Because there were only 4 teams in the league the Tommy Lawton cup semi-finals were decided over two legs, home and away.
28 Dec 63
Rovers got the short straw and were to play Phoenix Athletic, and All Whites were down to play New Clifton.
Thistledown Rovers 1 Phoenix Athletic 1 (Tommy Lawton Cup Semi-Final) First leg
This Tommy Lawton Cup Semi-Final at Farnborough Fields proved to be a thrilling and hard-fought game, with both side all out to win this vital game,
Phoenix being a heavy side, soon adapted themselves to the heavy conditions of the pitch and were into the attack straight away with Rovers goalkeeper Dilnot bringing off some splendid saves.
The Rovers defence was well marshalled by Holloway, Holder, Hopkins and Wetherall who stood firm.
Gradually Rovers started to make progress with play switching from end to end making it an exciting affair.
Centre forward Flynn was a constant menace to the Phoenix defence, but it was Phoenix who scored first with a shot from outside the penalty area.
Rovers came back fighting and when centre forward Flynn was brought down heavily in the penalty area, Mr Perkins, the referee pointed to the spot. Holloway took the kick and made no mistake.
With the final score being a well-deserved draw the second leg was to take place at Valley Road Carlton on January 11.
Tommy Lawton Cup Semi-Final 1st leg
4th Jan 1964
New Clifton 2 Clifton All Whites 1
All Whites: Strickland, Smith, Clements, Harrod, Marshall, Burns, Ekrem, Gamble, Lambley Robertson, Norwell
All Whites put up a great fight against their local rivals in this Tommy Lawton Cup Semi-Final game but were beaten by a goal in the final minutes.
The other two goals both came from spot-kicks. The All Whites came under early pressure and New Clifton went into the lead when a penalty was converted. After the home side forced the All Whites keeper to make a couple of saves.
Both sides attacked in turn after the interval and when centre half Marshall was brought down a spot-kick awarded. Centre Forward Lambley made no mistake making the scores level.
Both sides went all out for the winning goal, and after Burns had cleared off the line for All Whites, Strickland who played soundly in goal for them was beaten for the second time near the end.
Strickland, Burns and right back Smith were outstanding for the All Whites. The second leg was played a couple of weeks later.
In the second legs of the Tommy Lawton cup Semi-Finals Phoenix Athletic easily dispatched of Thistledown Rovers and Clifton All Whites came back from the 2-1 first-leg defeat to beat New Clifton by 4 goals to 0. This means that Phoenix Athletic would play Clifton All Whites at Meadow Lane later in the season.
23 jan1964 (Junior Division)
Phoenix Athletic 8 Clifton All Whites 2
Feb Clifton All Whites 3 Unknown
Feb Clifton All Whites 1 Unknown 4
To look at Clifton All Whites and Thistledown Rovers you only have to go to the school’s team to see how successful these players were. The Young Elizabethan league for Under 12s were made up of players that were still at Junior School aged 9 to 11 years of age.
Highbank 3 Brinkhill 2 (Notts FA Junior Schools)
Over 100 onlookers, mostly parents, saw an exciting tussle between Highbank and Brinkhill. Highbank went on to win 2-1. Tony Strickland in goal for Highbank had a good game.
Marshall opened the scoring for Highbank. Although Brinkhill equalised Ekrem with a lobbed shot won the game for the Highbank team. All these players were playing in the Under 12s league 2 years above their age.
With only 12 league games in the Young Elizabethan League, All Whites entered a team in the Under 13s 1963-64 Nottm Church League. This allowed them to play players who were over the age of 12 years and had been training. The Church League was for Under 13s and the team started in impressive form.
Andy Wray had been asked to pass the message on to Iain Walsh to turn up for the game against Sherwood. Ian Marshall, the left-back was injured and it was a choice between Iain Walsh or Alan Kirby
Dick Lambert asked Bert Dicks the trainer who he would pick and he replied “The biggest and the strongest”. Ian Walsh got the nod, he played under the name of Ian Marshall.
Playing at Farnborough Fields on pitch 5, the one nearest the changing rooms, it was a hard-fought game and facing his own goal with the ball at his feet the left-back heard the vociferous shout “Marshall” from the top of his voice by goalkeeper Strickland. The left-footed back pass was duly despatched safely to the oncoming goalkeeper.
As he walked back to the changing room Mrs Holder said to Mrs Flynn “That left-back played well” and Mrs Flynn agreed. It made the players day as he had waited a long time to put on the White shirt in a competitive game for the team.
His performance earned him a place in the team in which he became a regular player- under his real name.
As it was it transpired that the Sherwood centre forward was 2 years overage. Dick Lambert had spotted him in the Monte Hind picture in the Football Post.
The team were to play Sherwood again in the Church League semi-finals and beat them 2-0 to reach the final of the cup. Eddie Lambley scoring both goals.