TheFA.com looks back at the 1953 FA Cup Final, known by many as 'The Matthews Final' thanks to the wonderful display by Blackpool's Stanley Matthews against Bolton. Here we look at the original match report from the Final...
Blackpool 4-3 Bolton Wanderers
The FA Cup Final
Empire Stadium, Wembley
2 May 1953
By beating Bolton Wanderers by four goals to three in Wembley's highest scoring Final, Blackpool won the FA Challenge Cup for the first time in their history and brought to an end five great years of endeavour which had already seen them at Wembley - alas unsuccessfully - in 1948 and 1951.
For Blackpool, 1953 was third time lucky. But in her high triumph, tribute, too, must be paid to her adversary, Bolton, for the unparalleled way her players took their defeat.
Twenty minutes from time and leading 3-1, their hands were already reaching out for the Cup. Yet though defeat came to them in the last seconds of the additional time allowed for injuries, they were able to smile and congratulate their victors with a sincerity that will forever bring credit to the game.
The Cup Final of 1953 will live long in the memory. It will live not only in the minds of the crowd of 100,000 that packed into the great arena of Wembley Stadium in the spring sunshine. It will live also in the memories of the millions who watched it at close hand on television screens in their own homes.
Already it has been dubbed Matthews's Final. No-one else could have rescued Blackpool from the plight they found themselves in ten minutes after the interval when the injured Bell, playing on the left wing for Bolton, suddenly rose in the air in the Blackpool goalmouth to head home Holden's finely accurate cross to put Bolton 3-1 up.
At this Blackpool might have crumpled as they had done twice before at Wembley. Instead, Matthews, for whom the whole world crossed its fingers as he strove for the third time to gain a Cup-winner's medal, stepped forward to dominate the green stage.
He turned from mere brilliance to genius as over and over again in those last twenty minutes he plunged his fiery daggers deep into the Bolton defence, slitting it open, to provide his colleagues with the scoring chances that brought them victory.
Yet before Matthews contrived this magnificent climax to a great career, before he wrote this story-book ending to the most dramatic Cup Final of all time, Bolton, taking their opportunities - despite the disorganisation brought about by the leg injury to Bell, their left-half, after only 15 minutes play - and playing a fast, open and accurate game, had come to within nodding distance of the Cup.
The match began as it ended - with high drama. After only 75 seconds, Holden tee-ed up the ball outside the right-hand corner of the penalty-area for Lofthouse to drive a hard but speculative shot at the Blackpool goal.
Somehow the ball bounced on the thick close grass over the diving Farm's arm and curled swiftly into the net. Then in the twentieth minute, a forward lob by Moir sent Lofthouse clear through the middle. Farm came out and, as he dived, lofthouse shot. The goalpost shook as the ball struck it and rebounded into play.
Blackpool hardly seemed in the game. And then, suddenly, Mortensen broke through past Barrass and Ball, and as his shot homed for the corner of the goal, hassall, racing back in defence, ran straight across the path of the ball and unintentionally diverted it into the other corner.
But within minutes, Bolton were ahead again. Langton, from the inside-right position, curled a cunning lob into the Blackpool goalmouth and Moir, jumping in front of Farm and across the line of flight, helped the ball on into the net.
Blackpool had not clicked into gear. Perhaps they were missing the injured Alan Brown and Hugh Kelly too much? Their approach play was cultured and promised great things, but their finishing was ineffective.
And thus, after Bolton had increased their lead to 3-1, we came to those last dramatic 22 minutes. It was now all Blackpool. Matthews like a magician suddenly transformed his colleagues into great footballers. Time after time, after making to turn inside, he sped with that decisive acceleration of his outside Banks and up the wing.
He rarely came inside, he rarely spent much time outwitting Banks with his bewildering footwork. Over and over again he left the Bolton left-back standing as he raced up the wing to drop centre after centre, plunging into the heart of the Bolton defence.
Twenty two minutes from the end, Taylor plied Matthews with yet another ball. In a flash he was away, Banks groping in the rear. He tossed a perfect centre high into the Bolton goalmouth.
It dropped, spinning and curling, inches from the far end of the crossbar. hanson clutched at it, but could not hold it. It dropped to the ground and through a space no bigger than the eye of a needle Mortensen pushed it into the goal.
Two-three and the fight was on. But the ten gallant men of Bolton were no longer sufficient to stay the will of the gods. The excitement rose like the swell of the ocean as Matthews bewitched opponent after opponent. Inside and outside, he created havoc; but as the sands of time drifted away, Perry missed a sitter and Mudie another. Then Mortensen saw his point blank shot saved miraculously by Hanson.
Three minutes from time, a kick was given on the edge of the penalty-area for a foul on Mudie. Before an eye could turn, the ball was billowing in the net at the back of the Bolton goal. The wall of Bolton defenders turned, shock on their faces. Mortensen had gambled on a shot and it was home.
With only seconds left, Taylor got the ball for what seemed the thousandth time to matthews. For once, Matthews went inside Banks. Barrass came across but Matthews was ahead of him, racing for the bye-line. In the last yard he cut back a diagonal pass. Mortensen was too far forward; but Perry shot home inside the near post and it was all over.
Blackpool: Farm; Shimwell, Garrett; Fenton, Johnston, Robinson; Matthews, Taylor, Mortensen, Mudie, Perry
Goals: Mortensen 35, 68, 89, Perry 90
Bolton Wanderers: Hanson; Ball, Banks R.; Wheeler, Barrass, Bell; Holden, Moir, Lofthouse, Hassall, Langton
Goals: Lofthouse 2, Moir 39, Bell 55
Referee: Mr. M Griffiths (Newport)