The day Nottingham Forest were humbled by Hucknall minnows

A Hucknall football team once pulled off a major giant-killing act by defeating Nottingham Forest.

The 1-0 triumph of Hucknall St John’s came in the final of the Notts Senior Cup in the 1897-8 season.

The team they beat was generally regarded as the Reds’ reserve side but the club management entered them under the name of Nottingham Forest so that players from the first or second teams could take part.

The match was played on the Cinderhill Road ground in Bulwell, the teams using a nearby dyeworks for dressing rooms.

The Dispatch founder and former editor, the late Henry Morley, recalled in an article for the paper that the final was a ding-dong struggle from beginning to end.

He wrote: “Forest felt confident of victory but were foiled in a late drama. Two minutes from the end, Peter McCracken fouled ‘Tabby’ Weston as he was going through and the referee awarded a penalty from which Weston scored the vital goal.

“Forest had been the cup winners in the two previous seasons and were confident of a third success. But the old adage came true that there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.”

In fact, Forest had won the English Cup by defeating Derby County 3-1 at Crystal Palace only a week earlier and some of the team took part in the Senior Cup final. So for Forest to be beaten by St John’s seemed almost unimaginable.

Mr Morley pointed out that, more than 50 years later, the Hucknall team’s name had still not been inscribed on the plinth of the cup and he wrote: “Steps should be taken to insert the missing line.”

The Hucknall team was: Thomas Lockyer (brother of a former landlord of Hucknall’s Chequers pub) in goal; Woolley and Mitchell (backs); Baker, Jones and Spiers (half-backs); Chapple, Weston, Richardson, Palin and Emminson (forwards).

The Forest team included two Hucknall players, Jack Thornley, of Orchard Street, and Walter Shaw, of Byron Street.

Mr Morley added that St John’s gave mighty Liverpool a fright during the same period, losing narrowly in the first round proper of the English Cup at Anfield.