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FA Cup 4th Round replay 21st February 1968

If Coventry City suspected their cup replay at Prenton Park was likely to test their metal to the limit, their task got a whole lot harder when the draw offered Rovers not only the possibility of treading unchartered territory in the 5th round but also an away clash against illustrious neighbours Everton. City, however, felt somewhat aggrieved that they had to face a replay in the first place. They complained in vain that Graham Williams’ crossed had sailed over the goal line before Alan king headed it passed Bill Glazier with 3 minutes remaining. That said, Rovers’ gallant performance was deserving of a draw at the very least. They mad the Sky Blues look very ordinary on the day. Noel Cantwell’s excuse for failing to beet Tranmere first time around was the absence of rugged centre-half Maurice Setters and cup tied striker Neil Martin, but setters was back in the lone up for the replay. His principal contribution was to gift the opening goal to Rovers. According to the Daily Express the Coventry defender looked as ‘water-tight as a string vest’. After just half an hour their skipper had acres of space and time aplenty to clear the ball from the penalty area. Instead his miscued clearance hit George Yardley on the knee and bounced kindly into the path of his 15,000 strike partner, ex-Coventry striker George Hudson. Without a second invitation he smashed it past Alan Dickie left footed from fully 20 yards. 5 minutes later Yardley, showing all the cool opportunism that took him to the top of the league scoring charts, making it 2-0 and sent Rovers fans into orbit. Yardley cleverly controlled a pass from Denis Stevens in the inside-right channel which allowed the Rovers Centre-Forward to leave John Tudor on his backside and advance on the Coventry ‘keeper to slide his left-foot shot under Dickie. He made it look so easy you would have thought he had all day to meditate on how to score his 26th goal of the season. 2-0 down, 35 minutes gone and their dream of FA progress seemingly shattered, 1 or 2 of the Coventry players lost their heads as some wild tackles flew in. Setters was booked for flattening Yardley and Stan Storton for retaliation but Tranmere refused to allow the Sky Blues to rattle them. With Cumbes and Prichard magnificent in defence Coventry failed to make much headway and it was Rovers, who were without broken cheekbone victim John King, who created the better chances. Indeed, it would not have been an injustice if Tranmere had scored another couple of goals at the very least. Yardley somehow contrived to miss 2 relatively easy chances after beating the Coventry offside trap. In the end Rovers were worthy winners and the players were mobbed at the final whistle, as the near 21,000-strong crowd turned the pitch into a setting mass of celebrating fans chanting Everton here we come!. Manager Dave Russell summed up the performance thus, ‘The lads were wonderful. They looked like the first division side not Coventry’.

Tranmere Rovers: Cumbes, Storton, Martin, Stevens (Casey), Pritchard, A. King, McNamee, Sinclair, Yardley, Hudson, Williams.

Coventry City: Dickie, Hill, Bruck, Machin, Setters, Tudor, Hannigan, Morrissey, Baker, Carr, Rees.

Referee: John Osborne (Ipswich)

Attendance: 20,996

v Coventry 1968



MOTTO: UBI FIDES IBI LUX ET ROBUR which means "Where there is faith, there is light and strength."

Designed by Ned O'Toole, Paul Harmon and Oisín Ronan.
Special thanks to Tranmere Rovers Football club for the information.