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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

Giant Killers


1953 - 1955

Sunderland 0-2 Doncaster Rovers

Third Round: Saturday January 9th 1954

Attendance: 49,435

Scorers: Eddie McMorran {18, 31}

Ranked at the time: Outside the top 100

This tie had the potential to act as an audition for Doncaster to see if they would be a worthy replacement for Sunderland in next season's top flight. For the Rokerites, their position in the relegation zone of First Division was a shocking indictment that a policy of trying to buy their way to success was failing. The club had been dubbed the Bank of England on the back of a string of headline making transfers, twice breaking the record in their pursuit of building a trophy winning side around star man, Len Shackleton. Instead they struggled at the wrong end of the division and regularly fell foul of cup upsets. Memories of a horrible day at Yeovil were still fresh for these fans.

Doncaster were in stark contrast to their rich hosts. Under former Sunderland hero, Peter Doherty, they'd gone from yo yo second to third tier club to a side making a genuine promotion push at the turn of 1954. They arrived at Doherty's old stomping ground just a point off the top two in one of the tightest promotion races for years and with recently fresh giant killing memories of their own. It was just two years since their only lowering of top flight colours, also at the expense of a north east club, Middlesbrough.

In addition to his duties in charge at Doncaster, Doherty was also in charge of the Northern Ireland national team, which introduced him to Eddie McMorran, an Irish cup winner with Belfast Celtic before a lucrative move to Manchester City proved disappointing. McMorran dropped a division to Leeds but yet again failed to deliver enough goals to satisfy Elland Road before Doherty brought him to Doncaster.

Snow fell for most of the week leading up to the tie but heavy rains cleared most of the nation's pitches in time to turn them into the quagmires that typified the idea of 50s cup tie Football. Roker park was no different and as soon as the referee was satisfied that the chances of any player drowning in the mud was minimal, the game went ahead.

A colour clash of the two club's traditional red and white stripes meant both teams changed kit as Sunderland emerged in Preston North End style white while Donny resembled Sheffield Wednesday in their blue and white stripes. On a virtually unplayable pitch, quality Football was at a premium and most players opted to keep the ball in the air as much as possible and keep lung bursting runs to a minimum. Both sides struggled to carve out chances until McMorran rose to head the visitors in front. A second goal on the half hour signalled that the cup wasn't going to provide the beleaguered home fans with any comfort from their League woes this season. The bus loads of fans who travelled from Doncaster, by contrast, enjoyed a fantastic away day.

Sunderland's relegation fears would persist until two victories at the end of the season ensured survival while Doncaster's season would ultimately prove very anticlimactic. They repeated their third round result at fellow Second Divisioners, Plymouth before a very disappointing defeat at Third Division Leyton Orient ended what was looking like developing into an exciting cup run. League form also fell away with a disastrous run of games in February and March that killed off their promotion bid.

Sunderland: 1:Jimmy Cowan, 2:Jack Hedley, 3:Arthur Hudgell, 4:Stan Anderson, 5:Ray Daniel, 6:George Aitken, 7:Billy Bingham, 8:Len Shackleton, 9:Tommy Wright, 10:Harry Kirtley, 11:Billy Elliott. Manager:Bill Murray

Doncaster: 1:Ken Hardwick, 2:Brian Makepeace, 3:Len Graham, 4:Tommy Brown, 5:Bill Paterson, 6:Jack Teasdale, 7:Bert Tindale, 8:Kit Lawlor, 9:Ray Harrison, 10:Eddie McMorran, 11:Ronnie Walker. Manager:Peter Doherty

West Ham United 4-0 Huddersfield Town

Third Round: Saturday January 9th 1954

Attendance: 25,250

Scorers: Harry Hooper {2}, Dave Sexton, Tommy Dixon {Half Time 1-0}

Write about this one as a top 100 cup tie. remember that Huddersfield took revenge in 1960.

