The Forgotten FA Cup Matches

Friday, September the First 1939 was a dark day in history, the day when Hitler instructed his nation’s army to invade Poland. Two days later, on the Sunday, Great Britain and France declared war with Germany and so began six long years of what would become known as World War II.

Between these two fateful days, apparent normality occurred as the 1939-40 FA Cup season kicked off on Saturday 2nd September. One hundred and twenty-four clubs were drawn to play in sixty-two Extra Preliminary Round matches unbeknown to those involved at the time that they would be the only matches played in the FA Cup that year. And that they would be the last FA Cup matches played for six whole years.

Those 62 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round ties have subsequently been scratched from the official records of the competition in the same way that the three matches played in the Football League up to that weekend of the 1939-40 season have also be wiped from the records.

But what of the 124 clubs who played, or were scheduled to play, on that first Saturday of September in the FA Cup? There were thousands of players, officials and fans of village and small town clubs up and down the country setting off on the start of another exciting season, the time of the season when hope is at its highest. What happened in the matches they played that early September afternoon? What subsequently happened to the clubs involved?

This tie-by-tie guide covers all the clubs involved and all the games played on that Saturday, a day which marked the end of normal life as people knew it and the beginning of a life with years and years of uncertainty and anguish.

As was the protocol of the competition at the time, the FA Cup Extra Preliminary ties were regionalised with teams grouped together with local opponents, and with ties typically listed numerically following a rough zig-zag trajectory from north-east to south-west of the country. The ties are covered in this blog following that loosely defined trajectory.

Amble v Chopwell Colliery

Northumberland side Amble were drawn at home to County Durham outfit Chopwell Colliery, both members of the Northern Alliance. Neither side had had much FA Cup history with Amble having just two previous campaigns and their opponents having had just one.

Chopwell Colliery lost 4-2 to Ouston United in their debut campaign in 1938-39 season, and fared equally as poorly against Amble in a goal-fest of a tie involving a dozen goals. Amble ran out 8-4 winners in what should have been their biggest ever FA Cup win. Their debut 2-1 win in the 1937-38 season against Gosforth and Coxlodge is all that remains as a record of any success in the FA Cup.

Chopwell Colliery never competed in the FA Cup again. A club with the same name did compete in the Northern Combination in the early 1950s but not in the FA Cup. Amble competed in the FA Cup in the first nine seasons after the War was over but failed to win another tie. The club continued to compete in the Northern Alliance before dissolving some-time around the 2011-12 season.

Annfield Plain v Gosforth and Coxlodge

North Eastern League side Annfield Plain had several years of FA Cup experience under their belt and would continue to compete in the competition until the early 1990s. They were paired with the much lower ranked Gosforth and Coxlodge, members of the Tyneside League, who had emerged from the local British Legion and who had 10 years’ experience of the FA Cup.

Unsurprisingly the higher ranked side strolled to a 5-0 victory, the exact same scoreline as when the two teams met four years earlier in the competition, and a margin of victory Annfield Plain had bettered only twice before, and would do so on just one more occasion.

Gosforth and Coxlodge would continue on in the FA Cup after the War as a Northern Alliance team right up until the late 1950s. They never went further than the 1st Qualifying Round and their 15 exits at that stage of the competition is an FA Cup record for all clubs never to have ever made the 2nd Qualifying Round.

Ashington v Whitley and Monkseaton

Ashington was a former Football League side who had been competing in the North Eastern League for the last dozen years. They were drawn to host Northern Alliance side Whitley and Monkseaton and won their FA Cup match by two goals to one.

Ashington continue to grace the FA Cup although their last ‘Proper’ Round appearance came at the beginning of the 1960s. Whitley and Monkseaton re-formed as plain Monkseaton after the War but did not participate in the FA Cup again, finally going out of existence in 1950 to be replaced by the current Whitley Bay team, known initially as Whitley Bay Athletic.

Crookhall Colliery Welfare v Newcastle West End

Crookhall Colliery Welfare had had six FA Cup campaigns before the War, first as a North West Durham County league side and latterly as members of the Northern Alliance. Their opponents were the second incarnation of Newcastle West End, a Tyneside League club with just a couple of FA Cup campaigns under their belt.

The two sides played out a one-one draw, but never got to play their return game. And neither side played in the FA Cup again, and seemingly never actually even played again.

Shankhouse v Reyrolles

Shankhouse first entered the FA Cup in the 1887-88 season reaching the 4th Round in that last season here there were no qualifying rounds. They had one more 1st Round ‘Proper’ appearance soon after but since the turn of the century had gradually slipped down the leagues so that by the time of the 1939-40 season they were members of the Cramlington and District League.

They were drawn to travel to the works side of A Reyrolle & Co. in Hebburn, going under the name of Reyrolles, who were making their FA Cup debut in the 1939-40 season. Reyrolles had just joined the Wearside League at the start of the season and were on their way up. The Hebburn based works side won the match 5-2 but it would be another 50 years before they officially were recognised as playing in the competition.

Reyrolles became Hebburn Reyrolle in 1986 and then plain Hebburn two years later when they entered the FA Cup as a Second Division side of the Northern League. They now go under the name Hebburn Town and returned to the FA Cup after a three year absence in the 2018-19 season.

Shankhouse joined the Northern Alliance after the War and continued participating in the FA Cup up to and including the 1954-55 season. They currently compete in the Premier Division of the Northern Alliance.

