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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

Giant Killers


1950 - 1952

Hull City 2-0 Everton

Third Round: Saturday January 6th 1951

Attendance: 36,465

Scorers: Raich Carter {53}, Syd Gerrie {?}

Ranked at the time: 222

Raich Carter holds the distinction of being the only person to win the FA cup either side of World War Two. At Sunderland he was a key figure in the side that followed up their 1936 title win with the cup the following year. After losing the best years of his career to the war, Carter returned to win the cup again with Derby in 1946. Neither he nor they were of the class of Carter and Sunderland pre-war and it was no surprise when he dropped down the divisions to join Hull. These were exciting times for the Tigers, having just opened their much delayed new stadium at Boothferry Park. With Carter in the team they won promotion to the Second Division before he himself took charge of the team as player manager for the new season. Carter convinced his former Sunderland League and cup winning team mate, Eddie Burbanks to join him at Boothferry Park as well as raiding Leicester to pull of the coup of signing their exciting young prospect, Don Revie. They appeared to be making a good fist of a promotion challenge until the wheels fell off in November when Carter got injured. The club went into the third round cup tie with Everton having failed to win any of their last seven League games but had the boost that Carter was fit again.

Few top flight clubs had struggled to adapt to post war life as much as Everton. When war was declared they were the defending League Champions. Post war, the club was constantly looking over its shoulder at the relegation battle. This season there was nobody to look over its shoulder at as the Toffees were bottom for most of the campaign Conversely to Hull, Everton suddenly found good form in December and a run of five games without defeat suggested that the club with more top flight seasons than any other were yet again showing its survival abilities. As the visiting Everton fans arrived at Boothferry Halt, newly opened to serve the stadium, they had reason to be hopeful. The Hull fans making their way to the ground would have been only too willing to remind the Toffeemen that their last cup meeting, twenty-four years earlier had seen a First Division Everton team unable to beat lower Division Hull over three games before the Tigers won the tie in extra time.

It was bang out of form Hull who went in at half time feeling unlucky not to be beating bang in form Everton as Ted Sagar did well to keep out efforts from Gerrie, Ackerman and Carter. In the second half the Tigers ensured they were more clinical and Carter led from the front, lashing in a fine opportunist’s drive after fifty-three minutes. The tie was settled when Syd Gerrie, a relatively new arrival from Dundee, put the game beyond the visitors. Hull looked to be on course for a good cup run after sending Third Division Rotherham packing in round four only to then fall foul of an upset themselves in round five at Third Division Bristol Rovers.

The Tigers never recovered from their poor pre-Christmas form but as they prepared for their next season in Division Two one of their four new opponents would be freshly relegated Everton.

Hull: 1:Joe Robinson, 2:Wilf Hassall, 3:Viggo Jensen, 4:Don Revie, 5:Tom Berry, 6:Bill Harris, 7:Ken Harrison, 8:Riach Carter {player-manager}, 9:Alf Ackerman, 10:Syd Gerrie, 11:Eddie Burbanks

Everton: 1:Ted Sagar, 2:Eric Moore, 3:George Rankin, 4:Jackie Grant, 5:Tommy E Jones, 6:Peter Farrell, 7:Wally Fielding, 8:Oscar Hold, 9:James McIntosh, 10:Harold Potts, 11:Tommy Eglinton - Manager:Cliff Britton

Leeds United 1-0 Middlesbrough

Third Round: Saturday January 6th 1951

Attendance: 45,483

Scorer: Len Browning

Ranked at the time: 32

The biggest crowd of the season gathered at Elland Road to see a battle between a side the home fans had hoped would be pushing for promotion to the First Division and a team few had expected would be battling for the title. Leeds expected to kick on from a creditable fifth placed finish last season to make a bid for First Division status but erratic form that saw regular runs of games without a win left them in the lower half of the table. 'Boro by contrast were flying. Fifteen games without defeat saw them top the First Division on Christmas Day with manager, David Jack threatening to bring the kind of success he had enjoyed as a player at both Bolton and Arsenal to Ayresome Park. 'Boro had been knocked off the top of the table with defeat at Arsenal after Christmas but their fans still felt strongly that this could be the year the club would win its first major honour. Any trip to a Second Division side in the cup is a tough one but the prospect of seeing Leeds' star centre half, John Charles take on 'Boro talisman, Wilf Mannion was mouth watering. The celebrations in the Old Peacock pub went on long after Len Browning's goal put paid to the First Division men who struggled in the remainder of the season to a hugely disappointing sixth placed finish. Leeds looked to have found a bit of form when they travelled to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in round four. Unfortunately the Reds too were starting to hit form and they also worked out that Leeds were not very good at defending corners. The game was over by half time with the men from Manchester four goals to the good having three times taken advantage of Leeds from the dead ball line.

