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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 76

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Preston North End

First round 2nd replay

Monday 20th January 1908

Stamford Bridge, London

Attendance: 26,000

Scorer: Dick Wombwell

Ben Hur, starring Herman Rottger and William S Hart was showing in the cinema, Ada Jones had huge hit record with All you get from the ice man is ice, the Liberal, Henry Campbell-Bannerman was Prime Minister and Ernest Shackleton set off on his Nimrod expedition to the South Pole.

There are many traditions within the FA cup that have been lost down the years and one that is mourned more than most by fans is the good old fashioned marathon ties that used to be a feature of twentieth century cup football.

Back in the days before the penalty shoot-out was introduced to settle replays, cup ties would go on as long as was needed to find a result, with second replays common and third and fourth replays not unheard of. That said the belief with minnows in the cup has always been that there is only one real bite at the cherry and if a giant survives a scare in the first game they usually emerge victorious in the replay.

The tie between Brighton and Hove Albion of the Southern League and Preston North End of the First division is a good old fashioned marathon, needing three attempts to be settled but Brighton bucked the one bite at the cherry trend.

In fact it was Preston, on both occasions that were grateful for another try having first journeyed to the Goldstone Ground on first round day and been just four minutes away from defeat when John Winchester?s free kick levelled to force a replay at Deepdale. The replay came the following Thursday but yet again it was Brighton who struck first only to be pegged back with ten minutes remaining through Dickie Bond?s goal to force extra time. Both Brighton?s goals had come from Jack Hall and he again put his side in front for the third time in the tie during the extra half hour and were just eight minutes away from progressing to a second round tie with Liverpool when the referee blew for time, abandoning the game due to fading light, much to the surprise and delight of the thousands of home fans who had been glumly watching their side meekly sliding out of the cup. Ultimately neither side were happy with the decision as Brighton had been leading while for Preston the fact that the game had been abandoned in extra time meant that the rematch would be officially classed as a second replay and thus be played at a neutral venue, adding to their fixture list and robbing them of home advantage. Nevertheless the two sides prepared for a third tilt at success at Chelsea?s reasonably newly redeveloped Stamford Bridge ground.

In the days that followed Brighton received plenty of good will messages from fans and non fans alike. A group of casual spectators from Southport had ventured to Deepdale and wrote a song for the team.

?In the twi-twi-twilight,

Preston were beat in the twilight;

Both of the teams had to work work work,

And none of them knew the word shirk shirk shirk,

We were all there to watch them,

Just before the night,

When you scored the last goal,

In the twi-twilight.?

Sadly the tune to which this ode to Brighton?s efforts has since been lost but Albion supporters too were quick with the pen as one put forward a limerick.

Eleven who lived near the sea,

Went to Preston as proud as could be,

But the ?ref? and the weather,

Put their two heads together,

Now on Monday perhaps we Chel-sea.

The second replay was scheduled for a Monday afternoon but both Preston and Brighton had league commitments to take care of forty-eight hours before and even in this luck seemed to be in favour of Brighton for while their game at Southampton ended after ten fog bound minutes, Preston played out a five goal thriller against Sunderland before making the trip to London on Sunday.

Brighton set off on match day, with several hundred of their fans in tow, by train and came out onto the field at Stamford Bridge in front of a crowd consisting mostly of curious Londoners. Manager Frank Scott-Walford, a former amateur keeper at Tottenham, was able to name the same team as from the previous two games, which included in their ranks five players with experience at the highest level. Former Derby and Manchester United forward Dicky Wombwell was the star of the side and was joined on the field by the veterans Dicky Joynes and Arthur Archer, formerly of Notts County and Small Heath respectively. Goal scoring hero Jack Hall had made over fifty appearances for Stoke while Walter Anthony had been a fringe player at Nottingham Forest.

Against Scott-Walford?s side was a Preston team living in the shadow of the former glories of their great side twenty years earlier and were nervously looking over their shoulder at the relegation battle, making the hard fought victory over Sunderland all the more valuable, but crucially tiring in the build up to the cup tie. Goalkeeper Peter McBride was Scotland?s first choice while Dicky Bond was the crowd favourite and England international and the side would be strengthened further by the return from injury of another England international, Arthur Lockett, replacing first match scorer Winchester.

Twenty thousand fans had taken their place in the ground as Brighton, in blue and Preston, in their familiar white took the field on a spring like sunny day with many well known Brighton, Hove and Worthing dignitaries having made the journey north including the major of Worthing and the M.P. for the area.

The early stages of the game failed to live up to the blood and thunder cup tie stuff which had been served up the previous week at Deepdale and for neutrals in the ground it was tough going with neither keeper being properly tested for the best part of half an hour as Preston gradually, and not unexpectedly enjoyed the greater share of possession. Winger Charles Dawson looked like being the chief architect of Brighton?s doom with a succession of dangerously whipped in crosses that continually went begging without a white shirt getting into a position to properly test Hugh MacDonald. At the other end Dicky Joynes had looked clean through but seemingly lacked the confidence to go on and force McBride into action, instead checking his run to look for support, which allowed the Preston backs to close him down.

Other than that the remainder of the opening half hour had been a tame affair until a good cross by Anthony gave Joynes a golden chance to put the underdogs in front only for the striker to head over when it may perhaps have been easier to score. Preston?s relief was only temporary though and in the thirty-third minute Brighton took the lead in the tie for the fourth time when Archer?s punted clearance was headed on by Hall to Dicky Wombwell who meet the ball at full sprint and lashed his shot high into the Preston net with McBride only managing to drag the ball back out from behind the line as the referee signalled the goal.

