CHAPTER 34. INTO BATTLE
Army teams were some of the best in the country in the early days of football. For instance, the Royal Engineers had had success in the early F.A. Cup competitions winning in 1875 and being runners up in 1872, 1874 and 1878. Army men were fit, well fed and most importantly had the time to practice. Regimental honour meant they were given the team time to practice – as opposed to teams made up from working men. The Army men were also tough and played a rugged game which the men from Strawopolis found difficult to deal with. The record against Army teams was not good and we faced the 2nd Scots Guards in the semi-final of the Luton Charity Cup. In order to prepare for the semi-final the Sherwood Foresters and the Highland Light infantry were lined up to play at Dallow Lane.
4th February 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 11th February 1893.
“The Luton Charity Cup. – The draw for the semi-finals, which is mentioned on another page, is vitiated by the inability of Rushden to visit Luton on the date fixed for the first semi-final, and new arrangements are pending.”
The paper has a column called “Sports and Pastimes” which includes League games results and short reports, hockey, Athletic etc. This is separate to the Luton report and with bat, ball and Bicycle.
“The Luton Charity Cup. Luton Town v Chesham. This match was played last Saturday on the Town Ground, before spectators numbering between 1,000 and 2,000. There seemed to be an impression that the visitors had only come to receive a beating, and this, perhaps, affected the “gate.” Still, as set off, the record of the Chesham team, had to be thought of, for they had recently beaten the 2nd Scots Guards, and also, last year, played a capital game with Millwall Athletic. The team 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; H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and W. Chesher (left), W. Brown and H. Whitby (right). Chesham: Goal, R. Beckley; backs, W. Woods and G. Darvell; half-backs, Albert Meads, E. Moulder and H. Barnes; forwards, Fred Howell and J. Culverhouse (right), Frank Spratley (centre), W. Mayle and George Payne (left). Mr B. Clark (Clapton) acted as referee, whilst the linesmen were Messrs F.W. Hill (Luton) and S. Aris (Chesham). The visitors won the toss, and played with the wind from the Dallow-lane end. Play proceeded quietly until until the sphere was dangerously careering about the home posts, when Sanders shot it a safe distance. Penalty against the Lutonians brought a goal kick from the enemy, and the home citadel was again attacked, but Read resisted. Presently Whitby made a smart run with the ball, which resulted in a corner. Then followed some neat passing from Galbraith to Whitby and Allen, who sent the ball home, though the referee paused before allowing the point, thus making the first notch. The homesters attacked their opponents’ posts on a free kick being awarded against them, but the latter’s backs saved; in fact, immediately after the enemy got possession of the Lutonian ground and scored a corner. Galbraith was obliged to retire hurt for a while. Again the Cheshamites played vigorously, but Sanders was vigilant, and relieved. Chesher, in the enemy’s quarter, missed a chance of shooting by making an awkward pass to Julian, which resulted in nothing. Galbraith then secured the ball from some passing, he shot it in. Hands, however, were awarded against him. Sanders still did good work as a formidable back, and Galbraith again shooting, found his effort a foul. Just now there was some narrow play round the enemy’s citadel specially in a pass from Brown to Sanders. Play changed to the opposite end, but the onslaught was well met by Read, who gave a clean kick goalwards. Repeated attacks on the enemy’s posts failed to secure a goal, though corners were plentiful, the defence being capital. Just before half-time, however, a shot of Brown’s hit the post, but receiving the ball again, he passed to Wilson, who placed it, thus making two goals for the homesters, without any notch for Chesham at half-time. On play recommencing Galbraith once more called forth the vigilance of the visitors’ goal-keeper. More of his capital play was checked somewhat by his receiving an unfortunate kick from one of the other side, which, however got, was hailed with cries of indignation from the company. Taylor played smartly to the unlucky centre half-back but the latter’s shot went outside. A kick from Julian, on hands being awarded against Chesham, was a clean shot over the heads of the whole team on the defence, but Allen’s touch was ruled off-side. There was some hot-scrimmaging, and this, it must be said was the main characteristic of the second period of the game. Another corner to Luton was followed by Whitby pluckily sending the sphere goalwards, but to no purpose. The scrimmage continued merrily round the Chesham posts, and many were the narrow escapes from scoring. Constantly there seemed to be a certainty of an increased score by the homesters, but little deviations of kicking, as well as the lively defence, sent the ball at times scudding over the ground, giving the home backs some occupation. Allen, Julian and Galbraith were prominent the while; the latter had a capital run with the sphere, and winded up with a splendid shot which unfortunately went over. It looked now as though the score was going to remain unaltered to the end. The tendency of the game was in the direction of perpetual defensive tactics by the visitors, making any chance of their scoring very hopeless, and this made the result foregone. Galbraith was once more unsuccessful with several shots at the enemy’s posts. There was high excitement when Allen, extricating the ball from a scrimmage, shot it in. This was resisted, but Whitby just after placed it successfully. The third notch scored, the fourth followed quickly by Allen heading the ball sideways right into the goal. No change occurred after this, and when the whistle blew the score remained: Luton four, Chesham nil. Chesham played a capital game on the whole, though it was unproductive, and among them Moulder and Howell could be said to have been prominent.”
Also in the Luton Charity Cup Luton Montrose travelled to Rushden and suffered a six nil defeat. Hoy and Miller were said to be the best of the Montrose forwards. The other results saw Finedon beating Wolverton L. & N.W two nil. The semi-final draw say Finedon meeting Rushden and Luton Town due to face either Millwall or 2nd Scots Guards.
6th Feb 1893 committee meeting –
“Resolved that Hon Sec make the Kettering Hawks and offer of 30/- for a match on Good Friday morning”.
Team selected against Clapton and Hitchin.
After considerable discussion the team against Clapton was chosen as follows
T. Read, goal; J. Wilson and J. Hoy, backs; J.W. Julian, A. Taylor and George, half backs; Whitby and Groom, right; Galbraith, centre; Allen and Cheshire, left”.
Gate money for Sat 4th feB £24 8s 4d, Pavilion 4/-.
Expenses of cup tie Re: Chesham
Printing £1 1s 0d
Posting 10s 6d
Referee £1 0s 0d
Ground 10s 6d
Police 8s 6d
Gatemen 7s 6d
Total £3 18s 0d
Thus leaving £20 14s 4d for division. Chesham’s portion £10 7s 2d.
