QPR’s first FA Cup Tie against Watford

Team: Clutterbuck, Newlands, McConnell, Keech, Hitch, Skinner, Gray, Newbigging, Goldie, Humphries, Foxall.

Attendance: 4,000

Following the recent FA Cup defeat at Loftus Road, QPR had first been drawn against Watford on 17th November 1900. Rangers had previously thrashed Fulham 7-0 two weeks earlier and then travelled to Cassio Road for the 4th qualifying round.

The Herts Advertiser published this match report seven days later:

‘Miserable weather prevailed on Saturday, consequently it was heavy going on the Cassio-road enclosure, when the English Cup-tie between Watford and Queen’s Park Rangers took place.

In spite of the very inclement weather, a large crowd braved the elements, and made their way to the West Herts ground, and there must have been fully 4,000 spectators when the teams lined up.

The teams had previously met in the Southern League Competition at Kensal Rise, on which occasion the Rangers were victorious by one goal to nil, after a very close game.

Queen’s Park won the toss, and elected to take advantage of the wind. Watford kicked off, with the rain pelting in their faces, but this did not stop them from very quickly getting into the Rangers’ quarters.

Here McConnell foolishly handled the ball, and being inside the twelve-yards’ line, the referee had no alternative but to give a penalty. When the referee placed the ball on the twelve-yards’ line, the Watford spectators began to chuckle.

They, however, chuckled a little more a second or two later, when Price, who was entrusted with the kick, steered the ball beautifully past Clutterbuck into the net.

This was hardly three minutes from the start. The Rangers were very quickly trying to get on level terms again, but Sharp pulled up the left wing when about to go away.

Watford went down in fine style, and Price swung in a beautiful shot, which Clutterbuck got away, when he was fouled by the Watford forwards. Watford were pressing, and Keech and Clutterbuck rushed for the ball at the same time.

The result of this was that the former received a nasty kick on the leg, and he had to be assisted off the field. After this temporary stoppage, Watford obtained a free kick about 25 yards from goal, from which Price narrowly missed with a shot.

The ball was going out of play pretty freely, and when Foxall was about to run down Farnall fouled him in a rather unsportmanslike manner. This enabled the Rangers to pay Hammett a visit, and in saving from one of the forwards he fisted behind his own goal.

From the corner which followed it seemed that the Rangers must score, but Sharp, when in a rather difficult situation, sent the ball behind the goal again. He could not be blamed for doing that.

From the second corner the Rangers had no chance at all, for Foxall dropped the ball from the corner flag right on to the top of the net.

Keech was being badly missed from the Rangers’ half-back line, which was now very weak.

Sharp miskicked and gave the Rangers a chance, but Goldie and Newbigging muddled the ball between them, and Farnall, who was well back, did not have very much difficulty in clearing.

The Rangers’ right wing then went down a little way, but nothing came of their attempt.

It was a few minutes after this that Keech entered the field again. He was still limping and appeared to be moving about with great pain. He was of very little use afterwards, although he came in handy at times.

Goldie fouled Hammett when he was dealing with a capital shot from Foxall. The same player (Goldie) headed past Sharp, but Hammett cleared before he could get in his shot. The Rangers were now having slightly the best of the play.

The Watford forwards went down in quick time, and Allan, who was playing up wonderfully well, sent in a long swift shot which Clutterbuck kicked away.

Good shot wide of the mark, and Price was about to go away, when the ball went out of play. Good fouled Goldie, but he made up for it by getting the ball away from the free kick.

White beat Skinner, and was going down in fine style, but was fouled. From this Hare got in a nice overhead shot, which McConnell just managed to get away.

The Rangers were getting together a little better now, but the Watford defence did not give them any chance of “indulging” in combination.

Sharp sent out of play when hard pressed, and Hammett had to deal with a couple of long shots, which, however, did not cause him very much trouble.

White was getting away, but the ball went out of play. Sharp pulled up the visitors’ left wing and passed to White. That player was offside, but before the referee’s whistle could sound, he had centred and Hare netted the ball.

This was greeted by loud cheering, but the crowd were sadly disappointed when the point was not allowed.

Hammett had to run out and save, and Keech sent in a high dropping shot, which went just over the crossbar. The Rangers were still pressing, and Sharp stepped in and upset the combination on the left wing.

At the other end, after receiving from Hare, Price sent over the crossbar. Still the Rangers pegged away, and so did Watford, but neither team seemed to make very much headway.

Hitch was working hard in the centre of the field and dropped in a shot, Sharp heading behind. Here was another scrape for the Watford goal, and the Rangers very nearly scored. Goldie was given offside a few minutes later, but play was still in the Watford half.

Allan headed away and drove well forward. Newlands was about to clear when three of the Watford forwards fouled him. Allan was soon again conspicuous, and was doing more for his side than any of the other four forwards.

Hare almost got through, and although hard pressed by the two backs, gave Clutterbuck a warm handful to deal with. Keech fouled Price, and after Newlands had headed away, Good sent over the crossbar.

After a while, the Rangers attacked the home goal, but they were not there for long, for Watford soon sent them back, and Allan getting in a nice position shot, McConnell just managing to get the ball away.

Farnall stopped the progress of Foxall, and Hare was given offside at the other end. Half-time was shortly afterwards announced, with Watford leading by one goal to nil.

Watford had the advantage of the wind in the second half, and also had the rain pelting at their backs.

Goldie kicked off and the Rangers were very soon down, but Sharp sent out of play. Watford took down, and the ball going back to Sharp, that player dropped it beautifully at the foot of Price, but he was given offside.

Give-and-take play was the order for a time, and Jeffrey handled the ball about 15 yards from his own goal. Keech had a nice chance of scoring from this, but his shot went about three yards wide of the mark.

Hare dashed away, but his final effort was very weak. McConnell headed to the foot of White, but that player landed the ball over the crossbar. Hare narrowly missed a few seconds later, and the Rangers were acting on the defensive.

Play was, however, far from interesting. Good was fouled by Newbigging, but Price missed badly when close in.

After Newbigging had been given offside, Skinner fouled Farnall, and from the kick Price shot wide. Hare was pulled up for fouling, and Price was pronounced offside when about to make tracks for the Rangers’ goal.

Hammett had to deal with a shot from Hitch – the first he had to deal with in this half. Skinner fouled White, and Farnall fouled Skinner, and Good was pulled up for a similar offence within a very short pace of time.

White came into collision with McConnell, and had to leave the field. The referee gave a free kick in favour of Watford, but what this was for I do not know.

Farnall fouled Foxall, and it was from this that the Rangers secured their first and equalising goal.

Skinner took the kick and placed very nicely in the front of goal, where Gray landed the ball past Hammett. This had the effect of livening the proceedings up once more.

A few seconds later the Rangers’ goal had a very narrow escape, for Clutterbuck in clearing, kicked the ball on to the back of Hare, and it cannoned back almost into his goal.

White, who had been back on the field for some few minutes, travelled down, but nothing come of his attempt, and a miserable game ended in a draw of one goal each. No one was sorry when it was over.’

The replay took place at Kensal Rise four days later.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance)

2 thoughts on “QPR’s first FA Cup Tie against Watford

  1. Always fascinates me how detailed these early reports are and how they are recorded. Can only assume the reporter has a second pair of eyes or dictates it to someone as the game progresses!

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