It’s the magic of ‘The Cup’ this week. In 1947 /48 Spurs were a Second Division team but we reached the semi-final of the FA Cup for the first time in more than 25 years. No wonder these supporters on route to the semi in Birmingham look like they have cup fever.
The journey that we hope will take us to Wembley in the year of the London Olympics started when we were drawn away to First Division Bolton in the Third Round. The game to be played at their old Burnham Park ground. The site of our 1901 Cup Final victory.
An exciting game saw a young wing half called Bill Nicholson clear off the line for us. At the other end Tottenham’s Eddie Baily also had a shot headed off the line. A match report says Spurs showed “The greater craft and understanding.” although Bolton applied pressure without troubling our defence as “Ditchburn and Woodward were in masterly form.” The reporter concluded “ Tottenham were obviously superior to Bolton in football art.” The report did express concern that Tottenham’s failing was they should of finished the game within the 90 mintues as it ended 0-0. The game moved into extra time. It had previously been decided that replays would encourage people to take time off from work. This was just after the Second World War and the country was slowly getting back on its feet. Len Duquemin playing in his first FA Cup game scored the first goal after 7 minutes after running with the ball for 30 yards. The second in our 2-0 win came from a Freddie Cox center which Duquemin, known as ‘The Duke’ (1), stooped low to head home. The team that day was Ditchburn, Tickbridge, Buckingham, Nicholson, Woodward, Burgess, Cox, Jordan, Duquemin, Baily and Stevens.
The Fourth Round brought West Brom to White Hart Lane. Our largest crowd of the season, 71,853, watched us win 3-1. The Duke again notching two and Freddie Cox the other. The Fifth Round saw us make the trip to Leicester. More than sixty nine thousand watch the two Second Division teams lay on an exciting game. We took the lead through Duquemin from Baily’s pass. The home team equalized before Duquemin gave us a half time lead. Leicester again equalized just after the restart before the Duke completed his hat trick, this time a header from a Stevens corner. Freddie Cox made it four from the penalty spot. Spurs got a fifth, an own goal although a few sources also credit this to Cox.
The quarter final and we traveled to Southampton. Tottenham made four changes to their until then unchanged side. Les Bennett comes in for Jordan (who will leave Tottenham at the end of the season to join Juventus). Trailor replaces Burgess, Jones for Stevens and Ledford for Woodward with Nicholson moving to center half. 28,400 see Les Bennett score the only goal of the game.
The semi-final at Villa Park is played in front of 70,687. Spurs make two changes, Burgess returns to the side and Les Medley replaces Jones on the left wing. Spurs, 7th in Division 2 took on the the mighty Blackpool, 6th in Division 1.
Tottenham were the equal of the team from the higher division. Then in the 63rd minute Duqumin gives us the lead after a goal mouth scramble, his eighth goal in the competition. Tottenham are only four minutes away from a first trip to Wembley Stadium when Mortensen scores a great goal from a wide angle.
The tie moves to extra time but Spurs are deflated and Mortensen scores two more as we go down 1-3.
That late goal finished our resistance. It also affected our league form. We had been just outside the promotion places most of the season. Now we failed to score in our next four games as we finish the season in 8th place. Julian Holland in his history of the club described the end of the season, “Their paws buttered they slipped helplessly down the rungs of the league ladder.” That cup run was the highlight of manager’s Joe Hulme’s three and and a half year reign. He did however help build the basis for the team that would win back to back Second and First Division titles, the first club to do so, a couple of seasons later. Tottenham would then be a First Division side when they reached their next semi-final five years later.
Freddie Cox had joined the club in 1938 from our nursery side Northfleet United as an eighteen year old and stayed with us for eleven years. Half of that time however was lost during World War 2. When he served as a fighter pilot and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. The talented winger only played 105 games scoring 18 goals for us.
You may like to look at the series 'The Cup' from this time last year.
thanks to - Bob Goodwin, mehstg, Julian Holland, Phil Sour, THFC, Tottenham blog, BBC,
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
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