Saturday 1st February 1913 FA Cup 2nd Round
Huddersfield Town 1-2 Swindon Town
Swindon’s first ever visit to Huddersfield came about through an FA Cup tie nearly 96 years ago. Having despatched Rochdale in the previous round
the Robins faced another trip north to take on more formidable opposition in Second Division Huddersfield Town. The hosts themselves were buoyant having ‘giant-killed’ First Division Sheffield Utd in Round One, and were confident the visit of ‘Southern Leaguers’ wouldn’t stop them progressing.
Around 250 Swindon fans made the trip and soon made themselves heard as a Huddersfield source reports that they, ‘frequently gave vent to a war cry almost as weird as those made famous by the colonial Rugby visitors’.
Swindon showed their intent from the start with Freddy Wheatcroft firing wide and then Harold Fleming causing a bit of panic amongst the backs. It
took good defensive play from both Fred Bullock and James Dow to subdue the Town star. Archie Bown was next to burst through, but goalkeeper Alex Mutch showed great anticipation to advance out and clear the danger.
Eventually the homesters found a gear and some telling crosses about the Swindon box had the defence on edge. Frank Mann eventually got a shot in but Len Skiller was equal to the task.
Swindon hit back and forced a couple of corners. The second of which saw Bob Jefferson’s placed-kick fall to the feet of Wheatcroft who, barely 2-yards out, had little difficulty in finding the net on 18 minutes.
This early reverse had a dampening effect on the home fans and Swindon continued to look dangerous on the break. Gradually Huddersfield regained their composure and began to dominate the middle third. Andrew Armour nearly got through with a shot but Skiller held firm.
The sloppy and slippery state of the pitch handicapped the teams severely and indeed there were a couple of stoppages to enable the players to
clear the mud from their eyes!
Towards half-time a mazy run from Fleming was brought to an abrupt end when he was scythed down by Dow but the free-kick was wasted.
The second half began with both Jefferson and Bown testing Mutch as Swindon looked to put the tie beyond doubt. For their part Huddersfield battled gamely but attacks invariably broke down. Successful tackling and poor decision-making were the root causes. A sign of frustration was apparent when Charles Dinnie was cautioned for a foul on Sammy Lamb. Swindon were in control and looking the much more assured side. Some may argue
that the poor conditon of the pitch was a great leveller but it was widely believed that Huddersfield actually preferred this type of environment. It just
so happened that Swindon revelled in it even more!
Towards the close of the game the home side attacked down the left flank and both Joe Jee and Mann wasted good chances from favourable positions to equalise. You just knew it wasn’t to be their day.
The game was sealed in the 78th minute when Bown, fed in by Jefferson from the right, dashed through and beat Mutch in clever style.
It could have been worse as Fleming threatened further damage but as it was Mann scored a last-minute consolation following a corner.
The game was watched by a record-breaking 17000+ fans. Swindon were credited as, ‘not only having won on their merits, but of being the finest team that had ever visited Huddersfield under the association code.’
Sadly Swindon got a poor draw in Round 3. A trip to mighty First Division (and eventual League Champions) Sunderland was their reward. They battled hard but went down by 4 goals to 2.
Swindon: Len Skiller, Harry Kay, Jock Walker, Billy Tout, Billy Silto, Frank Handley, Bob Jefferson, Harold Fleming, Freddy Wheatcroft, Archie Bown, Sammy Lamb.
Huddersfield: A.Mutch, C.Dinnie, F.Bullock, S.Beaton, F.Fayers, J.Dow, A.Armour, J.Howie, F.Mann, J.Macauley, J.Jee
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