Four ended up at hospital after FA Cup battle - but South Shields battlers were unbowed

South Shields Gazette  Monday January 5 1970  AFC Cup  ragout
South Shields Gazette Monday January 5 1970 AFC Cup ragout
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Today we conclude our look-back at the day South Shields took on the glamour boys of QPR in the FA Cup – and did themselves and their home-town proud, despite losing to the Second Division big-spenders.

The Mariners battled all the way in the London clash, as evidenced by the Gazette’s subsequent headline ... “Four Mariners taken to hospital after a display of Cup bravery”.

In his follow-up report to the big match, Gazette reporter Dick Kirkup says: “Beaten, yes but disgraced, never.

“That I think sums up a never-to-be-forgotten display of unbelievable bravery and gallantry by South Shields who lost 4-1 to Queen’s Park Rangers in Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie at Loftus Road.

“When the Mariners’ nine remaining fit men dragged themselves off the field at the end, covered in mud but still managing a courageous smile that seemed to say: ‘Well, we did our best but were beaten by a superior team,’ the entire 16,811 crowd gave them a standing ovation.

“Naturally, the Mariners felt a bit disappointed, for even up against such a star-studded outfit as QPR they felt that defeat would not be as automatic as the experts were predicting. It might have been sensationally different had three chances in the first 20 minutes been taken instead of wasted, but I for one was content with the score.

“Not complacent, mind you. Just thankful that it wasn’t a massacre as some people envisaged. However, the Mariners paid a crippling price for appearing in this magic third round, for on the way back to the hotel after the match, four Shields players were taken to Paddington’s St. Mary’s Hospital.

“Goalkeeper Bert Garrow dislocated the big finger on his right hand after only five minutes, yet bravely came back six minutes later to play out the match with his fingers strapped. He is to have an X-ray this week and it is feared there is also a fracture.

“Left-half Dave Adams suffered a broken nose early on, yet continued until he was struck full in the face by the ball in the second half, which restarted the heavy bleeding. He was led off with a great ovation ringing in his ears.

“Left-back Bob McLeod, a victim of an unusual late tackle by Rodney Marsh, had eight stitches put into a ripped shin after being carried off with 10 minutes left.

“Inside-right Kenny Ellis took a first-half tackle in which home left-back Gillard all but ran through Ellis’s body. Result: A mountainous black and red swelling on the left hip.”

The Gazette sports reporter said when the four casualties eventually returned to the hotel from the hospital, he accompanied the players and their wives on a trip to the West End for a bit of a “knees-up” to celebrate – and “how they deserved it”.

“But the thought uppermost in our minds was this: What sort of team will the Mariners put in against Matlock Town in this week’s FA Challenge Trophy first round proper tie at Simonside Hall?

“Bert Garrow would seem to be definitely out, which will give a chance to Trevor Dixon-Cave, but Bob McLeod, who hopes to have the stitches removed on Friday, feels there is a chance he will be able to play.

“Dave Adams, whose badly swollen nose has now given ‘birth’ to two ‘shiners’, doesn’t know whether he will be able to play and the same goes for Kenny Ellis.

“However, new signing from North Shields Ritchie Hall is eligible for this tie and there are razor-keen reserves ready and willing to step up for a match that could sign-post the club’s path to a Wembley final on May 2.”

* How did the lads from Shields get on in that particular match? Please get in touch with your memories, which, as ever, are much appreciated.