This high scoring game was the end of United's FA cup run in 1954/5. The team had started the competition in the First Qualifying Round and had overcome Brigg Town, local rivals Grantham, after a replay, Skegness Town and fellow Midland League side Peterborough United, away in front of a crowd of over 16,000, to reach the First Round Proper. The first game between the two sides had resulted in a 1-1 draw, although many people thought that the game should have been abandoned due to the thick fog that was present. A home match against League opponents in the form of Torquay United awaited the winners.
With ten minutes to go United were leading by four goals to two, but they caught the wrong end of a goal blitz from Blyth, and with two minutes left they saw their hopes of a home game with Torquay vanish when the home centre forward gave Blyth the winning goal. Before that United had been two goals down in the first half, but had recovered to command the game and draw level by half time through two goals by Tommy Lowder. Two further goals in the second half, this time from Hazledine, made it look like a win for United, when along came Blyth to prove otherwise. With only ten minutes left to play United's defence fell to pieces and they were unable to hold the Blyth team, who were intent on victory.
The first goal was the usual United "gift" effort. HOGG got the ball when Robinson fell as he went to intercept and Middleton came out to narrow the angle. The ball escaped his fingers and struck the upright before entering the net. Hazledine went very close on several occasions but it was HOGG who put Blyth further ahead when he shot from long range for the ball to hit Weatherspoon. The ball rebounded to Hogg and his second attempt gave Middleton no chance. LOWDER reduced the lead in the 35th minute with a shot that gave Inglis no chance and he beat the keeper with another shot in the 43rd. HAZLEDINE put United in the lead for the first time in the 49th minute and increased the lead in the 75th when Wilkins laid on a beautiful pass for him. Six minutes later Blyth took over command of the game. Hogg lobbed the ball into the middle and GAIR headed in. Hogg again in the next minute put a centre through to Weatherspoon and Middleton tried to stop the ball at his feet but it rolled to GAIR who equalised. The last and final goal came from a corner. WEATHERSPOON got his head to the ball, and that was the end of United's cup run for 1954.
Torquay beat Blyth 3-1 in the Second Round.
United team: 1. Ray Middleton (player-manager), 2. Ralph Robinson, 3. Geoff Snade, 4. Vic Walker, 5. Vic Smith, 6. Dave Miller, 7. Steve Wheatley, 8. Geoff Hazledine, 9. Ray Wilkins, 10. Tommy Lowder, 11. Peter Williams.
Photo courtesy of Geoff Snade
BACK ROW: Dave Miller, Ray Middleton, Vic Smith, Ray Wilkins, Ralph Robinson, Peter Williams FRONT ROW: Steve Wheatley, Geoff Snade, Geoff Hazledine, Vic Walker, Tommy Lowder.
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