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Chapter 40. Vastly more scientific


Most of the chapter titles I have used are a mixture of modern phrases and wonderful Victorian-isms.  I do not think any of us have ever left a football match and commented that Luton’s play was “vastly more scientific” than that of the opponents.  Football had come a long way in a short space of time.  30 years earlier the game was hardly more sophisticated than the Shrove Tuesday rolling around in the mud type of game.  In the 1870’s crude tactics were used such as the “rush” where one player dribbled towards goal at the head of a pack of players – heavy forwards were a benefit.  The term “scientific game” was therefore applied to the 2,3,5 formation, players sticking to their position, knowing their responsibilities and passing the ball using the width of the pitch.  If we had attended the 1893 cup run then we may well have used that phrase.  

It is worth looking at the money taken for the Christmas games at Dallow Lane – 

Christmas 1887 totalled £10 10s 9d, with the game against Unity taking £5 5s 2 1/2d.  

Christmas 1893 totalled £135 12s with the game v Wolverton L&N.W taking £47 16s 2d

16th December 1893.  From the Luton Reporter of 23rd December 1893.  



On Saturday last the Luton Town men journeyed to Colchester in order to meet the Sherwood Foresters in the final round of the qualifying contest for the English Cup.  Efforts had been made to induce the Army players to visit Luton, but these overtures were declined when the Bedfordshire men had refused to play at Derby.  It may be well to intimate that the rival teams had met four times previously and that honours were even.  Last season Luton won the rubber with two games out of three, and this season the soldiers obtained the victory by three goals to one in the solitary encounter which had taken place.  Under these circumstances it was considered that the struggle would be singularly keen, though there was a general leaning towards the chances of the strangers when it was ascertained that the Lutonians would be compelled to play away from home.  The members of the eleven made the long and tedious journey to the Eastern garrison town on Friday night, and were accommodated at an excellent Temperance hotel.  On Saturday morning they were followed by about 30 townspeople, who reached Colchester in comfortable time.  Here they found the Luton representatives in excellent spirits and with a firm belief in their ability to win.  The weather was brilliant in the extreme, the sun shining strongly during the day, and the lot of the spectator was the reverse of unpleasant in consequence.  The scene of the encounter was Colchester Town Club’s private ground in Cambridge-road, and at the time announced for the start there was a fairly large crowd lining the ropes, the number being about 1,500.  The military were well in evidence, for not only were a goodly proportion of the onlookers wearers of uniform but the ground was kept by a picket.