“J.W. Julian’s offer for next season was discussed when it was decided to pay 15/- per week the year through.
“Hon Sec stated he had seen Galbraith with respect to signing for next season, but at present he could not come to terms. It was therefore resolved that our offer to Galbraith remain the same also resolved that Mr Shane with Hon Sec wait upon Mr Ewen with respect to finding work for Wilson”.
11th February 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 18th February 1893.
“Luton Town v Sherwood Foresters. On Saturday the fixture on the Town club’s list was with Clapton, the dates originally arranged having been reversed to meet the convenience of the Londoners. The latter were, however, unable to fulfil their engagement owing to a cup-tie, and the Town Club authorities were accordingly compelled to seek other adversaries. Some doughty substitutes were found in the Sherwood Foresters, who had twice previously visited the town this season and obtained a division of honours. On their last visit the soldiers had not their full team, but on Saturday brought their strongest eleven. Brown had given way to Groom on the home side, and it was felt that the game was would be sharply contested. Punctually the opponents took their places in the following order:- Sherwood Foresters: Goal, Cragg; backs, Pykett and Bacon; half-backs, Whitehead, Garton and Fincham; forwards, Roberts (centre), Potter and Norman (right), Hoare and Roddis (left). 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), G. Groom and H. Whitby (right), W. Chesher and F. Allen (left). The referee was Mr Isaac Smith, and Mr A.F. Austin wielded the flag for Luton. Their fortune in winning the toss gave the homesters the pronounced advantage of having a strong wind in their favour. Roberts kicked off in the presence of a large muster of spectators and his companions brought the ball down in good style. The Luton forwards retaliated, and after a time Taylor sent the leather over the line. Wilson relieved a minute later, and then Read fisted out in splendid style. For a space matters were fairly even, but for the most part operations were conducted in the visitors’ quarters. At length Luton made a determined attack, and Groom distinguished himself by a plucky attempt at scoring. A few seconds later “hands” was awarded to Luton not far from the Foresters goal and the ball went spinning through the posts. A section of the spectators gave vent to a shout of delight, but their chagrin may be well imagined when it was discovered that no point was scored, the ball having gone through without touching a second player. Allen, who had been shaping well, missed a grand chance of shooting, and Julian showed up prominently when the Sherwood men ”came down like a wolf on the fold.” Read had an anxious time hereabouts, a persistent bombardment being maintained on his charge. He came through the ordeal with flying colours, and his [lucky] behaviour elicited warm applause. Whitby and Groom put in some excellent passing, but the desired result was not obtained. Good play was the order for a considerable period, and the elevens were apparently so splendidly matched that neither could get through, despite their utmost exertions. From a free kick Luton got the ball through, but they were again unfortunate, the sphere having only been touched by the player who took the kick. Taylor, who had been displaying exceptionally good form, was injured, but the cessation was exceedingly brief, the stalwart half-back resuming almost immediately. The attention of the referee was called by the spectators to what seemed very like a foul by one of the soldiers, but he allowed it to pass unnoticed. Wilson and Whitby were playing magnificently at this stage. The visitors put in some hot work and their forwards came unpleasantly near the home uprights. This was followed by an unproductive corner for Luton, and Sanders next put in a brilliant bit of play for the homesters just now, and Groom became noticeable for an execrably bad shot when a score seemed inevitable. Fincham was injured, and retired for a few minutes, but anxiety was relieved by the announcement that he had received nothing worse than the loosening of a tooth. Galbraith thereafter exerted himself more strenuously than he had hitherto done, and he rendered Cragg’s post by no means a sinecure. Taylor continued to play a grand game; indeed the half-backs were decidedly the most noticeable part of the home team just now. So the game proceeded until close upon half-time when Galbraith put on the first point for the “reds” after some very fine play by the forwards. The interval arrived with the score standing at one to nil in favour of Luton. With the wind in their favour in the second portion it was felt that the soldiers would make a far better show, but the reverse proved the case, and the Lutonians did most of the attacking for a time. It should be noted that Groom played in the centre this half, Galbraith going inside right. Four minutes from the re-start, a hot struggle took place near the Foresters’ goal, and a general shout of delight betokened that the ball had found its way into the net, the last player to touch it being H. Whitby. The homesters did not relax their efforts after this success, nor did the soldiers repine, and the result was that the match was more closely contested than ever. Allen put in some stinging attempts, and more than one of the soldiers’ forwards had a shy at Read’s posts. With little variation the game continued, and the Luton representatives held the upper hand to the close. The result of a grandly contested match was a victory for the Town men by two goals to none, this making two wins out of the three fixtures with the Army men. All the homesters rendered a good account of themselves; even Groom, though slow to avail himself of opportunities at the crucial moment, was by no means a failure. Whitby and Allen were in particularly good form, while the rear-guard were as steady as the sternest critic could wish. The Foresters were a very fine team; they were quick and agile, and it was only the worst of luck (which is sometimes thought to be synonymous term for a brilliant defence by opponents) that prevented them scoring. At all points they were strong, and though defeated they were by no means disgraced.”
“Luton Reserves v Hitchin. Played on the “Star” field on Saturday. The visitors had the advantage of the wind in the first half, but failed to score. The Reserves obtained a goal in the second portion, and eventually won by one goal to nothing.”
Montrose beat Kempston on the Bury Park ground by six goals to none. The Montrose team was Goal, E, Fuller; backs, A. Colling and G. King; half-backs, E. Saunders, W. Bird and W. King; forwards, E. Fisher and F. Hoy (right), R. Fuller (centre), W. Miller and Spratley (left). Fuller and Hoy scored two each with Miller and Spratley getting one each.
13th Feb 1893 committee meeting –
“Expenses Harpenden match 9/6. Star ground 5/-.
Charge for St. Mary’s Hospital be 6d, Pavilion 3d.
“That the offer of Wolverton to join in their Charity Cup be not entertained on account it interferes with our fixtures”.
Gate money for Sat 11th £15 15s 4d, Pavilion 2/3.
“That Hon Sec wire Swindon for £12 guarantee or 1/2 gross gate over £24”.
