Date: 26th March 2018 at 11:21am
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Today’s date, 26th March, marks the 63rd anniversary of renowned cup-fighters York City incredibly taking on First Division Newcastle United in an FA Cup semi-final.

More than 20,000 City fans had travelled to Hillsborough, Sheffield, to cheer on their heroes for the biggest game in the club’s history.

There were twenty special trains commissioned, while the major coach companies sent almost seventy vehicles between them.

Additionally, numerous other fans journeyed courtesy of smaller coach firms, buses or their own cars.

But the gallant Third Division North club suffered a real setback on the morning of the tie with their outstanding ball-playing inside-forward Sid Storey missing with a back strain. He was replaced by Sam McNab.

Twelve hours of extensive rain had resulted in a heavily muddied surface and was still hammering down as the game kicked-off.

After both teams exchanged early attacks, City slipped behind on fourteen minutes, when Vic Keeble struck from the left-hand side of the goal following good work between Bobby Cowell and Reg Davies.

The fabulous ‘Happy Wanderers’ were though not only a team of tremendous skill, but also great character and nearly equalised when only a last-gasp challenge from Jimmy Scoular denied outside-left Billy Fenton.

The Magpies almost increased their advantage through goalscorer Keeble, until the brave giant-killers sent their own fans into raptures on the half-hour; the legendary Arthur Bottom dispossessing Bob Stokoe in the middle and chasing away, before expertly drawing keeper Ronnie Simpson and slotting into an empty net.

The ground erupted, over twenty-thousand York supporters in a 65,000 attendance joyous in massed celebration.

Boosted by their success, the ‘Happy Wanderers’ launched a series of threatening raids, forcing their First Division opponents into some really desperate defending.

Newcastle managed to hold firm until the interval, and as conditions worsened at the start of the second-half, it was the favourites who started to attack for the opening twenty-five minutes.

Defiant York were once more indebted to skipper Ernie Phillips, who covered valiantly in the right-back role.

But as the game progressed it was City proving the stronger and more resilient team, and with ten minutes left arrived a moment of real controversy.

There was a terrific scramble inside the Newcastle penalty area which ended with York goal-machine Bottom heading the ball towards an inviting net.

Desperately, goalkeeper Simpson attempted to block, but those fans closest to the incident clearly saw the ball cross the line before the keeper scooped it away.

It appeared a perfectly valid goal and seemed certain to take magnificent York into the FA Cup Final, until referee Kelly instead disallowed the effort and mysteriously awarded a free-kick against the prolific striker.

The Magpies rallied and famed centre-forward Jackie Milburn lifted over from close-range before City winger Fenton drove straight at Simpson when ideally placed.

In the final moments of a wonderfully exciting contest, York keeper Tommy Forgan heroically dived at the feet of Keeble, before his colleagues almost snatched late glory when Gordon Brown headed just wide from a last-minute corner.

Even so, York City had made history by becoming the first-ever Third Division side to earn an FA Cup semi-final replay, although it could so easily have been even more but for that controversial decision.

York City: Forgan, Phillips, Howe, Brown, Stewart, Spence, Hughes, Bottom, Wilkinson, McNab, Fenton

Goals: Bottom (30)

Newcastle United: Simpson, Cowell, Batty, Scoular, Stokoe, Casey, White, Davies, Keeble, Milburn, Mitchell

Goals: Keeble (14)

Ref: J. Kelly (Chorley)

Att: 65,000

Video Link: British Pathe