Shortly after 2 o’clock the teams made their appearance, and at 2.15 they lined up in the following order :—Sherwood Foresters : Goal, Pte. Cragg ; backs, Sergt. Pykett and Pte. Bacon ; half-backs, Pte. Shaw, Drummer Garton, and Pte. Whitehead ; forwards, Drummer Potter and Pte. Legge (right wing), Pte. Roberts (centre), Sergt. Hoare and Pte. Vernon (left wing).  Luton Town : Goal, E. Bee ; backs, J. Wilson and W. Chesher ; half-backs, A. H. Taylor, J. W. Julian (captain), and J. Watkins ; forwards, W. Brown and J. Finlayson (right wing), H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and J. Dimmock (left wing).  The referee was Mr. G. B. Kemp, and the linesmen were Sergt. Corrigan (Foresters), and Mr. E. A. Barford (Luton).  The visiting captain won the toss and set his opponents to play with the sun in their faces, though they had the advantage of a somewhat strong wind.  Directly after the commencement the Lutonians worked their way into the quarters of their adversaries, but a capable spurt by the soldiers’ left wing effected a clearance, and so splendidly did the pair travel that Taylor was forced to kick out.  A goal-kick enabled Luton to carry the play into mid-field, but the military came down in force again, and were only stopped by handling the ball near the Luton goal.  Dimmock at this stage of the game distinguished himself by making a grand single-handed run, and thereafter a series of throws-in from touch enabled the “reds” to work their way up the line.  The home backs broke up the attack, however, and transferred the operations to the centre of the ground, where hands against the Sherwoods afforded their opponents some relief.  The soldiers were playing a hard, dashing game, and not only were they kicking hard and often, but their heading was magnificent.  Wilson came through in capital fashion on one occasion, but the Foresters rallied and again attacked.  The first corner in the game fell to them, but it was resultless, Potter kicking badly.  Again the homesters swarmed to the attack, but they found the Luton defence far too sturdy.  Galbraith soon afterwards took a long shot at Cragg’s charge, and the military custodian had an exceedingly difficult task to preserve his charge from downfall.  Some exceedingly pretty and effective passing between Allen and Dimmock was next witnessed, the young left wing pair easily eluding the opposing half-backs.  Dimmock ended by sending the ball over the line.  Watkins was penalised for pushing one of the Army men with his hands, and the home combination managed to force their way into the Luton confines.  Hands against Julian close in goal looked ominous for the visitors, but Bee exerted himself satisfactorily and his fortress remained uncaptured.  Wilson immediately afterwards disposed of a tremendously hot attempt.  Despite excellent defence, however, the Luton colours were lowered a minute or two later.  A capital shot was sent in from the left wing and after a struggle the ball was forced through, Bee being knocked down by Roberts.  The sympathisers with the soldiers set up a jubilant shout, and the Luton section of onlookers appeared correspondingly glum.  The “reds” were by no means daunted by this reverse, for they came down the field in fine style and looked very much like scoring, but the Sherwood backs were strong as towers.  The leaders sent in admirably, and a corner to them followed.  An anxious time was experienced by the Lutonians just now, for the Foresters were playing grandly and were pressing in most determined fashion.  The ball was no sooner forced over the line than another corner was obtained, but the ball was steered round the back of the net.  Dimmock got possession and raced away to the other end, his tricky tactics being generally admired.  A throw-in further increased the visitors’ advantage, and Pte. Cragg and the backs had all their work cut out to prevent the smart Luton pack from scoring.  The game continued in the neighbourhood of the soldiers’ posts for a couple of minutes, when a goal-kick relieved.  The “reds” again commenced a siege, however, and Brown sent in a first-rate centre, which Allen unaccountably failed to improve upon.  The Foresters, who were being continually cheered by their supporters, continued to play a very fast game.  They were at length pulled up for an infringement of the off-side rule, and Brown sent in another beautiful centre.  Dimmock was punished for getting off-side, and thereafter Allen headed in well, Cragg experiencing great difficulty in foiling the little left winger’s attempts to score.  The visiting side were now having all the best of matters, and repeatedly the soldiers’ citadel was only saved from downfall by the excellence of their back division.  Dimmock sent in a capital shot which went about a yard on the wrong side of the post, and then a corner was won.  It should here be mentioned that the Luton backs had been playing a grand game, their kicking being very sure.  When the “reds” appeared certain to equalise, the Sherwoods broke away and coming down with a rush Hoare put his side further ahead with a shot which no goalkeeper could have kept out.  Brown a minute later sent the ball over the bar at Cragg’s end after a good pass.  Roberts very badly fouled Finlayson and was cautioned by the referee.  When the leaders had struck the side of the net with the ball, their backs were given a great deal to do, the Luton forwards pressing continuously.  A corner fell to the share of the “reds,” and hands was against the Foresters.  Wilson was temporarily disabled, but luckily for his side the injury proved to be the reverse of serious ; he had been playing grandly, and his kicking was frequently applauded.  A foul against Luton resulted in Bee getting a handful from the opposing forwards, but he managed to stave off evil effects.  Dimmock made a capable run along the line, but he was stopped in good time by one of the rear-guard.  When the midway stage was reached the score remained unaltered, the figures reading : Sherwood Foresters, two ; Luton, none.  With the wind in their favour in the second half the Bedfordshire lads went off at a great pace, and immediately after the re-start Brown was presented with a good chance, but Garton profited by his dallying and robbed him.  The soldiers retaliated with a determined rush, but this was quickly stemmed and the Luton forwards again threatened danger.  Bacon, who had been as strong as a rock and well-nigh as immoveable, relieved, and then hands against Julian gave a chance to the Foresters which they did not accept.  Hereabouts the leaders got through, but only to be called up for off-side.  Luton attacked very hotly, and after the ball had been kicked over the bar a foul was awarded against Watkins, who was told that he must keep his hands down.  From a free kick for hands Galbraith passed out to Brown, who sent the leather past Cragg into the net at a terrific speed.  This success was generally cheered, and it seemed to infuse additional spirit into the Luton players, for their exhibition was subsequently noticeably more brilliant than formerly.  Potter made a good attempt to increase the advantage of his side, but Bee was equal to the emergency.  The foresters seemed to have developed an unwelcome liking for getting off-side, for they were again penalised for that offence.  Luton here were having greatly the best of the exchanges, but Chesher was punished for fouling.  This merely served as a temporary check, however, for almost at once the Lutonians were again making things lively for Cragg, their luck being of the worst possible description.  Dimmock was slightly hurt, and Bacon fouled Brown, while a second foul was chronicled against the Sherwoods in a few minutes.  Galbraith for once managed to elude the vigilance of the defenders, who were very carefully watching him, and he sent in a shot which struck the cross-bar and re-bounded.  A foul against the Foresters was followed by hands ten yards from their goal, and Cragg saved marvellously when a score seemed inevitable.  The soldiers’ keeper was called upon by Brown, but acquitted himself equally satisfactorily.  After a lengthy period of hard luck the Lutonians managed to equalise after an exciting struggle in front of goal.  This success was received by the Luton portion of the crowd with enthusiastic applause.  A fierce attack on the Luton posts followed, but nothing resulted.  Julian was slightly injured, and subsequently hands was awarded against Roberts.  When time arrived there was no further alteration in the positions, the sides being on equal terms with two goals each.  Changing ends a second time the visitors made it apparent that they had played out their opponents, but the Foresters’ backs were very reliable and prevented them scoring.  Luton experienced terribly hard luck more than once, and Potter was similarly unfortunate, while everybody wondered how Bee managed to keep out a  tremendously hot attempt by Roberts.  A corner to Luton having seen recorded, Dimmock managed to get through in good style, but he shot exceedingly badly.  Wilson conceded a corner, and goal-keeper Bee maintained his excellent record.  A corner on either side of the Luton posts was obtained by the Foresters, and shortly afterwards the first of the extra quarters was completed.  No sooner had the teams again faced the centre line than a general outburst of cheering hailed another score by Brown, this giving Luton the lead.  Thereafter the ball appeared to pass through the Sherwood posts and the Lutonians claimed a fourth point, but this was disallowed by the referee, though it was practically certain that it as a legitimate point.  When only six minutes remained for play the referee stopped the game, asserting that he could not follow the ball owing to darkness.  This decision was loudly challenged by the players, and indignantly protested against by the majority of the spectators ; but the official was inexorable, and what was in reality a win for Luton has to be written down as a draw.  As a commentary on the decision it may stated that 10 minutes after play ceased it was possible to see from one end of the ground to the other with ease, and the sympathy of the crowd with the Luton players was betokened by the loud cheering which accompanied their progress through the town.  Of course the match will have to be re-played, and the Foresters are ordered to visit Luton to-morrow, when the battle will be exceedingly keenly fought.  The Luton men covered themselves with honours, all alike performing brilliantly.  The backs were the strongest point of the Sherwood’s game.