Throckley Welfare v Scotswood

Throckley Welfare were members of the North Eastern League and had competed in the FA Cup six times before the War, but their best run to the 3rd Qualifying Round happened in the season immediately after the War was over. Known simply as Throckley when re-forming, this best run proved to be a false dawn and they stopped participating in the FA Cup two seasons later after falling into the lower Northern Combination league.

Their opponents in the 1939-40 season were Scotswood, a Northern Alliance side with 25 years of FA Cup history, who but for a disqualification in the 1929-30 season would have made an appearance in the First Round ‘Proper’. Scotswood won this encounter 2-1, but it would prove to be their last FA Cup game, and probably their last ever game.

Birtley v Trimdon Grange Colliery

Wearside League side Birtley had had 30 seasons of FA Cup involvement, reaching the 3rd Qualifying Round in their debut campaign in 1888-89, and again just three years before the outbreak of WWII. They were drawn at home to Trimdon Grange Colliery of the lower ranked Durham Central League, a club that had had a dozen or so FA Cup campaigns of their own.

Birtley won the tie 2-1 and would continue in the FA Cup beyond the War’s end until the 1954-55 season, by which time they were a Northern Combination club and may have been known as Birtley Town. Trimdon had their last FA Cup appearance a season later when members of the Wearside League but it had only been their second involvement since football resumed in 1945-46 season. They continued in the Wearside League for a few more seasons without appearing in the FA Cup again.

Holiday’s Sports v Brandon Social

County Durham based side Holiday’s Sports had never competed in the FA Cup before and would never do so again, and so their only experience of the competition, a 2-0 home win over Brandon Social, has been wiped from the history books as if they never existed.

They had been members of the Central Durham League, a lower level league than the one in which their opponents belonged. Brandon Social were a Wearside League club who had made the 3rd Qualifying Round in their debut campaign just two seasons earlier, so the 2-0 defeat would have been considered a bit of an upset.

The club re-formed as Brandon Colliery Welfare after the War and initially competed in the Northern League. They participated in the FA Cup on and off until the 1950-51 season by which time they had returned to the Central Durham League.

Usworth Colliery v Dawdon Colliery Recreation

Usworth Colliery had 20 years of FA Cup experience, with two appearances in the 4th Qualifying Round under their belt, before War broke out. They had been members of the North Eastern League but by 1939-40 were a Wearside League club. Their opponents were Dawdon Colliery Recreation who had only recently left the Wearside League for the lower ranked Seaham League.

Usworth Colliery won the tie 5-1, their biggest ever FA Cup win, a win which subsequently would be wiped from the records. Despite returning to the FA Cup after the War they scratched in the second post war campaign due to folding. Dawdon Colliery Recreation would continue on in the FA Cup for 10 more years as a Wearside League outfit, a league they remained competing in long after their last FA Cup appearance.

Chilton Colliery Recreation Athletic v Washington Chemical Works

Chilton Colliery Recreation Athletic had been one of the first four Non-League clubs to reach the FA Cup Third Round ‘Proper’ when the competition was re-structured for the 1925-26 season. They even knocked out a Football League side that season in the shape of Rochdale. They were still members of the Northern League by the 1939-40 season and would have been expected to beat their Wearside League opponents.

But, Washington Chemical Works had other ideas. They’d had just one FA Cup match to date, a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Crook Town the previous season, but they ran out 2-1 winners against their more illustrious opposition. However, it was to be the last FA Cup involvement for both clubs and the Cupset is no longer on official record.

Buxton v Wilmslow Albion

Two clubs who are very much still going concerns were drawn together in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round, but the official records will state that they have never met in the competition. Buxton were the more seasoned of the two and were members of the higher ranked Cheshire League, so it was no surprise that they won their tie 4-0 against Wilmslow Albion. Their opponents were competing in the South East Lancashire League and had had only one prior FA Cup campaign.

Wilmslow Albion only competed three more times in the FA Cup after the War before returning to more local level football of the Manchester League where they are still participating members. Buxton have continued regularly participating in the FA Cup and made a couple of inroads into the ‘Proper’ Rounds within the first 15 years of the War ending. They are currently members of the Northern Premier League.

Moulton Verdin v Middlewich Athletic

Crewe and District League rivals, Moulton Verdin and Middlewich Athletic, were drawn to face each other in the 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. Both clubs had half a dozen unremarkable campaigns under their belts. They had met before in the FA Cup in the 1934-35 season, a 2-1 replay victory for Moulton Verdin. However, this is 1939-40 match is one of the ties where the result is not known, but what is known is that neither side graced the competition again.

Nantwich v Haslington Villa

Nantwich were another Crewe and District League side at the time, as were their opponents, Haslington Villa. Nantwich had been competing in the FA Cup since the season of the formation of the Football League whereas Haslington had only four recent campaigns worth of experience, so the 5-1 home victory was not a surprise.

Nantwich eventually evolved into Nantwich Town, a current Northern Premier League side with recent ‘Proper’ Round involvement. Haslington Villa never appeared in the FA Cup again.

Willaston White Star v Cheadle

Another match for which the score is unknown was between Crewe and District League side Willaston White Star and Manchester League outfit Cheadle. In their 12 previous FA Cup games over six years Willaston White Star had only won three times and had conceded 53 goals. Cheadle had never participated in the FA Cup. Along with their opponents they haven’t been involved since, but unlike their opponents there is no record of them having ever done so.

