St George’s found it difficult to beat St Patrick in the first match of the 1949-50 FA Trophy.
It was a windy day which made it difficult to control the ball. St George’s twice went ahead only for St Patrick to draw level. The Cospicua outfit had to wait until the last few minutes of the game before Romolo scored the winner.
The rest of the second division clubs did not fare so well. Msida Wolves beat Vittoriosa Stars 4-2 and Rabat deservedly beat relegated Birkirkara 2-1 but the rest fell at the first hurdle.
Ħamrun Spartans beat Hibs by three clear goals, but were rather lucky to win at all. What little there was of good football came from Hibs but they were shaken by a goal against the run of play.
Veteran outside-left Maurice DeCesare scored all three goals for the Spartans.
The quarter-finals could not have started on a better note when Floriana outclassed Sliema 3-1.
Herbert, Demanuele and Camilleri gave Floriana a 3-0 lead and Sliema scored a consolation goal just before the final whistle.
Rabat continued their giant-killing run with a 3-0 victory over Luqa but Msida were not so lucky against St George’s, losing 3-1.
The quarter-final between Valletta and Ħamrun was a disaster. Poor refereeing and two sets of hot-headed fans ruined the occasion. Ħamrun drew first blood when Romeo Vassallo headed home a corner by DeCesare.
Valletta upped their efforts and when Charlie Mackay got injured in a tackle with Aquilina the trouble started. Some Valletta fans tried to invade the pitch and the game was stopped. When play resumed, the referee awarded Valletta an indirect free-kick.
City’s first attempt hit the ’ defensive block but a retake was ordered and this time Pace scored and hell broke loose. It was now the Spartans’ turn to mob the referee.
The match was somehow re-started but Ħamrun had to carry on with 10 men after Grima went off injured. The game was halted once again when stones rained on one of the linesmen. When play was finally re-started, Bartolo scored the second goal for the Spartans. The Citizens pushed for an equaliser and drew level on 33 minutes.
This goal gave Valletta a new lease of life and 10 minutes from time, Ġużi Vassallo scored the winner.
The semi-final between St George’s and Valletta ended 2-2 . The match was replayed in midweek but the game was abandoned midway through the second period with St George’s leading 3-1.
Trouble began when Pawlu Vassallo kicked an opponent. The referee, Mr Hubbard, walked towards the culprit but as he approached Vassallo, the latter kicked him in the groin. The referee fell to the ground in agony and could not continue.
Billy Mock, who was acting as linesman, took over but abandoned the match immediately. St George’s, as expected, were given the verdict.
Floriana beat Rabat 4-0 in the other semi-final and it was, therefore, the most classic of finals between the two oldest teams in the history of Maltese football.
Floriana took an early lead but St George’s equalised with one of the best goals of the season. Class told in the end and Floriana scored twice again in the space of a few minutes.
Lolly Borg, Izzo and Pullu Demanuele scored the goals that enabled Floriana to beat their rivals and claim the triple crown.
The Saints replied with a goal from Xuereb.
It was a great end to a fine season.
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