Great Games: The Stanley Matthews final

Trying to recall the 1953 FA Cup final sounds like an impossible task, until you hear it described by it’s more famous nickname. The Stanley Matthews final was of the greatest cup ties ever seen at Wembley as his performance inspired Blackpool to beat Bolton after being 3-1 down.

The performance of the Blackpool hero was that good that it eclipsed that of striker Stan Mortensen, who during the game, became the only player to score an FA cup hat-trick at the old Wembley.

The Tangerines went in at half-time 2-1 down, with Nat Lofthouse getting on the score sheet again for Bolton; he’d scored in every single round. In the second half, after going further behind, Matthews turned on the style and produced cross after cross for the Blackpool strikers to feast on.


The winner, scored with seconds remaining again via a Matthews cross, sparked scenes of hysteria amongst the Blackpool fans. The performance of Matthews was said to be that good that the brilliant Nat Lofthouse even stood to applaud despite the crushing defeat.

Matthews had missed out on the trophy in the previous two finals. Not only did he finally get his hands on the famous trophy in the year of ‘53, but he wrote himself a little bit of FA cup history which will be remembered forever.

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