History beckons for Chesterfield
the Cup runs of six semi-finalists from the League's third tier
Tuesday 22 April 1997
Since the Third Division was created in 1920 (it was extended into North and South sections in 1921, and became the Third and Fourth Divisions in 1958) only six other teams from that level have reached a semi-final.
In 1937, Millwall, then in the Third Division (South), were the first, beating three First Division teams - Chelsea, Derby County and the 1937 champions, Manchester City. Millwall, who finished eighth in their division that season, finally had their cup run ended at the penultimate hurdle, losing 2-1 to giants of the era, Sunderland.
In 1954, Port Vale took the Third Division (South) title and conceded only five goals at home (and 21 in all) along the way. In the FA Cup, they progressed to a semi-final against the First Division's runners-up, West Bromwich Albion, beating other top-flight clubs, Cardiff City and Blackpool, on the way. In the semi-final, Port Vale lost 2-1, and, ironically, the penalty with which West Brom beat them was scored by a former Vale player, Ronnie Allen.
A season later, York City contested Third Division's third (and fourth) semi-finals when they met Newcastle United, of the First, and took them to a replay before succumbing to defeat. Along the way, York, who finished fourth in their division that season, beat Blackpool (and Stanley Matthews) and Tottenham. They held the eventual cup winners, Newcastle, to a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough in the semi-final before losing 2-1 in a replay at Roker Park.
In 1959, it took another semi-final replay to dispatch the next Third Division FA Cup glory-seekers, Norwich City. They were 2,000-1 for the cup at the start of their campaign, and produced major shocks on their way to meeting Newcastle. In arguably the greatest giant-killing campaign by a Third Division Three, they beat Manchester United and Tottenham of the First Division (3-0 and 1-0, respectively) along the way. After holding Luton to a 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, they lost 1-0 in the replay at Birmingham City's ground, St Andrew's.
In 1976, Crystal Palace, who finished the season third in the Third Division and were promoted, met Second Division semi-final opposition in the form of Southampton. Palace beat Leeds and Chelsea on their way to last four, and their campaign is best remembered for the sight of Malcolm Allison with a fedora on his head and champagne in his hand even in defeat. In a season for giant-killing, Southampton went on to beat Manchester United 1-0 in the final.
The last time a team from the Third contested a semi-final was in 1984. On that occasion, 20,000 supporters travelled from Devon to Birmingham, only to see their team, Plymouth, lose 1-0 to Watford at Villa Park. Earlier in the competition, Plymouth had only progressed to the third round after beating non-League Barking 2-1. In an otherwise poor season, Argyle finished sixth from bottom of their division.
Third Division FA Cup semi-finalists
1937 Millwall lost 2-1 to Sunderland
Final: Sunderland beat Preston North End 3-1
1954 Port Vale lost 2-1 to West Bromwich Albion
Final: West Brom beat Preston North End 3-2
1955 York City lost 2-0 in replay to Newcastle United
Final: Newcastle beat Manchester City 3-1
1959 Norwich City lost 1-0 in replay to Luton Town
Final: Nottingham Forest beat Luton 2-1
1976 Crystal Palace lost 2-0 to Southampton
Final: Southampton beat Manchester Utd 1-0
1984 Plymouth Argyle lost 1-0 to Watford
Final: Everton beat Watford 2-0
Latest in Sport
Petr Cech demands talks over Chelsea future as Thibaut Courtois begs him to stay – as mentor
Angel Di Maria: Manchester United to push ahead with £50m move for Real Madrid winger
Marcos Rojo to Manchester United: Sporting Lisbon confirm deal with Nani heading back to Portugal on loan
Arsenal player ratings vs Besiktas
Besiktas vs Arsenal player ratings: Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers - who was the Gunners star man?
- 1 The way the police have treated Cliff Richard is completely unacceptable
- 3 Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
- 5 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermeister and vodka
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Principal Arboricu...
£17000 - £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Trainee Digital Fo...
Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...