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On this day 23 years ago, Notts County found themselves playing at Wembley for the second season in a row and the fourth time in the decade when they took on Ascoli in the Anglo-Italian Cup final. Having enjoyed Wembley glory in 1990 and 1991, winning the Third Division playoff final and then its Second Division counterpart, the Magpies then fell flat in 1994 when they fell to a 1-0 loss to a Georghe Hagi-inspired Brescia. However, they would be back once again just a year later against Ascoli, who boasted Germany star Oliver Bierhoff in their ranks. In the 1995 showpiece, Notts manager Howard Kendall allowed assistant Russell Slade to lead the team out, whilst recent signings gave way to younger players, long serving players or those who hadn't previously played at Wembley. One sour note is that only 11,704 spectators turned up, around 5,500 less than for the previous season's final, perhaps due to the team's poor league form - which would ultimately culminate in relegation from the second tier - making the occasional a little too bittersweet. Notts took the lead on 12 minutes as a long throw by Andy Legg deceived the Ascoli keeper and went into the back of the net, but Tony Agana was judged to have got a faint touch on the ball and so he was credited for the goal. Ascoli, also fighting against relegation domestically and third bottom of Serie B, equalised on 32 minutes when Shaun Murphy's attempted clearance cannoned off Michael Johnson and fell to Walter Mirabelli, who had the easy task of finishing off. However, Kendall's side retook the lead and, as it turned out, scored the winner just before the break when transfer-listed forward Devon White headed home from Paul Devlin's cross. Despite the glory of winning the trophy, the celebrations were muted because Notts were back in training the very next day to prepare for a midweek league clash against fellow strugglers Bristol City, which would yield a 1-1 draw. One more Anglo-Italian Cup competition would be contested before being discontinued due to fixture congestion, with Port Vale losing to Genoa in the 1996 final. The Valiants' defeat meant that Notts were the only English team to win the trophy the four seasons that the modern version was contested, having previously been contested in on and off during the 1960s until the 1980s. Bierhoff went on to score both goals in the Euro 96 final, with Germany beating the Czech Republic 2-1, and would go on to have fruitful spells at Udinese and AC Milan before winding his career down at Monaco and Chievo Verona. Share your memories of this day on Pride of Nottingham by signing up to the website, visiting the forum and joining in the chat with hundreds of fellow Notts County fans. Fancy showcasing your brand or business on Pride of Nottingham? Click here to find out more about sponsorship and advertising opportunities with us.
Pride of Nottingham is an independent fansite devoted to Notts County, the world’s oldest league football club. Created in 2013, it has served as a source of Magpie news, features, match previews, reports, analysis and interviews for more than three years.