Up until today the worst miss in an FA Cup final was generally agreed upon. This particular moment of infamy belonged to Gordon Smith of Brighton from the Wembley showpiece of 1983.
Brighton drew 2-2 with the Red Devils and took the final to a replay but the Seagulls could well have won in extra time of the first game. Smith who had earlier scored, was put through on goal and had a guilt-edged chance to win the famous trophy.
Radio commentator Peter Jones was so confident he coined the famous words: “And Smith must score,” which later became the name of a Brighton fanzine. But, alas Smith hit his shot straight at Gary Bailey and Brighton would lose the replay 4-0. One of the all-time great moments in the history of the FA Cup can be seen at 6.25 on this video.
In truth, compared to Salomon Kalou’s shocker this afternoon against Portsmouth, Smith would argue that he had a goalie to beat as well as a difficult angle to negotiate. The Ivorian produced a far worse effort when he managed to miss an open goal against Pompey with 26 minutes on the clock.
The fact Chelsea went on to win the FA Cup, and Kevin Prince Boateng was also guilty of an important miss in the context of the game means Kalou’s career will not be shaped by his failure to score from three yards out but it really was a shocking effort.