JOEY JONES predicted that Wrexham would score a late winner to beat Arsenal – but he only said it tongue in cheek.

It is 30 years since Wrexham caused one of the biggest upsets in the history of the FA Cup when the Reds beat the defending league champions 2-1 in a third round tie at The Racecourse.

Alan Smith gave star-studded Arsenal a deserved half-time lead but Wrexham, who finished bottom of the league the previous season and only avoided dropping into the Conference because there was no demotion, remained in the contest and equalised in the 82nd minute through Mickey Thomas’ famous free-kick.

Jones, part of the backroom staff under boss Brian Flynn, turned to assistant manager Kevin Reeves in the dug-out and said Wrexham would score the winner as they mounted an attack.

He was right, as Gordon Davies’ pass was converted by Steve Watkin for an unexpected late Wrexham winner, but Jones couldn’t believe his comment had come true.

“The main thing I can remember is that I said to Kevin when we were attacking and before the ball was played in to Steve, I nudged him and said ‘here comes the winner here’,” said Jones.

“I couldn’t believe it when it went in! I said it tongue in cheek but obviously it went in and the rest is history.”

Jones, coming to the end of his playing career, was used sparingly in his last season before hanging up his boots but was named on the substitutes bench against Arsenal because of a shortage of players.

Although he was never introduced, Jones was delighted to be part of the famous win although the 66-year-old, who is youth team ambassador at The Racecourse, would love to have played.

“We were short of players, that’s why I was on the bench,” said Jones. “I played against Winsford in the first round, players came back but we were still short.

“I was doing my coaching with Brian and Kevin for the first team, they needed somebody on the bench so it was me and James Kelly.

“The memories that day, it was just a tremendous result for the club and for the town. It was great to be involved in it. It would have been better if I had been on the pitch but we were still involved and part of it.”

Jones, Thomas and Davies were Wrexham’s most experienced players in the squad for the clash with George Graham’s Gunners which attracted a crowd of 13,343.

Watkin, from Acrefair, Gareth Owen and Waynne Phillips were products of the club’s youth programme and still making their way in the game, and Jones felt Flynn’s squad had the perfect mix of players with excellent team spirit.

“We did have a good set of lads,” said Jones. “They all fought for each other, there was no-one there who thought they were better than anybody else. Everybody was the same.

“We had a lot of young lads in the team, then you had the lads who were middle aged if you like and then you had the older players – Mickey, Gordon and myself – and we would try and help all the young lads.

“Everybody got on great and I think it was plain to see that from that result, the team went on and got promotion the following season.”