Rossington Main v Armthorpe Welfare

Two Sheffield Association League clubs were drawn together. The away club Rossington Main had had more FA Cup experience than the home side Armthorpe Welfare but it was the Wellie who ran out convincing winners, five goals to nil. It would have been their biggest ever FA Cup win if it had counted, a scoreline they only eventually matched in the 2008-09 season against Yorkshire Amateur.

Both Doncaster based clubs eventually returned to the FA Cup in the late 1980s / early 1990s to become mainstay members of the competition, although both currently performed outside the qualifying criteria to be involved this season.

Bentley Colliery v Meltham Mills

Another Sheffield Association League side, Bentley Colliery, were drawn to host Meltham Mills, members of the West Riding County Amateur League. The clubs drew one apiece but did not get to play their replay.

Bentley Colliery returned as a Yorkshire League side after the War and had 10 more FA Cup campaigns, bizarrely posting their best performances in both their last two seasons. The club disbanded four years after their last FA Cup appearance.

Meltham Mills soon changed their name to Meltham after the War but only had half a dozen more campaigns in the FA Cup after it was over. Now playing under the name Meltham Athletic they are members of the Huddersfield and District League competing in Division Three.

Brodsworth Main Colliery v Bradford Rovers

Seven goals were shared between Sheffield Association League side Brodsworth Main Colliery and West Riding County Amateur League club Bradford Rovers with the colliery side coming out on top by four goals to three.

Competing now as Brodsworth Main in the Doncaster Rovers Senior League, Brodsworth Main Colliery had had many years of FA Cup experience and had knocked on the door of the 1st Round ‘Proper’ when members of the Yorkshire League in the 1926-27 season. They were still competing in the FA Cup as recently as just over 10 years ago.

Bradford Rovers had had just two FA Cup campaigns losing in the Extra Preliminary Round both times and never participated in the competition again. At least the intervention of World War II prevented them from officially having a hat-trick of Extra Preliminary Round exits.

Goole Town v Luddendenfoot

Goole Town were a Yorkshire League side who had actually reached the ‘Proper’ Rounds just before WWI broke out, whereas Luddendenfoot were a Halifax and District League outfit who had achieved one goal-less draw as their best FA Cup result in a dozen campaigns. So unsurprisingly Goole ran out 8-1 winners, a record win at the time for the club, but a record that was not destined to stand.

Goole Town continued on in the FA Cup, reaching the ‘Proper’ Rounds several time, until their untimely demise at the end of the 1995-96 season. Luddendenfoot joined the West Riding County Amateur League after the War and continued in that league for some years, but participating in only one FA Cup campaign. They lost that game, too.

Ossett Town v Grimethorpe Rovers

Ossett Town had only made their FA Cup debut in the 1938-39 season and had already tasted victory coming in the replay of their first tie against Farsley Celtic. They were members of the West Yorkshire League prior to the War and the Yorkshire League immediately after it.

Their opponents in the 1939-40 season were Grimethorpe Rovers, making their FA Cup bow, who would become members of the Sheffield Association League after the War. Grimethorpe won their encounter 4-2, but they had to wait until the 1946-47 season to get a victory that wasn’t rubbed out.

Guiseley v Rawmarsh Welfare

Guiseley were a West Riding County Amateur League side for the majority of their 15 nondescript FA Cup campaigns prior to the 1939-40 season. Their opponents, Rawmarsh Welfare, competed in the Sheffield Association League and had a far more substantial FA Cup history despite fewer campaigns.

The South Yorkshire side won the tie 3-1 against their West Yorkshire opponents, but it would be Guiseley who would maintain longevity in the competition. Rawmarsh did reach the First Round ‘Proper’ in 1951-52 season, but their last FA Cup appearance came in the 1973-74 season. They folded eight years after that.

Guiseley, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength, posting consecutive Second Round ‘Proper’ appearances in the last two seasons and reaching the highest level of the non-league pyramid before dropping back a level last season.

Ravensthorpe v Farsley Celtic

Ravensthorpe and Farsley Celtic were both members of the West Riding County Amateur League when they were drawn together in the 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round. The result of that game is unknown, but the two club’s vastly different futures are known.

With just three FA Cup campaigns before WWII, Ravensthorpe did not re-form after the cessation of hostilities. Farsley Celtic most certainly did, quickly becoming a Yorkshire League side, and going on to twice appearance in the First Round ‘Proper’ during their lengthy FA Cup experience. The original club folded two years after the second of these appearance in 2010, with the current Farsley Celtic club forming out of their ashes, originally known as plain Farsley.

South Kirkby Colliery v Upton Colliery

South Kirkby Colliery had had 30 years of FA Cup involvement, even knocking on the door of the ‘Proper’ Rounds two or three times during those campaigns, and were members of the Yorkshire League by the 1939-40 season. Upton Colliery had only been formed in 1931 and had risen to the same level as their opponents by the time the two teams met in the FA Cup.

South Kirkby Colliery won that encounter 5-3, but the two sides had to wait 12 more years before getting a result of an FA Cup game played between them that was officially recognised, a tie which was won 3-2 by Upton Colliery in a replay despite being in the lower Sheffield Association League at the time.

South Kirkby Colliery still compete in the Sheffield County Senior League Division One, but their FA Cup journey came to an end 65 years ago. But at least they’re still going, whereas Upton Colliery, who remained in the FA Cup for five more years, folded less than five years after that.

Worksop Town v Pilkington Recreation

Worksop Town have now had 112 FA Cup campaigns, but in recent years their fortunes have taken a downward turn. Before World War II, though, they were one of the more successful Northern non-league teams in the FA Cup with five ‘Proper’ Round appearances to their name. Their opponents in 1939-40 were Pilkington Recreation, a more modest outfit with just over 10 years FA Cup experience.

