The Giant Killers

Every F A cup giant killing since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 110

Everton 1

Tottenham Hotspur 2

First round: Saturday 6th February 1904

Goodison Park, Liverpool

Attendance: 25,000

Scorers: Vivian Woodward {25}, Walter Balmer {own goal} {30},  Jack Taylor  {75}

Everton beaten on the post

When title chasing Everton were drawn at home to Southern League title chasing Tottenham few neutrals took much notice in a first round that saw champions, Sheffield Wednesday making a tricky visit to the largely unknown quantity of Plymouth Argyle while Stoke and Aston Villa had been paired in a mouth watering encounter. For the Toffeemen, Tottenham would certainly present awkward opponents but nothing more than that, despite the visitor’s growing cup pedigree.

The Londoners certainly had little or nothing to prove as John Cameron’s men had sensationally won the cup just three years earlier in what remains the only occasion that a team from outside the top two tiers of English Football has won the trophy. In addition Tottenham had a string of cup scalps dating back five years, though on closer inspection none of the vanquished teams were of Everton’s calibre, the only major club being a Sunderland side who had been having, by their standards, a poor season in 1899 when they lost at Spurs while the only club that had finished their season in the top five was a Bury team punching well above their weight in 1901.

Evertonians wouldn’t have been impressed by this list and would also have been quick to point out that Tottenham were coming to Goodison Park and not welcoming the Merseysiders to London.

Despite the fact the Merseysiders were considered a sure thing to progress to the second round, their side was not one littered with experienced trophy winning players. Admittedly the Blues could boast four England Internationals in their ranks but only Jack Sharp had a major honour to his name, having played only a bit part in Aston Villa’s 1899 title winning team while only Jack Taylor remained from Everton’s losing cup finalists of 1897.

Tottenham by contrast could boast a side that included at least three of their cup winning side of 1901, including the Welsh International Jack Jones and Irish International Jack Kirwan, who for good measure had also achieved the still unique distinction of being the only man to win both the FA cup and an All Ireland GAA title, the latter achieved in the light blue of Dublin. David Copeland completed the trio to which was added goalkeeper Charlie Williams, who like Jones, formerly of Sheffield United and Kirwan, formerly of Everton, had top flight experience gained at Manchester City. Despite all these players Tottenham’s most famous was undoubtedly their English International Vivian Woodward, who was continually turning down offers from top flight clubs to stay with the Southern League side. Still though the Merseysiders, and the wider nation failed to regard Tottenham as anything other than supporting cast in this tie even though Everton had already lost three times on their own patch this term.

The weather was dreadful on match day with driving rain soaking most of the fans even before they got to the impressive Goodison Park ground, although the vast open terraces would also offer no protection and even those under the cover of the main stand found the rain still driving in. Despite this the directors would have been pleased with a healthy crowd estimated at 20,000, paying gate receipts of £850, a figure bettered at only one of the other fourteen ties to escape the weather and no doubt Tottenham’s players were encouraged by the high number of travelling supporters who left Euston Station early that morning for the north west.

Everton emerged first in their familiar blue shirts and white shorts - with only their winger, Corrin not being a first team regular, replacing the injured English International footballer and cricketer Harold Hardman - and were quickly followed onto the field by Tottenham in their now traditional white shirts and navy blue shorts, led out by cup winning captain Jack Jones.

The expectant Evertonians were keen to see their favourites go for Tottenham right from the off but that was never going to happen in the teaming rain and on a skating rink of a pitch, although an excellent playing surface, widely regarded as the best in England, prevented the game from being played on a mud bath as most of the day’s other ties were.

The problem for Everton was that their slick passing saw the ball skidding off the turf very quickly, making it difficult for players, already struggling to maintain their footing to control the ball and while it would be unfair to say that Tottenham resorted to hoofing the ball aimlessly, there was an element of kick it to centre forward Vivian Woodward as quickly as possible.

