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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

Third round: Saturday January 10th 1931

Attendance: 16,500

Scorers: {Exeter}: Percy Varco {21}, Billy Armfield {68}, Harold Houghton {79}: {Derby}: Jack Bowers {47, 87}

Ranked at the time:21

Today: Inside the top 100

Exeter: 1:Arthur Davies, 2:Dicky Baugh, 3:Charlie Miller, 4:Nobby Clarke, 5:Jack Angus, 6:Percy Varco, 7:Billy Armfield, 8:Stan Barber, 9:George Purcell, 10:Harold Houghton, 11:Dick Doncaster

Derby: 1:Jack Kirby, 2:Tommy Cooper, 3:George Collin, 5:Jack Nicholas, 6:Freddie Jessop, 6:Gavin Malloch, 7:Sammy Crooks, 8:George Stephenson, 9:Jack Bowers, 10:Peter Ramage, 11:George Mee

Leicester City 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Third round: Saturday January 10th 1931

Attendance: 25,000

Scorers: {Leicester}: Arthur Lochhead {7}: {Brighton}: Thomas Potter-Smith {50. 55}

Ranked at the time: 59

Today: Outside the top 100

Third Division Brighton carried on from the two scalps they had taken in the 1930 competition by adding a third this year as they came from behind to beat Leicester in front of a stunned Filbert Street. The Seagulls arrived on third round day with a side containing Thomas Potter-Smith and Billy Moffatt, two men for whom the cup had been particularly cruel in the past. Potter-Smith had appeared regularly for Cardiff in the 1926/27 season but failed to figure in the Bluebird's cup run that year and watched from the stands as his team mates lifted the cup. Moffatt had been a first team regular in the late twenties for Portsmouth but lost his place in the 1928/29 season and played just once on their run to the cup final. like Potter-Smith, Moffatt watched from the sidelines, although on that occasion his team lost. There was little likelihood of a trip to Wembley while at The Goldstone Ground but the two men ensured Leicester's Wembley bid faltered in a blistering ten minute second half spell in which The Filbert's lead was wiped out with two well taken Potter-Smith goals before the home side were reduced to ten fit men late on. Brighton's hopes of a lucrative fourth round draw were dashed when they found themselves travelling to struggling Third division outfit, Watford but in typical cup tie fashion The Seagulls found themselves on the wrong end of a tie they should have won easily, going down 0-2.

Leicester: 1:Jack Beby, 2:Adam Black, 3:Jack Brown, 4:Billy Findlay, 5:George Carr, 6:George Ritchie, 7:Hugh Adcock, 8:Ernie Hine, 9:Athur Chandler, 10:Arthur Lochhead, 11:Len Barry

Brighton: 1:Stan Webb, 2:Billy Moffatt, 3:Frank Brett, 4:Reg Wilkinson, 5:Paul Mooney, 6:Harry Dutton, 7:Bobby Farrell, 8:Dan Kirkwood, 9:Geordie Nicol, 10:Thomas Potter-Smith, 11:Tug Wilson

