TODAY is the anniversary of Colchester United's magnificent FA Cup triumph over their star-studded opponents, Leeds United.

On February 13, 1971, Dick Graham's side won 3-2 in front of 16,000 at Layer Road, a result which sent shockwaves around the world of football.

Ray Crawford scored twice in the 3-2 fifth-round win to lay the foundation for the fourth-division minnows to humble Don Revie’s all-conquering Leeds side, which featured the likes of Jack Charlton, Johnny Giles and Norman Hunter and had been runners-up in the competition the previous season.

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Speaking to the Gazette in 2021, two-goal hero Crawford said: “We didn’t really think we’d beat Leeds…but we thought we could give them a good game.

“It was a full house, packed out; there were people on roofs and in the trees because they couldn’t get tickets for the game and we didn’t let them down.

“Everything came right on the day.

“Smithy had a great game in goal – he made a couple of tremendous saves and when you look back on it, it was tremendous.

“I remember a friend of mine phoning the results through to London.


“When he said Colchester were 1-0 up, he said ‘you’re having a laugh, aren’t you?’ “At 2-0 he said ‘you’re taking the mick’ and at 3-0 he said they didn’t believe him!

“I remember David Coleman interviewing us after the game – he said ‘what an achievement’.

“At the end of that day, I was doing a presentation for a pub team.

“We had a do to go to that Saturday night and they said that they were surprised that I’d turned up to do it. But we all tried to help as best we can.”

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Colchester left the mighty Leeds stunned after racing into a 3-0 lead, thanks to Crawford’s brace and another goal from Dave Simmons.

And although the visitors pulled two goals back through Hunter and Giles, Graham’s ‘Dad’s Army’ held out for victory.

It is a result that is still regarded as Colchester’s biggest-ever result, 53 years on.

The U's progressed to a quarter-final tie against Everton at Goodison Park but were beaten 5-0, in front of a crowd of more than 53,000.