Worksop Town would have been expected to win their encounter easily, but the 1-0 scoreline suggests a very tight affair. Worksop Town would eventually go on to appear in the Third Round ‘Proper’ in 1955-56, claiming their second Football League scalp in the process, but since their last appearance beyond the qualifying rounds in 2001-02 their FA Cup form has reflected their change in League status.

Pilkington Recreation continued in the FA Cup for half a dozen more years as members of the Sheffield Association League, and whilst the Doncaster based club eventually made the Yorkshire League and then the Northern Counties East League, they disbanded at the end of the 1990-91 season.

Norwich Electricity Works v Norwich YMCA

Two Norfolk and Suffolk League sides from Norwich were drawn together in the 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round, but one of them withdrew before playing the game and so never officially ever appeared in the FA Cup.

Norwich Electricity Works scratched before playing Norwich YMCA, and despite still existing long enough to become a founding member of the Anglian Combination in the early 1960s, they never did get to officially participate in the FA Cup. Norwich YMCA had had five FA Cup campaigns but just one victory before the War. They also never featured in the FA Cup after the War was over, nor indeed did they feature in the Norfolk and Suffolk League, neither.

Clapton v Dagenham Town

Clapton were one of the longer established clubs in the FA Cup, appearing in the competition in the pre-qualifying round days, and becoming one of the first four non-league clubs to reach the FA Cup 3rd Round ‘Proper’ in the 1925-26 season. That was the year the competition structure changed exempting clubs from the top two divisions from the competition until the 3rd Round.

They were a founding member of the Isthmian League and were still competing in that League by the 1939-40 season. Their opponents in the Extra Preliminary Round were the short-lived Dagenham Town, formed just over 10 years earlier, and members of the London League.

Clapton won the game 4-2, and whilst they have gone on to compete in the FA Cup to this day, Dagenham Town folded soon after their encounter.

Harwich and Parkeston v Esso

Eastern Counties League side Harwich and Parkeston were drawn to face Esso of Purfleet from the South Essex League, who had entered the FA Cup for the first time. Harwich and Parkeston had only recently twice reached the First Round ‘Proper’ and would have been expected to easily win the contest, but the game doesn’t appear to have gone ahead.

Harwich and Parkeston would continue to sporadically appear in the First Round ‘Proper’ over the subsequent 60 years or so before taking a hiatus from the FA Cup, returning in time for the latest campaign. Esso of Purfleet seems to have permanently disbanded during the War.

Berkhamsted Town v Barnet

Berkhamsted Town were an established member of the Spartan League whilst Barnet were an established member of the Athenian League. The Bees of Barnet had had the better FA Cup history as befitted the difference in League status, but they only won their FA Cup game by two goals to one.

Both clubs continued in the FA Cup after the War and posted performances relative to their ongoing League status, but their paths did cross a couple of times with unsurprisingly Barnet coming out on top both times. The first official encounter occurred just 13 years later ending in a 5-1 win; the second in 1987-88 with Barnet winning by three goals to nil.

Banet are obviously still a going concern achieving a record equalling 4th Round ‘Proper’ appearance just last season, whereas Berkhamsted Town folded in 2009 to be replaced by the current Berkhamsted club, now playing in the Southern League.

Stevenage Town v Bushey United

Two Spartan League clubs from Hertfordshire were drawn together in the 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round but the result of their encounter has not been determined. Stevenage Town was formed in 1896 when local clubs Wanderers and Rovers joined forces, but they didn’t participate in the FA Cup for more than 30 years after forming. Their record was nondescript at best before the War, only achieving their best run to date to the 1st Qualifying Round in the season before its outbreak.

Their opponents, Bushey United, had reached the same 1st Qualifying Round in the first of their five campaigns, but they never re-entered the FA Cup after the War was over. A club of the same name did appear in the Harrow and Wembley District League in the 1950s but not in the FA Cup.

Stevenage Town eventually became members of the Delphian League from where they posted their best FA Cup run to the 2nd Qualifying Round before going on to merge with Stevenage Rangers in 1956 to form Stevenage FC. That club would go on to be renamed as Stevenage Town, but fold a dozen years after the merger following four successive 3rd Qualifying Round appearances.

London Caledonians v Enfield

London Caledonians were a famous amateur team of the ilk of Corinthians and Casuals, and who were founder members of the Isthmian League. They’d had 36 FA Cup campaigns before World War II including several ‘Proper’ Round appearances and one trip to the 3rd Round in the 1927-28 season (matching a 3rd Round appearance in their debut campaign in pre-qualifying round days).

They were drawn to face Enfield in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round, but the club disbanded before the game was played and never re-formed after the War was over. Enfield had had almost as many FA Cup campaigns but were competing in the lower ranked Athenian League.

Enfield, of course, would go on to become one of the more successful well-known non-league clubs, making several forays deep into the ‘Proper’ Rounds of the competition in the 1970s and ‘80s, before folding at the end of the 2006-07 season. Enfield (1893) were formed out of their ashes to keep the name of the club alive.

Epping Town v Ware

Epping Town and Ware were two Second Division Spartan League sides when they faced each other in the 1939-40 FA Cup. Epping had only had one previous campaign and one FA Cup match, a 3-0 reverse at Tufnell Park. Ware had had ten campaigns, but hadn’t yet won an FA Cup game, either.

