patching, Sims, Bolton, Train, Poskett, Jenkins, Blissett, Rostron
Manager Graham Taylor
Scorers Poskett 75, 79, Blissett 85
Why was this match chosen? A comprehensive FA Cup win against First Division opposition speaks for itself.
How do I feel about this game's inclusion now? Watford established themselves as a brilliant cup team in the late 1970s and 1980s and it was results like this that made them one of the most feared sides when it came to drawing the balls out of the velvet bag.