This match was commenced on the Town ground on Saturday afternoon, but came to a somewhat premature conclusion, owing to one of the players being so unfortunate as to sustain an injury.  This accident, however, occurred some quarter of an hour before the time fixed for the termination of the match, and enough of the game had been played to show the capabilities of the teams.  There was a large number of spectators present, and the weather was as fine as could be desired, when the game began at about a quarter to 3.  The opposing teams were constituted as follows :—Electric G.P.O. : Goal, Lewis ; backs, Diaper and Howie ; half-backs, Stallain, Waghorn, and Eickhoff ; forwards, Robinson and Bell (right) Partridge (centre), Ellis and Mansell (left).  Luton Reserves : Goal, A. Tearle ; backs, Read and Harden ; half-backs, Whitby, Simpkins, and Gazeley ; forwards, Fox and Conquest (right), Groome (centre), Catling and W. Deacon (left).  Mr. Wright was referee, the linesmen being Messrs. G. Horn and Austin.  The visitors won the toss, and the home team had to defend the pavilion goal.  Soon after the start Tearle had to save, which he did in good style, and the G.P.O. forwards were pulled up for offside.  A further run down by Partridge and his colleagues ended in the ball going behind.  At this point the Reserve forwards had an innings, and a splendid centre from Conquest resulted in a goal being scored, Groome finally sending the ball through the posts.  Tearle, in saving a shot at goal, kicked a corner, but no advantage accrued to the G.P.O. men.  The Reserves had a run down the field, but were prevented from scoring by one of their number being penalised for offside, and their opponents afterwards obtaining the ball a run down followed, this, however, not producing any scoring.  Hands was soon afterwards given against Luton near the goal, and this was followed by a similar penalty against the visitors.  The Luton goal was afterwards in jeopardy, and hands for the visitors near the home citadel placed it in some danger.  Conquest failed to shoot when he appeared to have a good opportunity, and the G.P.O. forwards let go several opportunities of the same nature.  The game was somewhat slow, and of a give-and-take character.  Conquest afterwards sent the ball through his opponents’ goal, but was ruled offside, and thereafter Tearle fisted out a shot by Robinson in fine fashion.  Bell missed a chance of scoring just before half-time, and when the interval arrived each side had scored a goal.  Immediately on resuming another goal for the visitors was almost obtained, a hot shot being admirably saved by the Reserve custodian, and he was called upon to repeat his efforts directly afterwards.  A corner for the G.P.O. was followed by hands being given for Luton, and Groome missed a chance.  Some time after this it was found that one of the visitors’ men—Waghorn—had fallen to the ground, and the game was stopped while he was carried off the field.  His leg was thought to be broken below the knee, and he was taken at once to the Cottage Hospital.  There seems to be some doubt as to how the accident occurred, as Waghorn was not near the ball at the time, and his fall is said to be due to his colliding with another player.  The game, of which 15 minutes remained to be played, was not continued, and was left at the following unsatisfactory state :—Luton Reserves one, Electric G.P.O. one.  For the home team Tearle, Groome, Conquest, and Read played well, and among the visitors may be mentioned the names of Robinson, Partridge, Bell and Eickhoff.”

There followed a letter from the football club to its supporters.  As far as I know, this instruction has not been countermanded.


Sir,—Several of our prominent players complain that Luton spectators are too much in the habit of shouting out instructions to the various members of the team during the progress of the game ; in fact, our men go so far as to say that the superior displays given in out matches, to which all who have had the pleasure of witnessing can testify, is entirely owing to the absence of the distraction complained of.  By this visitors will see that if we are to have good home football we must allow the men to play their own game.  The committee therefore request that friends will refrain as much as possible from being too personal in this respect, as instead of being a help it rather detracts from the play.—Yours truly


Secretary Town Football Club.

18th December 1893 committee meeting –

“Fixture against Hitchin be carried out”.  

“The returns offered by Westminsters be accepted”.  

“Team selected against Sherwood Foresters for Sat 23rd, Bee, Wilson, Cheshire, Watkins, Julian, Taylor, Brown, Finlayson, Galbraith, Allen, Dimmock.  Resolved that Secretary submit names of Messrs Carr and Bourke to Sherwood Foresters for referee”.  

Expenses of team re Colchester £12 0s 5d and £1 7s 2d.  

The above team also selected against Wolverton and Casuals.  

Gate money for Sat 16th £4 0s 0d, pav 4d.

“Resolved that the players having worked well at Colchester the 5/- promised to be paid although it did not actually count as a win, and that 5/- be promised for a win on Saturday 23rd when the same teams meet again.”

Resolved that the back part of stand be filled up, barriers be constructed at the side and everything be completed by Wednesday 20th”.  

Mr Hackett gave notice that at the next meeting he would make a resolution for the readjustment of line out”.  

“Resolved that Secretary should write to the papers asking spectators to refrain from shouting instructions to the players”.  

“Secretary obtain a set of rules for each committee man’s use”. 

21st December 1893 committee meeting – “resolved that secretary write Sherwood Foresters thanking them for the concise, prompt and admirable returns of the expenses of cup match”.  

“Resolved to adhere to fixture with Millwall”.  

“Suggested that Dallow Lane entrance be opened for boys’ only”.  

“Resolved that ground man get the irons up, have them straightened and put them down again on Friday and that he be asked to get his work completed by Saturday dinner time”.  [The irons held the ropes around the edge of the pitch to keep spectators back.  The phrase “Don’t strain the ropes” was often printed on matchcards]. 

23rd December 1893.  from the Luton Reporter of 30th December 1893.  

