clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

89 Years of Hurt: A History of Bolton v Leeds in the FA Cup

New, comments

We delve through the history books to look at Wanderers' record against their Yorkshire rivals in the world's greatest cup competition

Bolton's first cup clash with Leeds was en route to their first FA Cup title in 1923
Bolton's first cup clash with Leeds was en route to their first FA Cup title in 1923

Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United, two of the most famous English clubs through history, have gone head-to-head 62 times down the years. Of those matches just six have been in the FA Cup, including two replays back in 1927 and 1950, and the last cup meeting between the sides took place 20 years ago.

Wanderers' clash with Leeds in the fourth round on Saturday is the third time the two sides have been drawn together at this stage of the competition. However, it's now 89 years since Bolton last beat Leeds in the FA Cup.

Here's a look back at our cup clashes with Leeds down the years

3rd February 1923: Bolton 3-1 Leeds

Wanderers first ever successful FA Cup famously culminated in the 'White Horse final,' in which they defeated West Ham United on the first occasion of the world's greatest cup competition being played at Wembley. But the campaign began with a 2-0 first round victory over Norwich City, which set up a second round clash with Leeds.

This was the first ever meeting between the two sides and unfortunately there is no information available about the match or the scorers that day online. However, the Wanderers team included the likes of David Jack and Jack Smith, who both scored in the final, captain and the club's second highest goalscorer Joe Smith and Alex Finney, who made 530 club appearances for the Whites.

The side was managed by Bolton's longest serving and most successful manager of all time, Charles Foweraker, who sat at the Bolton helm for an impressive 25 years between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II.

29th January 1927: Leeds 0-0 Bolton; 2nd February 1927: Bolton 3-0 Leeds

The two sides met again in the cup just four years later, this time in the fourth round. Bolton earned a 0-0 draw at Leeds and then winning the replay 3-0. Once again, there are unfortunately no records online of the goalscorers or the two matches in general.

28th January 1950: Leeds 1-1 Bolton; 1st February 1950: Bolton 2-3 Leeds

Leeds earned their first cup victory over Bolton in 1950, once again at the fourth round stage, with a 3-2 extra-time victory in a replay at Burnden Park.

The original tie at Leeds saw the sides draw 1-1 on a pitch so frozen that the Leeds players wore protective knee pads. Leeds opened the scoring on 25 minutes through Harold Williams, but Bolton fought back and earned a draw thanks to a Nat Lofthouse goal.

Bolton were regarded as a huge club back in these days, and as a result Second Division side were given no hope in the replay. But they defied the odds to record a shock 3-2 victory after extra-time in horrendous conditions that combined snow, slush, ice and water.

Leeds raced into a 2-0 first-half lead, with goals from Frank Dudley in the second minute and Len Browning mid-way through the half. But Bolton halved the deficit five minutes later through Harry McShane - father of Lovejoy himself Ian McShane - then got back on level terms with 20 minutes to go through Lofthouse. But it was Leeds who had the last laugh as Dudley scored his second to send Leeds through to the fifth round.

14th February 1996: Bolton 0-1 Leeds

The two sides didn't meet in the FA Cup for another 46 years, when they went head-to-head in Bolton's final season at Burnden Park - yet again in the fourth round.

Leeds fielded a strong side that included the likes of Gary Speed, Tony Yeboah, Gary McAllister and Carlton Palmer, and emerged victorious again on this occasion. Rodney Wallace scored the only goal and, as you can see below, it was a terrible goal to decide an FA Cup tie, with some characteristically dreadful Bolton defending.

Bolton's last five FA Cup games with Leeds United have all been in the fourth round, two of which have been replays that have both been won by Leeds. So let's hope for a reverse in fortunes at the Macron Stadium on Saturday.