As we approach the Final of this years League Cup competition we look back to an earlier success in 1973 (1). A cup run that took in ten games, two of them in three days and several bouts of extra time. Tottenham had won the trophy two years earlier in only our fourth time of entering (2) then the previous season we had reached the semi-finals. This seasons competition kicked off at home to Huddersfield in the second round. We won 2-1 at home with goals from Alan Gilzean and Martin Chivers.
The third round turned into a marathon after being drawn away to Middlesbourgh. John Pratt having set up Ralph Coates early on whose center was fired home by Jimmy Pearce. A poor back pass in the 39th minute brought them level. Chivers and Mike England both went close after that and Pat Jennings made some fine saves. The replay back at the Lane was a goalless match played in a very heavy wind that spoilt the game, Gilzean, Peters and Chivers all having chances to win the match. Then late on a Middlesbourgh shot took a wicked deflection off Steve Perryman and Jennings saved with his feet. The match moved into extra time and again we had chances to win the tie but failed to take them. The toss to decide who would host the second replay was won by Spurs and this was the best of the three games. We yet again wasted early chances before they took the lead in the 8th minute after a defensive error. Tottenham had at least five good chances before Peters headed us level on the half hour. Once again the game went to extra time. Gilzean came on as a substitute and in the 118th minute turned in a Coates cross. Even then Middlesbourgh hit the woodwork. The fourth round tie took place just 48 hours after that game. Despite fears of tiredness we made only one change as we entertained Millwall. In the 10th minute Cyril Knowles centered and Peters headed us into the lead. Then just four minutes later Gilzean centered and this time Perryman fired home. As we won 2-0.
The fifth round saw us travel to Anfield for one of the best games in the run. Tottenham played well and took the lead just after the hour Peters shooting home, past future Tottenham goalie Ray Clemence, from the edge of the box after a Pearce corner. Liverpool mounted an attack on our goal and finally equalized with ten minutes to play.
Yet another replay but this time Tottenham scored three goals in the first quarter of an hour. A Chivers deflected free kick in the fifth minute was followed six minutes later when John Pratt set up Peters who scored, this time from 25 yards. Our third goal was again Martin Chivers who out muscled two defenders before scoring from the edge of the box. Liverpool pulled one back with just a few moments to play.
The semi finals were played either side of Christmas with the first leg away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on the 20th. Goals from Pratt and Peters meant we returned home with a 2-1 lead. The return was ten days later. Peters increased our lead in the 34th minute but Wolves then scored twice to level on aggregate. The game went to extra time and Chivers netted to send us to the final. In the other semi Norwich won 2-0 at Chelsea and were leading 3-2 in the second leg when the game was abandoned due to fog. The tie was completed three weeks later when Norwich won 1-0.
The line up for the final in March was Jennings, Joe Kinnear, Knowles, Pratt, England, Phil Beal, Gilzean, Perryman, Chivers, Peters and Pearce. Ralph Coates came on for John Pratt after 25 minutes and scored the only goal after 72 in a match unmemorable except for the result. The following year the club handbook described the game as “was not the classic we should liked to witness.” Which is an understatement. Norwich had a very defensive approach to the game. Norwich had lost five games in a row and their only ambition was not to be embarrassed. The Norwich side contained Doug Livermore who would later join Tottenham as assistant manager.
Tottenham struggled to provide the entertainment the game needed in a truly dreadful spectacle. Peters went close with a header in the first half cleared off the line. Pearce and Gilzean both hit the outside of the post. The goal finally came when Martin Peters headed on to Alan Gilzean. He set up Mike England who had a shot blocked as the ball came loose at the edge of the box Coates blasted home through the crowd. Coates becoming the first substitute to score at Wembley in a major Final. This actually made Norwich attack and Chivers nearly made it two before Knowles hit the post.
When we met them the following weekend in the league, in a much better game, we won 3-0 at home. Tottenham finished the league season in 8th place having gone out of the FA Cup in the Fourth Round and reaching the Semi-final of the UEFA Cup.
t- Keith 16024542
f- peter shearman (old non de plume reserved for THFC matters)
See also -
1 - The 2008 success was discussed in Hotspur Towers 29.
2- For a review of our history in the competition,
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