The hat-trick hero of the 'Matthews Final'
|Full name:||Stanley Harding Mortensen|
|Date of birth:||May 26, 1921|
|Date of death:||May 22, 1991|
|Clubs played for:||Blackpool, Hull, Southport|
A true legend of the game, Stan Mortensen spent the majority of his career with Blackpool. He joined the club in 1941 but had to wait until 1946 to make his debut, after the outbreak of World War II had brought a temporary halt to competitive football. He helped Blackpool to three FA Cup finals, finishing on the losing side in 1948 and again in 1951, before finally tasting victory in 1953 - when he became the first player to score a hat-trick in a Wembley FA Cup final.
He scored 197 league goals in 317 games during his time at Bloomfield Road before going on to enjoy brief spells at Hull, Southport and Bath. He retired from the game in May 1959, but was persuaded to make a comeback for Lancaster City in November 1960. He finally hung up his boots for good in March 1962.
Mortensen made his full England debut on May 25, 1947 and marked the occasion in fine style, with four goals in a 10-0 rout of Portugal. He was a regular fixture on the scoresheet and went on to register further hat-tricks against Sweden and Northern Ireland. He made his last international appearance in 1953, having scored an incredible 23 goals in just 25 matches.
International Career Stats
In February 1967, Mortensen returned to Blackpool as manager, succeeding former team-mate Ron Suart. He was unable to prevent the Seasiders being relegated to the Second Division but came close to leading the club back to the top-flight in 1967-68, only missing out on promotion on goal difference. He was sacked in April 1969 after just over two years in charge, in what would prove to be his only managerial job.
Blackpool 3-1 Tottenham (FA Cup semi-final, March 13, 1948)
Blackpool were heading out of the FA Cup with Spurs leading 1-0 and just four minutes left on the clock. Then Mortensen took control. He netted the equaliser to force extra time, then added two further goals to complete his hat-trick and take Blackpool through to the final. He kept up his record of scoring in every round in the Wembley showpiece, helping Blackpool to a 2-1 half-time lead, but Manchester United fought back with three late goals to secure a 4-2 victory - denying Mortensen the winners' medal he so richly deserved.
Italy 0-4 England (International friendly, May 16, 1948)
Mortensen produced arguably his finest all-round performance for his country, in what is widely regarded as one of England's greatest ever victories on foreign soil. In blistering heat, Mortensen set England on their way with a sublime strike after just four minutes. Mortensen then turned provider for Tommy Lawton to make it 2-0 at the break, before Tom Finney added a second-half double to complete a stunning victory.
Blackpool 4-3 Bolton (FA Cup final, May 2, 1953)
Having lost two previous FA Cup finals, in 1948 and 1951, Mortensen was desperate to make it third time lucky at Wembley. Bolton led after just 75 seconds, before Mortensen hit back to make it 1-1. However, it looked like Blackpool would be facing more heartache as two further goals put Wanderers 3-1 in front. With Stanley Matthews in fine form, however, Blackpool came storming back and Mortensen grabbed his second with 22 minutes remaining to give the Seasiders hope. Then, with just two minutes left, Mortensen completed his hat-trick - the first ever treble in a Wembley FA Cup final - before Bill Perry's injury-time goal sealed a historic victory.
Did You Know...?
As a wireless operator in the RAF, Mortensen narrowly escaped death in a wartime plane crash. He suffered head injuries in the accident, in which the pilot and bomb aimer were both killed and the navigator lost a leg.
During a wartime international at Wembley in 1943, England allowed their reserve, Mortensen, to appear as a substitute for opponents Wales - because the Welsh had run out of players.
Mortensen was the first player to score for England in the World Cup finals, when he netted in the 1950 group stage victory over Chile.
Mortensen's four goals on his England debut make him the only player to achieve that feat in his first appearance for the Three Lions.
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