Nahki Wells’ Huddersfield Town appearances in the fifth round of the FA Cup have been relatively rare, with this season’s only the 11th since the War.
Best Playing Against Huddersfield in 1972
And the last time the club reached the quarterfinals was back in 1972.
Town took some notable scalps during their two-season stay in the top flight at the start of the Seventies.
Arsenal and Derby, each of whom went on to lift the title, were beaten at Leeds Road, for example.
But the match many fans seem to remember most fondly is the FA Cup fifth-round meeting with West Ham United, Bermuda’s Clyde Best, Bobby Moore and all, at Leeds Road on Saturday, February 26th, 1972.
Town, managed by Ian Greaves, were having a tough time of it in the old First Division.
They had only six wins to their credit, the last of them over Brian Clough’s Derby in November.
Going into the cup clash with Ron Greenwood’s Hammers, they were second-bottom and without a goal in their previous four league games.
That means the Londoners, with the likes of Geoff Hurst, ‘Pop’ Robson, Trevor Brooking, Harry Redknapp and Billy Bonds alongside Best and Moore in their line-up, were favourites for a clash which drew a season’s best Town home gate of 27,080.
Having lost out to Stoke City in the League Cup semi-finals, they were desperate to make it to Wembley in the FA Cup.
But things didn’t go according to plan in the West Riding as Town won a thriller 4-2 thanks to goals by Jimmy Lawson, Terry Dolan, David Smith and Frank Worthington.
“West Ham didn’t slip by the wayside,” wrote the Examiner’s Alan Driscoll in his match report.
“They were taken by the scruff of their necks and thrown out headlong, and undoubtedly, this was Town’s greatest triumph for years.”
For once, scoring wasn’t a problem for Greaves’ side.
Town, having beaten Burnley and Fulham in the previous two rounds (West Ham overcame Luton Town and Hereford United) tore into their visitors from the off and took a deserved 24th-minute lead through Lawson, who volleyed home from the edge of the area.
The Hammers levelled against the run of play on the stroke of half-time when Robson finished off winger Redknapp’s teasing cross.
But Town restarted where they left off in the second half and exerted a vice-like grip on the game.
The lead was regained in the 50th minute via a move started and finished by Dolan, who dispossessed Brooking and freed Les Chapman, with Geoff Hutt getting in the cross for the midfielder to shoot home low past keeper Bobby Ferguson.
Smith slotted Town’s third with a shot on the turn in the 68th minute, and two minutes later Worthington headed home from Chapman’s cross.
West Ham pulled one back 10 minutes from time when Best rounded keeper David Lawson and rolled the ball home, but Town weren’t to be denied a fine victory.