In 1955-56, Sliema Wanderers made a clean sweep of the season’s honours.
The Blues won the cham-pionship, the FA Trophy, Cassar Cup and Scicluna Cup. They had no equals at the time and this was amply demonstrated in the way they dominated all the competitions.
Sliema started the season on a top note when they won the Cassar Cup at the expense of their old rivals Floriana.
The first semi-final between Sliema and Ħamrun Spartans was an exciting affair, full of good football, but play became scrappy after the Wanderers took a 3-1 lead. Worse still, the game ended in trouble when, three minutes from the end, Tony Nicholl was on the receiving end of a poor challenge by the Spartans goalkeeper Ġużi Bonnici.
This angered the Blues’ supporters who threw objects onto the pitch. Bonnici continued to infuriate the crowd by hurling the debris back at them. The trouble intensified and police had to intervene before the game could be continued.
Sliema held on to their two-goal lead but this incident marred an otherwise keen and interesting encounter. Sliema played really well in attack with Tony Nicholl, Sammy Nicholl and Charlie Mattocks showing top form.
In the first period, Joe Xuereb opened the scoring for the Wanderers but Borg levelled early in the second period. Two other goals by Tony Nicholl and Joe Xuereb took Sliema deservedly to the final.
Floriana had an easy 3-0 victory over Valletta in the semi-finals.
Despite playing without their key men, Pullu Demanuele and Brincat, who were on trial with Fulham in the English league, the Greens played one of their best games of the season.
Demanuele and Brincat left a good impression in England. Demanuele was even offered a trial with both Arsenal and Norwich City. However, the two players became homesick and returned to Malta.
Having kept a clean sheet in the first half, Valletta must have harboured hopes of staging an upset.
However, on the changeover the Greens dominated. A goal by Ġużi Bennetti and a Tony Cauchi doubled sealed their victory.
The final was another tough game, typical of matches played by the ‘Old Firm’ rivals in the fifties. There was very little good football but a lot of honest endeavour, albeit the rivalry and tension seemed to get the better of both sets of players.
Sliema seemed better trained and lasted the pace well.
The Blues defence, however, looked shaky when under pressure and Floriana, with fewer attacks to their credit, looked much more dangerous.
Floriana made a flying start when Bennetti converted a penalty after only seven minutes.
The Greens kept their lead until half-time but early in the second period, Cauchi was sent off for kicking Mattocks.
Xuereb equalised and when the game looked as if it would end in a draw, in nipped Sammy Nicholl to grab a dramatic winner right on the stroke of time.
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