Tottenham on this Day
12th March, 1958
Tottenham Hotspur 4 Bolton Wanderers 1 1st Division
Scorers: Smith (3), Brooks
Team: Ditchburn; Hills, Henry; Blanchflower, Norman, Ryden; Medwin, Brooks, Smith, Harmer, Dyson
Tottenham had started the season poorly, losing heavily in many of the early games. They lost 8 of their first 14 games but two of their wins came in successive games in mid-September at home to Birmingham and Sheffield Wednesday when they scored 11 goals, conceding 3. From late October, however, their form had improved and inspired by Bobby Smith’s goal scoring they were making progress in the league.
This game showed Smith’s importance to the team as he completed his third hat-trick of the season, giving him seven goals in his last three League games. The other Spurs goal came from Johnny Brooks.
Smith had put Spurs into the lead after 3 minutes when left winger Terry Dyson, who was third choice behind Cliff Jones and George Robb, created the chance. Smith turned creator in the 18th minute when he placed a through pass for Brooks to score. In the second half Maurice brought down Nat Lofthouse to concede a 54th minute penalty which was scored by Ray Parry. The Bolton and England centre-forward hobbled off with a shoulder injury on his way to hospital.A few minutes after Bolton reduced the arrears Smith restored Tottenham’s advantage when he ran onto a pass fro Brooks, took the ball past the goalkeeper and screwed the ball back into the goal. He completed his hat-trick with 18 minutes to play when he back-heeled the ball to Tommy Harmer who in turn back-heeled it to release Smith to break through on goal.
With Bolton due to play in the FA Cup semi-final in ten days, the focus was on Lofthouse’s injury which overshadowed the ‘wonderful and entertaining football of Tottenham.’
With 9 matches to play Tottenham were in 7th place in the 1st Division, 13 points behind the leaders. Spurs finished the season strongly, with 5 consecutive wins in their final games and were to finish finished 3rd, well behind champions Wolves and second placed Preston. That 3rd-placed finish was something that would have seemed impossible given the early season results.