18th February 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 25th February 1893. Finedon met Rushden in the first semi-final of the Luton Charity Cup. “When it was found that Henfrey (the English International) [for Finedon] and Bailey (the well-known Northants half-back) [for Rushden] were included in the teams the large company settled down to enjoy something worth seeing.” “Rushden wearing white and Finedon red and black.” The match ended in a 2 2 draw.
With Bat, Ball and Bicycle commented as follows;
“The playing of the first semi-final for the Luton Cup reminds us very forcibly that we are rapidly approaching the end of the football season. The game in question, though not very remarkable in the sense of affording a striking display of scientific football was nevertheless worthy of note for other reasons. In the first place local spectators were enabled to witness an encounter between two elevens whose prowess has been the subject of much boastful rumour; next there was a splendid gate; thirdly the onlookers were afforded an opportunity of forecasting the probable winners of the cup. To speak frankly it cannot be said that many were very favourably impressed with the display of either team; indeed the general verdict was one of pronounced disappointment.
Finedon were in one sense fortunate in being able to command the services of Henfrey, who is well known here, but viewed in another light the gain was a distinct loss, for the one bright and shining light amongst the forwards was mercilessly snuffed out by the opposing half-backs whenever he showed anything approaching brilliancy. The other forwards were of little calibre, and as a natural consequence it was found that with Henfrey practically rendered useless the forward string was considerably at sea. Had it not been for the excellent defence of the Finedon men – and, it must be confessed, their strongly developed ability to kick into touch when pressed – the side would have suffered a severe reverse.
It was not too much to say that on the form displayed Rushden should have won, but their style did not impress me greatly. There was an almost utter absence of the short passing which Lutonians have learned to regard as essential, and far too much of a tendency towards the “kick and rush” system which we only expect nowadays from those who are imperfectly educated in the art of football. Even Bailey, the vaunted half-back, was tainted with this defect; he tackled splendidly and proved a well-nigh impassable barrier, but his tactics were at times not devoid of a suspicion of roughness. Judged all round I do not think there was much to choose between the teams, but on the whole I should expect Rushden to win next time.
The enthusiasts who accompanied the elevens were vehement in their disparagement of Luton Town, but I undoubtedly voice the opinion of the majority of those present when Is ay that it would fare ill with either Rushden or Finedon were they pitted against the “professionals,” and if they had to meet the Scots Guards – well, I dare not think of what would happen. This brings me to a very interesting subject of speculation. Who will be the victors when the soldiers and the Lutonians meet to do battle? There are many who have the utmost confidence in the locals and they very justly base their faith upon the victory achieved by the Lutonians over the Guards earlier in the season. On the other hand these sanguine ones must remember that the win alluded to came as a great surprise and that the Army men were without their centre forward and the pair of backs.
I confess to viewing the situation with very dubious feelings. While every allowance is made for the manifest improvement in the “reds” and the fact that they have proved themselves very hard to beat upon their own ground, it cannot be denied that the holders of the Army Cup are going very strongly just now and that they have vastly improved since they last encountered the full strength of Luton. The terrible example they made of Millwall recently should serve as a warning to those who are inclined to glorify the achievements of the Town men, and though I do not desire for a moment to decry our champions, my present thought is one of doubt whether they will be strong enough to cope with the Scots. The tussle will, excluding accidents, undoubtedly indicate the ultimate winners of the trophy, and if the Luton Town men emerge as victors from the fray none will be better pleased than the writer.
Talking of the Cup reminds me that a note-writer in the Evening News has been called to task by the secretary of the Chesham club for daring to insinuate that his players were guilty of rough play when they met Luton. To start with, Mr Stone was not present at the match and the communication comes somewhat badly from him. That there was rough play and that the Cheshamites were the aggressors is abundantly shown by the reports in the local papers. For a wonder the writers were unanimous, and their united expression of opinion was that certain of the Chesham men were guilty of reprehensible conduct. It is untrue to charge the Luton men with roughness; at least, they did not indulge in such measures except in retaliation, and the most eloquent fact that can be adduced in support of this statement is that only one Luton forward escaped injury. The win was at least a pronounced reverse for Chesham, and whether the winners are “Luton professionals” or even something more deserving of execration they are at least entitled to protection from the attack of such gentlemen as Mr Stone.
The semi-final will, of course, have to be re-played. Saturday was found to be inconvenient to the Town Club, and accordingly negotiations were entered into with the object of playing it on Easter Monday morning.
20th Feb 1893 committee meeting –
“Team selected against St. Mary’s Hospital and Beds Teacher’s Association.
“A short discussion took place with reference to the ground in the event of the Charity Committee wanting it for the replaying of the tie Rushden v Finedon when it was unanimously carried that it was impossible to let them another Saturday”. It was therefore resolved that the ground be let on any day but Saturday for £2 10s 0d.
Charity Commission attended and offered £10 for the ground for Saturday the 25th. The Charity Committee Deputation went to the Cowper Arms to await the Town committee’s decision. The Town Committee declined but offered Easter Monday instead.
“Resolved that no letter be read again except under necessary circumstances after having been once read and that any member coming in late may see any letter if he so desires”.
“Resolved that Mr Pitkin be empowered to draw up fresh agreements for Messrs Galbraith and Julian”.
25th February 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 4th March 1893.