“Luton and the English Cup

“The “Reds” Divisional Champions

Luton Town v Sherwood Foresters.- these teams met at Luton on Saturday to decide which should have the honour of holding the championship of the ninth division in the qualifying competition for the English Cup and of thereby entering the competition proper.  It will be remembered that in the previous week the clubs had played a drawn game at Colchester.  On Saturday there was a very large attendance, and the new grand stand – a commodious wooden structure capable of accommodating about 400 persons – was well filled, those present numbering upwards of 3,000.  The weather was magnificent, but the turf was not quite so good as might be desired.  A few minutes after the time fixed for the start the elevens took the field in the following order :- Sherwood Foresters: Goal, Pte. Cragg; backs, Sergt. Pykett and Pte. Bacon; half-backs, Pte. Tinkler, Drummer Garton, and Pte. Whitehead; forwards, Drummer Potter and Pte. Legge (right wing), Pte. Roberts (centre), Sergt. Hoare and Pte. Vernon (left wing).  Luton Town: Goal, E. Bee; backs, J. Wilson and W. Chesher; half-backs, A.H. Taylor, J.W. Julian (captain) and J. Watkins; forwards, W. Brown and J. Finlayson (right wing), H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and J. Dimmock (left wing).  The referee was Mr A. Rostron Bourke and the linesmen were Bandsman Chadwick (Sherwood Foresters) and Mr E.A. Barford.  The Luton captain won the toss and elected to play from the pavilion end.  Roberts started the game, and the home half-backs at once secured possession.  A capital run by the Luton forwards ended in a goal kick and a capable display by Dimmock resulted in a beautiful centre and a corner.  Brown from this hit the bar.  In another half minute a great struggle took place near Cragg’s charge, and Allen evoked general applause by heading a goal in exceedingly clever fashion.  Julian sent the ball into Cragg’s hands, and then the Foresters troubled Bee a trifle, Chesher putting in some good defensive work.  The soldiers resumed the attack but failed to get through, the Luton back play being far too strong.  A corner against the homesters was awarded a little later, but this proved resultless.  Galbraith was injured somewhat and was compelled to retire, but fortunately his absence was not of long duration.  The Sherwood men had a splendid opportunity of scoring just afterwards and missed very badly, and then Dimmock made a first-rate run along the left wing.  Sergeant Hoare came down well but was eventually pulled up, and a foul against Watkins was the next notable feature.  There were hereabouts a good many tumbles, the soldiers playing in that hard, determined fashion which invariably characterises the displays of military teams.  Galbraith conceded a corner, but the danger passed, and subsequently Bacon made a hot though ineffectual shot at goal.  The Foresters’ left wing men next put themselves in evidence and Bee had an anxious time.  Luton in turn attacked, and Cragg was compelled to exert himself strenuously, Allen and Julian rendering themselves conspicuous just now.  The Town men maintained the pressure for a space, but ultimately the siege was raised and hands against Julian threatened danger to the home fortunes.  The defence proved equal to the emergency, however, and in a few seconds Brown from a pass at the other end by Galbraith sent in a fine attempt which missed by a yard.  Three corners to the “reds” in rapid succession indicated the nature of the play at this stage, and following the last of these Cragg was called upon to exert himself.  Finlayson made a grand overhead shot at goal which missed by the merest trifle.  Galbraith was pulled up for jumping at an opponent, and thereafter Whitehead gave a corner.  A first-rate attempt by Allen went outside the post, and thereafter Luton continued to have the best of matters.  A goal-kick fell after Luton had got through, and hands against Galbraith served to afford an opening for Roberts, who sent the ball sailing away over the home cross-bar.  Hands against the Lutonians was given twice in a comparatively brief space, and a corner to the same side was sandwiched between these decisions.  The Bedfordshire players hereabouts made a game spurt and pressed tremendously, their bad luck in failing to increase their lead being very pronounced.  Some exceptionally severe tussles took place near the Foresters’ uprights, but the ball could not be forced through.  Galbraith and Allen were particularly noticeable at this stage.  Corners were secured by the “reds” in rapid succession, and on one occasion Pykett had a narrow escape from kicking through his own goal.  Brown sent in a beauty, and the Foresters failed in a good attempt.  Nothing daunted, however, the military resumed the attack, and ultimately Roberts scored somewhat luckily, the home defence having been relaxed somewhat.  Half-time arrived just afterwards with the score  standing at one all.  After the resumption a miskick by one of the Lutonians almost let the visitors through, but in the end the ball was sent over the Luton goal-line.  Allen who continued to exhibit grand form, came very near to scoring once, the ball well-nigh touching the post.  The soldiers came down in determined fashion more than once, but Vernon was adjudged off-side and Roberts was penalised for fouling.  Galbraith was slightly lamed by Garton, who was pulled up, but despite this the Luton centre man continued to play pluckily.  He soon met with his reward, for he was enabled to make a long run and to finish up by putting his side ahead with a splendid shot.  This success was received with intense enthusiasm at all parts of the ground.  Allen was badly tripped when he had a good chance, but despite the somewhat reprehensible play of their opponents the Lutonians continued to hold the upper hand.  A little later Finlayson sent through by a pass from Dimmock, but for some reason the point was disallowed.  The Foresters fared similarly just afterwards, and in the course of the next few minutes various decisions were given against them, more than one player being stopped for fouling.  Towards the end of the game the visitors had a trifle the best of the exchanges, but all their efforts were futile and they were unable to baffle the Lutonians’ defence.  In the result the home side won by two goals to one, and thus qualified to meet Middlesbrough Ironopolis at Middlesbrough in the first round of the competition proper.  It only remains to say that the Luton men – as at Colchester in the previous week – were the better team, their play being vastly more scientific than that of their adversaries, whose splendid condition alone saved them from a very heavy defeat.”  

From the Luton Reporter of 30th December 1893.  

