Tottenham’s match on Sunday against Leeds United at Elland Road will be the sixth occasion on which the two clubs have been drawn together in the FA Cup. Of the previous five ties, three have gone to replays. Spurs’ only Cup win in Yorkshire was in their game at Elland Road when a Jermain Defoe hat-trick saw them to a 3 – 1 win after a 2 – 2 draw at White Hart Lane in the 4th Round in 2010.
First MeetingSpurs were drawn to travel to Leeds in the 3rd Round in January, 1954. Leeds were a 2nd Division side while Spurs were in mid-table in the 1st Division. The match ended 3 – 3 and only a late goal from Les Bennett saved Tottenham from an embarrassing defeat. Leeds had held the advantage at 3 – 2 for forty minutes after half-time until Spurs’ late equaliser which came from a disputed corner.
Tottenham’s manager, Arthur Rowe described the match as “one of the greatest Cup-tie battles I have ever seen.”
Spurs had made a dramatic start to the game, taking the lead after 35 seconds with a goal from winger, Sonny Walters. Leeds hit back with two headed goals in a minute after 20 minutes. Bennett brought Spurs level but then Leeds restored their advantage when a speculative cross shot hit right back Alf Ramsey and was deflected into his own net. Commenting afterwards Ramsey said, “I reckon it would have gone six yards wide if I hadn’t touched it.” Leeds looked set for victory through the second half until Bennett’s late intervention with ten minutes remaining.Replay
The following Wednesday, Tottenham won 1 – 0 in the replay at a waterlogged White Hart Lane. Bennett with a first-half goal, again proved to be the kill-joy where Leeds were concerned. The match was played only after a pitch inspection by the referee and in its match report the Daily Mirror commented on Tottenham’s performance and the conditions.
“Spurs contrived to turn in a top-class show in conditions which made it impossible to stay upright, let alone kick a ball with accuracy.”
Leeds were now established as one of the top teams in England and Europe. They finished the season as runners-up in the 1st Division for the third consecutive year and winners of the FA Cup. Don Revie’s side were a problem for any team and were the overwhelming favourites to progress to the semi-finals. Tottenham were not relishing their 6th Round tie at Elland Road in March, 1972. Hunter Davies in his book, The Glory Game wrote that even Bill Nicholson was unusually pessimistic, telling the players not to worry if they lost 2 – 0. Nicholson said, “Someone’s got to lose and if we’re losing, just keep playing as well as you can.”
Not unexpectedly, Spurs lost 2 – 1 even though Pat Jennings put in an outstanding performance in goal. Leeds started the quicker with Spurs chasing shadows. Gradually Spurs got into the game through sheer endeavour but it was against the run of play that Spurs went ahead five minutes before the interval. John Pratt sent in a hopeful lob towards Martin Chivers but the striker, the Leeds defenders and goalkeeper, Gary Sprake, missed it and the ball bounced into the net. Within minutes Leeds had equalised following a series of shots.
Leeds started the second half as they had in the first with constant pressure and in that time scored their second and winning goal. Spurs were out and left Elland Road dejected that they had been unable to match Leeds.
In January, 1982 Tottenham defeated Leeds at White Hart Lane in the 4th Round with Garth Crooks scoring the only goal. Tottenham went on to retain the FA Cup in a replay at Wembley in May at the end of an arduous season.
The FA Cup 5th Round tie against Leeds United is memorable for the quality of the goals that Spurs scored in the replay at White Hart Lane. At Elland Road, a goal from Tim Sherwood on his full Tottenham debut, early in the second half gave Spurs the lead but Leeds equalised twenty minutes later through Ian Harte. In the replay Darren Anderton and David Ginola scored two goals of outstanding quality to take Spurs into the quarter finals. The goals came in an eight minute period midway through the second half. Another amazing strike from Ginola which went narrowly past is equally remembered for the reaction of George Graham and the Spurs’ bench as they leapt to their feet in celebration, thinking that it was in the back of the net.
Leeds spent three seasons in League One but defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 3rd Round in January, 2010. The goalscorer was Jermaine Beckford and he got both Leeds goals at White Hart Lane in the 4th Round tie which ended in a 2 – 2 draw. Peter Crouch gave Spurs the lead three minutes before half-time. Leeds drew level within seven minutes of the restart but Roman Pavlyuchenko restored Spurs lead with 15 minutes to play. Leeds were awarded a last minute penalty which Beckford scored with confidence to earn Leeds a replay.
At Elland Road Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead eight minutes before the interval. Leeds, however, equalised in the final minute of the half. Spurs regained the advantage midway through the half and Defoe completed his hat-trick in the final minute.
Every time Tottenham have faced Leeds in the Cup, the matches have been hotly contested. This season’s game will be no different even though Leeds are once again in the the Championship. Leeds, under Neil Warnock, delight in making life difficult for Premier League teams as they displayed in the Capital One Cup when knocking out Everton and Southampton. Spurs must be prepared to face the challenge and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the match, like many of the previous ties went to a replay.
Over to You!
What memories do you have of Spurs playing Leeds United in the FA Cup?
What do you expect the result to be?