Fearless Yeovil Town remain among FA Cup's history boys

Sunday 04 Jan 2015
Yeovil Town's Huish Park will host Manchester United on Sunday
Yeovil Town became almost synonymous with FA Cup giant-killing when they were a non-League club, bouncing no fewer than 20 League sides out of the competition.

The Somerset outfit now play in League One and two late goals in their Second Round replay with Accrington Stanley earned them a dream tie against 11-time FA Cup winners Manchester United at Huish Park on Sunday at 3.30pm. They will relish the chance to be the classic underdogs once more.

Yeovil Town v Man Utd

The FA Cup
Third Round Proper
3.30pm, Sunday 4 January 2015
Huish Park
Live on BT Sport
Winning club will receive £67,500

The teams have met before in The Cup but that was way back in 1949. Southern League Yeovil had just shocked the football world by beating top-flight Sunderland 2-1 in the Fourth Round on their old sloping pitch and their reward was a trip to Maine Road to face Cup holders Manchester United.

They were not able to play at an Old Trafford that had been badly damaged during the war. 

Yeovil’s fairytale ended in Round Five. United crushed them 8-0, Jack Rowley netting five, and there was an enormous crowd of more than 81,000 to see them do it. 

The gates had to be closed 20 minutes before the kick-off with thousands more clamouring to get in.

Around 6,000 fans from Somerset flowed into the city with their rattles, bells and horns. Facing six internationals in the United line-up, their heroes leapt into the fray and forced a corner in the first minute. But United were soon in front, Rowley heading a simple goal.

“Stanley Hall had to have four stitches in a wound in the abdomen and ended up picking the ball out of the net eight times altogether”


Yeovil keeper Stanley Hall made a series of brilliant saves but was beaten three more times before half-time, twice by the irrepressible Rowley. 

During the interval Hall had to have four stitches inserted into a wound in the abdomen and ended up picking the ball out of the net eight times altogether.

The Yeovil Glovers – they had received a pre-match goodwill message from Gloversville, USA, founded by Yeovil emigrants during the depression at the start of the century – were gallant throughout, showing spirit and determination. But the holders were ruthless.

When the non-Leaguers did manage to mount an attack, they found that Chilton, Carey and Aston provided an unshakeable defence. 

But United did not retain the trophy, going out to Wolves in a Semi-Final replay at Goodison Park.

Alf Bond, who refereed Man U v Yeovil, was the one-armed official who famously took charge of the 1956 Final at Wembley.

By David Barber FA Historian