So Ware’s first ever FA Cup win, 3-1 against Epping, was cruelly wiped from the record books, and it wasn’t until they won a second replay game against Wembley in the 1949-50 season that they finally registered an official one.

Ware continue to compete in the FA Cup to this day having had enough wins now to have appeared in the 1st Round ‘Proper’ on a couple of occasions. Epping Town didn’t re-appear in the competition until the early 1970s when members of the Metropolitan London League. They fell one round short of the ‘Proper’ Rounds in 1973-74 and continued participating in the FA Cup until they folded in the mid-‘80s.

Harlow Town v Welwyn Garden City

Another two Spartan League Division Two sides were paired together in the Extra Preliminary Round as Welwyn Garden City won 3-2 at Harlow Town. Welwyn had had the longer FA Cup experience but both clubs still compete in the FA Cup to this day, with Harlow being the more successful.

The Hawks made the 4th Round in the 1979-80 season, including a famous victory over Leicester City, Gary Lineker and all, in the 3rd Round replay.

Finchley v Harrow Town

Finchley had first tasted FA Cup football in the 1870s whereas their 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round opponents, Harrow Town, were participating in the FA Cup for the first time. Finchley’s experience told as they ran out 3-0 winners.

However, the result is no longer on record, but fortuitously the two sides were paired together again in the second season following football’s resumption. This time Finchley’s 4-3 win remains on the record books.

Both clubs would go on to have extensive FA Cup participation, with Harrow Town becoming Harrow Borough in the late ‘60s and continuing in the competition to this day. Finchley, however, would make the 3rd Round ‘Proper’ in the 1952-53 season before merging with Wingate just under 40 years later to form Wingate and Finchley. They still compete in the FA Cup today meaning a continuation of 140 years of Finchley in the competition.

Kings Langley v Hertford Town

A first appearance in the FA Cup is an exciting time for everyone involved with a football club, and that would have been the case for King’s Langley who were doing just that in their 50 plus year history. They were due to face the more seasoned FA Cup side Hertford Town of the Spartan League, but the game does not appear to have taken place.

King’s Langley would finally make their debut FA Cup entrance in spectacular style when football resumed in the 1945-46 season, winning 7-4 at Apsley (now Hemel Hempstead Town). This was followed by a chastening 7-1 defeat at Harrow Town in the next round.

After finally waiting 60 years for their first taste of FA Cup football, King’s Langley then had to wait another 55 years for their second taste, although they are now regular participants in the competition. Hertford Town, on the other hand, have continued to be involved in the FA Cup for most seasons since the War’s end.

Saffron Walden Town v Leavesden

Saffron Walden Town had three FA Cup campaigns in the late 1870s and early 1880s, but had only just returned to the competition for the 1938-39 season. They had yet to win an FA Cup game by the time they were drawn to face Leavesden in the 1939-40 competition, a club with FA Cup pedigree under both their name at the time and previously as Leavesden Mental Hospital.

It is not known whether Saffron Walden finally recorded their first FA Cup win in that match but it wouldn’t have been recognised even if they did. Their first official win in the competition came in the 1946-47 campaign against Ware, 70 years after they first entered the competition. After a hiatus from the competition in the 1950s through to the 1970s, the Bloods are now regular FA Cup participants.

Leavesden had come close to appearing in the 1st Round ‘Proper’ on a couple of occasions prior to World War II breaking out, but only made four more appearances in the competition after it was over. The club last appeared in the FA Cup in the 1950-51 season and continued on in the Hertfordshire Senior County League up until the late 1980s.

Bishop’s Stortford v St Albans City

When Bishop’s Stortford beat St Albans City 2-1 in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round in the 2007-08 season, doubtless many were aware that it was a revenge of sorts for the 6-1 defeat to the same club in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round.

Both clubs have been more or less continuous participants in the FA Cup since the Second World War and both have experienced wins in the ‘Proper’ Rounds of the competition, something neither manged to do before the War.

Tufnell Park v Pinner

Isthmian League side Tufnell Park and Spartan League outfit Pinner were drawn to face each other in the 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round but the result of their match is not known. Both clubs had FA Cup campaigns under their belt. Pinner’s was unremarkable, but Tufnell Park had come close to making the ‘Proper’ Rounds in the 1921-22 season.

Both sides also continued in the competition after World War II was over, but both only remained involved up to the first years of the 1950s. Pinner’s absence was because they transferred to the Southern Amateur League and the qualification criteria prevented their participation. Tufnell Park’s was because they merged with Edmonton Borough in 1950. The merged team eventually had a merger of their own with Wood Green Town 23 years later to form the current Haringey Borough club.

Wealdstone v Old Johnians

Old Johnians were members of the Nemean League and had competed in the FA Cup for 10 years prior to World War II, never going beyond the Preliminary Round. They were drawn to travel to Wealdstone in the Extra Preliminary Round who were members of the higher level Athenian League.

Wealdstone won the encounter 7-3 which would prove to be their opponent’s last involvement in the FA Cup. Wealdstone, of course, would become a mainstay of the competition to this day with several ‘Proper’ Round appearances including a journey to the 3rd Round in the 1977-78 season.

 

Wood Green Town v Old Lyonians

Wood Green Town started life as Tufnell Spartans in 1911 and ended it merging with Edmonton in 1973 to form Edmonton and Haringey. They appeared in the FA Cup every season from birth to 1951 when entry criteria changed preventing them from participating in it any more.

They were drawn to face Old Lyonians from the Southern Amateur League in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round but the result of that game is unknown. Old Lyonians are still members of the Southern Amateur League, but members of that league became excluded from participation in the FA Cup from five years after football resumed following the end of the War.

