Freddie Mizzi was born in Floriana but has lived in Sliema all his life. Considered to be the best goalkeeper of his generation, Mizzi was the mainstay of Hibs' great team of the 1960s. With the Paolites, he won three league championships and established records which have challenged the passing of time.
Mizzi played his last game for Hibs on March 12, 1977 against Floriana. It marked the end of a remarkable career which spanned more than 23 years.
Skill, honesty and loyalty are all important traits of a great footballer. The first ingredient is quite common in football. Honesty is less common but loyalty to a club is rare.
Mizzi had honesty and skills in abundance and during his long and glorious career, he had the opportunity to prove his loyalty to his club on more than one occasion. However, it was his skills on the field of play which really stand out in the career of this great goalkeeper.
Mizzi, or Il-Pampalun as he was affectionately known among his admirers, was an old hand in breaking records but his best undoubtedly came in 1971 when he established an unbeaten run between the posts of 1,055 minutes, all in competitive matches.
That amazing record took off on January 24, 1971 in the first round league match against Floriana. He was unbeaten for the entire second half of the match which ended 2-1 and throughout the rest of the league matches.
The following was the sequence: vs Sliema 0-0; vs Qormi 2-0; vs Gzira 1-0; vs Valletta 0-0; vs Marsa 0-0; vs Floriana 0-0.
He missed the second round match with Sliema which Hibs lost 0-2 but played in all the FA Trophy matches... vs Rabat 1-0; vs Valletta 0-0; vs Valletta 2-0; vs Birkir-kara 1-0.
Then came the FA Trophy final and Mizzi's record was still intact. Sliema, already champions were making a determined bid to add the trophy to their title. Hibs, on their part, were also ada-mant on keeping a firm grip on the trophy they won the previous season.
It was an interesting situation and to add spice to it there was Mizzi's record. However, with both teams more interested in not losing, it was not surprising that defences dominated. Both Mizzi and Albert Pearson had a comparatively easy time and with each side being ultra-cautious, it was not surprising that at normal time the score was still 0-0.
Then, two goals were scored in extra-time.
Hibs took the lead after 32 minutes from a well-rehearsed free-kick taken by Eddie Theobald. Freddie Delia nipped in to flick the ball into the far corner of the net. Hibs' lead was very much according to the run of play.
Then, in the second half of extra time, Sliema increased the tempo. Mizzi pulled off a fine save after 20 minutes when Vassallo passed to Ronnie Cocks who fired a powerful left footer which the Hibs keeper saved with difficulty.
However, Mizzi had no earthly chance a few minutes later when Cocks netted the equaliser.
Eddie Darmanin started the move, finding Cocks in an ideal position to hit home an unstoppable first-timer.
It was the end of Mizzi's unbeaten sequence but not Hibs' cup run. Five days later they beat Sliema 2-0 in the replay to take home the FA Trophy.
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