Swansea Town v Cardiff City 1969 Welsh Cup Final

BY MARK CAREY

22 April 1969, 1st leg, Vetch Field

Swansea Town 1-3 Cardiff City

Swansea goal: Herbie Williams       Cardiff goals: John Toshack (2), Mel Nurse (og)
Attendance: 10,207

Swansea Town’s bid to re-enter the European Cup Winners’ Cup suffered a huge setback as they were comfortably beaten by a strong Cardiff City side. ‘City slickers give Swansea a roasting’ was the title of the article in the Evening Post, with the reporter saying ‘Cardiff went about their task with the thoroughness of a demolition squad’. Cardiff won the game within the first half going into the break 3-0 up. City gave the shaky Swansea defence a battering, whilst they were sound in every department. The away side scored their first two goals within the opening 20 minutes, a 20-year old John Toshack heading into the net off a Frank Sharp delivery. The second came through unfortunate circumstances when Swans captain Mel Nurse bundled the ball into his own net. Toshack then found the net again for Cardiff’s third, another headed effort this time coming off a Don Murray free kick.

Swansea’s performance was far from their best. The only real threat was coming from Brian Evans. Evans was lively upfront forcing Cardiff goalkeeper Dai Davies to make a fine save before later striking the bar. It was Evans who laid on a sublime ball to Herbie Williams as he snatched a consolation goal for the Swans on the 50th minute.

The game will unfortunately be remembered by many for the wrong reasons due to the actions of jubilant Cardiff City fans after the game. Celebrations got out of hand during the train journey home, when a number fans destroyed a carriage on the 9.20 train from Swansea to Bristol. Windows were smashed, seats slashed, lampshades wrecked and fire extinguishers and buckets were thrown onto the track. The train was delayed by 50 minutes due to Cardiff supporters pulling the emergency cord a total of 10 times. The police boarded the train at Bridgend and a police dog was used to subdue the hooligans.

A British railway spokesman expressed his disappointment in the behaviour of the Cardiff fans saying ‘up until the present this has not been a problem in south Wales’. The carriage that was damaged was put out of service indefinitely. Many people regard this as one of the starting points to the fierce rivalry between the two clubs we now see today.

29 April 1969, 2nd Leg, Ninian Park

Cardiff City 2-0 Swansea Town
Attendance 12,617

Goals: Toshack, Lea

Swansea City put in a brave performance in the second leg; however the difference between the two sides was one man. John Toshack. Swansea matched Cardiff’s superior skill and know-how with courage and determination. They may have even taken the lead if only the ball fell kindlier for their forwards. All of Swansea’s hard work was undone by a John Toshack header on the 33rd minute. There was of course still hope as the tie was decided on points rather than goals, and the Swans pressed hard for an equaliser with Brian Grey and Willie Screen having their chances blocked by the battling Cardiff defence.

The tie was decided with Toshack again playing a role in the goal, heading forward for Leslie Lea to smash home from close range leaving Swans goalkeeper Mike Hayes with no chance. Swansea did have one glorious opportunity to pull one back with Evans rounding the defence and with only Davies to beat he pulled his shot across the goal mouth and out for a goal kick. A special mention was given in the press’ reports to a young Carl Slee who was handed the audacious task of marking Toshack and performed his job admirably.

Just as the previous match, violence erupted after the game. Cardiff City fans attacked two of the coaches carrying Swansea fans back home. Causing £150 worth of damage to the first coach smashing the windows and denting the sides, the hooligans were said to be throwing anything they could get their hands on from bricks to milk bottles from front door steps. The police were immediately called by the driver and order was restored. The other coach in question was damaged during the game. The owner of the coach company Mr Trevor Toms was quoted saying ‘it was the worst trouble his company have had in 20 years of transporting Swans fans across the country’.

Team Line ups (unchanged for both games)

Swansea – Hayes, Lawrence, Gomersall, Slee, Nurse (c), Hughes, Grey, Thomas,  H Williams, A Williams, Evans

Cardiff- Davies, Derrett, Carver, King, Murray, Harris, Sharp, Clark, Lea, Toshack, Jones

Referee- L Callaghan (for both ties)

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Filed under 1960s, Cardiff City

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