Burnley 3-0 Manchester City

Third round: Saturday January 10th 1931

Attendance: 25,893

Scorers: Andy McCluggage {penalty}, Tommy Prest, Evan Jenkins

Ranked at the time: 151

Ten years earlier Burnley had been on their way to being crowned League Champions for the first time in their history. Now the side were coming to terms with life in the Second Division after their relegation in 1930, having largely been a victim of the terrible economic circumstances that were hitting the smaller towns of the north of England. The rising jobless figures meant smaller crowds at the gate and with the attendances at Turf Moor regularly dropping below 10,000 the Clarets simply no longer had the finances to compete. The visit of Manchester City, and the addition of the magical cup tie label was a God send as the gate doubled and the home players, nine of whom had battled manfully to try and retain their top flight status last year, didn't disappoint them. The Burnley fans had reason to be optimistic as their team had defeated City 4-2 in the corresponding League clash thirteen months earlier. This time their victory was even more emphatic and started when Andy McCluggage stepped up to coolly finish off a penalty after Barnett felled Stan Bowsher. The visitors never recovered and Tommy Prest put the Clarets in the driving seat before Evan Jenkins enjoyed his five minutes of fame at Turf Moor with the goal that wrapped up a comprehensive victory. That set up a fourth round trip to Bradford Park Avenue who, like Burnley, were a side in the right half of Division Two but lacking the extra guile for a promotion push. Park Avenue won 2-0 and proved it was no fluke the following week when the same fixture was played as a League game, which this time the home side won 4-1. Burnley's season petered out and the rest of the decade was spent in the second tier with low gates and regular fire sales to balance the books.

Burnley: 1:Herman Conway, 2:Andy McCluggage, 3:George Waterfield, 4:Jimmy Brown, 5:Peter O'Dowd, 6:Harry Storer, 7:Evan Jenkins, 8:George Beel, 9:Stan Bowsher, 10:Tommy Prest, 11:John Hall

Manchester: 1:Len Langford, 2:John Ridley, 3:Laurie Barnett, 4:Matt Busby, 5:Sam Cowan, 6:Jackie Bray, 7:Ernie Toseland, 8:Bobby Marshall, 9:Dave Halliday, 10:Fred Tilson, 11:Eric Brook

Bradford City 2-1 Middlesbrough

Third round replay: Monday January 19th 1931


Scorers: {Bradford} Aubrey Scriven, Harold Peel: {Middlesbrough} Sam Barkas {own goal}

Ranked at the time: 122

Weather conditions in the North East at the turn of 1931 were suitably miserable to ensure this was one of just two ties called off on the scheduled date. When it was played four days later it was First Division 'Boro that were grateful for the second chance, earning a replay only thanks to an awful fumble from Wattie Shirlaw. The shock to the system was minimal therefore when Second Division City finished the job at Valley Parade with only a Sam Barkas own goal giving the home fans any cause for concern. City were a side trying to recapture their pre war glory days and were emerging in the thirties as a competent Second Division club, if not one good enough to return to the elite. It was expected that their fourth round clash with a very similar Wolves side would be too close to call and so it proved in a defensively dominated scoreless draw. The replay couldn't have been more different as Bradford bowed out 2-4.

Bradford: 1:Wattie Shirlaw, 2:Charlie Bicknell, 3:Sam Barkas, 4:Bert Whitehurst, 5:Willie Summers, 6:Bobby Bauld, 7:?, 8:Charlie Moore, 9:?, 10:Harold Peel, 11:Aubrey Scriven

Middlesbrough: 1:Jimmy Mathieson, 2:Jack Jennings, 3:Tom Freeman, 4:John MacFarlane, 5:Jack Elkes, 6:Billy Forest, 7:?, 8:?, 9:George Camsell, 10:Bobby Bruce, 11:Ken Cameron

Southport 2-1 Blackpool

Fourth round: Saturday January 24th 1931

Attendance: 13,524 {record}

Scorers: {Southport}: Archie Waterston {2}: {Blackpool}: Percy Downes

Ranked at the time: 119

The Sandgrounders of Southport broke attendance and gate receipt records on a run that remains to this day their only trip to the quarter finals of the cup, in doing so also becoming the first side from the Northern section of Division three to do so. That run saw them pull off a minor cupset in round three when Second Division Millwall were beaten 3-1 but the biggest story of the run came in round four. Haig Avenue opened its doors to a record crowd for the battle of the seasiders against top flight strugglers, Blackpool but the hoped for surprise looked a very distant prospect when Percy Downes gave the visitors a half time lead. Southport battled back in the second half with a brace from Archie Waterston, a player who had turned up at Haig Avenue earlier in the season asking for a trail when Tranmere had released him. Waterston went on to become a legend at Southport and his arrival had transformed the team by the time Bradford {Park Avenue} of Division Two were downed in round five in front of yet another record gate. When The Sandgrounders avoided the three remaining top flight clubs in the quarter final draw the cup fever and speculation reached new heights as the fans speculated about possibly going on to the semi finals. The opposition was Everton who took full advantage of the nerves of Southport keeper, Billy Baker to thrash seven goals past him in forty-two minutes. The Sandgrounders went down 1-9 in the end but had broken new ground for Northern Third division football.