“Luton Town v St. Mary’s Hospital. This match was played on the Town Club’s ground on Saturday afternoon in presence of a good number of spectators. The weather was suitable, but the turf was very slippery in consequence of the previous night’s frost. The teams were as follows:- Luton Town: Goal, A. Tearle; 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). St. Mary’s Hospital: Goal, G.C. Jackson; backs, J. Templeton and substitute; half-backs, M.F. Squire, Allen and J.S. Collier; forwards, W.R. Flint (centre), E.P. Staples and Lobb (right wing), J. Ashton and E.G. Sworder (left wing). Mr H. Shane was referee and the linesmen were Messrs J.H. Hackett and A.F. Austin. Losing the toss the Lutonians kicked off, and before very long it became apparent that they were to have much the better of matters. The game had been in progress only about a couple of minutes when Allen scored with a splendid shot. The ball was sent through again a minute later, but no score resulted owing to the referee having already stopped the game. St. Mary’s obtained a chance at Tearle’s charge, but they allowed it to pass unheeded, and then the Lutonians had several tries to lower the Hospital men’s colours. After Chesher had centred magnificently once or twice Galbraith sent in a hot shot. The ball hit the cross-bar and was returned by Chesher to Galbraith who ultimately scored. Jackson was very hard pressed and saved in fine style. His utmost efforts, however, failed to stop a good attempt by Allen, the ball going just under the bar. Galbraith managed to beat Jackson when that player had several eluded him, and the Luton centre man put on another a little later, this resulting from a pass from Chesher. Just before the interval was reached Whitby completed the half-dozen, and at that stage the homesters lead by six to none. In the second portion the superiority of the Luton men became even more strikingly apparent. Immediately after the resumption of hostilities Galbraith increased his side’s lead and he thereafter scored three other points. Allen steered the leather through the posts but the notch was disallowed on the score of an infraction of the off-side rule, but this made little difference, for Taylor rushed up shortly afterwards and put on a genuine goal. When the end came the visitors were beaten by no fewer than 11 goals to none. Sworder played extremely well for the Hospital.”
While the fans may have enjoyed the goals, I feel sure they would have questioned the quality of the opposition and the 6d admission money.
With Bat, Ball and Bicycle commented as follows:
“It is not often that spectators at local football matches are enabled to enjoy themselves so fully as were those who assembled on the Town Club’s ground on Saturday. With the exception of a brief space when they were execrating the referee the majority of the onlookers were almost uninterruptedly engaged in laughing at the players. The cachinnatory exhibition was in the first instance provoked by the methods of some of the visiting team, and the spectators became so pleased with themselves and the state of the game later on that they impartially laughed at homester and visitor alike; indeed from the beginning to end of the game hearty outbursts were to be heard at frequent intervals.
The local players had a ludicrously easy victory, and they were enabled to create a record for goal-scoring. The account began a couple of minutes after the start and thereafter the game became very uninteresting, the Lutonians being palpably far stronger than their adversaries. For a space the locals did not greatly trouble themselves to add to their total, but by and bye they aroused themselves in earnest and by the time the teams crossed over the score against the Hospital men was so heavy that their task was rendered absolutely hopeless. They made a plucky attempt to retrieve their fortunes, but they failed to make any impression on the homesters’ defence. The superior skill of the Lutonians was particularly noticeable at this stage, and it was observed repeatedly that the players were enabled to disregard the efforts of their opponents.
Perhaps the most noteworthy point in connection with the encounter was the splendid performance of Galbraith, who surpassed even himself. He was a veritable terror to the St. Mary’s goalkeeper, for not only did he put in a number if admirable dodging runs and accurate passes but he was for once enabled to display his ability to kick goals. The fact that seven of the eleven notches came from the centre forward’s efforts will be sufficient indication of his excellence, but it should be said that on some occasions Galbraith merely put the finishing touch on some grand passes from the wings. It is undeniable, however, that in each case no score would have resulted but for Galbraith, and he shall accordingly receive the praise which he is due.
I must confess to noticing an unusual slackness on the part of the Lutonians, but this is no doubt attributable to their recognition of the fact that they had the victory well within reach. Amongst the forwards Allen and Chesher were most worthy of praise as capable lieutenants of Galbraith, and of Cheshire [name spelt two different ways in the same sentence] may be said with all honesty. He was frequently applauded for his coolness and splendid dodging dribbles, while his accurate passes to the centre were especially worthy of praise. Allen was as plucky as ever, and Whitby delighted many b his excellent show. Brown was worst of the forward string; his centres were bad and his shots at goal were exceedingly weak.
The half-backs were in admirable form. Julian was well-nigh impassable and Wilson imitated his tactics with a fair share of success. His play would not be anything if not dashing, and I confess that the more I see of it the more I like it. His tackling is sure, and he invariably proves himself a thorn in the side of his opponents. Taylor, who had received a new term of endearment from the crowd, was in evidence wherever his presence was needed, while the backs were very reliable. Tearle had little to do in goal, but that little he did extremely well.
Among the St.Mary’s men Sworder was distinctly most prominent. He repeatedly distinguished himself by making brilliant single-handed runs and if he had been a trifle better supported his side would not be in so marked a minority at the close. Once he made a bad miss, but judges as a whole his play was worthy of praise. The half backs were fairly satisfactory, but the backs were at sea amongst the clever Luton forwards. the goal-keeper gave a very fine exposition of defence, and on several occasions he succeeded in defeating the home forwards when a score seemed inevitable.”
The column ends by saying that the game against Casuals had been scratched and the 1st Battalion Highland Light Infantry has been arranged for the 4th March. The replay between Finedon and Rushden in the semi final of the Luton Charity Cup had been arranged to be played in Easter Monday. It ends with
“By the way, the record of the Town club is not at present a bad one, considering the calibre of the teams encountered. It reads as follows: matches played 23; won, 15; lost, 7; drawn, 1; goals for, 77; goals against, 41.”
27th Feb 1893 committee meeting –
“Team selected for Casuals for sat 4th.
Voted on where McGeorge play, after an amendment was also proposed it was decided he play forward right wing outside.
gate money for Sat 25th £12 1s 9d, pavilion 1/3.
Expenses of reserves re Beds Teachers £1 12s 2d.
“it was resolved that in the event of being beaten by the Guards we should play Swindon at Swindon guarantee of £12 or half gross gate over £24”
“Resolved that Hon Sec see Mr Rodgers and explain that there had been a complaint as to his conduct on our ground and asking him to be a little more moderate in his language more especially towards the officials of the game”.
2nd March 1893 committee meeting –
“Meeting called on account of the Casuals scratching and a game against the Highland Light Infantry arranged.”
4th March 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 11th March 1893.