Interlude – CHRISTMAS AT THE RAILWAY STATIONS.—General holidays invariably bring a great increase of work to the officials at the railway stations, and the Christmas holiday is no exception to the rule.  At the Luton stations the work has been very heavy.  In fact, notwithstanding the cry of bad trade, the number of tickets which have been issued at the Luton stations to all parts of the country has been almost unprecedented.  At the Midland Railway Station 7 excursion tickets for Scotland were issued on Friday, and on Tuesday 141 excursion tickets for London were sold, these being the only excursions run.  The ordinary bookings, however, were very heavy both on Saturday and Sunday.  On the former day the number was 980, while on the latter day it was 318.  On Christmas Day the bookings were light, and on Tuesday and Wednesday the number of tickets issued was very little above the average.  The only excursions on the Great Northern Railway from Luton were run to London on Tuesday and Wednesday.  On the first named day 22 tickets were issued and on the latter day 47.  The ordinary bookings were exceptionally numerous.  On Saturday the number of tickets issued to all parts was 521, on Sunday 367, Monday 261, Tuesday 777, Wednesday 781.  Of the last mentioned number some 300 or 400 were for Dunstable, a large number of people evidently being attracted to the town by the fire which occurred on Tuesday.  The parcel traffic at both stations has been unusually heavy, the number received and dispatched from the Great Northern Station being far in excess of the numbers for several years past.

26th December 1893.  Report from the Luton Reporter of the 30th December 1893.  

“Luton Town v Wolverton L. and N.W.- The match on the afternoon of Boxing Day was with the Wolverton L. and N.W., and in anticipation of an exciting struggle about 3,500 spectators attended at the Dunstable-road ground.  The elevens were as follows:- Luton: Goal, Bee; backs, Wilson and Chesher; half-backs, Julian, Taylor and Watkins; forwards, Brown and Finlayson (right), Black (centre), Allen and Dimmock (left).  Wolverton: Goal, Turner; backs, Worker and Timbrell; half-backs, Lawless, French and Kirby; forwards, Sharpe and Poole (right), Gosson (centre), Roddis and Wesley (left).  The referee was Mr J. Wright, and the linesmen Messrs I. Smith (Luton) and F. Swain (Wolverton).  The weather was excellent, but the ground was in a somewhat sticky condition.  The homesters had choice of positions and had the advantage of the wind.  At the outset the “reds” put themselves in evidence and Black (who was a member of a Sheffield Club on a visit to the town) became conspicuous.  Little time had elapsed when Brown scored the first goal for Luton after putting in a shot which struck the post.  The visitors rendered a good account of themselves in the next few minutes and Gosson was particularly noticeable for some good work.  The home forwards, however, were also on the alert and Brown was soon enable to put on a second notch, while Dimmock added a third almost immediately afterwards.  The Wolverton men experienced hard luck in the subsequent exchanges but they failed to defeat the homesters’ defensive lines and when the interval arrived things seemed rosy for Luton with three to none in their favour.  In the second half Gosson opened the scoring with a splendid attempt, and little while later Wilson ran through from back and notched a fourth point amidst considerable applause.  Finlayson obtained a fifth notch, and when time expired Luton had won in creditable fashion by five to one.  Dimmock was the hero of the day amongst the forwards, and he was well supported.  The remainder of the team were in good form.  Gosson was most prominent on the other side.  It was generally agreed at the close that the local eleven were considerably in advance of their adversaries so far as skill was concerned.”  

27th December 1893.  From the Luton Reporter of 30th December 1893.  

“Luton Town v Casuals.- On Wednesday afternoon the Town men received a visit from this noted amateur combination, who for once in a way sent down a representative side.  There was again an extremely large attendance, about 4,000 watching the game.  The sides were:- Luton: Goal, Bee; backs, Wilson and Pte. Colling (Royal Engineers); half-backs, Julian, Taylor and Simpkins; forwards, Brown and Finlayson (right), Galbraith (centre), Allen and Dimmock (left).  Casuals: Goal, A.G.S. Lawrence; backs, L.L. King and C.O.S. Hatton; half-backs, H.C. Foy, F. Bickley and R.H. Foy; forwards, M.G. Nelson and R.O. Crawford (right), C.G. Symons (centre), E.D. Compton and B Pares (left).  The referee was Mr J. Wright, and the duties of linesmen were undertaken by Messrs H. Wilkins and E.A. Barford.  The home eleven once more won choice of ends, and from the kick-off went off at a great pace.  Dimmock putting in a very fine single-handed run almost immediately after the commencement.  A corner to the Lutonians was secured in a half a minute, and for a space the operations continued in the Casuals’ confines.  Thereafter hands was awarded against the “reds,” who were playing in noticeably perfunctory fashion.  The Casuals exhibited something approaching good style hereabouts, but the play was not by any means brilliant.  Dimmock and Allen treated the onlookers to some capital passing, and the first-named made a splendid run which just failed of the desired effect.  Wilson was showing up prominently.  Dimmock continued to exert himself satisfactorily and once tested Lawrence with a hot attempt.  The Luton end was visited in turn and Pares sent in a passable shot.  Bee was next called upon to save a good one from the visitors’ right wing and he conceded a corner in saving.  After another corner had been recorded against the “reds” King made a capable attempt to capture Bee’s charge, but the ball was kept out.  Hands was obtained against the Casuals and Julian steered the ball between the posts but no score was allowed inasmuch as no second player had touched the leather.  Minor advantages to either side were chronicled, and for a good time matters were very even.  Galbraith subsequently came through in great style and narrowly missed scoring, and Dimmock sent in a shot which was far too high.  The Lutonians were now playing with only ten men, Taylor having left the field, but this did not seem to affect them greatly, for they attacked strenuously.  At length hands against the Casuals gave the homesters a chance near goal and Julian sent the ball past Lawrence from a pass by Dimmock.  A foul by Casuals was duly punished, and then Galbraith put his side further ahead with a wonderful screw shot.  The Casuals met with hard luck thereafter, but they failed to beat the home defence, and when the interval arrived the score was unaltered.  After the resumption the Casuals improved and once or twice came very close to scoring.  Galbraith sent the ball into the net but unfortunately Dimmock had already been adjudged to be offside, and consequently the notch did not count.  The Casuals reduced their opponents’ lead after a capital combined run, and they followed up this success by some excellent play.  The next change in the score was made by Julian, who headed through from a corner and thus achieved the distinction of scoring two goals, which is quite an exceptional performance for a half-back.  The game eventually resulted in a victory for Luton by three to one, this success forming their second win over the Casuals during the present season.”  