For twenty five minutes Tottenham proved themselves a match for their hosts physically and Charlie Williams found himself with little to do except worry about the greasy state of the pitch and increasingly heavy ball as it became more rain soaked in the conditions, By contrast his opposite number, George Kitchen was constantly berating his defence who started the game very nervously. Their indecision proved costly in the twenty-fifth minute when a well struck free kick from Warner required a smart save of the hand stinging variety, Everton were unable to clear and Copeland beat Balmer before sending in another rasping drive which Kitchen this time elected to punch. Once again the ball only went out to the edge of the penalty area and the Everton backs again struggled to clear their lines until Woodward burst through them leaving only Kitchen to beat. The Everton custodian raced out of his goal to face the forward but was left sliding out of his penalty area as Woodward showed brilliant skill and composure to take the ball round him before tapping it into the empty net, the ball being quickly followed by the sliding Balmer and Wolstenholme, both of whom were left tangled in the netting as the travelling Tottenham fans celebrated.

If the first goal was due to poor defending from an Everton point of view, the second, five minutes later was nothing short of disastrous as Jack Jones’s hopeful effort from distance was heading for a comfortable save by Kitchen until the hapless Balmer stuck out a leg and succeeded only in gliding the ball away from his keeper and into the opposite corner of the net. As Balmer stood hands on hips glaring at the ball in his own net Jones was congratulated by his team mates, even though there was no dubious goals committee in those days to give him official credit for his deflected goal bound effort.

Everton’s forward line now burst into a purple patch of the game in which Tottenham were forced into some last ditch defending to preserve their two goal lead, the most notable of which coming right on half time when McDermott and Settle both found the Spurs goal at their mercy but couldn’t get the ball down out of the air in time to apply what would have been the simplest of headed finishes before a posse of white shirted defenders were able to get in and distract Settle just enough to ensure that when he did get his header in it grazed the post on its way past.

The rain persisted as Tottenham emerged to a cauldron of noise for the second half as the home fans desperately encouraged their heroes to get back in the game and straight from the kick off it was clear that the Merseysiders had performed a serious inquest at the interval as they buzzed around the field with much more purpose. Certainly the even nature of the game had gone as Tottenham were forced deeper and deeper by an Everton forward line who were now finding their accuracy for the first time in the tie with Corrin, Taylor and Sharp all making work for Williams in the opening quarter before McDermott finally beat the keeper just on the hour mark. Goodison Park erupted but the noise was short lived as the referee waved his hands furiously to signal that he was not allowing the goal. And who says aggression and dissent towards the ref is a modern phenomenon? Over half the Everton team chased the referee around the field for the best part of a minute to argue that he had made the wrong call before the man in the middle finally brought a halt to the chase by making it clear to Jack Taylor that the next blue shirted player who spoke out of turn would be sent from the field, also pointing out that at lest two players had manhandled him already and should, by the rules of the game be off.

The Tottenham players meanwhile were grateful for the break in play as they had been coming under relentless pressure during the second half but the break only served to put Everton out of their stride for a few minutes before starting to dominate again. As the clock ticked down, Everton became increasingly desperate, knowing that the breakthrough goal was only half the job while Tottenham fans watched nervously from the other end of the field as the waves of Everton attacks continued with the feeling growing by the minute that even in a worst case scenario their players would get a replay as there was no way Everton were going to find three goals. With fifteen minutes to go the tension went up to a new level when Corrin’s corner was stabbed home by Taylor with the help of a huge deflection off Watson. Now it was game on as a very tired looking Tottenham back line resorted to safety first at every opportunity, kicking the ball as hard and as far back up the field they could with no aim to build anything constructive of their own. The tactics were met with howls of abuse from the Everton fans but Tottenham had earned their position from their more composed first half display, now it was about protecting what they had.

Naturally the goal galvanised Everton who went all out to force the replay and while Wallace and his defence were worked hard all the way to the finish it was actually Tottenham who came closest to scoring in the dying minutes when a long kick from Kirwan fell to Woodward, for so much of a the second half a lonely figure on the half way line. Again the English forward found himself one on one with Kitchen, who had been redundant in the second period, and again Woodward got the better of him, rounding the keeper with ease only to completely miscue his simple tap into the empty net. Woodward slumped to his knees, head in hands as he watched the ball trickle right across the empty goal and past the post. It should have been the killer goal and the home fans cheered it as if it were a goal for their side who still had three minutes to save the tie. Just as at the end of the first half Everton forced a succession of corners which Tottenham defended with increasing desperation until another huge punt from Kirwan was met with a cheer from the Tottenham contingent as the ball bobbled all the way back to Kitchen, by now the only player in the Everton half.

