Tottenham on This Day.
20th December, 1972
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 League Cup Semi-Final (1st Leg)
Scorers: Peters, Pratt Hibbitt (pen)
Two big Cup wins at Molineux in the same year. This League Cup success tends to be forgotten in comparison with the quality of the strikes from Martin Chivers which set up Spurs for their 1972 UEFA Cup Final success.
It had been a long journey to the semi-finals of the League Cup for Spurs as their campaign involved 7 matches including a number of replays, some of which went to extra time. This match, in the week before Christmas, was Spurs 8th game in the competition. They had seen off Huddersfield Town, Middlesborough (2 replays plus extra time), Millwall and Liverpool in a replay in the earlier rounds. Such was Tottenham’s hectic schedule of fixtures which included UEFA Cup games, that during the competition they’d twice had to play two games in three days. This match was their 36th game of the season.
Tottenham made a quick start against Wolves scoring two goals in the first fifteen minutes to put themselves in a very strong position. Although Wolves scored before half-time, they couldn’t prevent Spurs taking a one goal lead into the second leg at White Hart Lane.
Martin Peters scored after three minutes, his 17th goal of the season. The goal came from a Mike England free-kick which was won by Martin Chivers. The ball came to Jimmy Pearce and his short pass found Peters in space to score. Spurs were playing the more fluently and John Pratt who had come into the team as the replacement for Alan Mullery when he left for Fulham after the previous season’s UEFA Cup Final, scored the second from 25 yards. Chivers was involved in the build up again as he won the challenge for a long ball out of defence and played it back to Pratt who seized upon it to double Spurs’ advantage.
Six minutes before half-time, Alan Gilzean hit the bar and then with seconds remaining Wolves pulled a goal back when they were awarded a needless penalty awarded against Cyril Knowles. Hibbitt made no mistake from the spot.
This lifted Wolves for the second half but Spurs defended comfortably with England outstanding to hold out to the final whistle and take a single goal lead to the 2nd leg match.
So, just as in the previous year’s UEFA Cup Final, Spurs took a one goal lead into the next match.