The Luton Reporter gave a brief outline of the Reserve matches over Christmas. 

“Reserve matches.- On Bank Holiday the Town Reserves obtained a hollow victory over the Scrutton club by 13 goals to none, and on Wednesday morning they beat the Luton Excelsior by six to two.  The Reserves then played Hitchin, On Saturday, and beat them by one goal to nil.”  

The football column ended with news of a benefit match –

“to be played on Monday, between Luton Reserves and Montrose in aid of W. King, who was unfortunately injured a few weeks since.”  

28th December 1893 committee meeting –

“Team selected against Ilford for Sat 30th.  Bee, Wilson, Cheshire, Taylor Julian, Watkins, Dimmock, Allen, Galbraith, Finlayson, Brown.  In the event of Taylor being unable to play Vickers to fill this place”.

Gate money for

Saturday 23rd £41 4s 11d Pavilion £4 2s 8d Total £45 7s 7d

Monday 25th £2 7s 11d Pavilion       3s 10d Total £2 11s 9d

Tuesday 26th £3 16s 5d Pavilion       3s 9d Total £4 0s 2d

Tuesday 26th £43 6s 10d Pavilion £4 9s 4d Total £47 16s 2d

Wednesday 27th £1 9s 6d Pavilion Nil Total £1 9s 6d

Wednesday 27th £31 1s 4d Pavilion £12 5s 1d Total £34 6s 10d

£123 6 s 11d£12 5s 1dTotal £135 12s 0d

“Resolved to add extra sovereign to Wolverton guarantee”.

Proposed by Mr Davey, seconded by Mr Arnold that all the local players viz., (Cheshire, Wilson, Taylor, Watkins, Dimmock, Allen, Brown) receive 5/- per match for extra matches played during the holidays”.  

“Resolved that 10/- be guaranteed to J.W. Julian as repayment of money paid for services whilst away from business”.  

Expenses re Cup tie Sherwood Foresters 

Printing 15/6, Posting 12/6, Police 12/6 £2 0s 6d

Ground man 10/-, Gatemen 10/-, Canvas 10/- £1 10s 0d

Referee £1 7s 0d

sub total £4 17s 6d

Visitors travelling expenses £5 10s 0d

total expenses£10 7s 6d

Total gate and stand £45 7s 7d less £10 7s 6d =£35 0s 1d

Sherwood’s portion £17 10s with £5 10s 0d travelling = £23 0s 0d.

30th December 1893.  Taken from the Luton Reporter of 6th January 1894.  


