Division 3 South Cup Records

The Division 3 South Cup, or the "Football League Southern Section, Third Division, Challenge Cup Competition" to give it its official title, was a short-lived competition in the 1930s open to teams from Division 3 South. There was also a Division 3 North Cup but, unlike its modern equivalent, the Associate Members' Cup (Football League Trophy), there was no play-off between the two section winners. Reading were the winners of the southern section in 1937-38, beating Bristol City 6-2 on aggregate in the final. The results from the finals were as follows:

    1933-34  D3S Cup     Torquay Utd          0    Exeter City          1
    1934-35  D3S Cup     Bristol Rovers       3    Watford              2
    1935-36  D3S Cup     Swindon Town       0/2    Coventry City      2/3
    1936-37  D3S Cup     Watford            2/1    Millwall           2/1
    1937-38  D3S Cup     READING            6/0    Bristol City       1/1
    1938-39  D3S Cup     Torquay Utd          -    QPR/Port Vale        -

Millwall and Watford shared the trophy in 1936-37. The final stages of the 1938-39 competition were carried over to the start of the following season and subsequently abandoned due to the outbreak of war. Torquay were to face either Queen's Park Rangers or Port Vale in the final. Therefore Reading were the last winners of the cup, and still hold the trophy.

Something of the stature of the competition can be judged by the tiny crowds it attracted. For example, the two legs of the Reading-Bristol City final attracted an aggregate crowd of less than 2,000, whereas the two League games the same season attracted over 35,000. The fact that the games were played mid-week in the days before floodlights didn't help matters.

Reading's complete record in the competition (1933-39) is as follows:

            PL     W    D    L    GF    GA    PTS    P3/PL
HOME         8     7    1    0    25     5     15    2.750
AWAY         7     1    0    6     9    19      2    0.428
TOTAL       15     8    1    6    34    24     17    1.667
(6 seasons)

This can be broken down by opponent as follows (for details see here).

                        PL  HW HD HL  HF  HA  AW AD AL  AF  AA  PTS    P3
 1. Watford              2   2  0  0   8   1   0  0  0   0   0    4     6
 2. Bristol City         2   1  0  0   6   1   0  0  1   0   1    2     3
 3. Leyton Orient        1   1  0  0   4   0   0  0  0   0   0    2     3
 4. Bristol Rovers       2   1  0  0   3   1   0  0  1   1   2    2     3
 5. AFC Bournemouth      1   0  0  0   0   0   1  0  0   2   1    2     3
    Aldershot            1   1  0  0   2   1   0  0  0   0   0    2     3
 7. Queens Park Rang     2   1  0  0   2   1   0  0  1   0   2    2     3
 8. Crystal Palace       2   0  1  0   0   0   0  0  1   4   6    1     1
 9. Notts County         1   0  0  0   0   0   0  0  1   2   3    0     0
10. Northampton T        1   0  0  0   0   0   0  0  1   0   4    0     0

There was also an unofficial Division 3 South League Cup immediately after the war, in 1945-46. There were two groups of eleven clubs, with the top two progressing to the semi-finals. The results were then as follows:

    1945-46  D3S Cup     Bournemouth & BA   1/1    Queens Park Rang   1/0
                         Bristol Rovers       1    Walsall              3
                         Bournemouth & BA     1    Walsall              0

the final being held at Stamford Bridge. This competition was the brainchild of Reading manager Joe Edelston. The Football League had initially proposed that Divisions 3 South and North should play a normal season in 1945-46, something that was fiercely opposed by the third division clubs due to the amount of travelling involved. Instead Edelston's compromise suggestion of a regionalised League competition followed by a regionalised League Cup was adopted.

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