“Luton Town v Highland Light Infantry. The Casuals having scratched their fixture with the Town Club for Saturday last the home authorities were compelled to find substitutes, and the Highland Light Infantry stepped into the breach. The day was an ideal one from a football point of view, the ground was in capital order, and there was a large crowd of spectators. The elevens were :- Highland Light Infantry: Goal, W. Jarvie; backs, G. Grieg and G. McKinley; half-backs, G. Stodart, A. Buchanan and R. McKee; forwards, H. Tully (centre), F. McCue and J. Coventry (right), E. Wallace and C. Caldwell (left). 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 R. Brown (right), W. Chesher and F. Allen (left). Mr. S.F.P. Moore acted as referee, and the side flags were borne by Messrs J.H. Hackett and G. Deacon. Luton lost the choice of positions, and Galbraith kicked off against the sun and wind. The visitors went off with a great rush, and for an appreciable space the home defence was sorely taxed. At this early stage it became apparent that the Highlanders were no mean opponents. Hands against the military afforded the Lutonians a capital opportunity, but Julian kicked over the goal-line. Two or three times the soldiers experienced extremely hard luck. A fine run by Galbraith and the left wingers was next noted and the locals missed scoring by the merest trifle, the goalkeeper exerting himself splendidly. Taylor soon afterwards taxed Jarvie’s powers, but the visitors’ custodian proved himself equal to the demands. At length some admirable passing by the Highlanders’ front rank resulted in the first goal of the match being registered to their side, and the faces of the home club’s supporters expressed their sense of the position when a second notch was put on a minute later. It should be said, however, that this point should have been disallowed on the score of an infringement of the offside law. Allen, Chesher and Galbraith exhibited some brilliant short passing and Chesher sent in a shot which was only kept out at the expense of a corner. Brown, who had been playing badly, sent the ball behind, and Galbraith was similarly unfortunate after an admirable run. As the interval drew neat both sides exerted themselves strenuously and some excellent play was witnessed, but neither could score. Just before the whistle blew Wallace was hurt and had to retire. At half-time the visitors led by two goals to nothing. Shortly after the resumption Caldwell put in a very fine run and finished up by sending the ball past Read at Lightening pace. The reverse served to infuse new vigour into the Lutonians and from a free kick for hands they made a determined onslaught on the Highlanders’ fortress, the result being that Galbraith scored the first notch won by his side. A couple of minutes later the same player put on another point, after a capital shot by Whitby had been disposed of. Chesher sent the leather on to of the net after a noteworthy exhibition, and thereafter Galbraith was pulled up two or three times by the referee for jumping. When time was rapidly approaching the Luton centre man broke away and ended what was certainly his best effort this season by scoring a third notch. The rival elevens tried exceedingly hard to obtain a deciding point, but without avail, and when the end came the sheet read : Luton three; Highlanders, three. The game was admirably contested, and the Lutonians deserve commendation for the plucky uphill fight which they made.”
Luton Town reserves beat Luton Montrose on the Montrose ground by two goals to one.
Local football included a match between Gordon Wanderers and Excelsior 2nd won by the former by one goal to nil. Whitby featured for Excelsior which we must presume is Frank.
With Bat ball and Bicycle –
“The match on the Town Club fixture list for last Saturday was the return encounter with the Casuals ; but with the misfortune which seems almost invariably to attach to attach to the matches arranged by this formidable Southern club, they were compelled to scratch. Under these circumstances the executive of the local club cast about in order to find substitutes. They succeeded in obtaining a visit from an exceedingly well-known combination – the Highland Light Infantry.
With weather and attendance of the best, and the ground in good condition, little more could have been desired, and the spectators were enabled to witness one of the best contested games of the season. The visitors started with the great advantage of having a strong wind and glaring sun at their backs, and it was only to be expected that they should make a good show in the first half. It would seem somewhat curious to say that Luton experienced hard luck in this portion of the contest, but nevertheless it was the fact. The soldiers’ goals, though resulting from good play, were at the same time not devoid of a very pronounced element of luck, and it is averred that had the homesters appealed against a second notch being awarded their protest would have been upheld.
When the elevens crossed over it seemed possible that the Lutonians would make a far better show, and though the first few minutes’ play did not fulfil this expectation, they afterwards exhibited brilliant combination, and wore down their opponents for a time. To equalise the score with the majority of three goals against them well on in the second half, is an achievement which we do not often see, and the Town Club men are accordingly justly entitled to praise. Galbraith was, singularly enough, responsible for all three of the home goals, and it may be interesting to note that in the last two matches he had individually scored ten goals.
Considerable fault has been found with some of the decisions arrived at by the referee, and more especially is this the case with regard to the manner in which he persistently pulled up Galbraith for jumping. Personally speaking, I consider it high time that some check was put upon what is, after all, a fairly reprehensible practice. Galbraith is far too fond of indulging in what may be considered fair play in some parts of the country, but he and one or two others who offend against the proprieties in this way must be taught to behave better. It should be clearly understood that I have not a word to say against Galbraith’s form as a rule; indeed I consider he is an extremely smart, and a valuable acquisition to the side, and it may be that the jumping is involuntary.
This brings me to an extremely unpleasant point, and it is one which I had been intending to touch upon for some weeks. The demeanour of a certain section of spectators on Saturday was disgusting in the extreme to anyone possessing anything like a fair mind. The manner in which Mr. Moore was hooted and execrated for daring to give what doubtless was his conscientiously formed opinion, was regarded with extreme disfavour not only by myself , but by many others on the ground who have a real love for football. Personal attacks and vulgar exhibitions on the part of onlookers do not tend to raise the game in the estimation of outsiders, and I would suggest to the committee that some very strong steps should be taken with regard to bringing offenders to book. Especially would I do this in view of the very stringent bye-law which has recently been formed by the English Association with regard to the subject. The Luton Town Club cannot afford to have their ground suspended because a few irresponsible folks choose to indulge in condemnatory tactics.
By the way, I notice that there have been complaints made lately as to the alleged rough play on the part of the Highland Light Infantry, and it was said of a meeting between that team and Southampton St. Mary’s, that it “was the roughest seen at Southampton. Play had to be stopped seven or eight times through men being injured. One of the Highlanders had his nose smashed through charging one of the Saints’ forwards. Claud Lambie was the only Highlander who seemed able to play a fair game.” I hasten to say that, so far as Saturday’s game was concerned, nothing of this kind happened. Indeed, the only man injured was one of the Scotchmen, and this was an unavoidable mishap. There was no very noticeable roughness on either side; indeed, an onlooker remarked to me that the game had been a very gentlemanly one. To-morrow will witness the decision of the second of the semi-finals for the Luton Charity Cup, and considering the calibre of the teams who will fight out the battle, we may confidently anticipate one of the best matches of the season. Both elevens have done extremely well, and when the fact is intimated that the Guards will be fully represented , local enthusiasts will require no further indication of the importance of the affair. The Scots team will be as follows:- Goal, Private Wood; backs, Colour-Sergeant Lees and Lieut. Lowther; half-backs, Privates Morley, Stirling and McEwan; forwards, Privates Fox and McElheney (right), Lieut. Gosling (centre), Privates Fraser and Hyslop (left).
