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FA Cup Giant Killers from the 50s, 60s & 70s

By on 26 January 2018

The Fourth Round of the FA Cup taking place this weekend has thrown up some potential giant-killing fixtures. Inevitably that’s what many will be looking out for. Some FA Cup shocks have now become almost as famous as the final itself, particularly since the advent of football highlights on TV and they are endlessly played out when the cup comes round each year. Some, however, are not so well-remembered and, consequently, SoccerAttic is re-visiting three not so well known giant killings from the ’50s , ’60s and ’70s that we first wrote about two years ago.

Hopefully, they’re still just as interesting two years on. Enjoy.

FA Cup 3rd Round – January 7th 1956 – Bristol Rovers 4 – Manchester United 0

Rovers were in the Second Division and in the reckoning for promotion to the top flight so this was not the earth-shattering result that it would be considered today. However, this was the Busby Babes who would go on to win the 1956 First Division Championship and, even though it was played at Eastville, it was still a significant upset and probably Rovers’ finest Cup result in their history. Man Utd will be hoping to avoid a result like this when they travel West this evening to Yeovil.

Geoff Bradford, Bristol Rovers from Charles Buchan's Football Monthly June 1955

Alfie Biggs from Charles Buchan's Football Monthly October 1958 Barrie Meyer, Bristol Rovers from Charles Buchan's Football Monthly July 1956







Alfie Biggs scored two of the Rovers goals with one apiece from Barrie Meyer and Geoff Bradford from the penalty spot who, in 1953, it was feared would never play again after a knee injury sustained against Plymouth. Not only did he make it back into the team before the end of the 1953-54 season, he also made the preliminary England squad for that summer’s World Cup.


FA Cup 5th Round – March 5th 1966 – Preston 2 – Spurs 1

Spurs, one of the most successful cup sides of the 1960s, arrived at Deepdale on the back of a 4-3 victory against Burnley in the fourth round and in fifth position in Division One. Preston, however, were struggling fifth bottom in the Second Division and had set up a glamour home tie by beating local rivals Bolton in the fourth round.

All appeared to be going to plan when Greaves put Spurs ahead but Preston got stronger as the game went on. Brief action from Pathe News below together with a picture of goalscorer Alex Dawson from Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly, May 1964 issue.

Alex Dawson, Preston North End, Charles Buchan's Football Monthly, May 1964



 FA Cup 4th Round – January 24th 1976 – Leeds 0 – Crystal Palace 1

Palace were in the Third Division and most expected Leeds, then in third-place in the First Division, to sweep them aside at Elland Road. But manager Malcolm Allison, who became synonymous with Palace’s cup run that season, got his tactics spot on and the Eagles progressed to a Fifth Round tie away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Peter Taylor would later be called up to play for England as a Third Division player largely on the strength  of his cup performances for Palace before he moved on to Spurs in September 1976.

Crystal Palace team 1976

Back: Cannon, Chatterton, Hill, Martin, Hinshelwood, Burns, Swindlehurst, Jeffries, Johnson (J), Johnson (P) Front: Allison (Manager), Horne (Kitman), Kemp, Mulligan, Wall, Taylor, Whittle, Holder, Sansom, Venables (Coach)

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