Giant-killers go head-to-head as Cup adventure continues

Monday 22 Sep 2014
Two side with Cup pedigree go head to head on Saturday

Bishop’s Stortford meet Tooting & Mitcham United in the Second Round Qualifying tie, and the pair have quite a history in the Cup.

Stortford are two levels higher than Tooting and will start as favourites and are just two wins away from the First Round Proper. 

The home side are mid-table in the Conference South, while Tooting are similarly placed in the Isthmian League’s Division One South.

The Tooting ‘Terrors’ reached the Fourth Round Proper in the 1975-76 season, knocking out Division Three Swindon Town 2-1 in a Sandy Lane replay before going out 3-1 at Bradford City.

Bishop's Stortford v Tooting & Mitcham United

FA Cup
Second Round Qualifying
3pm, Saturday 27 September
Woodside Park

But their most memorable FA Cup match was played two decades before that.

Two giant-killings in 1958-59 put out Bournemouth (3-1) and Northampton (2-1).

The run took the Isthmians through to a glamour tie against top-division Nottingham Forest at home in the Third Round. 

Tooting were 2-0 up on a rock-hard January pitch through Grainger and Murphy, before Forest hit back for a fortuitous 2-2 draw with an own goal and a penalty.

It was a different story in the replay, however, with Forest winning 3-0. 

Having survived that scare at Sandy Lane, the team of scoring wingers Roy Dwight and Stuart Imlach went all the way to the Wembley Final – and won The Cup!

Bishop’s Stortford are no strangers to Wembley Finals either, having lifted The FA Amateur Cup there in 1974 (the last Final before the competition became defunct) and The FA Trophy seven years later. 

John Radford, who played for Arsenal when they won The FA Cup in 1971, became the first player to subsequently win The FA Trophy in Stortford’s colours.

Their first foray into the First Round Proper of The Cup ended in a 6-1 defeat at Division Three Reading in 1970. 

But The Bishops had a great run in the 1982-83 season. 

They won 2-1 at Reading and 4-1 at Slough with Lyndon Lynch’s hat-trick to set up a Third Round tie against Division Two Middlesbrough at their famous Ayresome Park ground. 

Stortford came away with a 2-2 draw and 6,000 fans crammed into their old ground at Rhodes Avenue near the station in the hope of seeing a major upset. 

Lynch gave them the lead on the stroke of half-time but a fitter Boro side scraped through 2-1 with two late goals and eventually went out of the competition to Arsenal in a Highbury replay.

By David Barber FA Historian