City hadn’t had a manager since November and were struggling in the League when the Blues played a FA Cup fifth round tie against Crystal Palace on this day (20th February) in 1926. The tie, played at Maine Road turned out to be a fifteen goal thriller with City in rampant form.
By half-time the score was 7-0 to the Blues, but Palace would not give up and quickly pulled back four goals. City were knocked out of their period of complacency and soon found their goalscoring touch again.
By the end it was 11-4 and, according to a number of spectators present on the day, Manchester fans rushed on at the final whistle and carried off the Palace ‘keeper Callendar shoulder high. Apparently he had played extremely well and, somehow, managed to keep the score down, although one cannot help wondering if he’d have been given such a reception had the scores been reversed.
Frank Roberts was the City star for this particular game, scoring a remarkable five, while Tommy Browell also earned a few plaudits with his hat-trick. Browell had been ill for most of the week and had been unable to train.
With no management and such a miserable time in the League, no one could believe how City had been able to deliver such strong cup performances.
Remarkably, film of the game has survived and can be viewed here: