What Really Happened: Saturday 14 March 1970 – FA Cup Semi Finals

FA Cup Semi Final – Watford 1 Chelsea 5 – Tony Pawson – Observer 15 March 1970 p.32

Chelsea so often falter on the threshold of the final, but this time they swept through with majestic power. Thehy had Wembley stamped on their eyeballs and they wore Watford down with relentless pressure, overwhelming them with a strength and skill that left the Second Division side standing.

The first half had shown what brave and talented Cup fighters Watford can be, but before the end their limitations had been ruthlessly exposed.

On the soft and sandy waste it took Chelsea three minutes to snatch the lead. Their studied calm looked overdone as Hams allowed himself to be robbed while deliberating a pass. But it was safer than the anxious haste of Watford’s defenders as they baulked each other in their eagerness to clear a high bounce ball.

The Big Match – 14/3/70 – FA Cup Semi Final – Chelsea v Watford

FA Cup Semi Final – Man Utd  0  Leeds  0 – Hugh McIlvanney – Observer 15 March 1970 p.32

Semi Finals, with their threat of sicking anti climax for the losers, are notoriously inhibiting, and all the skills on both sides could not lift this match above a plateau of relentless punishing endevour.

It was, for nearly all its hour and a half, a tense probing in search of one decisive error. Manchester tired swiftly after a dominant first half, and near the end they stumbled into two mistakes serious enough to send Leeds to Wembley.

But the frenzied stubborness of Stepney and Ure prevented a goal and we were left with a less exciting,  but more just, result.

Now the sides must meet again at Villa Park on Monday week, and even the fittest and most willing of them will shudder slightly at the thought of facing two hours more of such exhausting work.

A sort wearying pitch added to the penalties of their own competitiveness and several players looked as if they would be sleepwalking before they reached the bath.

In such circumstances it was inevitable that Leeds with an athleticism that is matched buy few teams and surpassed by none, should finish the stronger.


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