Southport: 1:Billy Baker, 2:Jack Little, 3:Ted Robinson, 4:Ernie Vincent, 5:George Wyness, 6:Tommy Holmes, 7:Ralph Hills, 8:Pat McConnell, 9:Archie Waterston, 10:Jimmy Cowan, 11:Joe Roberts {Manager-Jimmy Cummins}

Blackpool: 1:Horace Pearson, 2:William Grant, 3:Jack O'Donnell, 4:Louis Cardwell, 5:?, 6:?, 7:Charlie Rattray, 8:Billy Upton, 9:Jimmy Hampson, 10:Jock Lauderdale, 11:Percy Downes

Barnsley 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Fourth round: Saturday January 24th 1931

Attendance: 24,032

Scorers: {Barnsley}: Bill Harvey, Jimmy Curran: {Sheffield}: Jack Ball

Ranked at the time:10

Today: Inside the top 50

Barnsley: 1:Len Crompton, 2:Cyril Dixon, 3:Nai Richards, 4:Joe Smith, 5:George Henderson, 6:George Caddick, 7:Jimmy Curran, 8:Jimmy Proudfoot, 9:John Wallbanks, 10:Bill Harvey, 11:George Gibbs

Sheffield: 1:Jack Breedon, 2:Tommy Walker, 3:Ernie Blenkinsopp, 4:Alf Strange, 5:Tony Leach, 6:Charlie Wilson, 7:Mark Hooper, 8:Jack Ball, 9:Jack Allen, 10:Harry Burgess, 11:Ellis Rimmer

Exeter City 3-1 Leeds United

Fifth round: Saturday February 14th 1931

Attendance: 19,130

Scorers: {Exeter}: George Purcell {24}, Billy Armfield {45}, {53}: {Leeds}: Tom Mitchell {74}

Ranked at the time: 61

Today: Outside the top 100

{see link from Exeter vs Derby above}

Exeter: 1:Arthur Davies, 2:Dicky Baugh, 3:Charlie Miller, 4:Nobby Clarke, 5:Jack Angus, 6:Percy Varco, 7:Billy Armfield, 8:Stan Barber, 9:George Purcell, 10:Harold Houghton, 11:Dick Doncaster

Leeds: 1:Jimmy Potts, 2:George Milburn, 3:Jack Milburn, 4:Willis Edwards, 5;Ernie Hart, 6:Wilf Copping, 7:Bobby Turnbull, 8:Billy Furness, 9:Tom Mitchell, 10:Russell Wainscoat, 11:Tom Cochrane

Portsmouth 0-1 West Bromwich Albion

Fifth round: Saturday February 14th 1931

Attendance: 30,891

Scorer: Ginger Richardson {68}

Ranked at the time: 158

{See West Bromwich Albion vs Birmingham below}

Portsmouth:1:John Gilfillan, 2:Alex Mackie, 3:Billy Smith, 4:Jimmy Nichol, 5:Bob Kearney, 6:David Thackeray, 7:Fred Forward, 8:Jack Smith, 9:Jack Weddle, 10:Jimmy Easson, 11:Fred Cook

Albion: 1:Harold Pearson, 2:George Shaw, 3:Bert Trentham, 4:Tommy Magee, 5:Bill Richardson, 6:Jimmy Edwards, 7:Tommy Glidden, 8:Ginger Richardson, 9:Jimmy Cookson, 10:Teddy Sandford, 11:Stan Wood

