Leicester Cup tie should have been a career high but it all passed in bit of daze for Evans
BURTON Albion are to take on Leicester City in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday. Colston Crawford looks back at the last time the clubs met in the competition, in January 1985, in a clash that was to earn a place in Brewers folklore.
PAUL EVANS doesn't remember as much about Burton Albion's last FA Cup clash with Leicester City as he would like to.
Evans was the goalkeeper knocked cold by a chunk of wood thrown from the Osmaston End at the Baseball Ground as the Northern Premier League Brewers took on First Division Leicester City in January 1985.
Burton, who had switched their home tie to Derby to accommodate 23,000 supporters, were holding their illustrious neighbours 1-1 when the incident happened.
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A groggy Evans, then 35, was knocked out for several minutes and spent the rest of the match in a daze as Leicester, led by the emerging striking talents of Gary Lineker and Alan Smith, scored five more goals to win the match comfortably.
It is a matter of history now that the Football Association ordered a replay, making the teams play behind closed doors at Coventry City's Highfield Road to ensure there was no financial gain from the game.
Evans can remember that match well enough, with the Brewers falling behind to a second-minute Paul Ramsey goal but holding their own for the rest of an eerily quiet encounter in which there were no further goals.
"The replay gave us a lot of satisfaction," said Evans, a solicitor.
"We felt we had done ourselves justice that time."
There was some speculation after the first match that Evans might have made a meal of the incident but, since the Brewers were level at the time, he would have had no reason to do so.
"I was totally out for a matter of minutes before Chris Stanley, the physio, brought me round," he said.
"After that, I was nauseous and dizzy – as you would feel if you were concussed, I suppose.
"The referee came into the dressing room at half-time to see how I was and I was throwing up in the loo at the time.
"But I don't think abandoning the game was ever part of his thinking."
Evans' biggest regret, not surprisingly, was the fact that a chunk of his memories of what was the biggest day of his football career are hazy.
"That was the most disappointing thing for me," he said. "The build-up to the day had been so good and we were on a real high.
"We had a very good side at the time under Neil Warnock and we were looking forward to a smashing day."
He is convinced the decision to award a replay was the right one after Lineker went on to complete a hat-trick in the 6-1 result.
"I think I must have helped put £2m on his transfer fee that day," joked Evans.
"But it was the first time the FA had ordered a replay behind closed doors and I think it was the right decision at the time.
"I don't claim that we would have beaten Leicester that day but I'm sure the score wouldn't have been the same."
Evans went on to be Warnock's assistant when the manager moved on to take Scarborough into the Football League and later assisted him at Notts County and Walsall.
Warnock (right) was the longest-serving Burton Albion manager until Nigel Clough and Evans says it was always obvious that his friend was destined to climb the managerial ladder.
"Absolutely, without a doubt," he said. "Neil is a great man-manager."