The Giant Killers

Every F A cup giant killing since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 112

 

Southampton 2-1 Newcastle United

 

Fifth round {last 16}: Saturday February 19th 1927

The Dell, Southampton

Attendance: 21,427

Scorers: Dick Rowley 60, 83, Tommy McDonald {65 pen}

Clara Bow starred as the shop girl who falls for her rich employer, Antonio Moreno in 'It' the film that would give birth to the phrase the it girl, Al Jolsen had a global hit with 'Sitting on top of the World', British troops arrived in Shanghai to quell the general unrest and an earthquake in Yugoslavia killed 700. 

 The idea that a ground can be unlucky is woven into the fabric of Newcastle United Football Club. A mere mention of the old Sydenham ground at Crystal Palace can still draw a wry smile from any Magpie who has heard the stories passed down from great grandfather to grandfather to father and to them of the greatest side Newcastle ever possessed. The Edwardian Magpies dominated the era but the League and cup double eluded them despite being almost perennial cup finalists in the period and the blame was put squarely at the gates of the Victorian pleasure grounds that was the Wembley of it's time. Newcastle hated the place and never won there but it wasn't the only ground where The Magpies seemed to take fright as, to a lesser extent, Southampton's now bulldozed Dell also proved a graveyard to travelling Geordies. Thirty-nine times Newcastle competitively travelled to the almost quaint Southampton HQ with it's once famed chocolate box terracing and only three times did they leave victorious yet it took just six visits to Southampton's attractive new 21st century home in St Marys to register the same amount of glory and indeed that ground has seen the black and white flag fall just once. Many are the Saint's fans today who view that very aspect as part of their rapid fall down the divisions in recent years.

Newcastle's fear of the Saints was already well ground in by 1927 as The Magpies had visited The Dell three times in the F A cup in the past and left defeated every time, including twice when the visitors had been in the top flight. When the draw paired the two in 1927 the memories of older fans were turned back to 1900 when a decent Newcastle side were absolutely demolished by the greatest side Southampton had ever produced, on their way to the cup final. Younger fans needed only to think back four years when Southampton had yet again produced a surprising lowering of Newcastle's colours while back in 1898 a second division United side were also humbled by then Southern League Southampton. Only four years had passed since the previous cup meeting but both team's playing staff had been transformed to leave just two players in each side that survived from the 1923 clash.

This was a better Newcastle side than any of their three predecessors as they sat proudly atop the First Division in the middle of a seven horse race for the title, despite having lost their last two games but they would arrive with a side containing four ex England Internationals in the veteran Frank Hudspeth, Tommy Urwin, Charlie Spencer and Stan Seymour and two Scots, the recently signed Bobby McKay from Rangers and the man most Saint's fans would be excited to see in action, the tiny yet lethal striker, Hughie Gallacher. One thing Newcastle would be without however was a decent travelling support. Times were hard in the North East and recession was biting into most Tyneside households with job losses leading to smaller numbers making the away day journeys. It had been a largely expatriate gathering of Geordies who had watched them defeat the famous Corinthians in London on fourth round day at, of all places, The Crystal Palace grounds. Now the few who could afford it would venture south to see another hoodoo surely brokenat The Dell. They arrived in good humour with Stan Seymour displaying the belief that this was as good as the final and that Newcastle would be happy to take The Saints back to St James' Park and finish the job there. A comment perhaps borne out of a wish to please the locals more than bearing any fact as there were still a host of good top flight sides in fifth round action elsewhere who would prove stiff opposition in the quarter finals.

Southampton were going through a mid table season in division two which saw them never quite able to get with the pace of the promotion hopefuls but the cup had already proved a highlight with a 4-1 hammering of Birmingham in round four. Like Newcastle, the Midlands outfit arrived at The Dell on the back of two defeats but their season was a world away from Newcastle's as they were just managing to keep ahead of the relegation battle. The match was never a contest as Southampton cruised to an easy 4-1 victory with a brace from Bill Rawlings and goals from Dick Rowley and George Harkus.

 If the Southampton players needed any motivation or instruction on how to mastermind a cupset of Newcastle they had the perfect manager in Arthur Chadwick. The former England International had been in the Saints team which had defeated The Magpies in that famous cup tie twenty-seven years earlier. Chadwick had gone on to play in that year's cup final though he also played a big part in the huge pre match selection row that split the Southampton camp and led to their easy defeat. Now, as manager, Chadwick had a squad built around his ex England International striker, Bill Rawlings whose forward line included the experienced left sided partnership of ex Manchester City forward, Billy 'Spud' Murphy and Sam Taylor who had assisted Huddersfield to promotion at the start of the decade before losing his place when in the top flight. Keeper, Tommy Allen had been considered a great prospect by Sunderland after the war but a mix up in his contract saw him released with The Saints snapping him up. Right winger Bill Henderson and left half, George Harkus had both also gained limited top flight experience with Arsenal and Aston Villa respectively but it was Saint's Irish ex soldier, Dick Rowley who would be the star of this game.

The February weather was on its best behaviour for the battle of the stripes with both sides in their familiar red-white and black-white combinations, this being an era when change kits were used only in exceptional circumstances, and it was the red and whites who came out of the traps the faster. Southampton's game plan wasn't just simply to keep the highly dangerous Gallacher in check but also to ensure that his supply from the midfield was closed down quickly. Right from the off the Saints, as a team, set about ensuring that Shelley, Harkus and Woodhouse won the midfield battle while Bobby McKay found himself checked every time he pushed deep to pick up the ball, a tactic that in league football had been so fruitful since the Scot had come south to link up with Gallacher, who found himself a peripheral figure early on. In attack too Southampton had the early upper hand with Newcastle's half backs forced to drop back time and again to help out a very unsettled looking Maitland and Hudspeth.

