It was the first football match attended by the reigning monarch, Elizabeth II, who would be crowned Queen at her coronation a month later. In February 2010, the boots worn by Matthews in the match were auctioned at Bonhams in Chester for £38,400, to an undisclosed buyer.
Matthews inspired his team to come from 3–1 down against Bolton Wanderers, to win 4–3, and on a personal note, he claimed the trophy that had eluded him in two previous finals. Despite the final being more famous for the heroics of Matthews, Stan Mortensen scored three goals for Blackpool on the day, becoming the only player ever to have scored an FA Cup Finalhat-trick at the original Wembley Stadium. Bill Perry scored the winning goal. Nat Lofthouse, who scored Bolton's first goal, scored in every round of that year's FA Cup. Bolton took the lead after just 75 seconds with a Nat Lofthouse shot. Mortensen equalised after 35 minutes with a deflected "cross-shot". Four minutes later, Bolton took the lead again when Willie Moir outstripped Blackpool's goalkeeper George Farm after short crossing pass of Bobby Langton and Bolton went in at half-time 2–1 ahead. Ten minutes into the second half, Eric Bell, playing through injury with a torn hamstring, put Bolton further ahead, a lead they kept for 13 minutes. Then came the turnaround for which the match has become famous, when Matthews proved to be the inspiration for a Blackpool comeback. His cross from the right wing, with 22 minutes remaining, was met by Mortensen who netted his and Blackpool's second goal. Then, with less than two minutes remaining, Mortensen completed his hat-trick and Blackpool's comeback to equalise directly from a free-kick. Then, with just seconds remaining, Matthews again crossed from the right wing. His cross, which passed just behind Mortensen, was met by Bill Perry, whose shot made the score 4–3 and won the match for the Seasiders. Even Nat Lofthouse, in defeat, is said to have stood and applauded.
Cyril Robinson is the only member of the winning side still living, while five of the defeated Bolton players are still alive.
The match was considered the first major TV audience for a sporting event. Televisions had been bought or rented by many households for the forthcoming Coronation. On Radio the match was broadcast in full on the BBC World Service and the second half on the domestic Light Programme. After this final proved to be so popular, the Cup Final was given its own standalone slot and broadcast in full on TV and radio.