That was the final cue for the Everton fans to start their exodus from the ground and sure enough Kitchen’s long punt signalled the final whistle which the Evertonians greeted with sporting applause for the victors.

At least the blue fans didn’t have to worry about the mockery of their red counterparts in Liverpool as that half of Merseyside had also gone out of the cup and had only relegation to look forward to. Everton meanwhile lost out in a fantastic five team title race in which they finished third to Sheffield Wednesday.

Tottenham’s reward was a home tie against another of the title challengers, Aston Villa, this time at White Hart Lane in surely the biggest cup tie the Londoners had ever staged. Sadly for Spurs they grossly underestimated the capacity of their then tiny ground and thirty thousand fans spilled over the terraces onto the pitch. The game kicked off as a cup tie but after twenty minutes the referee and captains had agreed that it could not possibly remain so and reduced the status of the game to that of a friendly instead. Villa scored before half time but it mattered little as the crowd spilled onto the pitch for one final decisive time, making play in the second half impossible. Tottenham were fined heavily and the replay was ordered to be played at Villa Park on the following Thursday.

For the record Joe Bache had scored Villa’s goal in London but again Spurs seemed to flourish away from home and took on Villa with the same approach as they had at Everton. Jack Jones was the hero on this occasion as Tottenham recorded the unique feat of being the first lower division club ever to beat two of the top five in the same season in the cup, a feat not repeated until Barnsley in 2008, though Spurs remain the only club to win both ties away from home. Villa could hardly feel aggrieved as they had agreed to reduce the London cup tie to a friendly before Joe Bache had scored . Perhaps it was the fact that the game was a midweek encounter but the victory over Villa did not stand in stature as being as huge a shock as that achieved over Everton in the previous round, despite the Villains being league runners up last year, on course to finish a close up fifth this year and ultimately the cup winners next year.

Even so Tottenham now found themselves drawn against yet another title chasing club , no less than the defending champions themselves Sheffield Wednesday. Now victory here in the quarter final really would eclipse the first round defeat of Everton and this time nobody was taking the result for granted, least of all Wednesday, whose fans arrived at White Hart Lane to find a huge metal perimeter fence surrounding the field to keep the fans from invading the pitch, while other precautions had been taken to avoid problems from the terraces.

This time a more manageable 22,000 fans had turned up to witness another cracking cup tie in which Tottenham yet again showed they were a match for the very best the game had to offer. Jack Jones put the Londoners in front after twenty-eight minutes and Tottenham looked to be on their way to the semi finals. Despite being the better side in the second half Tottenham were pegged back on the hour and were left to regret two great chances to win the game late on.

For Tottenham to win at Hillsborough was surely asking too much of a side who had already repeatedly defied the critics and so it proved as the champions won through comfortably 2-0 to book a semi final, which they ultimately lost, although their title was retained at the end of the season.

Such a great performance in the cup should have made Tottenham a shoe in to join the league but they chose not to apply, opting instead to stay in the Southern League for another four years before finally applying in 1908 and being accepted to the Second Division.

Vivian Woodward was still a key member of the side at that time and went on to help Spurs gain promotion to the top flight at the first time of asking in 1909 before instantly moving across London to make 73 top flight appearances for Chelsea. When war was declared he instantly enlisted in the army and thus missed Chelsea’s run to the cup final of 1915 but was given leave from the front to return to his club to deputise for the injured Bob Thompson in the final. Thompson however was passed fit on the day of the game, although Woodward was still selected to play only to refuse, stating that he had not earned the right to play in the final as he had played no part in Chelsea getting there. After watching his team mates go down to Sheffield United he returned to the front, being a captain in the Footballer’s battalion, officially known as the 17th Middlesex regiment where he sustained wounds which ended his playing career in 1916. Woodward , a double Olympic gold medallist for Great Britain in the 1908 and 1912 games, passed away in January 1954 at the age of 74.

Tottenham Hotspur team: Charlie Williams, Watson, Jack Kirwan, ?, ?, Jack Jones, ?, Alfie Warner, Vivian Woodward, David Copeland, ? {Manager: John Cameron}

Everton team: George Kitchen, William Balmer, Jack Crelley, Sam Wolstenholme, Tom Booth, Walter Abbott, Jack Sharp, Tommy McDermott, Jack Taylor, Jimmy Settle, Thomas Corrin