Mansfield Town retro: Stags 3 West Ham United 0 - 26th February 1969


In the summer of ‘66 West Ham United footballers Martin Peters, Bobby Moore and Geoff Hurst turned themselves into national icons when they guided England to that famous World Cup win over West Germany at Wembley Stadium.

But less than three years later the England stars were on the wrong end of a very different cup result as their West Ham United side were sent crashing out of the FA Cup by unfancied Mansfield Town.

The lowly Third Division side overturned all the odds to humiliate the First Division ‘allstars’ 3-0 and seal one of of the most famous nights in the club’s history.

It looked like it would be a routine trip north for the fashionable London side, which also featured Harry Redknapp and Trevor Brooking, after they took control of the early exchanges.

The Hammers created an excellent opening on 10 minutes as Brooking moved through the middle to tee up Redknapp. But the winger blazed over to the relief of the Field Mill faithful.

World Cup hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst was then guilty of the miss of the match as West Ham continued to pile on the pressure.

Tricky Trevor Brooking again caused bother down the wing before his crossed picked out the Hammers hitman.

But with the goal gaping from just six yards out, Hurst somehow blazed wide and Mansfield lived to fight another day.

And Stags took full advantage of their let off to stun the top division side on 22 minutes.

Dudley Roberts was once again the hero as he turned the ball into the net after Raymond Keeley, Jimmy Goodfellow and Dominic Sharkey had made light work of the West Ham backline.

The visitors looked for a swift response with their international stars looking threatening. Hollins only just kept out an effort by Martin Peters, before Bobby Moore tried his luck with a free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.

But Stags once again showed their resolve and gained a commanding two goal cushion on 37 minutes thanks to a superb effort by Keeley.

Ferguson managed to punch the ball off the head of Roberts as he went up for a cross from Goodfellow. But the ball fell invitingly to Keeley, who hit a first-time volley into the net.

Stags sensed one of the shocks of FA Cup history was in the making and began the second half like a train.

Roberts headed over a Sharkey corner, before the quick reactions of Howe denied a powerful Sharkey effort.

But just four minutes into the second half Sharkey was not to be denied as he set the seal on an historic night with Mansfield’s third goal.

Goalkeeper Ferguson, diving at Sharkey’s feet as he moved through on the left, appeared to have cut out the danger, but Sharkey won the ball back before shooting into the far corner of the net to the delight of the home support.

Moore moved up several times with the West Ham frontmen in a desperate bid to salvage something from the cup tie.

But it was all too little too late as Mansfield bravely held on to clinch one of the greatest victories in their history.

Thrilled Stags boss Tom Eggleston praised his battle side after the game for writing themselves into Mansfield Town history.

He said: “It was a very good display all round. The boys really fought well. We ran and fought to the last dance and that is what counts in this sort of game.

“Tactically we played better than they did. We threw the ball forward, they tried to play it too short.”

After the game legendary Hammers boss Ron Greenwood also paid a glowing tribute to the heroic Mansfield Town grafters.

“We didn’t play badly,”he said. “So they must have played very well to beat us. They are a great team. They thoroughly deserved their victory.”

More than four decades after the cup classic, Stags fan John Doughty still remembers the great occasion vividly.

“The atmosphere was full of anticipation. I had just turned 22 and stood in the North Stand just behind the goals, where we were all packed like sardines,”he said.

“On 22 minutes Dudley Roberts scored and the cheers went up. It got better when Ray Keeley hit a first-time volley into the net to lift the roof off the north stand.

“Moore, Hurst and Peters were having no luck as our brilliant defence marshalled by Stuart Boam held firm.

“Nick Sharkey scored the third at the Quarry Lane end to complete a marvellous night. Some people were still celebrating in the streets at 3am the next day.”

MANSFIELD TOWN: Hollins, Pate, Hopkinson, Quigley, Boam, Waller, Keeley, N. Sharkey, Ledger, Melling, Goodfellow, D. Roberts.