The representatives of the Town Club journeyed into Essex on Saturday in order to play their return match with Ilford, with whom they had played a drawn game earlier in the season at Luton.  The trip was accomplished on the Midland and Great Eastern systems and a goodly number of followers who accompanied the team reached the ground shortly before the hour announced for the commencement.  At that time there was only a moderate attendance and when the kick-off came those present numbered scarcely 1,000.  It was 20 minutes after the hour fixed when the sides faced the central ring as follows :—Luton Town : Goal, E. Bee ; backs, J. Wilson and W. Chesher ; half-backs, J. W. Julian (captain), J. Watkins, and R. Vickers; forwards W. Brown and J. Finlayson (right wing); H. Galbraith (centre); F. Allen and J. Dimmock (left wing).  Ilford : Goal, A. J. Davies ; backs, J. O. Drummond and E. Markham ; half-backs, C. D. Regan, H. G. Watts (captain), and F. Markham ; forwards, E. C. Porter and H. O. Worrall (ring wing), G. Roberts (centre), J. C. King and J. D. Hutchins (left wing).  Referee, Mr. E. E Stuart (Referees’ Association); linesmen, Messrs. E. Markland (Ilford) and H. Shane (Luton).  Luton won choice of positions and elected to play with the sun in their favour.  The afternoon was brilliantly fine though cold, and the brightness of the sun’s rays was somewhat of a disadvantage to the Ilford men at the outset.  From the start by Roberts the homesters managed to get down, but they were unable to break through the Luton defence.  Galbraith and his companions retaliated, but they met with similar obstraction, and after they had threatened danger for a minute or two hands against them resulted in the siege being raised.  Roberts tested Bee’s ability with a grand shot which was as splendidly negotiated, and King failed after a good attempt to score.  A corner followed, but it proved resultless.  For a space Ilford maintained the pressure, and when play was transferred to the other end Allen sent the ball into the goalkeeper’s hands.  Luton subsequently exhibited good style amongst the forwards, and Finlayson was presented with a chance, but he unfortunately sent the ball a trifle too high.  When the game had been in progress about ten minutes a scrimmage took place in front of the home fortress and Galbraith headed into the net, after what was apparently a miskick by one of the defenders.  The score was admittedly a trifle fluky, but it was well worked for and the successful side were warmly applauded.  After a foul against the Essex men the Bedfordshire contingent got down again and forced a corner.  This proved nugatory, and F. Markham was able to run through.  Dimmock threw away a fine opportunity when he appeared to have the goal at his mercy, and after a corner had fallen to the Lutonians Galbraith unsuccessfully endeavoured to add to the total with a long shot.  A couple of shots by the Ilfordians were rapturously cheered by the on-lookers, and thereafter a free kick for hands against the “reds” threatened danger, but one of the homesters kicked a great deal too high.  When Worrall had signified his re-entry into the team by putting in some brilliant work, the visitors’ captain made a capable run and concluded with an execrable attempt to score.  A couple of free kicks against Ilford next had to be chronicled, and then the same side experienced hard luck in failing to equalise.  By a series of throws in from touch Luton managed to get down and when the operations were well within the Ilford boundary hands against that side rendered their position ominous.  The visitors, however, failed to benefit by the chance and a little later very nearly allowed their citadel to be captured, Chesher managing to get in the way in the nick of time.  The feature of the next few minutes’ play was the exceedingly poor fashion.  Wilson saved magnificently, and next the “reds” had a narrow escape of increasing their lead.  Finlayson was penalised for a foul, and a corner against Luton was succeeded by a free kick against their opponents, while Julian was visited with the referee’s displeasure for fouling.  When the midway stage was reached after 10 minutes play the Luton men were leading by one goal to nil.  Hands against Vickers, who had been exhibiting fairly satisfactory style, was the first point of importance in the second half, and after Brown had sent behind the home goal line Galbraith was punished for indulging in questionable tactics.  Ilford were, in turn, pulled up for an infringement of one of the rules, and thereafter Allen and Galbraith took the ball up the field in first rate fashion, Brown spoiling the display by shooting exceedingly badly.  Finlayson tried a long shot which failed of the desired effect, and next Galbraith was once more stopped, though this time it was for offending against the off-side rule.  Porter, who had been sharing with Hutchins the honour of putting in the best forward play on his side, was stopped for a like offence.  Galbraith made a splendid run and Allen shot somewhat badly, and thereafter Galbraith headed over from a pass by Dimmock.  Several decisions adverse to the Bedfordshire men were followed by one in their favour, and thereupon ensued a tough struggle at the Ilford and, the homesters meeting with excellent luck in preventing their opponents from scoring.  Galbraith managed to get through after a similar attack on the Luton fortress, but he could not score.  Towards the end the play ruled in favour of the visitors, but no addition was made to the total, and the result was accordingly a win for Luton by one goal to nil.  To speak frankly of the display by the winners it was the worst they have given for a considerable period; in fact, they have not played nearly so poorly for two or three months.  Various causes are assigned for this, and one or two of these are very weighty.  The forwards were frequently at sea, their combination being often broken up by Drummond, and altogether their show was not nearly so brilliant as some daily papers would have us believe.  Julian and Watkins played grandly, and while the pair of backs were as a rule safe Bee was in fine form between the posts.  For the losers Drummond played finely, and had it not been for his services the adverse balance would have been very much more pronounced.  The referee’s decisions were by no means unimpeachable, and the crowd are not entitled to boast of their impartiality.

A writer in the Morning Leader says :—I am inclined to think the better team won, but Luton certainly did not display the form which beat the Old Westminsters out of the English Cup.  It is not a little singular that on each occasion I have seen Luton Town in the metropolis they should have won by one goal to nil.  On Saturday the goal was a lucky one, and they missed easier chances.  The forwards combined fairly well, but there was no method in front of goal—trusting too much to luck ; and, generally speaking, the two Ilford backs were enabled to distinguish themselves to a considerable extent.  Drummond gave a magnificent exposition of the game, playing far better than when he wore the other stripes and was easily the best back on the field, though all four were called upon for strong work.  The six halves were good, Julian, Regan, and Vickers being perhaps the most prominent.  Watts heads better than he kicks.  Forward, I was much taken by the fine play of Roberts, his speed and dodging being very noticeable.  Worrall was the only weak spot in the home front rank, indeed, being little more than a passenger, and he has deteriorated painfully since I saw him last season.  The Lutonian five are a nice level lot, and they know how to take the ball down ; but they lack finishing power, and better shooting would have got them a bigger margin.  Davies was very safe in goal, and Bee brilliant—some of his saves being wonderful.  Mr. Stuart is very prompt in his decisions, but he makes a big proportion of mistakes, and the crowd did not fail to give him their opinions.