Newcastle weathered the early storm with their goal staying intact, though only just as Bill Rawlings saw his close range effort in the third minute come back off the post with Wilson rooted to the spot. And as the first half progressed their premier class began to show. Rawling's effort remained as close as either side could come to breaking the deadlock and as the half time whistle went there seemed to be contentment in both camps. Saints that they had kept Gallacher quiet while Newcastle were halfway to completing their objective of getting away from The Dell with a favourable result of some description.

Newcastle were a much more composed side as the second half got underway, perhaps not least after getting one of Hughie Gallacher's legendary tongue lashings, the Scot being renowned for his outspoken suggestion that some of his team mates weren't good enough generally.  Certainly Hudspeth and Maitland were a much more composed duo at the back and it moved through the team, especially to Bobby McKay who now was getting to see more of the ball. Ted Hough and Mike Keeping were both having a great game too however and everywhere Gallacher turned there was a Saints shirt virtually on top of him with George Harkus standing out as the hardest working Saint on the field.

As is often the case, it was just as Newcastle were enjoying their best spell that Southampton finally struck. With an hour on the clock the exceptional Spud Murphy laid on a great ball for Rawlings who saw Mackenzie slip the ball from his toe just as he was about to pull the trigger. Sam Taylor's corner was met by a host of Saints players scrambling in front of a bemused Wilson before Dick Rowley finally forced the ball over the line to break the deadlock.

Newcastle had half an hour to save their cup run but didn't need anything like that long to get back in the game as they swarmed down on the Southampton goal in search of an equaliser.  Seymour's cross was on its way to a virtually unmarked McKay when Ted Hough palmed the ball away for a clear cut penalty. The referee, Mr Nunnersley, took no action against Hough who watched on as Tommy McDonald lashed the spot kick past Allen to level the scores.

Newcastle were now on top and looking the more likely to go on and win the tie as Gibson, Spencer and Urwin now began to get the upper hand of the midfield while many of the Saints players now started to suffer the effects of the effort put in during the first half. Harkus in particular was looking out on his feet as the game moved into the final ten minutes but Newcastle played like a side content that they had kept the Saints at bey and were going back to St James' with a replay earned. Southampton's left wing weren't prepared to settle for that though and Murphy and Taylor combined with seven minutes left for the latter to split the Newcastle defence with an inch perfect pass that Rowley met first time to fire past Wilson.

The Dell erupted in noise and the Southampton players en mass found their second wind with something to defend but Newcastle raised the tempo again in a desperate bid to force a replay and it nearly came in freak circumstances. With just two minutes left Ted Hough lashed wildly at a clearance which hit the rampaging Gallacher on the head and bounced down past Allen towards the goal. The entire stadium was almost frozen as the tiny Scot raised his arms to celebrate a fortuitous equaliser but his hands then covered his face in despair as the bounce took the ball over the crossbar of the unguarded net, disappearing into the crowd with Newcastle's double ambitions attached to it.

The Magpies didn't get near to Allen's goal again and bowed out to leave Saints, if Stan Seymour had been serious, to simply go though the motions of the quarter final, semi final and final to lift the cup. Doubtless Arthur Chadwick didn't feel the same, although results elsewhere had ensured that the cup was a wide open affair with a distinctly Southern feel. Newcastle meanwhile switched their attentions back to league action, being crowned champions despite losing four of their remaining fourteen games. 

In the quarter finals fate cast Southampton with an away tie to the other big giant killers of the competition, Third Division Millwall, which had the whole town buzzing that just maybe this could be Southampton's year. The first meeting at The Den was a bruising goalless affair before the Saints secured a semi final spot 2-0 at The Dell.

Their semi final opponents were an Arsenal side whose cup run this year was the catalyst to them becoming the footballing giant they have remained to this day. Their league form was average and Southampton had every reason to feel confident going into the game at Stamford Bridge but The Gunners dominated throughout, even though the break through came from an awful mistake when a tame shot slipped through Tommy Allen's grasp into the net. Arsenal went on to seal the game with a second goal but as fate would have it Arsenal lost the cup final to an identical goal against them for Cardiff.

Southampton's second division campaign petered out after their semi final defeat but Arthur Chadwick set out at the end of the season to build a new team to try and get promotion. That bid ultimately failed and Chadwick resigned in 1931 when Southampton started having to sell to survive, including Ted Hough moving to their bitter rivals Portsmouth, who were at the time a top flight club. Hough failed to make it in the top flight though, gaining just a solitary appearance for Pompey.

Goal hero Dick Rowley was also sold by the Saints in 1930 to second division rivals Spurs, though by then he had won the first four of his six Ireland International caps for the Northern Irish Association. Rowley later joined Preston, helping them to promotion before deciding to retire from the game in 1934.

It was the debonair Mike Keeping who went on to have the most interesting football life though, coaching all over the world after the second world war, including two years in charge at Real Madrid.

Southampton: 1:Tommy Allen, 2:Ted Hough, 3:Mike Keeping, 4:Albert Shelley, 5:George Harkus, 6:Stan Woodhouse, 7:Bill Henderson, 8:Dick Rowley, 9:Bill Rawlings, 10:Sam Taylor, 11:Billy 'Spud' Murphy

Newcastle United: 1:Willie Wilson, 2:Alf Maitland, 3:Frank Hudspeth, 4:Roddie Mackenzie, 5:Charlie Spencer, 6:Willie Gibson, 7:Tommy Urwin, 8:Bobby McKay, 9:Hughie Gallacher, 10:Tommy McDonald, 11:Stan Seymour