Hendon 0 : 2 Bishop Auckland
Amateur Cup Final
16th April 1955
Hendon FC 1955.
Standing (left to right): B. Nibbs C. Edwards, Reg Ivey, Laurie Topp, Dexter Adams, Eric Beardsley, Bill Fisher, Pat Austin, L. Kilby, Laurie Scott. Seated (left to right): Gerry Saffery, Rajnar Hvidsten, John Core, Graeme Cunningham, Eric Parker. Inset: Erwin Bahler.
Hendon were making their first Amateur Cup final appearance and could not have faced tougher opposition. The Bishop Auckland team contained eight international players and they were the giants of Amateur Cup football. They had already appeared in fifteen finals and had won the trophy a record seven times. They also had a point to prove, in four post war finals, three of them at Wembley, they had failed to register a win. Hendon themselves were not short on international experience and had become known as the “United Nations” team, as their attack included Swiss international Erwin Bahler who had flown in from Berne for both the semi final and the final, Norwegian international Rajnar Hvidsten and Scottish international Graeme Cunningham. England regulars Dexter Adams and Laurie Topp completed Hendon’s international contingent. Laurie Topp and Bill Fisher had previous Wembley experience, having played here for the club in a wartime Middlesex Red Cross Cup Final ten years earlier while goalkeeper Reg Ivey had played in the first ever Amateur Cup Final at Wembley in 1949 while with Romford.
The Amateur Cup was attracting great interest at the time and this was the fifth year running that a capacity 100,000 crowd had watched the final at Wembley.
Hendon started the game well and Erwin Bahler nearly scored with a fierce drive with only three minutes gone.
Hendon winger Gerry Saffery takes on Tommy Stewart of Bishop Auckland.
Midway through the first half, Hendon goalkeeper Reg Ivey was slow to react to a Seamus O'Connell through ball allowing Bishop's Derek Lewin to lob the ball over him to score the first goal. Hendon's Dexter Adams made a desperate attempt at a goal line clearance but could only hook the ball into the roof of the net.
The goal seemed to dishearten Hendon and Bishop’s began to get the upper hand putting Reg Ivey in the Hendon goal under increasing pressure. At the back, Laurie Topp was putting in an outstanding performance but Hendon’s international attack was failing to combine.
After twenty minutes of the second half, Bishop's Seamus O'Connell put in a shot which Reg Ivey did well to hold, but when subsequently harassed by burly lifeboatman Ray Oliver, Ivey dropped the ball and Derek Lewin turned and swept the ball into the net for his second goal of the game. The Amateur Cup was returning to mighty Bishop Auckland once again.
Bishop Auckland FC - Amateur Cup Winners 1955. Standing (left to right): David Marshall, Tommy Stewart, Harry Sharratt, Bob Hardisty, Corbett Cresswell, Jim Nimmins. Seated (left to right): Jack Major, Derek Lewin, Ray Oliver, Seamus O'Connell, Benny Edwards. Insets (left): Ron Fryer, (right): Leslie Dixon.
Bishop Auckland legend Bob Hardisty with the Amateur Cup. At his fourth attempt, he had a last secured a Wembley winner's medal.
Bishop Auckland would retain the Amateur Cup in 1956 and 1957 beating Corinthian Casuals 4 - 1 in a replay and Wycombe Wanderers 3 - 1 to increase their all time record of Cup wins to ten.
Hendon would have the consolation of returning to Wembley later in the year. On 27th September 1955 Sir Stanley Rous and other members of the FA were present when Hendon became the first club to play under floodlighting at Wembley stadium. The first team and reserves played a trial match to test out two different sets of floodlights installed at an estimated cost of £46,000. The players were asked their views and the infomation gained was used to determine which set of lights would be installed permanently. The honour of scoring the first goal under floodlights at Wembley went to Gordon Holden as the senior team, with coach Laurie Scott at left back, enjoyed a 1 - 0 win over the reserves.
A YouTube video of the British Pathé Newsreel coverage of the 1955 final can be viewed below:-