Ranked at the time: 31

United: 1:Ernie Gregory, 2:George Wright, 3:John Bond, 4:Andy Malcolm, 5:Malcolm Allison, 6:Doug Bing, 7:Harry Hooper, 8:Dave Sexton, 9:Tommy Dixon, 10:John Dick, 11:Jimmy Andrews. Manager:Ted Fenton

Town: 1:Harry Mills, 2:Ron Staniforth, 3:Laurie Kelly, 4:Bill McGarry, 5:Don McEvoy, 6:Len Quested, 7:Gerry Burrell, 8:Jimmy Watson, 9:Jimmy Glazzard, 10:Willie Davie, 11:Vic Metcalfe. Manager: Andy Beattie

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Birmingham City

Third Round: Saturday January 9th 1954

Attendance: 36,786

Scorers: {Wanderers} Denni Wilshaw {14}: {City} Ken Rowley {16}, Peter Murphy {68}

Ranked at the time: 35

Wanderers: 1:Nigel Sims, 2:Jack Short, 3:Roy Pritchard, 4:Bill Slater, 5:Bill Shorthouse, 6:Billy Wright, 7:Johnny Hancocks, 8:Peter Broadbent, 9:Roy Swinbourne, 10:Dennis Wilshaw, 11:Jimmy Mullan. Manager:Stan Cullis

City: 1:Gil Merrick, 2:Jeff Hall, 3:Ken Green, 4:Noel Kinsey, 5:John Newman, 6:Len Boyd, 7:Gordon Astall, 8:Peter Murphy, 9:Jackie Lane, 10:Ken Rowley, 11:Alex Govan. Manager:Bob Brocklebank 

Leicester City 3-2 Middlesbrough

Third Round replay: Thursday January 14th 1954

Attendance: 29,736

Scorers: {City} Arthur Rowley {26, 34, 56 }: {Middlesbrough} Johnny Spuhler {33}, Wilf Mannion {44}

Ranked at the time: 357

When the Third round draw was made, this tie had the look of two teams about to swap Divisions. Leicester were seemingly flying towards the Second Division title. Middlesbrough, by contrast were hurtling towards First Division relegation. The first fixtures of the new year, on January 2nd brought very different emotions for both sets of fans. Middlesbrough ended a run of three straight defeats with a convincing victory over Spurs to leap out of the relegation zone. And for those Boro' fans leaving the ground, talking about next weekend's cup tie, the day got even better when they got home to fine Leicester had been walloped 7-1 at Leeds. The Filberts remained top of the division but confidence would surely be dented before a trip to a First Division side that had just regained some momentum.

The resulting goalless draw at Ayresome Park was a dull affair that showed these two sides to be evenly matched but it gave no hint to the thriller that would be served up in the replay at Filbert Street five days later. Despite a good result in the North East, Leicester fans still wouldn't have arrived at the game with any major hope. The last time their side won a cup tie was the semi final in 1949.

Filbert Street was a bath of clawing mud and Middlesbrough's short passing style didn't suit the occasion as a much more direct Leicester side posed the early threat. That threat was rewarded when Arthur Rowley, cleverly lobbed 'Boro keeper, Ugolini just before the half hour mark. The game now exploded into life as Robinson pounced on Warner's miscued attempt to clear, racing through to fire in an equaliser off a post. 'Boro's parity didn't last long as Rowley coolly restored the advantage just over a minute later and for a moment the Filbert faithful thought Derek Hines had killed the tie off. His header struck a post and appeared to have been cleared, only for the referee to signal a goal. The slightly bemused Leicester players celebrated but the rightly aggrieved visitors urged the ref to speak to his assistant who managed to convince him he'd made a mistake. That decision proved crucial when Wilf Mannion levelled matters right on half time.

Middlesbrough would have to play the second half a man down though as Harry Bell had stubbed his foot in the mud and was in clear distress at the resumption. The stricken full back eventually let the field with twenty minutes remaining but by then Rowley had fired Leicester in front for a third time. This time he powered through several flailing tackles before leaving Ugolini helpless.

'Boro pressed hard for the equaliser in the closing stages and came close on a couple of occasions but few felt them deserving of extra time and Leicester were worthy winners, even without a man advantage.

