Tricky Scots wide man Moran who brought Chelsea to their knees

TOMMY Moran spent his working days as a waiter on the East Coast train line, but the Edinburgh-born winger - who died in his home city this month at the age of 81 - was the driving force behind one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history, when Darlington humbled Chelsea 4-1 in 1958.

Moran wasn't even in the original line-up for the fourth-round replay, having sat out an incredible 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge, in which Chelsea - with a youthful Jimmy Greaves in their ranks - were forced to battle from 3-0 down to get a second bite at the cherry.

But an injury to Keith Morton forced a selection change and the Quakers' wonderfully-named manager Dickie Duckworth turned to Moran, the tricky wide man who started off his career with Leith Athletic before prolific spells at Cowdenbeath then Carlisle United. No-one could have envisaged the impact the little Scots left winger would have against Ted Drakes illustrious Chelsea 'Pensioners' that Wednesday afternoon on 29 January.

The cup tie brought the whole of Darlington to a standstill. Factories and shops were closed to allow workers to attend, while children did their damndest to skip school. Pubs in the town were allowed unopposed licensing extensions for two hours after the match. "We realise there will be a lot of hoarse throats," Inspector JC Dowse told the magistrates.

In the 35th minute, the hoarse throats started to develop when Moran, roared on by a capacity crowd of 15,150 shoehorned into Darlington's old Feethams ground, ghosted in from his customary position on the left wing and struck a brilliant angled shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Reg Matthews, who cost five times more than the home team put together. But Chelsea showed no signs of being overcome with shock, and responded almost immediately, with another Scot - John McNichol - hauling the First Division side level.

It seemed a matter of time before the Pensioners lorded it over the plucky minnows, who were languishing at the wrong end of the old Third Division (North), but Darlington fought them tooth and nail and took the tie into extra time.

Playing the game of his life, Moran, who had maintained a livewire presence throughout the 90 minutes, drew on extra reserves of energy to put Darlington 2-1 ahead, then laid on two more goals with pinpoint accuracy for team-mates David Carr and Ron Harbertson, all in a devastating five-minute burst, which left Chelsea with no way back.

Although Darlington lost to Wolves 6-1 at Molineux in the next round, they had earned a place in folklore and a degree of footballing immortality, as their heroics were captured on film by British Pathe. The highlights of the game can now be seen on youtube, ensuring Moran's day in the sun is never forgotten.

Sadly, Moran's knee wasn't as durable as the footage, and his career sadly was blighted by a series of knee injuries and he left the club that same year. He tried a brief revival at Falkirk, but to no avail.

A renewed career in transport as a bus recovery driver followed, and Moran, who was brought up on Edinburgh's southside at Prestonfield and attended James Clarke's school, enjoyed bowls in the Mayfield Bowling Club well into his retirement. His funeral was held in the capital last week.