The Giant Killers

Subtitle

 

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 98

 

Manchester City 1- 2 Hull City

Fifth round {last 16}: Saturday February 15th 1930

Maine Road, Manchester

Attendance: 61,574

Scorers: Ernie Toseland {3}, Paddy Mills {27}, Billy Taylor {63}

The talkies had arrived and Vaudevilleans gave cinema a shot in 'Elstree Calling', Maurice Chevallier had a huge hit with 'Louise', The Times published it's first crossword while Mickey Mouse also made a comic strip appearance for the first time.

When the draw for the third round of the 1930 F A cup took Second Division Hull City to Third Division Plymouth Argyle, club captain, Matt 'Ginger' Bell quipped 'I think the Tigers will go far in the Cup-ties this year'. Whether he was being sarcastic at the trip to Devon or had a genuine belief in the cup fighting abilities of a club with little previous cup pedigree is unclear but his words proved prophetic as the 'Third porters', as Hull were then known went to the semi finals for the first time and had one foot in the cup final before being denied by Herbert Chapman's Arsenal.

That trip to Plymouth was a cracking tie, which the Tigers won 4-3 with a hat-trick from Stan Alexander while in round four Blackpool were vanquished 3-1 to bring Hull to national attention when drawn to travel to Maine Road to face Manchester City in round five. The Citizens were lying second in the First Division, though any prospect of preventing defending champions, Sheffield Wednesday retaining their title seemed remote. With the prospects of winning the title for the first time drifting away from them City were viewed as a great tip to lift the cup in April and when a side containing three England Internationals, Cowan, Brook and Johnson, The Scottish Wembley Wizard, McMullan and the former England man, Billy Felton was named to face the Tigers, their passage to the quarter finals was assured in the eyes of the media.

Hull were an unremarkable mid table second division outfit whose season seemed to be meandering its way to an unremarkable conclusion. Indeed the whole of the 1920s could have been described in similar tones and were a great anti climax for a side so often on the cusp of promotion to the big time before the war. Especially when they had suggested they could be a match for the elite when they easily swept Burnley aside in the cup in 1921.

Only club captain, Matt Bell remained from that side of nine years earlier and as they entered the thirties, manager, Billy McCracken had a side looking more likely to struggle against relegation in the coming decade than fight for a place among the elite. For this season, at least, their second tier status seemed assured.

McCracken, was the former Ireland and Newcastle star of the Edwardian era, having played a pivotal role in the Magpies side that had won the title at will but had awful luck in the cup finals. At the age of forty a still fit McCracken had hoped to sign for Hull as a player but Newcastle attached an unreasonable price tag to the deal so the canny Ulsterman took on the role of manager instead.

McCracken set about building a side that would be known for speed in attack and a strong offside trap but as he approached the fifth round trip to Maine Road his side were depleted with injuries. The biggest blow to The Tiger's cup aspirations was the loss of their veteran club captain, Bell, out through injury but McCracken still had some experience to call on. Jimmy Howieson had learned his football north of the border and had once been capped by Scotland, Jimmy Walsh had been signed by Liverpool when that club had just won back to back titles in the early twenties but in his five seasons at Anfield he failed to win any honours. Billy Taylor's three seasons at Cardiff had seen the club denied the title only on the old goal average system [under the modern goal difference format they would have been champions] and win the cup but Taylor was a spectator for the majoity of his time at Ninian park with just six appearances. And  Bertie 'Paddy' Mills was the returned prodigal son having left Anlaby Road for Notts County, with whom he was promptly relegated from the top flight before he joined Birmingham, where he struggled to get a game before giving up and returning to Hull.

Over sixty thousand were easily accomodated in the Maine Road stadium, deservedly dubbed the Wembley of the North when it had been built just a few years earlier and was second only to the National stadium in size as the home side emerged first in shirts slightly darker than the modern day sky blue. Hull followed in their tiger striped shirts on a field rapidly drying in the winter sunshine and more brown than green in colour.

Any hopes of a cupset looked to be gone as quickly as the third minute as the Manchester giants, no doubt keen to make amends to their fans for losing the Manchester derby at Maine Road the previous week , started well and deservedly took the lead when Eric Brook's cross was met by Ernie Toseland whose header left Fred Gibson flat footed as the ball entered the net. 

At this stage the travelling Hull fans must have been fearful as the hosts had netted double figures against Swindon in the previous round and were attacking a goal guarded by reserve keeper Fred Gibson with regular custodian Geordie Maddison out for the remainder of the season but Gibson was to have an inspired afternoon with a string of excellent saves to keep the City forwards at bay.

Hull were making few inroads at the other end until just before the half hour mark when Billy Taylor's first meaningful cross of the afternoon evaded the home defence and was met by Paddy Mills to head home and reveal the pockets of the ground where the 3,500 trevelling Tigers were gathered.