Leeds: 1:Harold Searson, 2:Jimmy Dunn, 3:Jim Milburn, 4:Jim McCabe, 5:John Charles, 6:Tom Burden, 7:Peter Harrison, 8:George Miller, 9:Len Browning, 10:Frank Dudley, 11:Harold Williams

Middlesbrough: 1:Rolando Ugolini, 2:Dicky Robinson, 3:Ronnie Dicks, 4:Harry Bell, 5:Billy Whitaker, 6:Jimmy Gordon, 7:Lindy Delapenha, 8:Wilf Mannion, 9:Johnny Spuhler, 10:Alex McCrae, 11:Geoff Walker

Luton Town 2-0 Portsmouth

Third Round: Saturday January 6th 1951

Attendance: 21,631

Scorers: Willie Havenga, Willie Davie

Ranked at the time: 96

Few would have been tipping this one to go down among the giant killings of 1951 after an opening fifteen minutes in which Pompey could easily have been three or four goals to the good. Five coaches and two trains brought a strong fan base in support of the League Champions and they were loving every minute of it. Then Willie Havenga scored for Luton with virtually their first foray into the Portsmouth half. The age old curse of the big team in the cup had struck and Pompey were being made to pay for their wastefulness. Kenilworth Road's glue-pot pitch suited Luton better once they got over their early nerves and by the time Willie Davie doubled their lead, the Second Division strugglers were well on top. A late rally by Pompey failed to set up a grandstand finish or take away from a performance dubbed its worst for two years by their disappointed fans. Portsmouth gave their fans some scant consolation by rekindling something resembling its title winning form, though this season it was only good enough for seventh. Luton meanwhile undid all its great work by losing at home to Third Division Bristol Rovers in round four before staving off relegation by just two points. It would mark the start of a great decade in club's history, first as giant killer, then giant, which in turn laid them open to be giant slain and ultimately, cup finalists.

Town: 1:Bernard Streten, 2:Harry Cooke, 3:Tom 'Bud' Aherne, 4:Bob Morton, 5:Syd Owen, 6:Charlie Watkins, 7:Alec Glover, 8:Wally Shanks, 9:George Stobbart, 10:Willie Davie, 11:Willie Havenga

Portsmouth: 1:Maurice Leather, 2:Jimmy Stephen, 3:Phil Rookes, 4:Jimmy Scoular, 5:Reg Flewin, 6:Jimmy Dickinson, 7:Peter Harris, 8:Terry Ryder, 9:Douggie Reid, 10:Len Philips, 11:Jack Froggatt 

Norwich City 3-1 Liverpool

Third Round: Saturday January 6th 1951

Attendance: 34,693

Scorers: {Norwich} Tom Docherty {63, 80}, Noel Kinsey {76}: {Liverpool} Jack Balmer {87}

Ranked at the time: 130

{image left: Jimmy Payne [no 7] finds the Norwich defence too good this time - © Mirrorpix}    

It can happen to anyone once, twice is unfortunate but when a supposedly lesser team dumps you out of the cup three times you have to start questioning just who the lesser team are. It was forty-two years since the Canaries inflicted Liverpool's only home cup defeat by non-League opponents in the Twentieth Century. Many Liverpool fans remembered it when they travelled to Norfolk twenty-eight years later and watched in horror as the tie was settled in Norwich's favour with the game barely five minutes old. Now the reds were last season's beaten cup finalists and so knew how to fight their way to Wembley. Norwich would surely be put in its place this time. The Canaries were in great form however and sat proudly atop Division Three South and were dreaming of a return to the Second Division status they lost in the final season before the war. Both sides fought out a stalemate first half before Tom Docherty, not the one who later managed Chelsea, broke the deadlock just after the hour mark. The elder ranks of the travelling support gave each other that look that said "Surely not again?" Oh yes, again. Noel Kinsey put the Canaries in a commanding position before Docherty's second of the game, ten minutes from time replicated the result from fourteen years earlier. Jack Balmer's consolation late in the game did little to remove the sting. It was the first time a team had inflicted three cup upsets on the same opponent and it also explained why the elderly Liverpool fans of the latter part of the Twentieth Century had an inexplicable feeling of doom when playing Norwich in the Red's glory days. A routine fourth round win at Newport took Norwich to the bank of England club, Sunderland in round five. Roker Park was shrouded in mist when an unfortunate Ken Nethercott fumble gifted the home side an opening goal in a 3-1 victory. There would be more heartbreak for the Canaries before the end of the season, missing out on promotion to Nottingham Forest.