Everton 5-3 Grimsby Town

Fifth round: Saturday February 14th 1931

Attendance: 65,000

Scorers: {Everton}:Jimmy Stein {17, 19}, Dixie Dean {38}, Jock Johnson {77, 80-pen}: {Grimsby}: Tim Coleman {15}, Jackie Bestall {44}, Billy Marshall {45}

Ranked at the time: 220

Everton had lost their status among the elite for the first time in 1930, despite having the backbone of the side that had won the title in 1928, largely vindicating the critics of the club who had hailed them a one man team. While Billy 'Dixie' Dean's performances were unprecedented in the history of the League it still required the rest of the team to help him on his way to the record sixty goal haul that clinched the title for an otherwise unremarkable side.Unfortunately for Everton they had become too dependant on the goals of Dean and when the top flight defences managed to silence him in 1930 Everton suffered and were relegated. It was a serious wake up call for the club and Dean's team mates had to respond to their critics. By Valentine's day Everton were romping towards the second division title and this time it was a team performance, though the return of Dean's goal touch helped. Goodison was packed to the rafters for the visit of Grimsby in the fifth round of the cup, especially as the visitors were viewed as the side whose late run of form the previous season had seen them survive in Everton's place. The game was one of the greatest played at Goodison Park but started badly for the home fans when former Evertonian, Tim Coleman gave the visitors an early lead very much against the run of play. Everton's response was swift and successful as Jimmy Stein turned the game around within five minutes with two efforts that gave Tommy Read no chance while the Grimsby defence made the mistake of concentrating solely on Dean. Having realised that Everton's entire forward line was dangerous, Grimsby began to give Dean more space and it looked to have proved fatal when the lethal striker gave the Toffees clear daylight seven minutes before the break. Then Everton seemed to hit the self destruct button so crucial in their demise the previous season when Bestall and Marshall sensationally tied the match before the break with two goals in a minute. It was breath taking stuff and the second half couldn't live up to the pace as both teams adopted a more cautious approach. Grimsby looked like a side content to have saved the tie and eager to bring it back to Blundell Park but Everton had other ideas. The loudest cheer of the day greeted Jock Johnson's goal thirteen minutes from time as the club captain was buried under a sea of delighted team mates and three minutes later Everton had the chance to put the tie beyond Grimsby when Hall upended Dean. The referee pointed to the spot and Johnson completed his brace to seal a remarkable 5-3 victory. Despite being in Division Two, Everton found themselves installed as favourites to win the cup when the quarter final draw was made. The Toffees faced third division Southport and coasted into the semi final with a devastating 9-1 victory, which enhanced the public's belief that they would complete a unique double of cup and promotion , especially when the two remaining top flight sides were avoided in the draw. Everton's opposition was promotion chasing West Bromwich Albion whom they had already done a league double over that season but the Toffees failed to convert a host of first half chances and their cup dreams died when Coggins was deceived by a long ball which sailed over his head into the net. The Toffees still won their division, despite a late stumble when promotion was already assured and followed up by becoming the first team ever to be crowned champions a season after promotion.

Everton: 1:Billy Coggins, 2:Ben Williams, 3:Warney Cresswell, 4:Joe McClure, 5:Charlie Gee, 6:Jock Thompson, 7:Ted Critchley, 8:Jimmy Dunn, 9:Dixie Dean, 10:Tommy Johnson, 11:Jimmy Stein

Grimsby: 1:Tommy Read, 2:?, 3:Hughie Jacobson, 4:Alec Hall, 5:?, 6:Teddy Buck, 7:Jack Prior, 8:Jackie Bestall,9:Tim Coleman, 10:?, 11:Billy Marshall