An all Second Division tie awaited Leicester in round four, which they negotiated after a replay before Third Division Norwich [see below] were dispatched in round five. Mid-table First Division Preston were their quarter final opponents in what proved to be a nail biting but ultimately fruitless battle. Having earned a draw at Deepdale, Leicester twice looked to on their way to the semi finals in the replay, only to be pegged back twice in a 2-2 draw. Preston's strength shone through at the third time of asking, leaving the Filberts to concentrate on winning the Second Division title, which they did, passing relegated Middlesbrough in the process.

City: 1:Johnny Anderson, 2:Arthur Lever, 3:Ron Jackson, 4:Eddie Russell, 5:Reg Warner, 6:Jimmy Baldwin, 7:Mal Griffiths, 8:Johnny Morris, 9:Derek Hines, 10:Arthur Rowley, 11:Peter Small. Manager:Norman Bullock

Middlesbrough: 1:Rolando Ugolini, 2:Ray Bilcliff, 3:Ronnie Dicks, 4:Harry Bell, 5:Dicky Robinson, 6:Joe Birbeck, 7:Lindy Delapenha, 8:Wilf Mannion, 9:Johnny Spuhler, 10:Seamus O'Connell, 11:Sam Lawrie. Manager:Walter Rowley

Arsenal 1-2 Norwich City

Fourth Round: Saturday January 30th 1954

Attendance: 55,767

Scorers: {Arsenal} Jimmy Logie {47} : {City} Tommy Johnston {55,}

Ranked at the time: 28

Arsenal: 1:Jack Kelsey, 2:Len Wills, 3:Lionel Smith, 4:Bill Dickson, 5:Bill Dodgin, 6:Alex Forbes {sent off-33}, 7:Arthur Milton, 8:Jimmy Logie, 9:Cliff Holton, 10:Doug Lishman, 11:Don Roper. Manager: Tom Whittaker

Norwich: 1:Ken Oxford, 2:Dennis Morgan, 3:Bill Lewis, 4:Roy McCrohan, 5:Reg Foulkes, 6:Ron Ashman, 7:Peter Gordon, 8:Ron Hansell, 9:Tommy Johnston, 10:Bobby Brennan {sent off - 33}, 11:Johnny Gavin. Manager:Norman Low

Cardiff City 0-2 Port Vale

Fourth Round: Saturday January 30th 1954

Attendance: 27,295

Scorers: Ken Griffiths, Albert Leake

Ranked at the time: 109

City:1:Ron Howells, 2:Charlie Rutter, 3:Alf Sherwood, 4:Billy Baker, 5:Colin Gale, 6:Derek Sullivan, 7:Tommy Northcott, 8:Wilf Grant, 9:Trevor Ford, 10:Dougie Blair, 11:George Edwards. Manager:Cyril Spiers


1:Ray King, 2:Tommy Cheadle, 3:Reg Potts, 4:Stan Turner, 5:Roy Sproson, 6:Albert Mullard, 7:Colin Askey, 8:Albert Leake, 9:Basil Hayward, 10:Ken Griffiths, 11:Dickie Cunliffe. Manager:Freddie Steele

Port Vale 2-0 Blackpool

Fifth Round: Saturday February 20th 1954

Attendance: 42,000

Scorers: Albert Leake {15}, {26}

Ranked at the time: 28

Vale: 1:Ray King, 2:Tommy Cheadle, 3:Reg Potts, 4:Stan Turner, 5:Roy Sproson, 6:Albert Mullard, 7:Colin Askey, 8:Albert Leake, 9:Basil Hayward, 10:Ken Griffiths, 11:Dickie Cunliffe. Manager: Freddie Steele

Blackpool: 1:George Farm, 2:Harry Johnson, 3:David Firth, 4:Ewan Fenton, 5:Eddie Shimwell, 6:Hugh Kelly, 7:Stanley Matthews, 8:Len Stephenson, 9:Ernie Taylor, 10:Allan Brown, 11:Bill Perry. Manager: Joe Smith