The Town Club’s team will probably be: – Goal, T. Read; backs, A. Hoy and J. Wilson; half-backs, A.H. Taylor, H. McKenzie and J.W. Julian; forwards, H. Galbraith (centre), H. Whitby and W. George (right), W. Chesher and F. Allen (left).
The task of indicating the probably winners is an exceedingly difficult one. There are, I hear, goodly number in the locality who believe in the Town Club’s ability to win, and while not attempting to decry the merits of the homesters, I confess that I am not one of those ardent spirits. It is true that the locals vanquished the Guards earlier in the season, but it must be remembered that they were without three of their principal players.
They have since undoubtedly improved as their recent performances abundantly testify. They have lost only five matches the whole of the season, and they are in the finals already in other cups. Nobody would be more delighted than myself to witness the triumph of our own players, but I am afraid the luck will be against us. Whoever wins it is as certain as mundane things can approach to certainty that they will prove the ultimate winners of the cup, for the display of Rushden and Finedon was not such as to impress me very greatly with their chances of success. ONLOOKER.
6th March committee meeting –
“Resolved “that Galbraith sign the agreement as soon as possible, Hon Sec to inform him the committee see no reason for altering anything in the same”.
Gate money for Sat 4th £17 6s 7d, Pavilion 1/3.
“That the minute with regard to the team against the Guards be rescinded after which team selected against the Guards for Semi Final as follows
Read, goal; Wilson and Hoy, backs; Julian, McKenzie and Taylor, half backs; George, Whitby, Galbraith, Allen and Cheshire, forwards”.
Also team against Newport Pagnell chosen.
“resolved that Mr F. Hucklesby’s ticket be forfeited on account of being used by another person”.
The admission for Od St Marks be 6d, pavilion 3d.”
In order to highlight the strength of the opponents, the 2nd Scots Guards record in the Middlesex Senior Cup was – winners 1892, 1893 and 1895 and Runners up in 1898. See more in the Gallery HERE
11th March 1893. From the Luton Reporter of 18th March 1893.
“LUTON TOWN ENTER THE FINAL.
Saturday was a fateful day for local football enthusiasts, for then was to be decided the question whether Luton Town were to proceed further in the contest for the possession of the Charity Cup. In this penultimate round the locals had been pitted against the 2nd Scots Guards, admittedly by far the strongest of the outside clubs. The chances of the respective sides had been eagerly canvassed during the few days immediately preceding the encounter , and the veriest tyro in football matters had perforce to be better informed than usual. To say that excitement ran high would be to pass a moderate judgment upon the state of mind of some of the cognoscenti, but as far as could be gathered the prevalent notion seemed to be that the Guards would just manage to secure the verdict – a prognostication which proved as baseless as it was pessimistic. Both sides had performed well in the previous round. Luton had obtained a hollow victory over Chesham by no fewer than four goals to nil, and the Guards had eliminated Millwall Athletic in very easy fashion. Some hope was aroused in the minds of local lovers of the game by the reflection that earlier in the season the Town men beat the soldiers in decisive fashion, but as a set-off it was remembered that the latter were not at that time fully represented. This argument could be adduced on Saturday, however, for the Army men brought their very strongest team they could get together. The homesters had re-arranged their side to provide for the inclusion of McKenzie and George, who had rendered them good service at an earlier date, and it was agreed on all hands that the match would produce a stubborn fight. The weather was all that could be desired. Brilliant sunshine flooded the ground, and the wind, though a trifle chill, was not strong enough to incommode the onlookers. The turf was in excellent order; indeed, all the surrounding were of the most encouraging nature. The Charity Cup officials had made arrangements for a large attendance, and their expectations were not falsified. Half-an-hour before the time announced for the commencement of operations a goodly number lined the ropes, and after that time strings of folks streamed into the field until there was a very large crowd, and reliable estimates demonstrate that it could not have been far short of 3,000.
The homesters were the first to take the field and the best-known men obtained encouraging receptions, while a general cheer hailed the advent of the Guards a few minutes later. Little time was lost, and punctual to the minute the elevens ranged up in the following order:- 2nd Scots Guards: Goal, Private Wood; backs, Colour-Sergeant Lees and Lieut. Lowther; half-backs, Privates Morley, Stirling and McEwan; forwards, Privates Fox and McElheney (right), Lieut. Gosling (centre), Privates Fraser and Hyslop (left). Luton Town: Goal, T. Read; backs, A. Hoy and J. Wilson; half-backs, A.H. Taylor, H. McKenzie and J.W. Julian; forwards, H. Galbraith (centre), H. Whitby and W. George (right), W. Chesher and F. Allen (left). Mr. E.H. Jackson (London)was referee, and the linesmen were Messrs R. Clarke (Clapton) and H.H. Cox (St. Albans). The Guards won choice of positions and sent their opponents to defend the goal at the pavilion end. Galbraith started play with the wind and sun in his favour, and it soon became apparent that these were advantages by no means to be despised. The commencement was of a highly sensational nature. The home forwards took the ball through the ranks of their adversaries in exceedingly clever fashion, and a fierce onslaught of Wood’s charge ended in Whitby sending the leather into the net. This success was obtained in less than a minute from the signal being given to begin operations, and a scene of enthusiasm was witnessed, those who lined the ropes maintained a running fire of applause until the ball had been returned to the centre ring. Barely had Lieutenant Gosling re-started play when a great misfortune happened to the homesters. McKenzie, by some unexplained means, received a violent blow in the face, and after a few seconds, deliberation he decided to retire for a time. The poor fellow was led off with blood streaming from his face, and it was feared that he was very seriously injured. In the pavilion, he was attended by Drs. Sworder, McArthur and Bolton Tomson, and it was afterwards announced that the hurt was not so severe as was as first imagined. The loss of a player from an important a position necessarily weakened the home ranks considerably , but George went half-back and the Lutonians did not for a moment relax their efforts; indeed, they played with even more pronounced determination and gave a plucky exhibition which was highly appreciated by the spectators. When the homesters had finished up a good run by steering the ball over the line, the Scots obtained possession and looked threatening but Taylor deprived in fine style. The soldiers made a strong attack, and Hyslop, on