Tottenham on this Day

Tottenham on this Day

Tottenham On This Day: Cyril Knowles Blunders In League Cup Semi-Final


Tottenham on this Day

League Cup Semi-Final Disappointment

5th January, 1971

Tottenham Hotspur 2 Chelsea 2 (League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg) [Lost 5 – 4 on agg.]

Scorers: Chivers, Peters (pen)   Garland, Hudson

Team: Jennings; Evans, Knowles; Pratt (Pearce), England, Beal; Coates, Perryman, Chivers, Peters, Gilzean

Tottenham, the League Cup holders, were a goal down from the first leg played before Christmas but were confident of overturning the deficit. Terry Naylor and Martin Chivers had scored in a 2 – 3 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

With five minutes remaining in the 2nd leg at White Hart Lane, Spurs were 2-1 ahead through goals from Martin Chivers and a Martin Peters penalty.

Chivers had put Spurs ahead a minute before half-time with a volley. Chelsea equalised early in the second half through Garland but Peters restored Spurs’ lead with ten minutes to play. The score was 4 – 4 on aggregate and the game looked to be heading for extra time.

In the 85th minute Chelsea were awarded a free-kick out on the touch line and there was no imminent danger. The kick was fired in low but Cyril Knowles had it covered on the near post and could have cleared it to safety but for some unknown reason he seemed to change his mind over which foot to use to clear the ball and missed it, leaving Jennings unsighted and unable to react to the situation as the ball skidded into the corner of the net and Chelsea had grabbed the goal which took them to the Wembley Final.

Cyril Knowles who was a big favourite with Spurs fans was distraught at his mistake had cost Spurs another chance of a Wembley Final. This was the third time in four seasons Spurs had reached the semi-final stages of the League Cup and as in 1968-69, they went out as a result of conceding a late goal.