Team: Hunt, Hughes (F), Tyler, Walburn, Musselwhite, Blyth, McKenzie, Evans (W), Hughes (R), Wallington (A), Wallington (E)
Queen’s Park Rangers faced Windsor & Eton at Harvist Road on 18th September 1897. The following match report appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express a week later:
‘Windsor and Eton did not defeat Queen’s Park Rangers on Saturday, but they gave them a wonderfully good game.
The Londoners had tempted Windsor to waive their rights and visit the Rangers’ stronghold, and it was thought that they were in for a rare hiding. Such, however, was far from being the case, and the locals are to be heartily congratulated on the show they made.
The Windsor men played as selected, and left the Royal Borough by the 1.15 Great Western train, being accompanied by one or two followers only.
This, however, did not daunt their enthusiasm, and when they arrived at Harvist Road, West Kilburn, they were ready and eager for the fray.
Unfortunately the rain come down in torrents at the start, and no doubt considerably interfered with the gate receipts, but despite the adverse weather over 4,000 were present when the play was started at 3.30pm.
The Rangers had, of course, made sure of winning, and it was only a question of goals with them.
In a poem on the match, which was printed on the official programme, the writer said:-
“With Evans and Flint to improve the attack,
‘Gainst Windsor we ought ‘to get our own back’,
And then give Wolverton such a tight game,
Letting all know ‘we will make a name’.”
Notwithstanding this, however, the spectators were very impartial and praised good play on whichever side it occurred. The match, too, was contested in a very pleasant manner, and fouls were conspicuous by their absence.
The game opened briskly, the Rangers winning the toss, and they played up in capital style, Hughes nearly scoring in the first few minutes.
Immediately it was apparent that the sanguine expectations of the Kilburnites would be realised, as the ball was continually hovering near the Windsor fortress.
Evans, late of Old St. Stephen’s and London Welsh, who made his long-expected first appearance for Queen’s Park was repeatedly conspicuous.
After about fifteen minutes’ play, the last named scored a goal, which was the result of a clever individual effort.
Still maintaining a hot attack only Vaughan’s goal-keeping was the reason of the Rangers further repeated shooting being unproductive. At half-time the Rangers led by one to none.
On again taking up the game Windsor’s two full backs displayed some neat kicking, and for fifteen minutes staved off further disaster.
The halves of the Parkites, who have been so consistently successful, would not be denied, however. The brothers Wallington, being thus well fed, kept up a series of hot attacks, Arthur Wallington obtaining a second goal therefrom. Evans shortly after scored the third and final point.
Queen’s Park Rangers, who lacked Teagle (captain) at full back, thus ran out winners of a hard fought game by three goals to nil.
In criticising the play, it may be at once said that the Windsor defence was much stronger than the attack, although every man in the team did his utmost for the “red and green” colours.
Vaughan gave a magnificent exhibition in goal, and was heartily cheered by the spectators on repeated occasions. Wellman and Goddard at full back, too, staved off disaster time after time, their kicking being well timed and powerful.
The three halves, too, did capitally, and there was not much to choose between them. Balchin working like a Trojan throughout, and Penny and Kemp frequently did very neat things.
Of the forwards, R. Smith made some dashing runs, and showed up prominently all through while Wyllie played exceedingly well considering that it was his first match.
The other forwards worked hard, Halliday being much better than on the previous Saturday, and Page and Oxley put forth their utmost powers to get the ball into the net.
The Queen’s Park team is an exceedingly smart one, both their attack and defence being strong. They will undoubtedly make a name for themselves this season.
They meet Wolverton today in the first division of the Southern League, and expect to beat them.’
Was the match played at Harvist Road? The records state that QPR were there previously in 1892, but had moved to the Kensal Rise Athletic Ground in 1896.
And playing Wolverton in the First Division of the Southern League? Rangers didn’t actually join the Southern League until 1899!
Wolverton were certainly their opponents on that day, but it was in the next round of the FA Cup.
That game was originally to be played at Wolverton, but was switched and the Rangers won the tie 2-1.
They then went on to meet the Chesham Generals in the next qualifying round.
(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the match report and to Gordon Macey for his assistance)