one occasion brought the ball in close proximity to Read’s charge. The home keeper repelled the onslaught, but a corner resulted. This having proved resultless , Gosling gave a taste of his quality by making a brilliant run. He and his comrades were pulled up by Hoy, however, and the scene of operations was transferred to mid-field. Wilson and Hoy had already displayed excellent style, and their show was in refreshing contradistinction to that of one of the soldiers’ defenders, who sent the sphere trundling into touch whenever pressed. Chesher, who had been displaying as much coolness as ever, outran the opposing half-backs and sent in splendidly from the left wing, but the inside men were not in evidence, and the chance was allowed to pass. The military were exerting themselves strenuously to equalise, and their front rank were exhibiting consistently good style. The Lutonians replied in spirited fashion, and the result of a particularly hot attack on Wood’s fortress was that Whitby registered the second notch of the day for his side, an achievement which evoked a general shout of encouragement and delight. Both elevens infused yet more dash and brilliancy into their display, and the struggle which ensued was the grandest which has been witnessed on the ground this season. The teams were splendidly matched and neither could make very much impression upon the defence of the other. When a free kick had been awarded against the Scots for what appeared to be a very bad foul, Hyslop put in one of his noted runs. If individual play could have obtained a score Hyslop would doubtless have succeeded, but he received a pronounced check, and though hands against the homesters followed nothing definite fell to the enemy. The same player repeated his performance a minute later and sent the ball scudding across the mouth of the goal, but Gosling was missing from his post, and the leather rolled harmlessly into touch in what to the Guards must have been very tantalising fashion. The Luton left wingers next carried the sphere up the field by means of some first-rate passing, but despite the fact that they were ably supported by Galbraith the effort was unrewarded in the method desired. Kicks over the side line had to be recorded against both sets of defenders for an appreciable space, and Wilson relieved magnificently on two or three occasions when danger threatened. thereafter the visitors forced their way into the neighbourhood of the home citadel and supporters of the Town Club must have experienced an anxious time, for the pressure was maintained for a considerable space. A couple of corners were registered to the Army Cup holders in rapid succession, and Taylor relieved in fine style after the second of these. The Guards at length kicked behind the Luton line, and the siege was thereupon transferred to the other end, Galbraith taking a very prominent part in the attack. Wilson distinguished himself by pulling up one of his foemen in the best possible style; he was injured in the charge, but despite this retained his post, and he called forth a specially hearty cheer a little time afterwards by repeating his performance equally neatly. Wood, who had been hurt, resumed his position as custodian, but it is only fair to say that during the remainder of the match he showed considerable lameness. The fact that Luton did not again succeed in scoring, however, is self-evident proof that his practically incapacitated did not prejudicially affect his side’s chances. Gosling managed to get past the half-backs at one time, but he found the backs impassable. A corner was conceded, however, and from this the leather was sen skimming over the cross-bar. Hyslop narrowly missed scoring, and thereafter Hoy rendered himself conspicuous. The Army men on one occasion forced the ball into the net, but the notch was disallowed on the ground of an infraction of the off-side rule. As half-time approached Wood was repeatedly called upon to exert himself, and he emerged from the ordeal with blushing honours thick upon him. Time after time Luton attacked, but Wood effected some wonderful saves and despite the utmost efforts of the homesters they were unable to increase their lead. Galbraith and George sent in some good attempts, but ultimately a foul was awarded against one of the Lutonians and the bombardment of the soldiers’ charge ceased. The homesters seemed insatiable in their desire to be found in proximity to Wood’s charge, however, and they quickly returned to the assault. A scrimmage ended in the sphere going behind, and afterwards it was kicked over the bar. Taylor was fouled, and Chesher forced a corner, but with the same result. When the interval arrived the Town men were leading to two goals to none. Crossing over the team experienced equal luck for some time. Whitby kicked the ball over the cross-bar instead of under it, and the visitors failed to improve upon several openings which were presented to them. Chesher made a bad miss when Galbraith had brought the leather into a good position for scoring. Read saved splendidly more than once just now, and Wood followed suit by disposing of a grand attempt by Julian. Chesher again having kicked out, the Guards rallied and made a combined attack upon Read’s posts, the result being that Hyslop was given a good opportunity. The left winger made no mistake, and thus the lead of the Lutonians was reduced. When the homesters had forced a corner, McKenzie resumed his position, and rarely has a player on the local ground been accorded such a hearty ovation as that which fell to his share. McElheney steered the ball between the uprights, but was ruled off-side. The Guards had the best of matters hereabouts and pressed considerably. Luton presently aroused themselves, however, and so sternly did they play that they were enabled to force two or three corners. Galbraith and Allen came within an ace of scoring, but Lees, who had been defending magnificently, managed to get in the way. The Luton centre forward narrowly missed when closed upon time, but no further scoring took place, and when the whistle blew Luton had qualified for the final by two goals to one. At the close the large crowd surged towards the pavilion, and the various local favourites were loudly applauded. It should be added that the Red Cross Band attended and played selections.
The Town Club will now have to meet either Rushden or Finedon in the final. These clubs decide their tie on Easter Monday morning, and on the following Saturday the final will be played.
With bat, ball and bicycle.
“My concluding notes last week regarding the encounter between the Scots Guards and Luton in the semi-final of the Charity Cup contest were couched in a somewhat pessimistic tone, and I am delighted to have to acknowledge were not warranted by the result. Of course, the form of the visitors, as I then said, was of such a character that none but the most hopeful could have had a very high opinion of their favourites’ chances of winning; and the fact that Luton were enabled to more than hold their own against the full strength of the Army Cup holders is more significant than any praises which local critics can mete out to them.
