Exactly 80 years ago, one of Grimsby's great adventures in the FA Cup was fought out.
Town were of course a first division side, and so didn't have to take part until the 3rd Round in January. They were drawn against 2nd Division Tranmere at Blundell Park for Saturday 7th January, but that game was postponed, and so the match was rearranged for an early kick-off on Tuesday 10th …. No floodlights in those days!
Tranmere were having a torrid time in Division 2. On Boxing Day they had lost to Manchester City 9-3, and in the return fixture the very next day, had been beaten by the same team 5-2 at Maine Road. They had lost to Fulham by the odd goal, but in the last game before their trip to Blundell Park, they had marked up a rare win, this time against Bradford Park Avenue.
Town weren't without their woes in the build-up to the Third Round either. After 7 wins and 3 draws from October to Christmas, including a 6-1 thrashing of Leicester City, suddenly over Christmas they lost all form and three games on the trot, so confidence was somewhat shaken as the rearranged fixture approached.
Despite the early kick-off, an official attendance of exactly 10,000 (FA Cup crowds were often estimated for some unknown reason), crowded into Blundell Park.
First to show were Town, who had attacked remorselessly, but Tranmere put up such a stout defence that "Parkite" who covered the game for the Grimsby Telegraph suggested that after 20 minutes, the home crowd were fearing a giant-killing by Tranmere. In a rare attack, Tranmere's wingers combined to create a great chance of taking a surprise lead. Dellow on the right put the ball right in front of goal where the inrushing Roy had a shot from close in, and it was only a world class save from Town's Tweedy that preserved the score at 0-0. But in the following 6 minutes, the outcome was put beyond doubt as Town scored three quick goals. First Beattie, then Howe, then Boyd* each netted. The best goal of the game came shortly afterwards when Howe scored his second after Beattie had set him up.
Just before the interval, Tweedy brought down Dellow close to goal and a spot-kick was ordered by Manchester referee W B Nixon. Miller took the spot-kick for Tranmere, hard and low, but Tweedy was equal to the effort. Town's fans' joy was short-lived as the referee ordered the kick to be taken again as Tweedy had moved before the kick was taken (moving was not allowed in those days until the ball was struck). The second taking of the spot-kick had the same result as the first - Tweedy getting down well, pushing the ball on to the upright before it was hacked clear.
Half time …. Town 4 - 0 Tranmere.
In the second half, Town got a penalty of their own. Beattie was steaming in on goal, before being upended. Vincent, Town's full-back and penalty specialist, stepped up and smashed the ball into the net in the mode of Cannonball Ron Cockerill (for those of a certain age). 5-0. Lewis made it 6 later on, and Town eased up, conserving their energy for the following Saturday's league game at Old Trafford.
The Man of the Match was Curnow in the Tranmere goal, who kept the score down to just six!
The draw already having been made, Town were to play Millwall in the fourth round just 11 days after the victory over Tranmere. We'll have a full match report of that game eighty years on!
Town: Tweedy; Vincent, Hodgson JV; Hall, Betmead, Buck; Boyd, Beattie, Howe, Jones, Lewis.
Tranmere: Curnow; Kearnes, Jones; Davies, Anderson, Day; Dellow, Cassidy, Travis, Miller, Roy.
"Parkite" lists Boyd as a scorer, but the official histories suggest he wasn't on the scoresheet!