The next two home games for Town were both rather boring goal less draws, against fellow relegation candidates Middlesborough and the team challenging for the Championship in Portsmouth. Town had slipped to 20th place after a 1-0 defeat away at Birmingham City, the only score being an own goal by George Hepplewhite. Only Everton, on goal average, and Sheffield United by one point, were below them.
Middlesborough were also in trouble partly due to the ongoing Wilf Mannion saga. The England inside forward refused to re-sign at the start of the season and the dispute lingers on with Middlesborough refusing to grant a transfer and Mannion adamant that he will not play for them again. Alex McCrea, until recently a team mate of Town's Whittaker at Charlton, has taken Mannion's place. However, another poor game was served up for the loyal 16,000 fans. The only interest being a few acrobatics from Italian goalkeeper Rolando Ugolini and some polished full back play from the England captain George Hardwick.
Two weeks later, on 4th December, 1948 Town faced Portsmouth, following an unlikely 4-2 away win at Newcastle. All the goals including a Peter Doherty hat trick
came in the first half.
MONDAY 27TH DECEMBER, 1948
LEAGUE DIVISION ONE
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Boot) BLACKPOOL 0 Attendance 41,322
Mills; Hayes, Briggs; Whittaker, Heppelwhite, Boot;
McKenna, Nightingale, Glazzard, Smith, Metcalfe;
Farm; Shimwell, Suart; Johnston (capt), Hayward, Kelly;
Matthews, Munro, Garrett, McCall, Ricketts;
Referee:- E. Plinston, Warrington
After two successive away defeats, Town managed another goal less draw with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road, on Christmas Day morning, but they approached their last match of the year in bottom place in the first division. Only one win in ten home games speaks for itself. Blackpool, also in the bottom half of the table, have been hit by injuries and were again without international Stan Mortenson and centre forward McIntosh. Munro continued to deputise for Mortenson and reserve full back Tommy Garrett was a surprise selection as deputy centre forward. Town were without Peter Doherty, but a rare goal by left half Eddie Boot gave them a hard fought victory in front of a large Christmas crowd.
It was Boot's first goal for the club since the war and he also continually foraged for his forwards. As well as that he helped Briggs to play the great Stanley Matthews out of the game. Briggs did not commit himself to the tackle and stood off from his noted opponent. As a result Matthews was confined to midfield, with a consequent slow down of the Blackpool attack.
Unlike Blackpool the Town forwards kept the ball down on the frozen turf and inside forwards Nightingale and Smith (deputising for Doherty who was injured on Christmas Day) worked the ball well and kept the wingers moving into open spaces. Blackpool's defence had a gruelling time against a nippy forward line, in which Metcalfe was perhaps the only weak link. Blackpool only attacked in the last few minutes in which time they spared neither themselves or their opponents. In fact some of them were lucky to get away without a caution.
More determined displays like this could see Town move out of danger.
SATURDAY 15TH JANUARY 1949
FA CUP THIRD ROUND REPLAY
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 5 (Glazzard 2, Nightingale, McKenna, Bateman)
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0 Attendance 31,076
Wheeler; Hayes, Briggs; Whittaker, Heppelwhite, Boot;
Bateman, Nightingale, Glazzard, Smith, McKenna;
Allen; Powell (G), Jefferson; Parkinson, Smith, Farrow;
Campbell, Stewart, Durrant, Mills, Pattison;
Referee:- Mr H Pearce (Luton)
After drawing 0-0 after extra time in London last week, Town had no difficulty in beating their second division opponents to progress to the fourth round of the cup. There was never any chance of last year's loss to Colchester being repeated.
Both teams changed colours in view of the clash between Town's blue and white stripes and Rangers' blue and white hoops. Town played in white and the visitors in red.
Even without the left wing pair of Doherty and Metcalfe, Town played some of their best football of the season and delighted their supporters, who could not remember when they last scored five goals in a match. It will certainly be a confidence booster for young centre forward, Jimmy Glazzard, who scored two goals. Reg Allen was outstanding in goal for QPR and prevented a much heavier defeat with many fine saves.
Albert Bateman tackled by Jefferson
Jefferson and Glazzard go head to head
SATURDAY 27TH JANUARY, 1949
LEAGUE DIVISION TWO Attendance 42,000
LEEDS UNITED 1 (Cochrane) SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 (Quigley pen)
Searson; Dunn, Milburn; McCabe, Holley (capt), McAdam;
Cochrane, Burden, McMorran, Chisholm, Rudd;
McIntosh; Westlake, Swift (capt); Locerty, Turton, Whitcomb;
Kilshaw, Quigley, Dailey, Froggatt, Woodhead;
Leeds included their new goalkeeper from Mansfield Town, Harold Searson. His only mistake seemed to be his approach to Eddie Quigley's penalty kick. As the kick was about to be taken, he crouched down low and Quigley slammed it easily over his head into the roof of the net. Little Eddie Kilshaw, the recent expensive signing from Bury, was outstanding for Wednesday.
SATURDAY 1ST JANUARY, 1949
LEAGUE DIVISION ONE Attendance 20,937
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Smith) CHARLTON ATHLETIC 2 (Fenton, Vaughan)
Mills; Hayes, Briggs; Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenn, Nightingale, Glazzard, C. Smith, Metcalfe;
Bartram; Campbell, Lock; Johnson, Phipps, Revell;
Hurst, Fenton, Vaughan, O'Linn, Duffy;
Another goal from the improving Conway Smith, saw Town level at Half time, but a second half winner from Charlie Vaughan saw two more vital points lost. Sam Bartram was his usual flamboyant self in goal with a sound defence in front of him. Charlton's two lively wingers, Gordon Hurst and Chris Duffy (hero of the 1947 cup final), both proved a handful for the hard pressed Town defence.
SATURDAY 5TH FEBRUARY 1949 Attendance 34,183
FA CUP FOURTH ROUND (REPLAY)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 (Metcalfe) NEWPORT COUNTY 3 (Carr 2, Parker)
Wheeler; Hayes, Briggs; Whittaker, Hepplewhite, Boot;
McKenna, Nightingale, Glazzard, Doherty, Metcalfe;
Grant; Bradford, Hayward; Roffi, Wilcox, Newall;
Williams, Comley, Parker, Carr, Harper;
Referee:- J.G. Williams, Nottingham
After a 3-3 draw at Newport last week the Third Division South team Newport, who had already beaten Leeds United at Leeds in the third round, showed that they are worthy of the title 'giant-killers' by beating Huddersfield convincingly. They were accompanied by hordes of excited Welsh followers who distributed leeds and good luck charms all over the field and the goal nets. The visitors were never in trouble and inflicted a defeat almost as humiliating as that at Colchester last season.
Outstanding players for Newport were outside right Harold Williams (later to join Leeds United) and inside left Eddie Carr, a former Huddersfield player.
A week later Town slumped to another home defeat 1-0 to Aston Villa, Welsh centre forward Trevor Ford scoring the only goal. The sparse attendance of only 15,401 reflected Town's plight, not only out of the FA Cup but very likely to be relegated.
However, there were to be a few more twists to the story before the end of the season.