The fixture between these elevens brought together some 500 persons to the Town ground on Saturday.  That numerous class of persons who find pleasure in inflicting upon their fellow beings remarks not of an entirely novel nature upon the “Englishman’s topic” were afforded an opportunity of showing a little originality, for the remark that it is very cold is one which has not been often heard during the present winter, and one which on Saturday exactly described the state of the weather.  The ground was hard frozen and slippery, particularly in that part of it sheltered by the new grand stand, which has thus soon shown signs of not being an unmixed blessing.  Under these circumstances a fast game was not to be expected, and perhaps this is in some degree accountable for the comparative paucity of spectators.  However this may have been, the game was on the whole the reverse of fast, and except for some light touches here and there of a rather uninteresting character.  The following were the teams :—G.N.R. Goal, H. W. Dixon ; backs, J. Cooke and F. Hastings ; half-backs, W. T. Caldicott, S. Pugh and H. Taskar ; forwards, H. Loughton and — Pratt (right), H. N. Vincent (centre), A. H. Pugh and F. Stone (left).  Luton Reserves : Goal, A. Tearle ; backs, P. Harden and H. Whitby ; half-backs, P. Read, J. Simpkins, and F. Gazeley ; forwards, Black and F. Conquest (right), Groome (centre), Catling and Deacon (left).  Mr. E. A. Barford was referee, and Messrs. T. Poulton (King’s Cross) and I. Smith (Luton) were linesmen.  The home captain lost the toss and defended the pavilion goal.  The first point of any importance in the game was  free kick for hands against Luton, and soon after this the visiting goalkeeper conceded a corner in saving his trust.  Whitby almost directly afterwards made an unsuccessful shot at the London goal, and this was immediately followed by a shot from Groome going into the net.  After the ball had been taken to the other end of the field, a further unsuccessful shot followed by a corner were obtained against the G.N.R. men.  The play continued mostly to be in the visitors quarters, and another goal was scored for Luton by Conquest, Deacon lost a chance by tailing to centre.  Hands was given against King’s Cross in dangerous proximity to their goal, and after two corners had been conceded and several unsuccessful shots made, the ball was finally put through by Catlin.  Another rally by the Londoners preceded a resultless corner conceded to Luton, and not long afterwards the former team had a free-kick for hands, of which, however, nothing came.  At a later stage of the game the visiting forwards hail a chance of an easy shot at the opposing goal, which they failed to take advantage of, and their opponents directly afterwards scored a goal in a somewhat curious fashion, the goal-keeper, in running out to stop a slow shot, falling down and letting the ball pass him, to the huge delight of the onlookers.  This raised Luton’s total to four, the visitors not having scored, and at this figure the reckoning stood at half-time.  On changing ends King’s Cross pressed, and a corner was obtained against the Reserves, this being followed later on by a free-kick for hands near the latter’s uprights.  The Luton forwards obtaining the ball, ran down, but it was returned to the other end, and three corners were given in succession to the visitors.  For some time the game was continued near the latter’s goal, but a short burst by their forwards resulted in Vincent scoring the only goal that his side obtained.  Black centred very well once or twice, but these kicks Groom failed to successfully manipulate.  Read being charged in the back a foul was awarded to his side, and some time later a corner was conceded by King’s Cross, this being followed by a second.  From a free-kick for hands Gazeley sent the ball through the visitors’ goal, and a sixth point to Luton was scored just before time by Black.  During the last few minutes Dixon saved two shots very well, thus in some measure recovering his reputation.  The game concluded in a win for Luton by six goals to one.

1st January 1894 committee meeting –

“Letters received fro Messrs F.W. Haddon Excelsior, Swain Wolverton, H. Waghorn, Electric G.P.O.

“Team selected against Old Wykehamists Sat 6th. Bee, Cheshire, Wilson, Taylor, Julian, Watkins, Dimmock, Allen, Galbraith, Finlayson, Brown”.  

“Resolved that Sec advertise for match for reserves accepting reasonable expenses”.  

Gate Money for Saturday 30th £2 16s 2d, Pavilion 4/2. 

Expenses re Ilford £3 9s 0d

“It was carried by the casting vote of the chairman to put the team up at Middlesboro at the cup tie”. 

“Resolved that Vickers be taken before Dr D Thompson in order if possible to ascertain what the matter is with his knee”.  

“Galbraith and Bee be paid 5/- each for extra matches played during the holidays and Finlayson 10/- for 2 extra matches”.  

“Secretary write West Herts asking if they could come to Luton on January 20th”.

Secretary to obtain another ground for the reserves v 2nd Scots Guards Reserves”.

6th January 1894.  Taken from the Luton Reporter of 13th January 1894.  

“THE LUTON TOWN CLUB.—The match on the Town Club’s card for Saturday was one with the Old Wykehamists.  On Friday the ground was snow-bound, bit a commencement had been made towards clearing it when it was ascertained that the visitors would be unable to fulfil their engagement.  To-morrow’s encounter is one of the most important of the season, and the “reds” will once more endeavour to wrest the palm of victory from the Millwall Athletic players.  Previous encounters between these teams have led to extremely close finishes, and an interesting match is likely to take place—if the elements are auspicious.  The Evening News of Saturday says :—“Luton have been invited to join the Midland League.  That is a convincing proof that in the straw town at all events progress has been made with the game.  But it is to be hoped that Luton will not give a decisive answer at present, because the Bedfordians will be wanted to strengthen the Southern League.  Luton have always  been favourable to the scheme for the formation of a league for the South, and I think they may be trusted to stick to their first love, though the offer of a place in the Midland League is an honour which is doubtless appreciated in the town.”

8th January 1894 committee meeting –

“Letter from Walsall Swifts, Millwall, Old Wykehamists, Royal Ordnance, West Herts and G.H. Barford L.C.

“the offer of £10 per match for the Charity matches be not entertained also that our terms as offered be adhered to”. 

“resolved to offer the Royal Ordnance a guarantee of £7 10s 0d to fulfil the single fixture on our ground”.  

“Resolved that Messrs Arnold and Shane attend the meeting in London on Friday 12th as representatives of Luton Town re: Southern League”.  

“Team selected against Millwall.  Bee, Cheshire, Wilkins, Watkins, Julian, Taylor, Dimmock, Allen, Galbraith, Finlayson, Brown.  Linesman, Mr Fryer.  Away Mr Thompson. 

Referee Mr Rostron Bourke.  In the event of his being unable to undertake the duties be left to him to send a capable man”.  

“Carried that ground agreement be signed subject to the following alteration (such notice to expire on one of the usual quarter days other than Christmas Day”.  

“Carried that the ground be cleared at once.  It was therefore arranged that Mr Webdale should see the surveyor with regard to hiring the road brush and Mr Bone to send 2 horses and carts.  The clearing of the ground to be left for Mr J. Wilson to superintend”.  

“Mr Thomson gave notice with regard to Ladies charges”.  

Hitchin expenses £2 8s 11 1/2d”