In 2004 I purchased a copy of Frances Trinder’s excellent book: ‘Loftus Road Legacy – The History of Shepherd’s Bush Football Club.’
She writes in detail about events leading up to the Club’s move to Loftus Road and includes a short report of their first match on 22nd October 1904 against long-standing rivals, Old Malvernians.
On 13th January 1912, the Bushmen took on Wycombe Wanderers at Loftus Road in the First Round of the FA Amateur Cup. A match report appeared in the South Bucks Standard the following week:
‘The postponed Amateur Cup-tie between Wycombe Wanderers and Shepherd’s Bush was duly played on Saturday at Loftus-road, Shepherd’s Bush.
The ground had recovered very little from its waterlogged state of the previous Saturday, but there was no rain, and the referee, who inspected it at 11 o’clock in the morning, declared it fit for play. The centre was very muddy, and near the goals, too, the pitch had the consistency of soft mud.
The weather was misty and inclined to rain. Spectators were very slow in coming in, but a gate of from 500 to 600 finally assembled.
Wycombe were first out, and the gingerly manner in which they walked over the ground was sufficient indication of its treacherous nature. Shepherd’s Bush were late in turning out, and for a minute or two they were minus L. O. Grapes, the custodian.
Shepherd’s Bush: L. O. Grapes, H. J. Flux, A. Hodges, D. Davidson, R. Jonas, E. Wood, J. Caborn, G. Steers, R. Lewis, A. G. Rose and A. Pimley.
Holland won the toss and the Wanderers attacked the Loftus-road goal in the first stage. During Grapes’ absence Flux went between the sticks.
Making the pace the Wanderers moved forward, and Adams raced ahead with a pass from Hooper, only to find Goodchild just offside when he transferred the ball.
From the kick, the ball was taken ahead by Steers and Caborn, offside against the latter intervening. Grapes then turned out and completed the Bush eleven.
Danger threatened by Roberts, who dashed past Davidson and Hodges, but Flux recovered and put the ball into touch. Wycombe upheld the attack, Adams going through the rush, and from a nice pass Goodchild kicked across the goal.
Pheby then worked away, but was dispossessed, and from a tricky run by Caborn, and return passing by Pimley and Rose, the latter hooked the ball past Copus and into the net ten minutes from the start.
Exciting scenes were witnessed in the Bush goalmouth, and there was a rare struggle for the ball between Flux, Hodges, Adams, Goodchild, and Roberts. Steers came to the aid of his colleagues, and terminated the tussle with a big kick.
Gates, however, brought the Wanderers to the attack again, and Payne, after tricking Wood and Hodges, centred nicely, Adams heading the ball a yard wide after a good try for the equaliser.
Steers was prominent, but sent behind, and then an injury to him caused him to leave the field.
The Wycombe defence was called upon, and Copus and Holland did the needful, the latter negotiating a speculative effort by Lewis. Long kicking by the Wanderers gained ground, but an infringement by Gates drove them back.
Hooper was noticed to be limping badly at this stage, and it pained him to kick the ball.
The game now was lifeless and slow, the only incident of note for a time being a fast shot from Rose which skidded by the post. Both sets of players were very well bespattered with mud.
Steers resumed his place, while the referee checked a little wordy warfare between Flux and Roberts, who had not been hitting it off very happily.
Adams tried to get through on his own, but the mud proved his undoing at the critical moment. Pimley received when unmistakeably offside, and going ahead, prevented an unlucky downfall of the Wycombe goal by shooting by.
Some minutes of attack by the Wanderers followed, Roberts and Adams being in the forefront, but no luck attended the efforts to score.
The Bush retaliated, Pimley sending across, and Caborn missed an open goal, Rolfe directing the leather to safer quarters. Some bustling play ensued and Roberts was very heavily brought down by Hodges.
It appeared as if the Wycombe player tried to get his own back while on the ground, but the incident soon terminated.
Caborn was next in the picture, and from him a dangerous low shot was pushed round the post by Copus. Pimley executed a brilliant run from the halfway line, but Copus stayed at home and stopped his career, and the ball, on the goal line.
The Bush were having the best of matters now, Caborn and Steers proving very troublesome, but Copus was all there and executed a splendid save. Adams raised the siege, going well through, and Hodges gave a corner, from which Gates sent wide.
Rose did the same at the other end, after which the interval was called with the score: Shepherd’s Bush…1 goal – Wycombe Wanderers…nil.
Pimley made the first dangerous move on resuming, and swung over a nice centre, from which Rolfe stopped Caborn’s little dance. The Bush forced the pace, Copus saving from Steers, whilst Holland twice rescued his side from an ugly situation.
Adams sent Payne off, and the Wycombe player, although pursued by Hodges, raced in and sent in front of goal, but Flux nipped the intentions of Roberts and Adams in the bud and cleared.
Pimley threatened danger, passing Didcot, but Steers, who had gone outside right, failed to cap the effort successfully. The Wanderers were being pressed now, and Holland time after time, sailed in with smart clearances.
Didcot allowed Pimley too much rope, and danger always threatened from this quarter. Caborn’s inability to shoot straight, being an asset in the Wanderers’ favour.
With a further spell of pressure by the Bushmen, Didcot and Holland cleared well, and the Wanderers at last took up the running, Rolfe, Roberts, and Pheby changing the venue. The attack ended in a wide shot from Gates, and then Pimley showed his paces, beating Didcot and going within an ace of scoring, the ball scraping the bar.
Playing with decision Adams forged ahead once more, but Roberts was offside. Wycombe’s improvement was maintained, and with Didcot touching better form the game was more even.
The Bush were well placed in a good position through Gates fouling Pimley, and an exciting scene almost led to the downfall of the visitors’ goal, offside intervening just before the ball was got into the goal.
Roberts made headway, and though Flux cleared, Payne secured the ball but sent behind. Flux and Roberts met again, the Bushman fouling his opponent. In the pressure ensuing on the free kick, the Wanderers seemed likely to beat Grapes, but Hodges cleared.
Didcot conceded and cleared a corner from Pimley, whilst from a similar kick the Wycombe right back almost turned the ball into his own goal.
The scene was changed by Adams and Payne, and Wycombe gained a corner from Hodges. This was stopped by Rose, who received the muddy ball full in the face, the crowd roaring with laughter at the mud on the player’s countenance.
Then came an incident, which put the issue of the match beyond doubt. Steers sent the ball across the goal, and Copus left his charge, but could not reach the travelling sphere. Pimley got there and turning inwards sent the ball into the open goal, Didcot making a fruitless attempt to fist the ball out.
Wycombe tried to reduce the margin and worked up on the left, but Pheby fouled. All the players were now covered with mud, and the pace slackened down a lot.
Steers shot at goal, and Copus, catching the ball, was accidently kicked. He recovered, and was relieved when Rose sent over. The best attack, from a Wycombe point of view, ensued with Adams sending Payne along, and a swift, low centre was well caught by Grapes and cleared.
Payne returned and Roberts sent across an open goal. Wycombe attacked pluckily and deserved to score, Adams getting the ball through in a scramble, but Grapes frustrated his efforts.
Hooper also sent goalwards, but Pheby shot across, and then the whistle went for time.’
(Frances Trinder’s book is highly recommended. Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance)