CHAPTER 33. The Perfect Terror.
Hugh Galbraith, left, was described by the Athletic newspaper as “a perfect terror” to opposing goalkeepers. A centre forward with a fierce shot – “Shoot Gally” was the cry whenever he received the ball within 25 yards from goal. He scored at least 177 goals for the club so is second in the clubs all time scoring list. See his Hall of Fame entry HERE. His first game was covered in Chapter 32 against Millwall Athletic when he received very close attention from the Dockers. He therefore deserves a Chapter dedicated to him.
The takings for the Christmas festival of football at Dallow Lane highlights how far the club had progressed. The first figures we have for the Christmas games was in 1887 and showed a total of £10 10s 9d was taken. In 1892 it was £46 9s 8d 2/4. That is a staggering increase in income and of course attendance. It was needed to pay for the professionals – the new signings, J.W. Julian and Hugh Galbraith had already proved to be inspirational signings.
28th Nov 1892 committee meeting-
“Team selected against West Herts. Resolved to advertise for a match at Home West Herts reserves having scratched.
Gate Money for sat 26th Nov, £9 9s 1d
“It was resolved that Hon Sec obtain 6 red shirts and 12 white shirts. Also sponges for players use”.
“A rather lengthy discussion ensued as to whether the committee men were expected to subscribe for their tickets. Some thought they were, others thought not whilst others thought it was generally left until the end of the season to see how we stood financially. IT was therefore proposed by Mr Barford, seconded by Mr Shane that all committee men subscribe for their tickets. This was put to the meeting when 3 voted for and 5 against”.
As some committee men had subscribed under the misapprehension, they have their money returned.
“resolved that Messrs Deacon and Wright accompany the team to Watford also that Hon Sec write Mr C. H. Peacock of West Herts drawing their attention to the Independent referee”.
3rd December 1892. From the Luton Times of the 9th December 1892.
“Luton Town v West Herts.
On Saturday, Luton journeyed to Watford to play their old rivals and neighbours on their own ground, when they gained a splendid victory by 3 goals to nil after a hard and fast game. Owing to the Watford train being late, the match was not started until about seven minutes past three, and time was only left for 35 minutes’ play each way. There were about 700 spectators, including a large contingent accompanying the visiting team. The ground was heavy and slippery, and Luton, losing the toss, had the wind against them in the first half. Watford had the assistance of two Millwall men on the right wing, while Luton had the same team as the previous week against 2nd Scots Guards. The visitors at once attacked, Allen shooting over the bar and Chesher subsequently sending behind. Wheeler and Coles took the ball up and Read, fisting behind the former’s shot, conceded a corner which was fruitless. Watford quickly returned to the assault, Wheeler again troubling Read, and an exciting scrimmage ensued in front of the visitors’ citadel. Luton cleared safely and changed the scene of play, Woods having to save. After “hands” had been twice given against Luton, Chesher centred beautifully to Allen who was ready to close in goal, but the referee penalised Luton’s left-winger for “off-side,” a decision received with disfavour by the visiting spectators. Galbraith next shot over the bar and then Luton gained the due, if tardy, reward for their splendid efforts; for, from a centre by Chesher, Galbraith passed it to Watkins who scored the first goal after 13 minutes’ play, amid the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd. On re-starting, Julian passed finely to Chesher, but, the referee again checked his progress, infringing the off-side rule. Wheeler next broke away and Coles shot behind. Play was soon brought back to the Watford quarters, Allen and Galbraith kicking behind the lines, and a close scrimmage followed from a corner which fell to Luton. No advantage resulted from this, and another similar point for Luton failed in effect. Wheeler, at last, made a dashing run on the left, yet, though he became palpably “offside,” the referee neglected to check his tactics. Read satisfactorily disposed of his shot, and Julian well returned to mid-field. The Luton men now pressed hard, Galbraith being prominent in the attack; four times the ball went behind the Watford lines. The Herts men then got away as if bent on scoring. Sargent brought the ball up and passed to his left wing, who sent in a shot which Sanders could only save by steering into touch near the corner flag. From the throw-in the ball went behind, and the danger was averted. At half-time, the score was Luton 1, West Herts 0.
On crossing over, Luton pressed momentarily, Wright heading behind. Watford retaliated at once in determined fashion, securing a corner, which was fruitless. Their Millwall wing then showed up well, Danks shooting finely just over the bar on top of the net. Julian relieved the danger, and Luton lost another chance of scoring from a splendid centre from Chesher, he being once more penalised for “offside.” A free kick was then awarded Luton for a “foul” by Penney against Chesher, Brown, however, sending behind. Sanders shortly after conceded a corner, and Coles missed a good opening. The homesters were given “hands” near the Luton goal-lines, but Sanders cleared finely. The forwards took the ball up and Chesher shot to Woods, who ran out of goal to clear, but Galbraith, receiving it, put the ball through in good style, thus registering the second point for Luton. The visitors immediately resumed pressure, Allen and Brown shooting wide while Watkins failed to utilise openings on two occasions. Read then had his powers severely tested by an excursion of the Watford forwards , headed by Coles, but came splendidly out of the ordeal of an exciting scrimmage. Taylor and Chesher relived, but Coles again shot across the mouth of the goal. Watkins gave Woods a handful, and Luton seemed on the point of scoring, Julian feeding his forwards grandly. Watford got away for a moment, but Taylor smartly returned, and Chesher centreing accurately, Watkins scored the third goal about two minutes before time. It was already nearly dark, and when the whistle blew, Luton were left victors after a hard-fought game by 3 goals to nil. Teams:- Luton:- Goal, T. Read, backs, B. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, J. Wright, J.W. Julian and A.H. Taylor; forwards, W. Brown, F. Allen (right), H. Galbraith (centre), G. Watkins, W. Chesher (left). West Herts:- Goal, J. Woods; backs, J.R. Paull and E.H. Mariette; half-backs, J. Penney, C.H. Peacock and A.J. Houghton; forwards, C. Wheeler and W.S. Coles (left), F.A. Sargent (centre), J. Danks and A. Wilson (right). Referee: Mr E.E. Stuart, of Watford. Linesmen:- Mr F. Shane (Luton; and Mr H. White (Watford).”
From the Luton Reporter, With Bat, Ball and Bicycle –
“When setting out for Watford on Saturday to witness the second meeting between the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire champions, I was warned that I must be be surprised if the Lutonians sustained a severe reverse – or, to use the forceful language of my informant, received “a thundering good hiding.” Doubtless the wish was father to the thought, even in view of the 6 1 victory of West Herts over Ilford in the previous week. Visions of a recurrence of the Polytechnic fiasco crossed some minds, but these were very happily dispelled, and those who made the somewhat tedious journey were rewarded by witnessing one of the best expositions of the game that their favourites have given this season.
West Herts had procured the strongest combination at their command and their forces included a Cantab and a couple of Millwall Athletic players in addition to the redoubtable champions of former years, “Freddy” Sargent and W.S. Coles were to be found in their places, and great things were expected of the eleven. These did not come about, however, and the West Herts men received received a repetition of the unwelcome dose which was administered to them in October – only on this occasion it was even more pronounced, for they were prevented from scoring a single goal. The double success is doubtless in some degree attributable to the manifest improvement of the Luton team, but at the same time it goes a long way towards bearing out the conviction which I have held for some time – That the Luton team is more formidable than West Herts. Last year’s results were both open to question, and I unhesitatingly express the opinion that for the last two seasons at least our representatives have been stronger than their rivals.
The surroundings under which the contest proceeded were not of the best possible character. The weather was fine on the whole, but the state of the pitch was execrable, and the wonder is that those engaged were able to show anything approaching good style. It was apparent from the outset that no effort were be left unmade by either side to secure the victory, and the struggle which ensued was very strenuously and at times fiercely conducted. The homesters occasionally had the upper hand, but they were never very dangerous, their shooting being as erratic as that of Lutonians became o some occasions. Occasionally a glimpse of brilliancy would proceed from the Millwall importations, but “the boasted heroes” failed to do what was expected of them. Wheeler was the only forward on his side who was really to be feared, and he was deservedly applauded for some extremely clever dribbling runs. The Luton defence was found to be well-nigh impenetrable, and in the end the Herts cup holders had to admit that they could not beat their rivals.
The result should place beyond dispute that the Luton eleven is considerably more powerful combination than the Watfordians. While on the pavilion I heard several admission by gentlemen hailing from the Herts district that the visitors were superior at every point to the homesters, and that is an opinion in which I heartily concur. The forwards played an unselfishly commendable game, and occasionally their short passing was was conspicuously brilliant. The only regret that I have is that the left wing men were not afforded more opportunities of displaying their undoubted abilities. Almost every time the ball went to that side of the field it was carried into the neighbourhood of the West Herts, and it was invariably well placed. Two at least of the goal were obtained from well judged passes from the left. The executive seems now to have discovered a highly capable forward strong, and I hope that there will be no more shifting about – though I must confess to feeling that Oclee should be given another trial.
Julian played the best game he has yet shown, and his style was generally admired. He was present in every melee, and was instrumental in stemming some dangerous rushes. Wright was well in evidence and Taylor showed that he has lost little of the ability which has distinguished him in the past. Sanders and Hoy were in splendid fettle, and they had evidently made up their minds that nobody was to pass them f they could help it – and it was very seldom indeed that the opposing forwards succeeded in doing so. Both tackled and kicked in the best possible style, and a very favourable judgment was passed upon them even by the Watford section of the onlookers – and that is saying a great deal. Read was a distinct success in his old place, though in some quarters his performance has been wilfully overtreated in order to gloss over the heaviness of the defeat.
The least satisfactory feature of the game was the conduct of the referee. He gave several decisions which were palpably wrong, and though some allowance must be made on the score of his youth, it must at the same time be remarked that nearly all these questionable decisions were in favour of Watford. He somewhat atoned for this, however, by overruling some atrociously partial judgments by the West Herts linesman, and I concluded that his mistakes were traceable to inexperience rather than to wilful partiality.”
3rd December 1892. From the Luton Times of the 9th December 1892.
“Luton Reserves v Clarendon (Woodford, London). Played at Dallow Lane The visitors arrived late but the homsters still managed a 7 0 victory with H. Whitby and Simpkins amongst the scorers. Teams:- Luton Reserves: Goal, A. Tearle; backs, C. Read and A. Plummer; half-backs, T. Pakes, F. Whitby and W. Boston; forwards, B. Warren and J. Read (right), J. Simpkins (centre), H. Whitby and G. Groom (left). Clarendon: Goal, H. Challen; Dean and Francis (captain); half-backs, Rosenberg, Clover and Munro; forwards, W. Challen and sub (right), Russell (centre), Davy and Mitchell (left). Referee: Mr J.H. Hackett.”
5th December 1892 committee meeting –
“matches with Clapton and City Ramblers be left in Hon Sec’s hands.
“That £3 be guaranteed to the Polytechnic for the match on December 27th”.
Gate money for Sat 3rd Dec £4 2s 6d, pavilion 1/2
Expenses to Watford regarding West Herts £1 14s 6d.
Team selected against Sherwood Foresters and Ashton Grammar School.
“Resolved that club give Mr Oclee his release also that in the event of his applying for reinstatement Hon Sec write Mr Allcock with respect to same”.
“Hon Sec stated Mr G. Deacon had applied for use of the ground on Monday 12th but as it was already wearing rather badly it was resolved that the ground should not be let”.
7th December 1892. from the Luton Times of the 9th December 1892.
“Luton Reserves v Ashton Grammar School played at Dallow Lane. Boston went off injured shortly after the start and L.C.R. Thring went off in the second half for the school. 30 minutes each way and ended in a 2 2 draw. Teams:_ Luton reserves: Goal, A. Tearle; backs, C. Read and T. Plummer; half-backs, T. Pakes, Cheshire and W. Boston; forwards, B. Warren and J. Read (right), J. Simpkins (centre), Dimmock and G. Groom (left). Grammar School:- Goal, E.C. Bates; backs, J.R. Morris and R. Ryder; half-backs, H. Staunton, F. Brown and B. Screwby; forwards, J.T. Phillipson and O.G. Anderson (right). , J. Sanger (centre), L.C.R. Thring and S.G. W. Stevenson (left). Referee, Mr Wheeler.”
10th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of the 17th December 1892.
“Luton Town v Sherwood Foresters. This match was played on the Town ground on Saturday when a large crowd assembled despite the fact that the atmosphere was bitterly cold. The ground was heavy, and bore treads of the recent frosts. Both sides were very strong. The soldiers had only suffered one defeat perviously this season, and the homesters had within the last fortnight obtained excellent wins over the 2nd Scots Guards and West Herts. The teams were:- Sherwood Foresters: Goal, Cragg; backs Bacon and Pykett; half-backs, Whitehead, Garton and Finchman; forwards, Roberts (centre), Norman and Potter (right), Hoare and XXX (left). Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, J.W. Julian (captain), A.H. Taylor and J. Wright; forwards, H. Galbraith (centre), J. Watkins and W. Brown (right), F. Allen and W. Chesher (left). The home eleven won the toss and the soldiers kicked off a quarter of an hour late. At the outset the homesters pressed considerably, but the Foresters retaliated, and for some time the play was of a give and take character. After the Lutonians had carried the ball over their opponents goal-line, the soldiers attacked the home fortress, but Read displayed admirable defensive ability. A magnificent shot by Chesher was only disposed of with difficulty, and Sanders and Read exhibited fine defence. Soon afterwards the Luton forwards got the ball into the net but they were adjudged to have infringed one of the rules. Not being daunted, however, they maintained the attack and at length Galbraith was enabled to score the first point in the game. Following a good display by the home backs the forwards put themselves in evidence and a bombardment was made on the opposition goal. Shot after shot was sent in in rapid succession but by means of great heading and heavy kicking the danger was averted. Chesher was playing well and he invariably passed well to the centre. From one such centre Julian sent in another attempt, but this time the goalkeeper failed to stop the ball. Luton were thus two goals to the good. Things now looked very promising for the homesters, but just before half-time Watkins twisted knee and was compelled to retire. He was so severely hurt that he was unable to return. The Lutonians were thus considerably handicapped, for their right wing was noticeably weakened. The Foresters went off at a great pace in the second half and, taking full advantage of the weakness in the home side, scored their first point in a few minutes. Two minutes later they equalised. Brown was heavily charged and struck on the face and he was compelled to leave the field. He came on again a few minutes later, but did not show up very prominently, and thus the Town men were practically without a right wing. Julian and Galbraith set their companions as excellent examples, but the soldiers gradually gained the upper hand and in the end won in decidedly lucky fashion by four goals to two. It could not be said that they were the better team, but their heading and long kicking was very fine. The referee whose decisions did not meet with general acceptance was Mr F.W. Hill, and the linesmen were Mr Fryer (Luton) and Sergeant Corragan (Sherwood Foresters).
The “Football Notes” of the Luton Times – highlights.
“The Foresters played by no means a gentle game, and what looked like fouls were not infrequent. Four of the home side were more or less disabled. Watkins had to go off the field at half-time from a badly ricked knee. Brown received a nasty knock in the face, also having to retire for a time, and though he courageously returned to do his best, that was very naturally not much. Wright’s should sustained a severe shock, and Sanders had both knees sprained, one on the first half, and the other later. Wright and Sanders quarters were therefore exploited by the soldiers in the second half. “The home forwards all played finely, and the courageous way they backed up Galbraith, who led the forlorn hope after the interval, won them universal admiration. Our dashing and clever centre forward was always first and foremost in the fray, whither he was boldly followed by Chesher and Allen. Brown and Watkins followed well in spite of their injuries. Julian, who was in grand form, effectively checked the onrush of the soldiers, and gave close attention to Roberts. Taylor and Wright worked hard all through. Sanders and Hoy were sound at the back. Bert displaying the better form and saving brilliantly in the latter portion of the game, despite his hurts. Read in goal was the hero of the day and gave a really fine performance, clearing repeatedly in wondrous wise. The Luton defence, severely taxed as it was, came grandly out of the ordeal.
The Foresters have only been beaten once so far this season and have beaten Casuals 3 -1, Ipswich 8-1, Ilford 2-1 and drawn against Clapton.
“The correspondence relating to the Polytechnic fixture on December 27th has been deemed worthy of publication in the Press, and it is reproduced below. The Polytechnic letter is certainly entertaining reading – of a sort – and Mr Smith’s reply terse and to the point as it is, amply shows that he understands the position of affairs. The request of a guarantee of £15 at first seems decidedly humorous, and one is disposed to marvel at the vast possibilities of success in the world and wit and wisdom (?) latent in the Regent-street committee. But seriously it is a trifle “thick,” especially since Luton only received from them the magnificent sum of 5s 4 1/2d as the result of their visit to Wimbledon, to ask what is almost the price of a League club, and that for the day after Boxing day. The Polytechnic apparently think that if they come down to Luton – and it would only be to sustain a defeat – we must pay for it. It was the height of absurdity to expect Luton to fall in with their suggestion, and they would doubtless have been extremely chagrined if the Luton committee had accepted their terms. The sum and substance of the whole matter, as it strikes in the mind of the average human being, is simply this – the Polytechnic are showing the white feather. That’s the English of it.”
“THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN LUTON AND THE POLYTECHNIC
Mr Frank Hastings, secretary of the Polytechnic, writes on Dec. 10, as follows: “Dear sir, I have laid your letter containing the offer of £3 as guarantee for our match with you on Boxing Day (a mistake; the fixture was Dec. 27- Rover) before my Committee and they instruct me to write and say that they will require a guarantee of £15 to come to Luton on that day. They ask this as they do not think they are asking an unreasonable sum, as the match is sure to create a great deal of excitement, and consequently draw a big gate. You will undoubtedly take at least £30 and as my Committee have had several other offers on hand for this date they leave it to you entirely what to decide in the matter. I shall be glad therefore if you will kindly let me have a reply as soon as possible as to what you think of this proposal. Believe me, yours sincerely, Frank Hastings.”
“Mr Isaac Smith, Secretary of the Town club, replies on Dec. 12. as follows:- “Dear Sir, yours of the 10th with the very modest guarantee came before my Committee to-night and they would like to know what Mr Parker’s idea of a guarantee was when he arranged this fixture with me. My own opinion is that though no sum was stated, it was understood that rail fare simply was intended. They further think that you have a good idea of what gates should be. I think we read correctly between the lines when we say that nothing reasonable would tempt you to visit Luton. Your request being only another form of scratching the match, and as you have several other offers, kindly accept which you choose, as we oblige you in declaring our match off. Yours truly, Isaac Smith.” The reply of the Polytechnic was brief – “Yours 12th received; contents noted.”
12th December 1892 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Wolverton for Sat 17th. Hon Sec advertise for a game at home for reserves.
Gate money for Wed Dec 7th £1 1s 3d. Saturday 10th £14 3s 3d, pavilion 3/5.
“It was resolved that the match with the Polytechnic be scratched also that Hon Sec write Evening News and Post asking them to publish the correspondence with respect to the same”.
Guarantee of £3 be given to City Ramblers for their match on Boxing Day”.
17th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 24th December 1892.
“Luton Town v Wolverton L. & N.W. This match was played at Wolverton on Saturday in presence of a good number of spectators. The teams were as follows:- Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs, J. Hoy and Wilson; half-backs, J. Wright, J.W. Julian (Captain), and A.H. Taylor; forwards, W. Brown and H. Whitby (right), H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and W. Chesher (left). Wolverton: Goal, Rowbotham; backs, Kirby and Colne; half-backs, Woodcock, Williams and Lawless; forwards, Carroll and Poole (right), Gosson (centre), Foster and Mahoney (left). Galbraith kicked off against the wind. Wolverton immediately attacked and obtained a fruitless corner. Luton then broke away, and Wolverton again attacked vigorously, giving Read a tremendous lot of trouble. From a break away Chesher scored for the visitors. Luton added a second through the medium of Allen in the second half and in the end won by two goals to love. Hoy was injured during the game, but fortunately not seriously.
“The Kettering Cup. For the third round the authorities have decided to divide the clubs remaining into two divisions. The draw resulted as follows:- Division 1; Wolverton L. & N.W.R. v Kettering; Rushden v Leicester Fosse. Division 2: Derby Town v Greasley Rovers or Huntingdon; Grantham Rovers v Grantham. The date on which this round is to be played is Saturday, January 14th 1893.”
Luton Charity Cup. Chesham beat the 2nd Coldstream Guards 6 5 at Chesham on the 17th December. “The draw for the third round took place on Tuesday night, and resulted as follows; Finedon v Wolverton L.N.W. or Chesham Generals; Rushden v Luton Montrose; Luton Town v Chesham; 2nd Scots Guards v Millwall Athletic. First named have choice of ground. To be played on or before February 4th.”
In Local football Luton Montrose beat the Chesham Generals on the Bury Park ground. 500 people lined the ropes and watched the home team win by six goals to none. The Montrose team was: Goal, E. Fisher; backs, A. Colling and G. King; half-backs, J. Goodliffe, W. Bird and W. King; forwards, F. Riggs and F. Hoy (right), R. Fuller (centre), W. Miller and C. Colling (left).”
19th Dec 1892 committee meeting –
“Teams selected against Clapton, City Ramblers, Casuals, Ramblers reserves, Olympians, Westminsters.
“Resolved that Hon Sec pay Mr Oclee to Christmas 1892”.
Gate money for Sept 17th Dec 12/2.
“Resolved that Mr Wilson play against Clapton and Casuals”.
“Resolved that Read be allowed to sign professional form and Hon Sec pay for all dates on which he has played”.
“Mr F. Hill gave notice that at next meeting he would move a resolution with respect to securing players for next season”.
24th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 31st December 1892.
“Luton v Clapton. This important fixture was decided at the Spotted Dog enclosure at Upton on Saturday, before about 2,000 spectators, only a few of whom hailed from Luton. The Claptonians had experienced some difficulty in getting together a team and were obliged to ask the Luton executive to reverse the dates for this reason. They had, however, acquired the the services of some highly reputable men. The weather though cold was brilliantly fine, but the ground was hard frozen. When the teams lined up they were found to be in the following order:- Clapton: Goal, R. Storrier; backs, W.H. Hussell and F.I. Hilleary; half-backs, W. Baker, A.E. Casselton and J. Russell; forwards, H.R. Offer (centre), R.J. Ide and W. Connell (right) A.J. Hughes and another (left). Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs, A. Sanders and Wilson; half-backs, J. Wright, J.W. Julian (captain) and A.H. Taylor; forwards, W. Brown and H. Whitby (right), H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and W. Chesher (left). Luton kicked off and so eagerly did they press that in the first few minutes the opponents keeper was compelled to throw the ball out, and Galbraith kicked over. Clapton transferred the scene to the other end and the leather went over the goal line. This operation was repeated a few minutes later and Hilleary exhibiting magnificent defence. The home forwards were playing well together, but they were not ahead of the visitors’ front string, Allen being particularly noticeable. At length, the Luton men came down in capital style and Brown finished up scoring a grand goal. Taylor had been rendering himself conspicuous and was deservedly applauded. Allen and Chesher put in some excellent work and it was only the worst of bad luck that prevented them scoring. The Clapton keeper had an anxious time a little later but he preserved his charge intact in marvellous fashion. For a considerable time play was pretty much confined to the home quarters and though Casselton relieved, the ball was sent back by Wilson, who with Julian had been playing splendidly. Offer was dangerous at times, but he had very few chances, the Luton half-backs being far too strong to be trifled with. The play was not of a first-rate style, this being due to the condition of the ground, but occasionally there were some brilliant spurts. During the next few minutes Wilson was the most noticeable player, his long-kicking being generally admired. Time after time the Luton forwards carried the ball over the Clapton lines , and Brown put in a grand shot which was only saved with difficulty. From a capital pass by Chesher, Galbraith tried hard to score, but luck turned against the Lutonians. Hands against Julian enabled Clapton to invade the Luton territory, and the ball wen over the “Reds” line for a second time during the match. Play ruled a bit faster subsequently but nothing much was done, though Connell troubled the Luton defence considerably. Towards the end of the first half the Lutonians evoked hearty cheering by pressing very determinedly, and it was marvellous how the Clapton players managed to avert the downfall of their charge. When the interval arrived Luton lead by one goal to nil. Shortly after the re-start the Clapton fortress had the narrowest escape yet experienced, a very fast shot by Brown hitting the post. Galbraith was badly fouled, and soon afterwards Chesher sent in a splendid centre from the corner. Luton continued to attack and shots were sent in by Galbraith, Whitby and Chesher. From a corner Luton should have scored, Ide narrowly missed obtaining a notch for his side, Read steering the ball on to the top of the net. An amusing incident occurred a little later. One of the Clapton men appealed for a throw in on the ground that the ball had come out of play, but when he picked it up the referee awarded Luton a free kick for an infringement of the handling rule. Julian and Wilson were defending magnificently, and the Claptonians were exhibiting somewhat better style. Brown and Allen tried exceedingly hard to add to the Luton score, but without avail and Clapton afterwards equalised the scores, the point being obtained out of a scrimmage. From this stage to the finish the game was excellently fought. At times the Luton section of the spectators were anxious but at others the fierceness with which their favourites attacked allayed their fears and they were jubilant. The exchanges were fairly even but towards the finish Luton had distinctly the best of matters. They could not succeed in eluding the vigilance of the Clapton lines of defence, however, and when the end came the scores stood at one all – a draw of which neither side need feel ashamed, for the battle was splendidly fought. Luton on the form displayed should have won with ease, however, and the Claptonians are entitled to congratulate themselves on having averted defeat. Wilson showed showed what was undoubtedly the best form, and the Luton executive should avail themselves of his services regularly. The Luton forwards and half-backs all showed up prominently at times, and their efforts were highly appreciated by the onlookers.”
In local football on Christmas Eve, Dunstable beat Luton Excelsior three nil at home.
26th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of the 31st December 1892.
“Luton v City Ramblers. On the afternoon of Boxing Day these old opponents met to fight out another battle. There was a surprisingly large attendance of spectators, those present numbering about 2,000. The weather was fine, though cold, and the ground was as hard frozen as the proverbial brick bat. The teams were as follows:- City Ramblers: Goal, Morton; backs, Ritchie and Clarke; half-backs, J. Simpkins, J. Read and Gazeley; forwards, Nolloth, Milton, Meggs, Withington and Fox. Luton: Goal, T. Read; backs, A.Hoy and J. Wilson; half-backs, J.W. Julian, A.H. Taylor and J. Wright; forwards, H. Galbraith, W. Brown, H. Whitby, W. Chesher and F. Allen. Luton won the toss and played with the wind. The commencement of the game was of a somewhat sensational character. for half a minute from the start Galbraith scored a splendid goal. The homesters kept up the pressure, and two or three times the ball was sent over the line. Withington returned the compliment on one occasion, but this was only a passing spurt and the leather was soon taken to the other end again. From a scrimmage Galbraith obtained a second notch, and thereafter Allen and Galbraith showed some very pretty passing. The Ramblers were not by any means a bad team, the Luton contingent who were assisting them being extremely useful [Simpkins, J. Read and Gazeley?]. More than once they carried the fray into the homesters territory, but the Luton backs were always too strong for them. Both goal-keepers were troubled in turn a little later, and thrice Galbraith and his fellows failed at the critical stage. Allen and Chesher were exhibiting admirable style, and both experienced hard luck, the latter shooting finely. From a miskick by Taylor a corner was conceded to the Ramblers, and they did not fail t profit by it, the ball going through the Luton posts. Immediately afterwards H. Whitby increased his side’s lead from a grand pass from Galbraith. An excellent passing run by Chesher and Allen ended in the first named kicking the ball into the goal-keeper’s hands. Whitby missed a fine chance a minute later, though the ball went on the net. When ends were changed the homesters were leading by three goals to one. The second half was considerably faster, though both sides were terribly handicapped by the slippery state of the ground. Soon after the re-start Soon after the re-start the respective goal-lines were visited in turn, and then by means of some smart play the Ramblers succeeded in reducing their opponents’ lead. The visitors kept up the pressure and played in a very determined fashion, but all their efforts to equalise were unavailing. Luton aroused themselves in response to the calls of the spectators and some very smart played ended in H. Whitby being enabled to score the fourth notch with an admirable shot. Galbraith sent the ball through a minute later but his trouble was wasted, the referee decided that the leather had been previously over the goal-line. Give and take play succeeded, but at length the Ramblers put in some very useful work and they were enabled to claim a third goal. Some hot assaults by the Lutonians terminated in a fifth notch proceeding from the foot of Galbraith. The Ramblers put on another and then Brown gave his side a decided lead by obtaining the sixth. Just before the finish the Lutonians were adjudged to have obtained a seventh out of a scrimmage following a corner, but the referee’s decision was generally challenged. The point had to be scored, however, and thus the homesters won by seven goals to four. Wilson was again very conspicuous and excellent form was shown by the Lutonians generally, though mistakes were frequently made. The City Ramblers were a much better team than in past years, but they were never seriously thought to be the equals of the Lutonians on Monday.”
27th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of the 31st December 1892.
“Luton Reserves v Westminster. Played on the Town ground on Tuesday morning and ended in a hollow win for the homesters by no fewer than 11 to nil. The Reserves had been disappointed by City Ramblers Reserves on Saturday and by the Olympians on Monday, played a fine all round games and thoroughly deserved their victory. the team was as follows: Goal, Tearle; backs, Chesher and C. Read; half-backs Gazeley, Pakes and Simpkins; forwards, Dimmock, Spacey, Groom, Warren and J. Read.”
27th December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of the 31st December 1892.
“Luton Town v Casuals. This was the most important engagement of the Town Club during the Christmas holidays, and it ended on Tuesday afternoon in a win for the visitors by four goals to two. There was an extremely large attendance of spectators, some thousands lining the ropes. At the outset the weather was cold but dry, and the ground was frost-bound. The visitors, who were regarded as a representative combination, were as follows:- Goal, T.W. Blenkiron; backs, R. Barker and W. Oakley; half-backs, H. Lecky, H.H. Foy and J.H. Grieveson; forwards, R.B. Hope (centre), H. Knox and W. Reeves (right), H.A. Ford and F. Bickley (left). The Luton teams was as constituted on Monday. The referee was Mr Isaac Smith, and the linesmen were Messrs Wilkins and Austin. Winning the toss the locals defended the Dallow-lane goal. During the first two or three minutes honours were divided, though the “reds” seemed to have a trifle the best of it. A corner fell to the homesters and this was so splendidly placed that Galbraith had little difficulty in heading the ball past Blenkiron and thus scoring the first goal of the day. Stimulated by this success the Luton men played up in first-rate style and the opposition keeper had a bad time of it for a space. Corners fell to the home combination in rapid succession but these were not improved upon, and then a brilliant run by Knox transferred play to the other end. The Casuals forwards passed in capital style and they frequently passed the home backs. Their efforts were unavailing for a considerable space, and the spell was at length broken by Foy, sent in a shot from half-back which beat Read. Luton attacked in determined fashion, and the leather was sent into Blenkiron’s hands, while a couple of corners were obtained. Chesher’s brilliant play leading to one of these. Read made a bad miss a little later, and the result was that a second notch was registered to the Casuals. Only a couple of minutes later some very fine forward play by the leaders enabled them to increase their advantage, and things began to look very bad for the homesters. A grand single-handed run by Galbraith ended in a corner, but this was nugatory. Play ruled even for a space, both sides pressing in turn. Brown and Whitby exhibited dashing style, but they were stopped, and thereafter a fourth point fell to the Casuals. The latter gave their opponents considerable trouble afterwards, but a foul and a free kick for hands relieved the pressure, and from the latter Brown scored a grand goal for his side. Luton displayed good style, but they were never very dangerous, the defence of the visitors proving very strong. From now until half-time give and take was the order, and when the interval arrived the Casuals were leading by four goals to two. Soon after the re-start the visitors obtained a corner and the kick was admirably taken, but Read preserved his charge in fine style. When Luton seemed to be in a good position for scoring Galbraith got hurt and was obliged to leave the field and his absence weakened the homesters attack. Hands against the Casuals a few yards from their citadel appeared dangerous. Indeed the ball was kicked through but unfortunately for the Town men it had not touched a second player. The remainder of the game was played in thick fog which served not only to impede the players but to very seriously obscure the view of the spectators. From what could be seen, however, it seemed that the visitors had very much the best of matters, and that the the strong defence of the back division was the only thing that prevented the Casuals running up a heavy score. As it was no goals were obtained by either side, and when the end came the visitors had won as above-stated. For the visitors, who were undoubtedly the better team, grand style was shown by Foy, while Knox on the outside right was the best of the forwards. Blenkiron did well in goal, and the backs were a highly capable pair. For the losers Julian was very conspicuous; he worked very hard to save his side from defeat, and in the absence of Galbraith virtually acted as centre forward. Wilson at back was greatly admired, and the Town executive should secure his services regularly if possible. The light Luton forwards were at a discount when pitted against the heavy Casuals, but they did well. Brown was, perhaps, the most successful, but Whitby did a great deal of useful work. Considering all the circumstances the defeat was not as severe as might have been expected.”
28th Dec 1892 committee meeting –
“Gate money for Sat 24th £2 5s 6d
Monday 26th morning 5s 7d
Monday afternoon £20 3s 9d, Pavilion 1/6
Tuesday 27th morning £1 12s 0d
Tuesday 27th afternoon £22 2s 10d, Pavilion 10d
Totals £46 9s 8d 2/4
Teams selected against Millwall.
Mr Hills resolution be deferred for 7 days.
31st December 1892. From the Luton Reporter of 7th January 1893.
“Luton Town v Millwall Athletic. On Saturday the Luton Town tea journeyed to Millwall in order to play their return match with the noted Athletic. It will be remembered that when the Millwallians visited Luton they secured a victory by the narrow margin of three goals to two. On the present occasion the Lutonians were handicapped by the absence of four members of their ordinary team in the persons of Sanders, Taylor, Wright and Allen, but some capable substitutes were found. The homesters, too, were without the services of some of their usual players, but they were also fortunate in finding efficient men to fill the vacancies. The match was played at the Athletic Grounds and there was a good attendance the numbers present being estimated at about 1,000. The extremely hard state of the ground rendered football anything but free from danger, but the chances of accident were somewhat minimised by the plentiful distribution of sand over the most slippery parts. The start was a late one, and at half past 2, the advertised hour of commencement, several of the Lutonians had not put in an appearance. At 2.50, nearly 20 minutes late, the men took the field. The teams were – Millwall Athletic: Goal, F.Wood; backs, W. Ingram and T. Horne; half-backs, H. Thompson, G. McMillan and J. Fleming; forwards, E. Jones and W. Jones (right), J. Hyslop (centre), F. Hollands and T. Willing (left). Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs A. Hoy and J. Wilson; half-backs, J.W. Julian, J. McKenzie and W. George; forwards, H. Whitby and W. Brown (right), H. Galbraith (centre), W. Chesher and F.V. Kirk (left). Mr C. Squires (City Ramblers) was referee, the linesmen being Messrs. E. Clack (Millwall Athletic) and T.N. Hughes (Luton Town). It was agreed to play thirty-five minutes each half instead of the usual time. The Athletic won the toss, and Galbraith started the ball for the visitors from the entrance end with the wind against them. The ball was well returned and rushed up to the visitors’ half, Holland sending in a low shot which Read fisted out. By the aid of Galbraith and Chesher the play was taken into the home team’s quarters, but the “dockers” soon got the ball away, and Hyslop took the play to the other end, where Read was again called on , a shot from the foot of Jones causing him some anxiety. Play was very fast and the ball travelled with great rapidity from end to end much faster than the players were able to follow it, with the result that the backs on both sides had a considerable number of free kicks given them by the opposing forwards. Hands against Thompson gave the Lutonians a chance close to Wood’s charge, but from the free kick the ball went behind. A minute later Horne conceded the visitors a corner, which, however, proved fruitless. A second corner fell to the Luton men, but it met with the same fate. The visitors still continued to press, and some pretty passing ensued between the Luton forwards, and Galbraith then sent in a hot shot, which, however, Wood saved. Millwall now had a look in at Read’s goal, but the defence of Julian and his confreres was very steady and the attack was repulsed. A long pass by Hyslop gave Jones a chance, but Julian intervened, and the ball was returned to the “Dockers” end, where hands was again given off Thompson. the free-kick, however, was safely negotiated by the defenders. Hands against Wilson close in goal looked bad for the “Reds” but Ingram, who took the free-kick, sent the ball through without it touching anyone. The Luton men now put in some pressing and forced a corner, which was well saved by Wood. Some really good passing by the Luton forwards made a lot of of headway, and Chesher headed into goal. The “Dockers” getting away on the left, off-side checked their progress, but they were not to be denied and returned to the attack, but they could not get the ball past Read. Give-and-take play followed, mostly, however, in favour of the visitors, and Galbraith sent in a hot straight shot, but Wood was on the alert and saved. Galbraith returned again to the attack, but one of the “Dockers” intercepted the ball on its progress towards goal with his hand. A Free-kick was awarded, but it came to nothing, and racing away on the right the Brothers Jones made a lot of headway, the elder sending in a grand shot, which was fisted out by Read. Whitby had a grand chance of opening the scoring account for the visitors, but with an open goal he sent the ball over the bar, Wood having run out to clear his charge. From this point until the arrival of half-time each team did its hardest to ope the scoring account, but both sides were unsuccessful in their endeavours, and the interval arrived with the scoring sheet a blank. Hyslop re-started operations in the second half after a five minutes’ interval. The homesters were the first to show up, and they attacked in force. the Bedfordshire men, however, managed to repulse them, and in their turn the “Dockers” had to act on the defensive. this state of affairs was of a very temporary nature, and the ball was returned to mid-field. where it remained for some little time. In their turn the Lutonians again attacked, and their left-wing pair got well within reach of goal, but the ball was sent behind. The homesters now had a look-in, and Hollands had an unsuccessful shot at goal. The Luton right wing now began to show up, and Horne had to exert himself to clear. After Jones had a try at Read’s goal, Galbraith got away and Wood had a hot shot to save. The game continued to be stoutly contested, and Willing scored the only goal of the match for the home teamsters. The play from this point was of a give-and-take character for some time, when the ball was worked into the home side’s half, and Whitby passed to Galbraith, who sent behind. Hyslop and Julian were next conspicuous by some pretty play, and the home side attacked with considerable vigour several times. Just before time play was again transferred into the Athletic’s half, and although Galbraith tried very hard to score, he failed to equalise – the game thus ended in favour of the Millwall Athletic by one goal to none. Towards the close the Luton men had several chances of scoring, but erratic shooting prevented this. – Commenting on the game the Morning Leaders says : “The Luton lads were just a trifle unlucky in being defeated by one goal to nil, for they had quite as much of the play as the home team, and for part of the time lacked the services of their centre-forward. Wood, as usual, was almost perfect in goal, while Hyslop and Hollands in the front rank were always a source of trouble to their opponents. The feature of the visiting team was a strong half-back line, consisting of Julian, George and McKenzie. Whitby and Brown made a strong right-wing, but Galbraith in the centre was not seen at his best.”
The reserves also played – the report is as it appeared in the paper.
“Luton Town Reserves v Millwall Athletic Reserves – This match was played on the Town ground on Saturday, before a good number of spectators. The teams were as follows: Luton: Goal, Tearle; backs, Stickles and Watkins; half-backs, Pakes, Simpkins (centre) and Gazeley; forwards, Dimmock, Spacey, Groom (centre), Warren and J. Read. Millwall: Goal, Fenn; backs, Cooper and Hartung; half-backs, Burton, Harvey (centre) and May; forwards, Wilson, A. Burton, Danks (centre), Johnson and Boundy. Messrs Hinson and Clear were linesmen for each team respectively, while Isaac Smith officiated as referee. The visitors elected to play from the Dallow Lane end. At the start of play proceeded entirely on the homesters’ ground, one or two narrow escapes from scoring from the visitors taking place the while. Hands awarded against the visitors changed affairs somewhat, the action centreing round the enemy’s goal post, and a corner was scored for the Lutonians. Simpkins sent in a beauty, but it fell short. Following the registering of another corner to the townsmen, some neat passing took place, which would have resulted in a goal but for the prompt reprisals of the Millwallian backs. Another attempt by Simpkins to score went over the post. The homesters for some time kept their stand on the enemy’s ground, but their opponents showed good defensive tactics. Presently Tearle had to be on his guard, the visitors having got free with the sphere towards his citadel, and he proved himself equal to the occasion. When a goal was imminent against his side, Simpkins saved at the expense of a corner. At half-time neither side had succeeded in scoring. On the change of ends there was some dangerous play round the Luton posts, but the defence prevailed. There was a succession of uneventful play, though both were endeavouring hard to score, their non-success showing very equal prowess. Towards the close, the Millwallians made a strong spurt to score, the probabilities being all in the direction of a draw without a mark notched, and no less than three times running Tearle caught the ball from a full-kick in the centre of goal. the defence of the Lutonian goalkeeper was hailed with loud applause. the visitors, however, keeping their position at last succeeded in sending the ball in by a kick from Boundy, thus scoring within a quarter of an hour before the close of the match. Shortly after, from a corner Burton placed the ball again and the match ended with two goals to the Millwallians against Luton nil. the formers backs did splendid work, without Tearle for the home side defended his post in fine fashion. Simpkins and Stickles also played well.”
2nd January 1893 committee meeting –
“Teams selected against Vampires for Sat 7th. In the event of Saunders being able to play back, Wilson to take Wright’s place. Otherwise Wilson to play back and Watkins half.
Team for King’s Cross selected, “The ground for the reserve match be left in Hon Sec hands”.
Gate money for Saturday 31st Dec £3 15s 4d.
Expenses for Millwall £3 18s 1d and Clapton £4 1s 0d.
“Proposed by Mr Hinson, seconded by Mr Austin that 14 days notice be given to Messrs F. Whitby and J. Burley to cease as players for the Town club carried unanimously”.
“J. Wright’s resignation be accepted and Hon Sec write to him expressing the regret of the committee at losing him from the team also thanking him for the services he has rendered to the club”.
“The committee then proceeded to fill up the vacancies caused by the retirement of Messrs Barford and Samwells. The following were nominated for the 2 posts
Messrs G. Horn, A. Underwood, G. Woodbridge, F. Turner and W. Lawrence. Mr Woodbridge and Mr Horn were voted onto the committee.”
Luton Reporter of 7th January 1893. There was a cricket match on ice so probably no football played.
9th jan 1893 committee meeting –
“Teams selected against Sherwood Foresters for Sat 14th. Dunstable also.
Resolved that Mr J. Burley’s letter be filed”.
Letter received from S.H. Whitbread – “Hon Sec answer Mr S.H. Whitbread’s letter advising them to call a meeting of delegates from all clubs in the county to arrange all necessary details”.
“Resolved that Mr J Wilson’s letter be left in the hands of Mr Pitkin and Hon Sec”.
Luton Reporter of 14th January 1893.
“On Saturday last the Town Club were announced to play the Vampires and the Reserves were to meet the G.N.R. club. Both matches had to be scratched owing to the grounds being covered with a deep snow which fell on Friday night. To-morrow (Saturday) the local players will play the Sherwood Foresters.
The report for the Cottage Hospital for the week ending January 9th, 1893. Admitted 2; discharges 1; remaining 20; dead 0.
14th January 1893. Report from the Luton Reporter of 21st January 1893.
“Luton Town v Sherwood Foresters. On Saturday the Sherwood Foresters paid another visit to Luton in order to play their return match, and despite the fact that the surroundings were of the most uninviting nature the encounter was witnessed by a large crowd of spectators. On the previous occasion, it will be remembered, the Sherwood Foresters won by four goals to two, but the victory was not free from a very pronounced element of luck, two of the Luton players being incapacitated during the second portion of the game. On Saturday the ground was in a dreadfully bad state after the recent severe frosts, and although the authorities had tried hard to render the turf playable they were only partially successful. Masses of hard frozen snow lay about, and in other places were pools of uninviting pools of water. It can readily be imagined, therefore, that the pitch was the reverse of satisfactory, and play was little short of dangerous under the circumstances. The players floundered about considerably, and the spectators rather condoled with rather than envied them. The teams ranged up as follows:- Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, J.W. Julian, J. Wilson and A.H. Taylor; forwards, H. Galbraith (centre), H. Whitby and W. Brown (right), W. Chesher and F. Allen (left). Sherwood Foresters: Goal, Cragg; backs, Pykett and Bacon; half-backs, Whitehead, Garton and Fincham; forwards, Roberts (centre), Collins and Mahon (left), Potter and Norman (right). Luton lost the toss, and forced the play immediately after kick-off. Hands against the Foresters near their goal was the first point of importance; a score seemed certain, but though a splendid shot was sent in the danger was averted. Keeping up the pressure the Lutonians narrowly missed scoring on two or three occasions, the ball once going on the net after a corner kick. Hoy allowed the ball to touch his hands, and the free kick which followed enabled the Foresters to press, but the Luton defence was too strong to allow any of the soldiers obtaining any pronounced advantage. Chesher, a moment or two later, experienced extremely hard luck, his shot missing by a trifle. Wilson was playing very finely hereabouts. An enthusiastic shout burst from the onlookers a minute or two afterwards, when the Lutonians by means of some capital combined play managed to get the ball through their opponents’ posts. Immediately afterwards Chesher forced a corner and Wilson sent in a grand attempt which was only saved at the expense of another corner. Luton still kept the ball at their adversaries’ end, and the delight of the spectators was unbounded when a splendid shot by Chesher was followed up by the ball being sent past Craggs a second time. From this stage until half-time the homesters had all the best of the game, but try as they would, they were unable to increase their lead. When the interval arrived, the score stood: Luton two; Foresters none. Soon after the re-start an amusing incident happened. The referee had blown his whistle after an infringement of the rules by the Sherwood men, but the latter continued playing and sent the ball into the net. Time after time the Lutonians got within scoring distance, but they invariably failed at the critical juncture. As the game went on the play became of a give and take character and both ends were visited in turn, but towards the finish the “reds” gave their opponents further samples of their quality. Neither side succeeded in scoring, however, and when the end came the Luton representatives had won a splendid victory by two goals to nil. The referee was Mr F.W. Hill and the linesmen were Messrs A.F. Austin and W. Boston.”