Unsurprisingly the neutrals in the crowd, now rising to 25,000, joined the Brighton contingent in their celebrations and the noise increased when it became clear that it was Brighton and not Preston who looked the more likely to add to the score in the minutes after the goal as they surged forward, no longer having any fear for their rivals. Preston did indeed look completely shell shocked, despite rallying in the final five minutes of the half to force three successive corners which all came to nothing.

There was also little surprise when Preston was seen to have regrouped during the half time interval as they dominated the opening stages of the second period. To have fallen behind to a lower division side once was excusable, considering they had saved the situation, twice was worrying, three times unprofessional but four times was down right inexcusable and while there was more than one goalmouth scramble that had to be dealt with the top flight elite remained unable to force MacDonald into a meaningful save.

When Preston did next come close to equalising it was more to do with Archer losing his footing than any good play on their part but Danson?s through ball to Dawson was hit too hard for the winger to reach, trickling out harmlessly for a goal kick. Indeed this combination on the Preston left looked their only hope as time and again they got the better of Archer but couldn?t fashion the opening until, with half an hour remaining, Danson shot past the onrushing MacDonald only to see turner get back in time to clear his goal bound shot before it crossed the line.

Unfortunately for Preston there were just too many players on the field not playing to their best and as the game moved into the final ten minutes the fight gradually drained out of their tired left wing, allowing Brighton to take the upper hand. The Southern League side looked far more likely to extend their lead, though McBride remained steady in Preston?s goal to deny Wombwell during one particular dangerous goal mouth scramble while Anthony also forced a good save from a rasping drive late on. The Preston contingent, safe in the knowledge that bad light wouldn?t save them this time, began making for the exits while the neutrals agreed with the Brighton fans that justice was done when the final whistle finally signalled their passage into round two.

The scenes at Stamford Bridge were, in truth, quite tame for a cup upset as the majority of the crowd left, happy at having seen a cup upset and nothing more. The few hundred Brighton fans celebrated wildly but were swallowed up by the expanse of their surroundings. The real celebration would have to wait until the late evening back at Brighton.

By 9pm platform four of Brighton?s train station was a mass of people not seen since the East Sussex town?s soldiers had returned from fighting the Boer six years earlier. Some commentators went as far as to say the reception committee was more enthusiastic than that which had been laid out for a visit of the King himself. Certainly the numbers were in the thousands with men, women and children, many of whom had never set foot near the Goldstone ground gathered to welcome the town?s new heroes under the watchful eyes of the two local police inspectors.

As arrival time got closer the Brighton naval band prepared to fanfare the conquering heroes home while a banner near the station declared ?we beg to announce the death of Preston? to the delight of the ever increasing crowd both inside and outside the station. Buttonholes in blue and white, photos of the team and memorial cards were being handed out to anyone who wanted them as if the coastal resort were about to welcome home the cup winners while the two greys harnessed to the bus, which waited outside the station were quickly decoupled to be replaced by several young volunteers eager to pull the team into the town when they arrived.

The Brighton train arrived on no 4 platform at 10.12pm with those passengers not involved in the football game being left helplessly in their carriages as the hundreds of celebrating fans disembarked. The players however would have a much tougher time with at least one taking the opportunity to climb into the empty platform three train and out a Surrey street side exit to escape the crush. The rest though enjoyed their moment, being virtually dragged from the train to the waiting bus to start a procession up Queen?s Road past houses bedecked in blue and white with windows full of well wishers waving handkerchiefs. The balcony above the shop of a local grocer, Mr Junior was lit with two fire beacons while Mr Quick, proprietor of the Railway Hotel had put together a message in lights saying ?Bravo Albion! 1-0? with other shops and buildings doing their bit with anything blue and white used to show their pride in the team.

Amazingly the bus was dragged by the crowd all the way to Hove, dropping off players at their homes as it went before reaching its destination at Hayward?s Heath where Frank Scott-Walford delivered a speech stating the night to be the greatest in the history of Brighton and Hove football.

It was creeping towards midnight by the time the crowd finally started to make their way home and there must have been some seriously sore heads the following day as they made their way to work, it being a normal working Tuesday. For the diehard fans, players and officials of Brighton came the excitement of a second round tie at another top flight side, Liverpool where yet again the upstarts almost pulled off an upset as Jack Hall?s first half penalty at Anfield gave Brighton a lead they held until fifteen minutes from time before the Reds forced a replay back at the Goldstone Ground which they would win comfortably 3-0.

Sadly for Brighton the spring marked the break up of their team as Frank Scott-Walford was lured north to take charge of second division Leeds City, taking Dicky Joynes and Tom Morris with him while Jack Hall and Harry Kent left for first division Middlesbrough at the end of the season, though only the former managed to establish himself there, Dickie Wombwell found his way back to the top flight at Blackburn, where he was joined by Walter Anthony. The youngster, who had previously made just six appearances for Nottingham Forest went on to establish himself as a first team regular at Ewood Park where he played an integral part of their 1912 title winning side.

Brighton continued to regularly come up against top flight opposition in the years leading to the first World War, adding Oldham to their list of casualties in 1914.

Brighton & Hove Albion: 1:Hugh MacDonald, 2:Arthur Archer, 3:Turner, 4:Harry Kent, 5:Tom Morris, 6:William McDonald, 7:Dickie Joynes, 8:Jimmy Burnett, 9:Jack Hall, 10:Dicky Wombwell, 11:Walter Anthony {Manager-Frank Scott-Walford}

Preston North End: 1:Peter McBride, 2:Arthur Lockett, 3:Tommy Rodway, 4:Jimmy McLean, 5:Harry Stringfellow, 6:Billy Lyon, 7:Dickie Bond, 8:James Wilson, 9:Charles Gillibrand, 10:Herbie Danson, 11:Charles Dawson {Manager - none}