fa cup 1921
|Route to the Final
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Tottenham Hotspur
Date : - Saturday 23rd April 1921
Venue : - Stamford Bridge
Crowd : - 72,805
Weather : - Heavy Rain, then some weak sunshine
Referee : - J Davies (Rainhill)
Score : -
Goalscorers : -
In truth, the torrential rain that occurred before and during this match turned the pitch into a lake and the match into a poor spectacle. The pitch was transformed into a quagmire and the teams could play little football on such a surface. Players tried in vain to play good football, but they either slipped over in the mud or had the ball stick in the mud.
The entry price was increased to try and keep the crowd to a manageable level, but this did not deter the fans who went along to see the game. Gates were closed at 2.20 p.m. and the crowd spilled onto the running track around the pitch to get a good view of proceedings.
Spurs had won the toss and took advantage of the wind. This meant that Wolves had to play the first fifteen minutes into driving rain. In the first half, Jimmy Dimmock shot wide after ten minutes and Jimmy Cantrell managed to head Jimmy Banks' corner over the bar when well placed. Bert Bliss should have put away a chance, but George made a point blank save that took the full force of the effort.
The Second Division side were not playing as a team and Spurs made the most of their opponents disjointed approach. Bliss had a marvellous overhead kick saved by the defender Marshall appeared from nowhere to head the ball away from under the bar to watch Tottenham the dominance in the first half, but with no return for the pressure they had exerted on the Wolverhampton goal.
The pitch not being conducive to dribbling had reduced the effectiveness of the Spurs left wing pairing of Bliss and Dimmock, but they never stopped trying to play football. Rain that had continued to fall during the first half and half time turned the pitch into a bog, but the sun came out at the start of the second half, leaving the players almost unidentifiable in their muddy shirts.
Ten minutes into the second half, Smith got the ball on the right and he ran towards the Wolves goal, then switched the play to the left, where Bert Bliss was waiting for the ball. Jimmy Dimmock took a pass from Bliss and jinked past Gregory. Faced by Woodward, the Spurs youngster, who was only 20, tried to nutmeg him, but he was wise to that and shut his legs. Unfortunately for him, the ball bounced off his thigh and Dimmock saw his chance. 25 yards out, he struck an early shot and the ball skimmed off the muddy surface, bouncing over George and into the Wolves net.
It should have been 2-0 a minute later when Banks' burst forward was brought to an end with a fouled just outside the penalty area, but Bert Bliss hit the dead-ball wide.
The lead was a fragile one, as Wolverhampton pressed forward. Twice Sonny Walters denied Wolves as they tried for an equaliser. The first was when he slid in to rob Brooks, who stood in front of an open goal and delayed too long. The second time was even nearer the end, when Brooks set up Potts and Walters pinched the ball off his toe. Tommy Clay also stymied a Brooks chance, when he dragged him down outside the area, when the winger raced in on goal. At the other end Jimmy Banks was hit by George as he came out to stop him, with the ball allowed to run on and go wide, then Dimmock almost sealed the win with a cracking attempt when Banks' cross field cross found the youngster on the other flank and his first time volleyed skidded off the bar and over. Apart from these incidents, Hunter in goal, had a relatively quiet afternoon, although as Tottenham's players tired, Wanderers tried to get back into the match and the Spurs keeper was called upon to dive at Edmonds' feet .
Clay had an inspiring game, while the cog that the team usually revolved around - Jimmy Seed - did not perform to the level that he had in the run to the Final.
So Spurs maintained their record of being the only Southern side to win the Cup. It wasn't a classic, but the determination of the side denied their lower division opponents the chance to take the Cup to the Midlands.
MAN OF THE MATCH : - BERT BLISS
Four of the team - Smith, Bliss, Grimsdell and Dimmock - played together in the England side against Scotland just two weeks before the FA Cup final.
King George V was introduced to the teams before the game under the shelter of an umbrella, then watched the game with the Duke of York and the monarch presented the trophy after the match.
After the game, the charabanc took the team from Walham Green (Fulham Broadway) to Tottenham, through cheering crowds. The cup was shown off and it bore the same blue and white ribbons, which first adorned the trophy in 1901. Billy Minter held the Cup for most of the way back to N17. The other players were swamped by well-wishers ... all except captain Arthur Grimsdell, who made his own way home to Watford.
When the bus finally arrived at Tottenham High Road, the crowd was so dense that the Trams were stopped and police on horseback were called in to control the crowd. There was blue and white everywhere and the crowd made a din with rattles and hooters.
A few days later, a celebration dinner was held at the Holborn hotel with the surviving ten members of the Cup winning team from 1901 invited along to attend.
The Spurs team leave Stamford
Bridge in a charabanc
bound for Tottenham with the trophy held aloft.
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