Tottenham On This Day: Spurs Avoid FA Cup Shock At Halifax Town


Tottenham defeated Halifax Town in an FA Cup 5th Round tie in February, 1953 with three second half goals in difficult conditions as snow had left the pitch treacherous.

14th February, 1953

Tottenham on this Day

Halifax Town 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3 FA Cup 5th Round

Scorers: Bennett (2), Duquemin

Team: Ditchburn, Ramsey, Willis, Nicholson, Clarke, Burgess, Walters, Bennett, Duquemen, Baily, Medley

Ted Ditchburn at snowy Halifax [Photo: Logan Holmes]The successful Tottenham team which won promotion and the 1st Division title in successive seasons at the beginning of the 1950s had failed to make an impact in the FA Cup. As Spurs faced a tough 5th Round tie at Halifax in 1953, supporters started to wonder if this could be the year but Halifax fans were dreaming of another Cup up-set as their visitors had lost 4 – 0 at Highbury the previous week.

Arthur Rowe, the Tottenham manager, was quoted in the press, saying,

"We will treat Halifax as if they are the League champions…"

Spurs had required replays to defeat Tranmere Rovers and Preston in the previous rounds with two goals from Charlie Withers, normally a left back but playing as an emergency winger at Preston earning the replay. Len Duquemin scored the only goal of the replay at White Hart Lane.

A difficult 5th Round FA Cup tie was anticipated as Halifax, in the old 3rd Division (North), had overcome two 1st Division sides, Cardiff and Stoke, in the earlier rounds. The match was in doubt due to overnight snow but the pitch was cleared sufficiently for it to proceed although blue dye had to be used for the pitch markings.

The first half was very close but Spurs almost snatched an early lead through Sonny Walters, his shot going just wide following a cross by Eddie Baily. Neither goalkeeper was really tested and the match remained goalless at the interval. After half time Spurs started to take control and after two near misses they scored through Les Bennett after 55 minutes.

Although the home team rallied, Spurs were encouraged and went further ahead when Len Duquemin scored following a pass by Bennett. Duquemin had a goal disallowed and then two minutes later Bennett scored his second after the goalkeeper had parried a shot by Walters. The three second half goals gave Spurs a convincing victory in difficult conditions.

Spurs’ opponents in the 6th Round were Birmingham City with the game to be played at St. Andrews two weeks later, 28th February.