Tottenham On This Day: Two FA Cup Ties Against Non-League Opponents


Tottenham On This Day

Tottenham’s records show that on 13th January Spurs had contrasting results against two non-League teams in the FA Cup – at home to Worksop in 1923 and exactly 50 years later at Margate in 1973.

Martin Chivers scores against Margate [Photo: Logan Holmes]

13th January 1923

Tottenham Hotspur 0 Worksop Town 0 (FA Cup 1st Round)

What an embarrassment this First Round tie was for Tottenham.

Spurs were at home to Worksop Town, a team from the Midland League. Tottenham, the FA Cup winners in 1921, semi–finalists in the Cup and runners up in the League in 1922 and with six members of the Cup winning team still playing – they failed to score and overcome determined non-League opposition.

Wintry weather conditions made the pitch difficult to play on but the non–League team adapted to the conditions and showed greater determination and bravery to earn their place in Cup history.

After the game the Worksop officials decided to play the replay at White Hart Lane rather than on their home ground. Spurs quickly agreed to this request and the game was arranged for two days later, Monday, 15th January.

Team: Blake, Clay, Pearson, Smith, Lowe, Grimsdell, Walden, Seed, Lindsay, Handley, Dimmock


(from a Tottenham Hotspur programme)

Failure to defeat a club from outside the League is always an embarrassment for a League club. The Altrincham rebuff caused nothing like the sensation that attended the visit of Worksop Town to Spurs in January, 1923. It is hard to stay why, but it was perhaps due to the widower gap in the public image between League and non-League clubs in the early 1920s compared with 1979 and the fact the decades between provided a number of giant-killing acts.

Moreover, Spurs were a First Division power of that time. They had romped away with the championship of the Second Division in 1920, had won the FA Cup a year later, and had reached the semi-final in 1922 in addition to finishing runners-up in the League.

It was unthinkable that Spurs should stumble against humble Worksop, a Midland League club from a small Nottinghamshire mining town, whose players were excited at the prospect of even a visit to London, apart from the great thrill of playing at White Hart Lane.

It was a time when the aftermath of the First World War was still much in evidence, and the Worksop party laid a wreath at the Cenotaph to honour all footballers in general who had lost their lives and in particular to William Bartrop, one of their own former players, who had played at outside-right in Barnsley’s Cup-winning team of 1912.


On the day of the match fog was hanging about and the light was still poor at kick-off time. Worksop defended the Edmonton goal at the start and there was an immediate threat from Wally Amos, their outside-left, who went on to make a big name as. First Division player with Bury later in his career.

With that early danger cleared, the stylish Spurs team played some exhibition football and it seemed only a matter of time before a commanding lead would be built up. From Worksop there was plenty of effort and several fouls, due more perhaps to eagerness than ill-intent. in saving from Harry Lowe, Jack Brown, the Worksop goalkeeper, who later went on to play for England and Sheffield Wednesday, nearly allowed the ball to roll into the net, bur otherwise there was little incident in the first half.

The crowd, still anticipating a goal avalanche, were sympathetic to Worksop, who were cheered whenever they attacked, and as they left the field at the interval.

The second half proceeded much as the first had done. Spurs were doing most of the attacking without penetrating the Worksop defence, and by this time concern was beginning to show.

Captain and left-half, Arthur Grimsdell, one of the great performers in that team, went up in attack with Jimmy Dimmock, Spurs’ star left-winger, dropping back, but they son abandoned this panic measure for their normal positions.

By this time the crowd was beginning to laugh, still confident that all would be well in the end.

The match finished goalless, however, and that presented problems. Worksop’s ground , holding only 8,000, was considered by the Midland Leaguers to be unsuitable for the replay. Arsenal,and Sheffield United were possible venues, but both were already scheduled for replays. The way out of the deadlock was to play the game again at White Hart Lane on the following Monday.

50 Years Later

13th January, 1973

Margate 0 Tottenham Hotspur 6 (FA Cup 3rd Round)

Scorers: Knowles, Peters, Chivers (2), Pratt, Pearce

Jimmy Pearce scores the third against Margate [Photo: Logan Holmes]

Another non-League opponent was Margate in 1973. The UEFA Cup holders having been to the vast San Siro Stadium to play AC Milan the previous spring had to adapt to the closeness of the Margate ground at Hartsdown Park.

In the Margate team that day was former Spurs’ player, Eddie Clayton. He made over 100 appearances for Spurs before signing for Southend United in 1968 and he then joined Margate two years later.

Margate should have scored first but Spurs took the lead through Martin Chivers after 26 minutes to hold a one goal advantage at the interval. Two goals in the opening ten minutes of the second half from Chivers and Jimmy Pearce ended Margate’s resistance as Spurs ran out easy winners with further goals from Martin Peters, Cyril Knowles and John Pratt.

The term “Nice one Cyril” was coined that day in front of an attendance of 14,169 although the official ground limit had been 8500. Extra tickets had been sold to meet the demand to see the game, swelling the crowd to that much higher figure with chairs being placed around the side of the pitch. Health and Safety regulations would prevent anything like that happening today.

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