Civil Service v Lyons Club

Another Southern Amateur League club were also involved in a tie where the result is not known. Civil Service had competed in the first ever FA Cup and had participated on and off over the years as members of several leagues, including the Isthmian League of which they were founder members.

Their opponents were members of the Spartan League, but Lyons Club of Greenford had only one FA Cup campaign to date. Lyons Club continued in both the FA Cup and the Spartan League up to the 1949-50 season when they disappeared from both.

Civil Service remained members of the Southern Amateur League, as they are to this day, so did not qualify to participate in the FA Cup after the 1949-50 season. However, in the FA Cup’s centenary season, the club received a special invitation from the FA to compete in it for that season. They accepted the invitation, but may have regretted doing so after being thumped 10-0 by Bromley.

Hounslow Town v Wycombe Wanderers

Hounslow Town had competed in the FA Cup on and off since the turn of the 20th Century and had faced their 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round opponents, Wycombe Wanderers, twice in the competition already. The teams had one win each in their head to head encounters.

Wycombe Wanderers had participated in the FA Cup every season since 1895-96 and were members of the higher level Isthmian League to Hounslow’s Spartan League. The Chairboys won the 1939-40 match 3-0 but the score has been wiped from the records.

Wycombe only had to wait three season’s after the War was over to get the chance to register another official win over the same opponents, which they duly did by four goals to two. Wycombe, of course, have continued to participate in the FA Cup ever since, becoming a Football League club in 1993 and reaching the FA Cup Semi-Finals eight seasons later.

Hounslow Town reverted to their original name of Hounslow in time for the 1963-64 season after having twice reached the 1st Round ‘Proper’. However, in 1991 the club merged with Feltham to form Feltham and Hounslow Borough, who themselves merged with Bedfont in 2012 to form the current Bedfont and Feltham club.

Maidenhead United v Yiewsley

In 1939 Maidenhead United were members of the Spartan League and had been competing in the FA Cup every season (bar one) since appearing in the very first competition in the 1871-72 season. Their opponents in the Extra Preliminary Round were Yiewsley who had been members of the South West Middlesex League but who had recently transferred to the Middlesex County Amateur League, both leagues lower in rank than the Spartan League.

Maidenhead United won their match 4-0 and would continue to participate in the FA Cup every year right up until this season. Yiewsley joined the Spartan League after the War and eventually moved up to the Southern League before changing their name to Hillingdon Borough.

They reached the FA Cup 3rd Round under that name in the 1969-70 season, but 15 years later the club merged with Burnham to form Burnham and Hillingdon, who would later change their name back to Burnham and continue in the FA Cup to this day.

Newbury Town v Bicester Town

Newbury Town were seasoned FA Cup campaigners and members of the Reading and District League for the 1939-40 season. Their opponents were the slightly less seasoned Bicester Town playing in a similar level league, the Oxford Senior League. The Oxfordshire based side won a tight contest by two goals to one.

Both clubs would return to the FA Cup after the War, and both clubs would have gaps in their participation before folding, Newbury Town in 1996 and Bicester Town in 2011 and again in 2018.

Osberton Radiator v Pressed Steel

Two Oxfordshire works based teams were pitted to face each other in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round. Both Osberton Radiator and Pressed Steel were members of the Oxfordshire Senior League and both had had a few seasons in the FA Cup already. In an entertaining game Pressed Steel were the 5-3 victors, but the result was wiped from the records.

Both clubs continued in the FA Cup and actually faced each other in their respective last campaigns in the 1950-51 season, with Pressed Steel winning 2-1 to register an official victory. FA Cup qualification criteria meant that clubs in the Oxfordshire Senior League could no longer participate in the competition after then.

Oxford City v Headington United

The 1939-40 FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round draw threw up the Oxford derby with Oxford City to host Headington United, the former name of Oxford United. It doesn’t appear that the game was actually played, but of course both clubs continue to participate in the FA Cup to this day.

The two Oxford clubs would get three chances to face each other in the FA Cup during the 1950s with Headington United coming out on top every time.

Redford Sports v Uxbridge

Wycombe based side Redford Sports were members of the Reading League and had just entered the FA Cup for the first time the previous season. They were drawn at home against Uxbridge who had been participating in the FA Cup since the third running of the competition and who were members of the London League at the time.

The 4-0 victory for Redford Sports was wiped off the records, annoyingly for the club as it was the only win they ever achieved in the FA Cup in their short participation in it either side of the War. Uxbridge, of course, are still participating in the competition every year.

Marlow v Slough

Marlow are the only club other than Maidenhead to appear in all but one of the FA Cup seasons and who had also participated in the first ever competition. They were drawn to play Slough, a team they’d been drawn against four times in the past, winning just once.

Their game in the 1939-40 season doesn’t appear to have been played, though, and during the War Slough merged with Slough Centre to form Slough United. The clubs would de-merge five years later resulting in the formation of the current Slough Town. Marlow subsequently lost to both Slough Centre and Slough Town in their only meetings in the FA Cup.

Camberley and Yorktown v Post Office Engineers

Another FA Cup 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round tie that doesn’t appear to have taken place was Camberley and Yorktown against Post Office Engineers of Wallington.

Camberley and Yorktown had competed in the FA Cup since from just before the First World War and their last Cup match under that name was coincidentally a 2-0 loss to Post Office Engineers of Beddington in the 1938-39 season. After the War they became Camberley and took part in the FA Cup up until the 1950-51 season under that name, but when returning for the 1976-77 campaign they had already changed their name again to the current Camberley Town.