With bat ball and bicycle.
“Saturday was the first time that the Town Club first eleven had appeared on the Dallow-lane ground this year; indeed, local spectators had not an opportunity of watching the exertions of their champions since their encounter with the Casuals during the Christmas holidays. Since that time the eleven has been manifestly strengthened by the substitution of J. Wilson for J. Wright. The latter had played in extremely plucky style for a lengthened period, but he was at length forced to the conclusion that increasing weight does not tend to the promotion of speed. All who have watched the rise of the club will unite with me a word of recognition of the retiring player’s effort; he always did his best – and it may be added that he rarely failed to distinguish himself.
Wilson was brought down by Julian. His first appearance was made against Wolverton L. & N.W., when he greatly pleased the authorities by the excellence of his display at back. Against the Casuals, Clapton and Millwall he followed up his success, and the executive have done well to secure his inclusion in the ranks. At right half he makes an invaluable lieutenant for Julian, and there is little doubt that the Luton line of defence is not only greatly improved but that it is now one of the most trustworthy in the South of England.
Saturday’s encounter was rendered additionally interesting by the fact that a month ago the Sherwood Foresters beat our champions somewhat pronouncedly by four goals to two. It should be recollected, however, that on that occasion the homesters laboured under the disadvantage of having their right wing practically blotted out, for one man was missing during the greater portion of the game and the other was almost totally incapacitated. The soldiers took full advantage of this weakness, and putting in all they knew managed to snatch a somewhat lucky victory. The Town men had registered a vow that there should be no repetition of this, and so well did they exert themselves that they prevented it.
When the Foresters departed in December they were able to boast that they had not suffered defeat save in the English Cup, but on Saturday they had to tell a different tale on leaving, for the Lutonians had beaten them on their merits. The first half was all in favour of the homesters, who scored twice and should have added other notches. When the team crossed the score was in exactly the same state as at the December encounter, for then the Luton men led by two points at half-time. Some timid onlookers dreaded lest a similar misfortune should follow, but the “reds” bore themselves bravely and on this occasion made no mistake.
It is true that play was of a more even nature in the second portion, but it cannot with justice be said that the Foresters ever threatened very seriously. At times their forwards broke through, but they were inevitably pulled up by the home backs. Towards the finish the homesters, who had seemingly been playing a “cat and mouse game,” aroused themselves and a strenuous attack was maintained upon the Sherwood men’s citadel. Several good shots were poured in, but there were some shockingly bad attempts made, and the capital goal-keeping of Craggs combined with the ineffectual shooting of the Luton forwards ended in the score being unaltered. The margin was, however, sufficient to demonstrate that the local players were the better team, and thus to reverse the verdict arrived at a month since.
I must confess to having envied the Sparta indifferences with which the players treated the depressing surroundings. It must be conceded that the weather was fine, but the ground was next to unplayable. Every effort had been made by the committee and the energetic secretary to bring the turf into something like decent order, but despite the use of buckets and spades very little improvement was able to be effected. Ice and snow were unpleasantly apparent in conjunction, and where there was an absence of these there was sure to be a corresponding presence of uninviting puddles. By the way, some of the lighter Luton forwards made very close acquaintance with these pools of ice-cold water, and to judge by the disgusted expression which was invariably to be seen upon their faces afterwards they did not greatly relish their open air bath.
It is difficult to determine who is most deserving of praise, for all the members of the eleven exerted themselves as if them individually depended on the issue. It must be confessed, however, that some of the enthusiasts in my neighbourhood had at least one of their eyes engaged in watching Wilson most of the time, and their verdict was that he acquitted himself in a highly satisfactory way. This, it should be added, is also the opinion of the writer. Julian plays with such unvarying excellence that it is not requisite to further allude to him, but Taylor deserves a special word of commendation. I learn that the ex-captain is not at all pleased with the half-hearted recognition which he received in some quarters recently and I fully sympathise with him, for his displays are always first-rate.
The backs were in very fine form, though Hoy was a trifle unsteady at the outset, and Read was as safe possible in goal. Amongst the forwards it is difficult to choose, but if a special word of praise need be given it is due to H. Whitby, who has fully justified his re-inclusion in the team. He played on Saturday with dash and brilliancy, and with an utter absence of the methods which led to his elimination a couple of months since. No one is more ready to acknowledge a meritorious performance than myself, and I accord to Whitby the meed of commendation which is justly owing to him. Brown and Allen were plucky as ever, and Galbraith and Chesher worked extremely well.
The display of the Foresters was of no means order. Their forwards did not shine in comparison with those of Luton, for they were neither so fast nor so resourceful. Time after time they were pulled up by the home backs, and it was extremely rarely that they were able to get within shooting distance. The half-backs displayed considerable defensive ability but the bright star in the firmament was undoubtedly Bacon, whose exposition at left back was one of the finest which has been given by a member of a visiting team lately.
In the course of a note upon the conduct of Chatham in neglecting to meet Millwall Athletic in the previous week a writer in the Evening News says “If the scratching of Chatham was due to the fact that they would be unable to send their absolutely best eleven, their actions contrasts very badly with that of the Dockers on the previous Saturday, when the Millwall men fulfilled their engagement with Luton Town although the majority of the regular team were on holiday.” This has created considerable feelings of dissatisfaction in the breasts of some Lutonians who aver that there was not much credit attaching to Millwall. They claim that seeing Luton had to journey to London with three of their men on the sick-list the honour should rather attach to them, and I am very much inclined to coincide with this view of the matter.
The following paragraph in the Evening News will probably afford more acceptable reading :- “An attempt may be made towards the close of the resent season to form a Southern League – a feat which was unsuccessfully attempted at the close of last season. Undoubtedly the holding aloof of the Arsenal had a great deal to do with the failure of the scheme. It is, however, gradually dawning on the minds of those who pull the strings at Plumstead that engagements with northern professional combinations are neither so profitable nor so attractive as they might be. The drawing power of the Cup tie between Millwall Athletic and the Reds opened the eyes of not a few. On the evidence afforded by this match alone, one is justified in claiming that matches in a competition between eight of the best clubs in the South would prove as attractive and certainly much more profitable than matches with the English League teams. When the time comes for bringing the proposal up again, I am assured that the Arsenal will not hesitate as to which course to adopt.” Onlooker.
16th January 1893 committee meeting –
“Letter received from C.W. Alcock (English F.A.)
gate money for Saturday 14th £13 6s 7d, Pavilion 4/4
Teams selected against Old St Marks and Newport Pagnell.