It was still Manchester City who did all the pressing for the remaining minutes of the first half but Gibson and his backs did great work to keep them out. A feat all the more remarkable because left back, Jimmy Howieson was actually a forward filling in.

If Hull were going to stay in the tie they had to make changes but in these days before substitues changes could only be made positionally among the men on the field. The result was Stan Alexander moving to the wing for the second half in the hope he could relieve the pressure on the overworked backs and keeper. Gibson though continued to thrive on the challenege as Marshall, Johnson, Tilson and Brook were all foiled when each had looked like putting City back in front, either seeing their efforts saved by the keeper or firing off target and while the home side continued to squander their opportunities Hull had a chance.

It was just after the hour mark that McCracken's forward line shuffling paid dividends when Alexander got time and space to get in a cross for Billy Taylor, having moved to centre forward, to finish off. Now the stadium really was stunned, although the more confident among the home faithful noted that twenty-seven minutes should be enough time to save the tie and force a replay at least.

Gibson though remained inspired and when the Manchester forwards were not being the merchants of their own doom with dreadful finishing he was always in the right place at the right time to deny any goalbound effort until a frustrating afternoon for the majority in Maine Road was brought to a close. The Manchester fans hid their disappointment though to applaud and acknowledge the efforts of the visitors whose patched up eleven had somehow managed to keep them out.

Matt Bell's statement had now come true and Hull had gone farther than ever before in the cup when paired in the quarter finals with struggling top flight outfit, Newcastle at St James' Park. The Magpies were enduring an awful season and went into the tie at the start of March in the relegation zone and facing the prospect of meeting Hull as equals next season. 

The first tie at St James' Park was a fractious affair with several bad tempered moments, including one incident where blows were thrown behind the referee's back but Hull yet again recovered from an early setback to force a replay. Two days later millions tuned into their radios to hear a semi final draw that also involved The Champions and league leaders, Sheffield Wednesday, a decent Huddersfield side sitting in the top six, struggling Arsenal and then the ball shared by Newcastle and Hull. The country wanted the former two kept apart, fans...

 

   

Hull City vs Newcastle United Pathe News footage

...of the latter clubs wanted to be paired and they got their wish. The dream Wednesday-Town final was shattered when they were matched while the 'other' semi final would be between Arsenal and either Newcastle or Hull at Leeds United's Elland Road. That issue would be settled at Anlaby Road on March 6th.

The return of Matt Bell saw Jimmy Howieson move into the half back line in place of Jimmy Walsh as the biggest crowd ever to attend a football match at Anlaby Road started pouring through the turnstiles for the 2:30 kick off. Excitement at the fixture was at such a height that even the Hull city council adjourned their afternoon meeting in order to fill sixty seats in the reserved stand.

It was a day when Newcastle left the field almost believing they had been up against one man, such was the volume of pressure placed on Fred Gibson's goal. Sam Weaver and Donald Hutchison both thought they had done enough to score in the first half only for Gibson to somehow scramble across and get a hand to their shots and tip them round a post while good drives from Gallacher and Richardson forced Gibson into spectacular flying saves. 

The Hull fans were loving it while the Newcastle players regularly stood, hands on hips or heads in disbelief that the deadlock hadn't been broken. Then. Like Manchester City before them, Newcastle were stung at the other end. The goal came within a minute of the kick off for the second half when  Ronnie Starling slid the ball out to Taylor whose cross was cleared only as far as Jimmy Howieson. His drive was hard and on target but at a good height for Albert Mcinroy to deal with but the Newcastle keeper fumbled the ball and it bounced once, over the line and into the net to give Hull the lead.

Despite Newcastle's posession in the rest of the second half they rarely threatened an equaliser and Gibson was more than equal to anything they had in their armoury. For nearly ten minutes before the final whistle the crowd began edging over the perimiter and prepared for a pitch invasion that swarmed the field when the referee called time and such was the throng around Gibson that he required a four officer police escort to leave the field in one piece. The Newcastle players vanished into the crowd with no complaints having not done themselves any justice.

The Hull fans could now prepare for a day out in Leeds to face an Arsenal side not yet the giants they were to become but containing many of the names who would take them there such as Jack, Lambert and Bastin. The game was viewed very much as the tie to decide who would face the eventual cup holders at Wembley, so convinced were the public that the Wednesday-Huddersfield game was the greater tie and Hull have never been so close to making the big day as they were then with a quarter of an hour to go.

