The first match was played at Crystal Palace on 19 April 1902 in front of a crowd of 76,914.
Sheffield United opened the scoring early in the second half with a goal from Alf Common. United appeared to be on the way to victory when, with two minutes to play, Saints' captain Harry Wood equalised. Wood was in an offside position tying up his bootlaces when the ball reached him. After consultation between the referee and his linesman, the officials decided that the ball had struck a United defender thus playing Wood onside.
Sheffield United goalkeeper William "Fatty" Foulke
At the end of the game United's goalkeeper, William "Fatty" Foulke, protested to the officials that the equalizing goal should not have been allowed. Foulke, who was reputed to weigh more than 20 stone, left his dressing room unclothed and angrily pursued the referee, Mr. T. Kirkham, who took refuge in a broom cupboard. Foulke had to be stopped by a group of F.A. officials from wrenching the cupboard door from its hinges to reach the hapless referee.
The replay took place a week later on 26 April 1902, again at Crystal Palace, in front of a crowd of 33,068, less than half the number who had watched the first match.
The weather for the replay was bitterly cold, and two minutes into the game, Saints' goalkeeper Jack Robinson slipped to allow George Hedley to score. Saints pressed for an equaliser and Foulke was kept busy throughout the rest of the first half. The pressure continued after half-time and Albert Brown equalised on the 70th minute with a shot from distance following a pass from Joe Turner.
After drawing level Saints continued on the attack and Foulke was required to make saves from Chadwick, Wood and Lee. It looked as though the match was going into extra-time, when, with ten minutes remaining, Robinson failed to cut out a cross and Billy Barnes only had to "walk" the ball into the unguarded net to score the winner for United.