“Charge for the Wolverton match be 6d also that the reserves go to Wolverton the same date subject to the expenses being paid by Wolverton”.
“Resolved that no notice whatsoever be taken of Mr J. Burley’s letter”.
Resolved that Arsenal team be left over until next week.
“Resolved that the ground be changed and play in the opposite direction”.
“Resolved that we accept Mr J. Radford as referee for cup tie v Chesham if he can make it convenient to act”.
21st January 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 28th January 1893 –
“On Saturday the Town Club first eleven were to have played Old St. Mark’s at Balham, but on Friday night Mr Smith (the secretary) received an intimation that the ground was unplayable. Efforts were made to induce the old collegians to journey to Luton but without avail, and the result was that the local players were inactive.”
“Luton Reserves v Newport Pagnell. This match was played on the Town ground on Saturday. The teams were:- Luton: Goal, Tearle; full backs, Day and C. Read; half-backs, Gazeley, Simpkins (centre) and Boston; forwards, J. Read and Chesher (right), Groom (centre), Spacey and Dimmock (left). Newport Pagnell: Goal, Bailey; full-backs, Flude and Smith; half-backs, Knight, H. Bass (centre) and G. Bass; forwards, Hayley and G. gore (left), Brooks (centre), Wallis and Sharp (right). The linesmen were Messrs Wilkins (Luton) and W. Brookes (Newport Pagnell), and Mr Shane acted as referee. As soon as play started a goal was scored by Groom against the visitors; Simpkins followed with another. Immediately after the Newport men attacked the Luton posts, but Tearle nicely warded off a ball from Wallis. Though the visitors played at this point with some vigour, Gazeley and Groom added two more notches to the Lutonians score. The next attempt was met by a a catch by Bailey, and play after was somewhat even. Groom retired for a while with a cut knee. The ball coming directly to Chesher, that player sent it in with a straight kick, and Groom followed with another notch, this making six goals. The visitors got another turn on the Lutonian ground, but Day bounded forward with a saving kick, though Tearle was quite alive to the situation Losing their ground, they suffered Simpkins to add another goal. A good run was made by the visitors in full force with the ball down the field, to no purpose however, C. Read checking their inroad. At half-time the score was eight to nothing. Goals followed in plenty on play recommencing. The homesters could boast 13 before the other side had made a corner. The 14th goal was made after some smart passing. At this point the visitors, playing with some push, at last scored the only goal they were doomed to get. Gazeley added the next goal, and Chesher winded up with the 16th at which the score stood. Therefore the game ended 16-1. As may be gathered, there was an entire lack of combination among the enemy, though the sodden ground made bad players worse. Rich fun was extracted throughout the entire game from the style of some of the visitors and the numerous tumbles.”
Local games – Gordon Wanderers beat Victoria by two goals to one with goals from Gladwell and Mardle.
23rd January 1893 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Wolverton home and home. “Referee Mr Moore failing him one of the Harpenden masters.
gate money for sat 21st £3 11s 0d, Pavilion 1/4
Resolved that 6d and 3d pavilion be charged for Chesham game.
“That Wolverton’s offer of £1 for the reserve match be accepted and that we offer them the same for a referee on April 1st”.
28th January 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 4th February 1893.
“Luton Town v Wolverton L & N.W.. This return match was played on the Athletic Ground on Saturday in brilliantly fine weather and before a large attendance of spectators. Both sides were strongly represented, and it was rumoured that the railway-men had determined to make a bold effort to wipe out the beating which the “reds” administered to them some weeks since. Shortly after the advertised time the elevens ranged up in the following order:- Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs, A. Sanders and A. Hoy; half-backs, J.W. Julian, J. Wilson and A.H. Taylor; forwards, H. Galbraith, H. Whitby, W. Brown, W. Chesher and F. Allen. Wolverton: Goal, W. Anderson; backs, S. Coles and H. Kirby; half-backs, C. Lawless, W. Williams and F. Woodcock; forwards, W. Poole, A. Davis, F. Gosson, J. Foster and H. Truman. The referee was Mr M.D. Nicholson (West Bromwich Albion), and the linesmen were Messrs F. Swain (Wolverton) and Mr H. Shane (Luton). Luton lost the toss and kicked off against a strong wind, the Wolverton men having the sun in their faces. A couple of minutes from the start Luton scored from a scrimmage in front of goal, Allen putting on the finishing touch. Galbraith put in some fine dodging runs, and the Wolverton men thereafter threw away a splendid chance by bad shooting. Luton took the ball up by means of some admirable play and Allen shot over. When the railway-men had had made an incursion into the “reds” territory they were compelled to look to their own citadel and it was only the grand defence of Anderson which prevented its downfall when “hands” was awarded against them in close proximity to the uprights. A minute or two later several of the Wolvertonians managed to get within measurable distance of the home goal, but they failed at the crucial point. Anderson behaved splendidly shortly thereafter, and it was his fine performance that enabled his side to withstand the fierce onslaught of the Luton men. Galbraith at one point finished up a fine run by sending in an exceedingly dangerous attempt, and it was with difficulty that the keeper of the wearers of the blue and white was able to negotiate it. Both goals were next visited in turn, and Julian and Chesher put in some good work. Read was hereabouts called upon for the first time, and shortly afterwards some loose play by the Luton backs was followed by the equalising of the scores. The visitors had a trifle the best of matters now, but not for long, and a little later some excellent play by the home forwards enabled Allen to notch a second point. Galbraith having missed somewhat badly, “hands” was awarded to Wolverton several times in rapid succession, and they experienced hard luck. At length, however, they managed to get the ball past Read, and from a kick for “hands” they took the lead. They were not long suffered to hold to hold this advantage, for in about a minute Brown scored the third point from a grand pass by Chesher. At half-time the score remained unaltered, and it felt that the homesters had a very good chance of winning. In the second half play ruled almost entirely in favour of Luton. Time after time the ball was carried into the neighbourhood of the Wolverton goal, and it was only the worst of luck that prevented the home combination from obtaining several notches. It must be confessed, however, that to Anderson was due a good share of the responsibility for this. No alteration was affected in the score for an appreciable space, but at length Brown scored from a magnificent pass by Galbraith. The issue was not beyond doubt, for the homesters were not seriously troubled, and when the final whistle announced the expiration of the allotted period they had won a capitally contested game by four goals to three. The whole of the home side played well, and if any special mention is made it is deserved by Wilson, who played very finely. Anderson was most conspicuous for the winners [should be losers], but some good all round work was done, and the side showed that they are very capable.”
“Luton Reserves v Wolverton Reserves. Played at Wolverton on Saturday and ended, after a stiff fight in a victory for the visitors by four goals to three.”
Gordon Wanderers played Star 2nd “played on Saturday and ended in a win for the Star by four to nil. The fact that the communication is written on both sides of the paper precludes its insertion in full.
Stanley Boys v Norton College sees one of the Whitby’s playing for the former, who won by 11 goals to nil. The Stanley team was : Goal, F. Gentle; backs, E. Scott and T. Wren; half-back, Faulder, Boutwood and Moody; forwards, Wilson, Hawkes, Bavister, Whitby and Tofield.”
30th January 1893 committee meeting –
“Team selected against Chesham.
Gate money for Sat 28th Jan £17 7s 2d, Pavilion 2/2.
Expenses of reserves regarding Wolverton £2 2s 8d.
“Resolved that Clapton be left in Hon Sec’s hands, admission 6d, pavilion 3d.
“The Hon Sec approach Mr Julian with regard to signing on for season 93 and 94 also that Galbraith be offered £1 per week during the close season and 30/- per week on play commencing also that Mr R. Murray be asked to sit on Committee as Honorary member.”