On this day in 1893....
Posted by RADSB on 7/10/2019, 9:33:53
The Royal Engineers came to town. Army teams were very popular with the Luton fans so drew a large crowd. |
"The match upon the fixture card of the Luton club for last Saturday was one with the new Royal Ordnance Factories organisation, but the fact that they were included in a cup tie forced the Luton authorities to look elsewhere for opponents. The Royal Engineers at Chatham were induced to make the journey to Luton, and their presence was sufficient to draw a large crowd, those present numbering close upon 3,000. The weather was, on the whole, fine, though one or two slight showers fell over the ground during the afternoon. There was little wind and no sun, and the fact that the players were almost enshrouded in gloom towards the close should impress upon those concerned the necessity of making an earlier start. At 3.40 the teams faced the centre ring in the following order :—Royal Engineers : Goal, Corporal Wilson ; backs, Corporal Colling and Sapper Allbritt ; half-backs, Sapper Ward, Lieutenant Hall, and Corporal Charlesworth ; forwards, Sapper France and Corporal Clarke (left), Lieutenant Cowie (centre), Sapper Wooding and Sapper Miller (right). Luton Town : Goal, E. Bee ; backs, W. Chesher and J. Wilson ; half-backs, A. H. Taylor, J. W. Julian, and J. Watkins ; forwards, P. Hayes and J. Finlayson (right), H. Galbraith (centre), F. Allen and R. Vickers (left). The referee was Mr. J. Wright, and the linesmen were Sergeant Lockwood (Engineers) and Mr. J. Bennett (Luton). The home captain was successful in obtaining choice of positions, and elected to play from the Dunstable-road end. Lieutenant Cowie started the match, and his companions during the first half minute succeeded in getting close to the corner line, but a goal kick relieved. At this early stage of the game Hayes and Taylor distinguished themselves. Luton next attacked very vigorously, and a couple of splendid centres by Watkins formed a very notable feature of the play hereabouts. The Engineers’ outside left ran down his wing and sent the ball into the net at a great pace, but no score was allowed, he having been off-side. The Lutonians were again seen to considerable advantage a little later, but they were not allowed to have matters all their own way, and Wilson was called upon to relieve on one occasion—a feat which he achieved in commendable fashion. Galbraith appeared to be slightly injured now, but not sufficiently to demand his abstaining from further operations. Vickers was being afforded far more opportunities of distinguishing himself than usual, and it is pleasing to be able to state that the availed himself of these to the utmost. One of his passes was splendidly put in as the result of excellent combination between Finlayson and Galbraith, and it was with the utmost difficulty that Corporal Wilson was enabled to preserve his charge from downfall. Finlayson, who has recently demonstrated his great ability, shortly afterwards put in a very fine high shot, and to the delight of the onlookers this fell into the net, and thus the homesters were given the lead. A second or two later Finlayson met with exceedingly hard luck in failing to repeat his performance, and for a space the play was confined pretty much in the neighbourhood of the Engineers’ goal. Wilson sent in a capital attempt on one occasion, and Colling only relieved with difficulty. Vickers sent the ball in at a great pace thereafter, and struck the side of the net. An exciting time ensued in the vicinity of the visitors’ goal, and Finlayson came perilously close to scoring. A foul against the soldiers produced a scrimmage, and from this the hall was forced through, thus increasing the Lutonians’ total. From the kick-off the ball was again brought down by the home representatives, but they failed in forcing it through and subsequently the Engineers had a spell up the other end. A corner to Luton was followed by Corporal Wilson conceding a free-kick by carrying the ball too far in his hands, and it was only the custodians’s admirable behaviour that prevented the Luton score being increased. The story of the next few minutes was one of an almost continuous attack by the “reds,” and while Hayes sent over the bar Vickers forced Colling to conceded a corner. Galbraith sent in a hot attempt, which was very capably headed out. The Engineers failed before the half-time period to elude the vigilance of the home backs, and accordingly the score at the midway stage stood at two to none in favour of the locals. It should be mentioned that Finlayson left the field before the interval, having sustained a considerable shaking, and his side were deprived of his services during a considerable portion of the second half. Directly after the resumption the military men displayed far better style, and during the first few minutes they had certainly the best of the exchanges. On one occasion it was only the fine defensive ability of Taylor that was responsible for a strenuous attack on Bee being averted. Julian emulated the example of his fellow half-back a little later. The Engineers, however, made a bad use of their opportunities, and either shot the ball over the cross-bar or over the corner line. Vickers at one time centred in fine style, and Hayes obtained a corner. Finlayson at this stage resumed, and was greeted with a general burst of applause. After a considerable amount of scrambling play the visitors managed to score. This success seemed to nerve them to increased efforts, and after a time they had distinctly the best of matters. The home side woke up later on, and the strength of the Engineers’ defence was taxed to the utmost. Neither side succeeded in scoring again, and when the end came the Lutonians had won by two goals to one. It is not too much to say that this total should have been far exceeded and that the form of the winners was not by any means what it should have been. Vickers showed a welcome improvement in his tactics, and Wilson was far more reliable than last week. The forward who exerted himself with the most success was Finlayson, who elicited enthusiastic shouts by his performances. The half-backs were strong, and Chesher and Bee did their work satisfactorily. On the whole the match was not remarkable for excellence of combination one either side. The visitors were by no means perfect in this respect, their style resembling that of some amateur combinations that we have knowledge of. Heavy kicking and long passing were the methods adopted, and these failed conclusively in their effect."