LAST week we looked back at Minehead’s shock FA Cup first round win over Swansea City in the 1976/77 season. Brian Walder has the story of what happened next...

Minehead players and officials gathered around the radio on the following Monday afternoon waiting for the second round draw and the news of who the next giants to slay would be (the picture was of course a mock-up for the press, taken retrospectively at Tuesday’s home floodlit league match against neighbours Taunton Town).

The Lancaster Gate draw had placed Minehead in an away tie against the winners of the Aldershot v Portsmouth replay, after they had drawn their first round game.

Portsmouth were amongst the best supported teams in Football League Division Three (now EFL League One) and Minehead player-manager Bob Boyd was keen to face them.

His wish came true as Portsmouth won the replay 2-1, though their manager (former Liverpool and Scotland star Ian St John) was not so enamoured with the pairing, announcing the tie as a “cup headache”.

Boyd was quoted in the press as saying “After we beat Swansea, we looked through the teams in our area and decided Portsmouth would be the best bet from the point of view of a good gate and a chance of us staying in the competition.

"t’s just the draw that we wanted to help our finances, and with Portsmouth experiencing problems on and off the pitch we must be in with a chance of reaching the third round when the really big boys come in."

It was common knowledge that Portsmouth were experiencing financial problems, but in their ranks were striker David Kemp, who had signed for Pompey five weeks ago in a swap deal which saw their former Arsenal and Scotland player George Graham move to Crystal Palace, and future Soccer Saturday star Chris Kamara - the teenager starting his career at Portsmouth after being in the Navy.

On the eve of the match, Boyd said: “We shall go there with only one result in mind - a win - the same as we did at Swansea.

“We shall sink or swim on how we play, not on how we stop Portsmouth playing. I haven’t even had Portsmouth watched.”

The match certainly caught the public’s attention and attracted 14,089 spectators, which included an estimated 700 who had travelled from Minehead - not only the highest attended tie of the FA Cup but also Portsmouth’s biggest gate so far that season.

The Minehead starting line-up was the same as the Swansea game, while a late change was forced on Portsmouth with first team and reserve goalkeepers carrying injuries - so third choice Paul Bennett, not yet 19, was given his debut.

Bennett had an early feel of the ball when Jimmy Jenkins turned a pass from Andy Leitch goalwards but it was deflected by a home defender back to safety.

At the other end Minehead goalkeeper Macey was quickly in action to save a header from home centre-half Foster.

A neat interception by Clausen then turned defence into attack for Minehead, finding Jenkins, who outstripped the home defence, but his shot buried itself in the keeper’s body and stuck fast.

Somerset County Gazette:

BIG CHANCE: Jimmy Jenkins' shot is saved by the Portsmouth goalkeeper

The clear chance for Minehead to take the lead had been missed, having fallen to the player frequently labelled as the hottest property outside of the Football League.

Midway through the half a centre from Pollock was hooked into the Minehead six-yard box, where Kemp was on hand to turn the ball past Macey, but the ball hit the post and came back into Macey’s arms.

Portsmouth’s opening goal came after 35 minutes, following a mistake by Brown in midfield. Portsmouth quickly swept the ball out to Piper and it was from his floated cross that Kemp climbed high to angle the ball with his head into the goal.

The home side started the second half with their young side buzzing around the Minehead defence, who were at full stretch to contain them.

Kemp went close with another attempt, Impey having to hook the ball clear, and Macey then tipped over a fierce shot from Mellows.

Soon Portsmouth scored their second goal. A jinking run from Pullar caught Minehead flat-footed and from his low centre Kamara brought the ball under control and turned to score with a low shot.

Seeking a way back into the tie, Minehead’s Leitch shot over following a good centre from Jenkins and Bryant had an effort saved.

Then dramatically, the Blues were back in it in the 70th minute; from a well measured free-kick from Impey, Leitch used his height to advantage and got up above everyone to nod home.

Somerset County Gazette:

LIFELINE: Andy Leitch rises highest at the back post to head in for 2-1

The goal stunned the home crowd and signalled Minehead’s final fling to snatch a replay... which they very nearly did.

Jenkins got away again but could not get the ball past Bennett, who spread himself well, Boyd twice had free-kicks blocked, then substitute Steve Risdale was then inches away from equalising with a-cross shot that skidded just wide.

Time ran out, but a tribute to Minehead’s performance was paid by the Portsmouth chairman Mr B J Deacon, who went into the Minehead dressing room to congratulate the team, and he gave them heartening credit for the “most uneasy time you gave us in those closing minutes”.

Manager Ian St John also commented that he was so nervous during the final 20 minutes that watched the closing stages through a buttonhole in his coat.

Portsmouth were drawn away to First Division Birmingham City in the next round, but Minehead’s exit had come in a blaze of glory.