Having defeated mighty Sunderland at Huish in the Fourth Round of the FA. Cup, Yeovil Town
had reached the Fifth Round of the F.A. Cup for the first time ever.
They were drawn away to the Cup holders, Manchester United, standing in fourth place in the
First Division. Yeovil had lost to Manchester United in a Third Round match at Old Trafford in
1938, but this time the tie was to be played at Manchester City's Maine Road ground as
Old Trafford was still suffering from the affects of wartime bombing.
Manchester United had reached this stage of the competition by defeating Second Division
Bradford Park Avenue in a second replay. For financial reasons (the capacity of Bradford's
ground was only 30,000) Yeovil were glad they had to face First Division rather than Second
Division opposition. Besides, a Sunday newspaper had made the humourlessly exaggerated
suggestion that, if Yeovil had to play Bradford, then they had better order eleven suits
On Saturday, 12th February, 1949, six special trains took 3,000 Yeovil supporters to
Manchester, another 3,000 going by coach or car. The gates were closed twenty minutes
before the kick-off with 81,565 people inside the ground and thousands more locked outside.
This is still the largest attendance ever to have seen a Non-league side in action and the
biggest to have attended an FA. Cup match other than the final itself.
Yeovil made two changes to the side that had defeated Sunderland: Regular 'keeper
Stan Hall returned in place of Dickie Dyke (who was rewarded immediately after the Sunderland
match by being offered professional terms) and Jack Roy (a recruit from Gravesend & Northfleet)
came in for the injured Jack Hargreaves.
United were managed by Matt Busby and included in their team internationals of the calibre of
Carey, Aston, Cockburn, Chilton, Pearson, Rowley and Mitton. Two other, Delaney and Morris,
In the first thirty seconds of the match, Yeovil gained a corner, but the impossible was
not to happen this time: Hall sustained an early stomach injury and United ran riot to win
8-0, the powerful Jack Rowley netting five of them. The details matter little though, for it
was a clean execution and the victims felt little pain. They had lived well ... and they died
As had been the case in the 'thirties, the Club's finances were in a precarious position,
but the £3,000-plus cheque generated by the Fifth Round meeting again put matters right.
Whilst all the F.A. Cup excitement was going on, Yeovil Town continued their domestic season.
After their fine start to the Southern League fixtures, gaining nine points from the first five
matches, they gained only five points in the next fourteen matches. However, a strong second
half of the season saw them finish with 47 points from the forty-two matches, only fifteen points
behind champions Gillingham, who returned to the Football League the following season.
To round off what had been a wonderful season for the club, Yeovil Town gained their first
ever major honour by defeating Colchester United 3-0 in the final fo the Southern League Cup.
Yeovil, whose three previous finals had ended in defeat, put on a fine display of football
and goals from Cuffey (2) and Bryant gave the crowd of over 8,000 something to celebrate
after the cup had been presented
On the way to the final, Yeovil beat Barry Town 2-1 in a home replay, Torquay United Reserves
were then beaten by the same score at Huish. A Quarter-Final win 1-0 at Bath followed by a
fine 2-1 Semi-Final win at Hereford United set up the excellent final match.
Link: 1948-49 First Team Fixtures And Results.
Link: 1948-49 First Team Scorers.