31-12-1953. On this day in 1953 Manchester United managed only a 1-1 draw against non-league Walthamstow Avenue in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. The north east London club where founded in 1900 and played in the Athenian League before entering the Isthmian League in 1945. They won the league three times before they merged with Leytonstone/Ilford in 1988, which later became Dagenham & Redbridge.
The replay was five days later at Highbury in front of a crowd of 49,119. United won 5-2 with goals from Rowley (2), Byrne, Lewis and Pearson. United where knocked out of the trophy by Everton in the next round.
Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in the final which has become known as the “Matthews Final” due to the efforts of Stanley Matthews. Maybe unfairly for Blackpool striker Stan Mortensen, who scored three for the Seasiders, the only player to score a hat-trick in a Wembely final. Recently deceased Bolton legend, Nat Lofthouse, scored the first goal of the game after only two minutes.
Maybe some hope for Crawley Town who travel to Old Trafford for a Fifth Round tie with United in February.