IT was one of the most memorable moments in the FA Cup’s recent history, writes James Shield.
The save which David Seaman rates as probably the finest of his career. A Gordon Banks block for the Noughties generation.
Former Sheffield United striker Paul Peschisolido, whose header was clawed away to safety by the Arsenal legend when the two teams contested an absorbing semi-final in 2003, admits he is still unable to fathom how Seaman prevented his close-range effort from crossing the line.
But, speaking on the eve of his old club’s fourth round meeting with Reading, Peschisolido was in no doubt about the tournament’s ability to excite even the most experienced of footballers.
“That run really galvanised us as a squad and as a group,” he told The Star. “We reached the last four of both major knockout competitions and also the Championship play-off final that season.
“Although it ended in a massive anti-climax because we didn’t go up, it really brought everyone in the camp together.
“There’s no doubt a good run in the cup, or even an unexpected victory, can spur you on and invigorate an entire campaign.”
Peschisolido, a contender for the vacant Canada job after cutting his managerial teeth with Burton Albion, made 97 appearances for United, including five on loan, before departing less than a year after that dramatic 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
“Neil Warnock, who was our manager at the time, left all of us in no doubt how important doing well in the cup that year was,” Peschisolido added. “I know a lot of people thought he had a different attitude towards it but actually nothing could be further from the truth behind the scenes.
“He always made us aware that we were going to be performing on a massive stage and it was a wonderful chance for us to really make a name for ourselves.”
Only a family holiday prevented Peschisolido from discovering how Seaman apparently defied the laws of gravity when the draw took place nearly three weeks ago.
“I was asked to take part with David but unfortunately I was away at the time,” Peschisolido said. “It was a real shame because I’d have loved to have asked him how he did it as we didn’t speak afterwards.
“If you look at the video, my arms were already half in the air because I honestly thought ‘that’s it, I’ve scored.’
“I still get ribbed about it now but, in all seriousness, I don’t think it was a miss. It was a save.
“And I still say Jags (Phil Jagielka) should have put the rebound in!”