West Bromwich Albion 2-1


The 1931 F A Cup Final

Saturday 25th April 1931

@ Wembley Stadium, London

Attendance 92,406

Scorers: {West}: W.G. Richardson {25, 58}: {Birmingham}: Joe Bradford {57}

Ranked at the time: 88

Even as early as the Monday after the fourth round the respected football writer and broadcaster, George Allison speculated on the prospects of the cup travelling outside the top flight. True, the three main title contenders, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday were all out of the competition but there were still plenty of decent top flight clubs left, most notably Portsmouth. Pompey had lost the final two years earlier and hopes were high when drawn to face promotion chasing West Bromwich Albion in round five.The Baggie had so far seen off promotion rivals, Tottenham after a marathon all second division third round tie against Charlton before causing their first cupset of the competition. Midway through the second half David Thackeray made a hash of a routine clearance and gave away a needless corner, which was punished by Ginger Richardson. When the quarter final draw kept Albion apart from the three remaining top flight clubs cup fever really gripped the locals, especially when paired to face local second division rivals, Wolves. The Baggies needed a replay to book their semi final spot and a golden chance at Wembley when, yet again, they avoided the two remaining top flight sides and were paired with runaway second division leaders, Everton. The Toffeemen were hot favourites despite Albion being their nearest, albeit distant promotion rivals but it was Albion's day when Tommy Glidden's cross deceived the opposition keeper and booked the Baggie's first trip to Wembley. Albion's first cup final for almost twenty years was made all the more exciting when their fans returned to the West Midlands to find their Wembley opponents would be local rivals, Birmingham City who, despite their top flight status, were not considered huge favourites to lift the cup. The game turned on two defining moments, the first a controversial decision to disallow Bob Gregg's sixth minute headed goal for Birmingham, wrongly for offside and while the Birmingham players were to be commended for taking the decision on the chin it clearly upset them and Albion went on to dominate, taking the lead midway through the half when Richardson fired home after the Birmingham defence failed to clear. Albion continued to dominate in the second period but poor finishing and good keeping from Harry Hibbs kept Birmingham in the tie and when Joe Bradford had a chance right in front of goal he fired well past Harold Pearson to level. If any Albion fans thought that they were going to pay for not taking their chances their fears lasted exactly ten seconds before they were erased in a bizarre piece of play and the second defining moment of the game. The Baggies kicked off and began racing towards the Birmingham goal but the sea of blue shirts they were faced with seemed incapable of putting in a tackle. Joe Carter took the ball into the penalty area before a Birmingham toe finally dispossessed him and rolled towards George Liddle who horribly sliced the ball past his own keeper and straight into the path of Richardson who tapped the ball in from a yard out. The stuffing was knocked out of Birmingham and Albion always looked the more likely to score again in the half hour that remained before being declared deserving cup winners. With the cup safely won the players were able to enjoy a celebration dinner before hitting the bright lights of London town with their wives and girlfriends. Promotion followed two weeks later, making Albion the only side ever to win the cup and gain promotion in the same season while Tommy Magee carved himself a piece of unique history within the club as the only Baggie to win both the games major honours while at The Hawthorns, being the only survivor of their 1920 title winning side. Albion adapted well to life back in the top flight and it was a measure of how settled Fred Evariss' side was that nine of the 1931 side returned four years later to face Sheffield Wednesday in the cup final, this time coming out on the wrong end of a 2-4 defeat.

West: 1:Harold Pearson, 2:George Shaw, 3:Bert Trentham, 4:Tommy Magee, 5:Bill Richardson, 6:Jimmy Edwards, 7:Tommy Glidden, 8:Joe Carter, 9:Ginger Richardson, 10:Teddy Sandford, 11:Stan Wood

Birmingham: 1:Harry Hibbs, 2:George Liddell, 3:Ned Barkas, 4:Jimmy Cringan, 5:George Morrall, 6:Alec Leslie, 7:George Briggs, 8:Johnny Crosbie, 9:Joe Bradford, 10:Bob Gregg, 11:Ernie Curtis