To say that the game was splendidly contested would be a faint picture of what really happened. From the outset the spectators evidently settled down with the intention of rapturously applauding good play from either side, and with good weather, and the ground in splendid going order, the surroundings were all that could be wished for. High-class play under these circumstances was fully to be expected, and we were not by any means disappointed. Both clubs had evidently realised the importance of the fixture and the calibre of their adversaries ; for while the Scots Guards had their best possible selections, Luton had gone outside to strengthen their eleven in one or two spots. The action of the visitors’ captain in giving the local team the advantage of sun and wind in the first half was distinctly questionable; indeed, as the result showed, it was a lamentable error in policy.
The start was one of the most sensational ever witnessed on our ground. Scarcely had the referee’s whistle announced that hostilities had begun, when a great shout indicated that something out of the usual had happened, and a good many of us were astounded to find that within the first half minute Luton had opened the scoring. A slice of good luck for the Town Club is invariably succeeded in the nature of a set-off, and this bad luck was plainly apparent on Saturday, for no sooner had the score been opened as described than a great misfortune befell the homesters. McKenzie, who was thought good enough to be included in the home half-back trio, was so badly hurt in the face that he was compelled to leave the ground, and it was not until well on in the second half that he was able to return. Students of the past history of the Luton Club would naturally imagine that the play of the locals deteriorated after this mishap, but during the last year or two they seem to have become possessed of considerably more fortitude, and instead of lessening their efforts, they played with all the more vigour and dash.
The Guards, too, exerted themselves in an endeavour to retrieve their lost colours, and for a space the game was grandly contested. Although Luton was under the palpable disadvantage of playing with ten men only, they quite held their own; indeed, at most times the play was of a give-and-take character. The left wing of the Guards was very troublesome at times, and had it not been that Gosling was frequently out of his position as centre forward, I might have a very different tale to tell. Hyslop sent in some splendid centres from the left, but these were invariably kept out – a compliment as much to the sturdiness of the Luton defence as to the attack of the Guards.
The game had been in progress a very considerable time before any addition was made to the score, and the shout of enthusiasm which burst forth when it was ascertained that the Lutonians had added to the total must be left to the imagination of readers to imagine, for it was wild in its intensity. Whitby deserves more than a passing word of praise for the pluckiness which he displayed, and the mere fact that he succeeded on two occasions in eluding the vigilance of Wood, who is credited with being one of the first Southern goal-keepers, is perhaps indication of the Luton right-winger’s proficiency. It must be added that he had sole charge of the right wing, George having been taken further back in the field.
The second half was productive of some excellent all-round play, and though the Luton backs displayed an unwelcome tendency to kick into touch, their defence was as sound as it could well be. The solitary point which the Guards obtained was well-deserved, and was a thoroughly merited reward to Hyslop for his fine performance throughout. The soldiers were unlucky in not scoring on other occasions, but seeing that this applies with equal force to the home eleven, it must be taken for what it is worth. When the referee’s whistle announced that the end had arrived, the Bedfordshire men had won what was undoubtedly the best match of the season by two goals to one.
It is difficult to determine to whom on the Luton side to award the palm of merit, for all demeaned themselves gallantly. Perhaps it should be given to McKenzie, whose pluckiness in resuming after being so seriously hurt was beyond all praise. It had been determined, considering the nature of his injuries, that he should not be called upon unless the Guards scored, but it should be said, as the best indication of McKenzie’s downright pluck, that he was anxious to go on before half-time. When he did make his appearance he was greeted with one of the heartiest cheers that it has ever been the lot of a player on the Luton ground to receive. If his subsequent play was any index, we missed a sterling exhibition when this half-back was forced to retire.
Dealing in detail with the other members of the team I would desire to congratulate the forwards upon their fine show which they made. Their passing throughout was exceedingly good, and from time to time they were enables to outstrip their heavier but well-trained foemen. Galbraith was plucky as ever, but he was too well looked after to be able to display any very considerable brilliancy. The left-wing pair put in some very useful work, and Whitby exerted himself so well that the loss of his wing-companion was scarcely perceptible.
Julian, Taylor, and George, on whom the brunt of the half-back work devolved, fully deserved the appreciation which was showered upon them at the close. Taylor was especially good; though he was injured at one point he declined to retire, and his subsequent efforts did not compare badly with those at the outset. Julian showed himself to be worthy of admission as ever, his display being of a genuinely high class character. George was in splendid form throughout. Wilson, who substituted Sanders at back, prove a great thorn in the side of the soldiers’ forwards. He was a sure tackler, and some of his long kicks were particularly fine. To Hoy also great credit is due, while Read again amply justified his inclusion in the side.
Amongst the Guard’s forwards Hyslop was by far the most conspicuous, and McElheney showed himself to be a very capable player. Stirling was the best of the half-backs, and Colour-Sergeant Lees outshone his superior officer at back. Wood, who was injured early in the game, did not allow his lameness to detract from his style, and in the second half it was extremely fortunate for the Scots that they were still able to depend upon his services. Altogether, the show made by the army men was exceptionally good, and though beaten they were by no means disgraced.
The attendance, as has been said, was very large, and though I am not one of those who go in for painfully accurate computation of numbers, I confess to take a considerable interest in the financial results. It is gratifying for me to be able to announce the the receipts for tickets and at the entrance gates amounted to considerably upwards of £64. The “gate” at the fixture between Rushden and Finedon was a good one, and considering that their second meeting has been fixed for Easter Monday morning, the income should prove a grand one. It is certain that the fixture on the 8th of April will bring out a great crowd, and thus the local charities will benefit in a very high degree from this source.
In anticipation of the final I am told that even now a resting-place for the cup is the subject of a very keen and anxious debate on the part of some ultra enthusiasts. It may be useless to suggest to these good folks that the cup is not yet won, and though I do not seriously fear that either of the Northamptonshire teams will succeed in beating our champions, yet I would suggest that there may be a repetition of the Polytechnic fiasco which occurred earlier in the season.
I am sorry to note that Millwall Athletic have intimated their intention to abstain from entering our cup contest another season. I can appreciate the fact that their hands are generally very full with cup competitions, but they are far too good a team to be eliminated from our own. I would suggest that some endeavour should be made to induce them to reconsider their decision.
For McKenzie, who I regret to hear is not much better, a collection is to be made on the ground on Saturday, when the Town Club play the Vampires. Wood, the Guards goal-keeper, is confined to hospital by his injury. ONLOOKER.”
Luton Reserves travelled to Newport Pagnell and lost five nil.