Arsenal were naturally the favourites but gifted Hull a two goal lead in the first half when an awful goal kick was lobbed back with interest by Jimmy Howieson from fully forty yards sailing perfectly over the keeper's head and under the bar. Sensationally their lead was doubled when Dally Duncan's cross was turned into his own net by Joe Hulme. At half time it seemed Hull were going to Wembley but in the second half Arsenal turned physical in a desperate bid to get back in the game. It would be unfair to say the Gunners adopted a dirty game but two Hull players were hobbling by the final ten minutes, by which time Arsenal had clawed their way level.

The replay was noted for the first ever sending off in a cup semi final, and remained the only one for half a century when Arthur Childs lashed out a kick at Jack Lambert. The referee had no option but to send Childs back to the dressing room and their cup dream looked as good as over. David Jack had already given Arsenal the lead but the old saying that ten can play better than eleven showed up here as Hull played some of their best football in the closing stages and came agonisignly close to forcing extra time more than once.

Arsenal fans look back on the game as being the match that launched them as one of the Nations giants but for Hull the cup run proved costly. A build up of league fixtures in March and April, coupled with injuries to key players saw the Tigers stumble into a slump they were unable to arrest and lost at home on the final day of the season to suffer a relegation that had seemed highly unlikely just two months before.

Billy McCracken paid with his job but better days lay ahead for most of the team as Hull were forced to sell players in the years ahead.

Fred Gibson {in cap} can only look on as David Jack {dark shirt} scores Arsenal's winner in the semi final

Ronnie Starling had impressed the Newcastle board during their quarter final and before the season was over he had moved to St James' Park. It was at Sheffield Wednesday though where he enjoyed the greater success, being capped by England and captaining The Owls to F A cup glory in 1935. 

Dally Duncan also won the cup and gained International honours after he was sold to Derby in 1932. The Scotland International had to wait until the twilight of his career to earn his cup winner's medal with the Rams in 1946. 

Bill Gowdy completed a trio of players who went on to be capped by their country when he received the call to represent {Northern} Ireland and, like Starling, found his way to Sheffield Wednesday. Gowdy's time at Hillsborough was an unhappy one though and he moved back to Northern Ireland having made just two appearances.

Fred Gibson's heroics had played a huge part in Hull's cup run so the only surprise was that it took until 1932 before a top flight club signed him when Middlesbrough brought him to Ayresome Park. Gibson went on to be their regular keeper for most of the decade making over a century of appearances.

Relegation decimated the Hull team and by 1933 only George Goldsmith was still there to help them back into Division Two but he too moved on to make a handful of appearances for Tottenham and Bolton.

Newcastle had been the sixth top flight club to suffer their fate on the Anlaby Road ground, following Woolwich Arsenal [1908], Oldham Athletic [1911], West Bromwich Albion [1915], Burnley [1921] and Middlesbrough [1922] but the stadium, built in 1906 would never again witness a scene like it did that day. Even by the time the ground was mothballed for the war it was obvious to the Hull directors that they would have to find a new home and that need was increased when the ground suffered substantial damage during the wartime Luftwaffe raids on the City. Before the war was over the Tigers had been told to vacate by the cricket club who owned the ground. Hull's first game after the war was at their new Boothferry Park home while Anlaby Road remained largely unused awaiting the bulldozers. Yet when nothing happened it gradually came back into use, firstly as the training pitch for Hull, and then for junior local league games and reserve matches, though the first team never played there. In April 1965 the stay of execution was over and the ground was finally levelled to make way for a new line of the railway but in a turnaround of history the railway itself then made way forty years later for the building of Hull's present home venue, the Kingston Communications Stadium, much of which sits on the old Anlaby Road ground site.   

Manchester: 1:Lewis Barber, 2:John Ridley, 3:Billy Felton, 4:Matt Barrass, 5:Sam Cowan, 6:Jimmy McMullan, 7:Ernie Toseland, 8:Bobby Marshall, 9:Tommy Johnson, 10:Fred Tilson, 11:Eric Brook

Hull: 1:Fred Gibson, 2:George Goldsmith, 3:Jimmy Howieson, 4:Jimmy Walsh, 5:Arthur Childs, 6:Bill Gowdy, 7:Billy Taylor, 8:Paddy Mills, 9:Stan Alexander, 10:Ronnie Starling, 11:Dally Duncan {Manager-Billy McCracken}

 

Newcastle: 1:Albert McInroy, 2:Alf Maitland, 3:Bob Thompson, 4:Roddie MacKenzie, 5:Jack Hill, 6:?, 7:Donald Hutchison, 8:Jimmy Richardson, 9:Hughie Gallacher, 10:?, 11:?

Hull: 1:Fred Gibson, 2:George Goldsmith, 3:Matt Bell, 4:Jimmy Howieson, 5:Arthur Childs, 6:Sam Weaver, 7:Billy Taylor, 8:Paddy Mills, 9:Stan Alexander, 10:Ronnie Starling, 11:Dally Duncan

Hull City

Manchester City

1930

 

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