City: 1:Ken Nethercott, 2:John Duffy, 3:Bill Lewis, 4:Don Pickwick, 5:Reg Foulkes, 6:Ron Ashman, 7:Johnny Gavin, 8:Noel Kinsey, 9:Roy Hollis, 10:Les Eyre, 11:Tom Docherty

Liverpool: 1:Russell Crossley, 2:Roy Lambert, 3:Eddie Spicer, 4:John Heydon, 5:Bill Jones, 6:Bob Paisley, 7:Jimmy Payne, 8:Jack Balmer, 9:Albert Stubbins, 10:Cyril Done, 11:Billy Liddell

Derby County 1-3 Birmingham City

Third Round: Saturday January 27th 1951

Attendance: 37,384

Scorers: {County} Jack Lee : {City} Cyril Trigg, Bill Smith, Jackie Stewart

Ranked at the time: 199

County: 1:Harry Brown, 2:Bert Mozley, 3:Jackie Parr, 4:Tim Ward, 5:Ken Oliver, 6:Walter 'Chick' Musson, 7:Johnny Morris, 8:Jackie Stamps, 9:Jack Lee, 10:Tommy Powell, 11:Hugh McLaren

City: 1:Gil Merrick, 2:Jack Badham, 3:Roy Martin, 4:Len Boyd, 5:Arthur Atkins, 6:Ray Ferris, 7:Jackie Stewart, 8:Jimmy Higgins, 9:Cyril Trigg, 10:Bill Smith, 11:Johnny Berry

Birmingham City 1-0 Manchester United

Quarter Final: Saturday February 24th 1951

Attendance: 50,000

Scorer: Jimmy Higgins {20 seconds}

Ranked at the time: 237

In the last two years Birmingham fans had watched on as their side fell foul of Giant Killing, suffering the tougher fate of relegation in 1950. And yet now, as a promotion chasing Second Division club, they found the strength to mount its greatest cup run to that time. Mid table First Division Derby County were considered one of the toughest cup sides in the land at the time and ran out in front of a record crowd for the Baseball Ground. Birmingham put in one of its best performances of the season in securing a fully deserved clear victory. A mundane fifth round tie against Bristol City followed to set up a quarter final against Matt Busby's exciting Manchester United side. The Reds had sent cup holders Arsenal packing in the previous round but they were not yet the babes for which the club would become famed in this decade. Actually it was Birmingham who were the youthful side and St Andrew's rocked inside twenty-five seconds when Jimmy Higgins scored a spectacular goal from the edge of the penalty area. Birmingham had several chances to settle its fan's nerves but a second goal wouldn't come and the fear that a side of United's quality would find an equaliser hung over the stadium right up to the final whistle. Birmingham were paired with the great Blackpool team of Stan Matthews and Stan Mortensen and co in the semi finals and came agonisingly close to booking their place at Wembley. Having done all they could to keep Blackpool's forward line at bay, Jackie Stewart almost snatched victory when his effort struck a post with two minutes remaining. The replay was a similar story but this time Blackpool did find the net and could easily have been five or six to the good by the time they finally scored their second. Within a minute Bill Smith scored from Johnny Berry's corner and the closing quarter of the game saw Birmingham pressing hard for an equaliser that didn't come. Having come so close to the cup final, promotion back to the First Division would have proved a perfect consolation but a poor Christmas cost the Blues dearly and it fell three points short. There would be more giant killing for City next season but without Johnny Berry. The luck of an F A cup draw brought him to the attention of Matt Busby and at the end of the season his services were secured as part of three League title winning sides. His experience would be vital in the building of the great Busby Babes that so tragically was lost to a Munich airfield. Berry was the most seriously injured of those fortunate enough to survive a disaster he may never have been involved in but for a great cup tie performance seven years earlier.

City: 1:Gil Merrick, 2:Jack Badham, 3:Ken Green, 4:Len Boyd, 5:Arthur Atkins, 6:Ray Ferris, 7:Jackie Stewart, 8:Jimmy Higgins, 9:Cyril Trigg, 10:Bill Smith, 11:Johnny Berry. {Manager-Bob Brocklebank}

United: 1:Reg Allen, 2:Tommy McNulty, 3:Johnny Carey, 4:Don Gibson, 5:Allenby Chilton, 6:Henry Cockburn, 7:Cliff Birkett, 8:Stan Pearson, 9:John Aston, 10:Brian Birch, 11:Jack Rowley {Manager-Matt Busby