Camberley Town still participate in the FA Cup to this day, but Post Office Engineers of Wallington only did so for two campaigns, suffering five goal defeats both times.

Woking v Egham

The biggest victory of the FA Cup 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round saw Woking win 12-0 at Egham. Woking never scored double figures in the FA Cup either before or after this season so their 9-0 victory over Addlestone in 1965-66 season remains their biggest official win in the competition.

Egham will be slightly more pleased about the match being scratched from the records, although their heaviest official defeat was also 9-0 to Hersham. The club folded soon after this match and the town was without representation football wise until Egham Town formed 14 years later.

Banstead Mental Hospital v Kingstonian

Banstead Mental Hospital were members of the Surrey Senior League and had had five unremarkable FA Cup campaigns to their name ahead of World War II. They were drawn against Kingstonian from the higher level Isthmian League in the 1939-40 campaign, who’d had far more FA Cup experience and had achieved several ‘Proper’ Round appearances.

Their game doesn’t appear to have gone ahead and Banstead Mental Hospital had just one more unremarkable FA Cup campaign after the War, whilst Kingstonian have become stalwarts of the competition.

Vickers Armstrong v Guildford

The result of the match between Vickers Armstrong and Guildford is not known. It would have been the first FA Cup game for Vickers Armstrong, but that official first game had to wait until the 1946-47 season, a 5-0 win over Post Office Engineers of Wallington.

Vickers Armstrong would still compete in FA Cup up until the 1954-55 season when members of the Metropolitan and District League, but they have not done so since despite a myriad of name changes. Guildford had thirty or so FA Cup campaigns under their belt before World War II, but their involvement in the competition came to an end after the 1950-51 season whilst members of the Surrey Senior League. The club appears to have disbanded a couple of years later.

Leyland Motors v Walton-on-Thames

In terms of FA Cup performances, Leyland Motors of Kingston were a slightly more successful team than the one of the same name based in Lancashire. They’d had 17 FA Cup campaigns prior to World War II breaking out and had fallen just one round short of appearing in the ‘Proper’ Rounds in the 1926-27 season.

Their opponents were Walton-on-Thames who’d had 25 FA Cup campaigns of their own, but to a lesser degree of success. Both clubs were members of similar level leagues, and the tight 2-1 victory for Walton-on-Thames suggests this equal status.

Neither club appeared in the FA Cup again after World War II was over. Leyland Motors because they remained competing at too low a level and came to an end soon afterwards; Walton-on-Thames because they merged with Hersham towards the end of the War to form the current Walton and Hersham club. The new club continues in the FA Cup to this day and they twice reached the 2nd Round ‘Proper’ in the early 1970s.

Venner Sports v Wimbledon

Venner Sports had only played one FA Cup game before the 1939-40 season, a 1-0 defeat to Banstead Mental Hospital two years earlier, and the Surrey based side doesn’t appear to have re-formed after the War.

Their scheduled opponents were Isthmian League club Wimbledon, but the match doesn’t appear to have gone ahead. Wimbledon had competed in the FA Cup since the 1906-07 season and, of course, would go on to famously lift the Trophy in 1988 after a 1-0 win over Liverpool. Almost as famously the club ceased to exist when moved lock, stock and barrel (but not support) to Milton Keynes, and lives on in spirit through the current AFC Wimbledon.

Gravesend United v Bexley

Two Kent Amateur League West Premier Division clubs were drawn together as Bexley ran out 3-1 winners at Gravesend United. Bexley had had a couple of wins in their debut campaign in the 1932-33 season (including winning 9-1 in their debut match), but had failed to win a game in the competition since. They did manage one more victory in their three campaigns after the War was over and the club continued on without FA Cup participation until the 1981-82 season when they joined forces with Gateway FC.

Gravesend United had many more FA Cup campaigns and had played at a much higher level than they were in 1939-40, but one season after football resumed following cessation of hostilities the club merged with Northfleet United to form Gravesend and Northfleet. The merged club has had much more success in the FA Cup than the two that formed it, reaching the 4th Round ‘Proper’ in the 1962-63 season, and they are still participating in the competition today as a National League side under the name Ebbsfleet United.

Maidstone United v Margate

Maidstone United and Margate were members of the original Kent League in the 1939-40 season when they played at a 2-2 draw in Extra Preliminary Round. Obviously the replay never happened, but a replay of sorts happened when they met in the 1946-47 season, with Maidstone United the 3-1 victors.

Two more subsequent FA Cup meetings between the sides both resulted in wins for Margate who continue to participate in the FA Cup to this day, and who reached the 3rd Round ‘Proper’ in the 1935-36 and 1972-73 seasons.

Maidstone United also carried on competing in the FA Cup and also reached the 3rd Round ‘Proper’ on five separate occasions before becoming a Football League club in 1989 and folding just three years later. A new Maidstone United club was formed from the ashes and has been involved in the FA Cup since the 2002-03 season, reaching the 2nd Round ‘Proper’ three times to date.

RM Deal v Whitstable

Two other original Kent League sides were also drawn together but the score of the game between RM Deal and Whitstable is not known. The Royal Marines side from Deal had eight seasons in the FA Cup prior to World War II, but did not re-enter the competition after the War after transferring to become members of the Kent Amateur League East Division. They continued in that league up until the 1959-60 season.

