Classic Match

Fulham 3-4 West Ham United
Football League War Cup semi-final
Saturday 1 June 1940, Stamford Bridge

The 1939/40 Football League season was suspended after just three matches following the outbreak of the Second World War. Into its place came the regional War League, designed to save on travelling and resources at a time when the war effort meant everything.

The FA Cup competition for that season was also cancelled, with the national Football League War Cup taking its place. Played in a condensed period between April and June 1940, the War Cup proved to be a hugely successful tournament for West Ham United.

The Hammers overcame Chelsea 5-2 on aggregate in the first round before defeating Leicester City 4-1 over two legs in the second round. Charlie Paynter's team then drew 3-3 at Huddersfield Town before winning the replay 3-1.

A 4-2 home win over Birmingham City set up a London derby semi-final at Fulham played on this date in 1940. The Hammers had been defeated 2-1 by the same opponents just five days previously in the War League, but they would not be denied in the knockout competition.

The match was set for a 6.40pm kick-off to allow war workers to attend and the 33,000 who turned out were treated to a thrilling 90 minutes. An own-goal from Brown put West Ham in front before Len Goulden (pictured) doubled the lead before half-time with a well-placed shot. Joseph Stanley Foxall made it 3-0 shortly after the break before Sam Small added a fourth.

It seemed the game was over, but Fulham roared back to score three goals in the space of 25 minutes through Woodward and then Rooke, who scored twice to make the score 4-3. West Ham held on, though, and would face Blackburn Rovers in the final at Wembley on Saturday 8 June 1940.

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