Whitstable had been competing in the FA Cup since the 1910-11 season and continued to do so after the War, participating in it for the 93rd time this season, but for the last 50 years or so as Whitstable Town.

Bournemouth Gasworks Athletic v Bournemouth

A Bournemouth derby in the 1939-40 Extra Preliminary Round went the way of Bournemouth Gasworks Athletic as they won 4-0 at home to Bournemouth (Amateurs) despite the fact they hadn’t competed in the FA Cup for 14 years.

Both clubs were members of the Hampshire League and both clubs did have plenty of FA Cup experience ahead of the Second World War. Both clubs continued in the Hampshire League and the FA Cup after the War, but Bournemouth Gasworks Athletic only did so until the 1956-57 season. They had just one more season in the Hampshire League, too.

Bournemouth (Amateurs) actually stopped competing in the FA Cup after the 1950-51 season and didn’t return for almost 40 years when members of the Wessex League. They have continued to participate in it every year since then, though.

Fareham v Gosport

Fareham had been a Hampshire League side, too, but had slipped down to the Portsmouth League by the time War broke out. Their opponents in the 1939-40 competition, Gosport, were still members of the Hampshire League and it was they who won by three goals to one.

Despite 22 FA Cup campaigns before the Second World War, under three different names, Gosport did not re-appear after the War, being replaced by the newly formed Gosport Borough Athletic who continue to compete in the FA Cup to this day, but without the ‘Athletic’ suffix.

Fareham didn’t return to the FA Cup after the War either, merging with Fareham Casuals soon after to form Fareham Town who have been a mainstay of the FA Cup since the late 1950s.

HMS Victory v East Cowes

The score for five other FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round ties that took place in the 1939-40 season are unknown.

United Services League club HMS Victory took on East Cowes of the Isle of Wight League. It would be the last of six FA Cup campaigns for HMS Victory who did not re-appear after the War, whilst East Cowes joined the Hampshire League after the War, with the ‘Victoria’ suffix, and competed in the FA Cup until the 1950-51 season. It was then 50 years before they returned to the Cup as East Cowes Victoria Athletic, but they have only occasionally appeared in it since then.

Hamworthy v Sherborne

Dorset League side Hamworthy had three FA Cup campaigns either side of World War II, last appearing in the 1950-51 season. Twenty years later they merged with Trinidad Old Boys to form the current Hamworthy United side who have competed in the FA Cup every year for the last 16 seasons.

Their opponents in 1939-40 were Sherborne, also from the Dorset League. They’d had two FA Cup campaigns before the War, and didn’t return to compete in it as Sherborne Town until the 2006-07 season. However, they’ve participated in it ever since.

Thornycrofts v Winchester City

Thornycrofts of Basingstoke had been participating in the FA Cup since just before the First World War, first as a Hampshire League side and then as a Southern Amateur League member. They returned to both the FA Cup and the Hampshire League after the War as Thornycroft Athletic, and competed in the FA Cup in two separate batches, last doing so in the 1971-72 season at the end of which they folded.

Their opponents, Winchester City, were a Hampshire League side through and through and first partook in the FA Cup a few years earlier than Thornycrofts. They had met in the competition six years earlier with Winchester running out 5-1 winners. Since the War finished, Winchester City continued to participate in the FA Cup up until the 1959-60 season, returning in 1972-73 for one campaign, before becoming a permanent fixture from 2003-04 onward.

Trafalgar Sports v Osborne Athletic

Portsmouth based Trafalgar Sports had never participated in the FA Cup before whilst their Isle of Wight based opponents, Osborne Athletic, had done so 18 times. Trafalgar Sports would get their official FA Cup debut in 1946-47 season, losing 6-2 to RAOC Hilsea, whilst Osborne Athletic would not compete in it again.

The Isle of Wight side does hold a curious FA Cup record, though. Their dozen exits in the Preliminary Round is the most of any team which had never progressed any further in the competition. They also never actually won an FA Cup game in their 18 campaigns, a 1-1 draw against the aforementioned RAOC Hilsea the best they could muster.

Calne and Harris United v Pewsey YM

Calne and Harris United were members of the Wiltshire League and had been competing in the FA Cup on and off since the 1921-22 season, almost reaching the ‘Proper’ Rounds twelve years later. Fellow Wiltshire side Pewsey YM were their opponents making their debut in the FA Cup.

The two sides still both exist under different guises, Calne Town and Pewsey Vale, but neither side are competing in the current FA Cup campaign, Calne last appearing in 2013-14 season and Pewsey Vale in the 2018-19 season.

In Memoria

So there you have it, 124 clubs who set out on a normal FA Cup journey only to see that journey come to an abrupt halt almost immediately. Of course, all of those clubs are institutions, many of which continue to this day, but the real story is about the people involved with the clubs at that time, many of whom did not return after hostilities were over.

It is to the memory of those men and women that this blog is dedicated.

If you have any comments or further information about these 1939-40 FA Cup matches please do contact me on Twitter @FACupFactfile

4 thoughts on “The Forgotten FA Cup Matches”

  1. Well, the FA can scratch matches from the records if they like but the games still took place and Ware’s first ever win in the competition still counts towards our overall total of games played.

    By the way, Hertford have not played in every FA Cup since the war. They had a season off from playing because of ground problems shortly after the war and the Football Club History Database shows a gap of two seasons in their FA Cup entries.

    Good and interesting article despite that correction.

    Like

  2. Fascinating, not least in the way that it underlines the importance of workplace teams – particularly, but not exclusively in the North – at this time

    Liked by 1 person

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