I recently wrote about Rangers’ move to St. Quintin Avenue/Latimer Road and as a follow on to that article, shown below is a match report from the Kensington News of their very first game there. Prior to the opening Southern League match of the season against Watford, a friendly was arranged against Grays United:
The Rangers commenced their season on Wednesday, at Notting Hill, by a stubborn contest with Grays United, a very promising team that gave them a good show and kept the result in doubt up to the last minute.
The advent of professional football – that interesting and exciting game so popular with a large number of the people during the autumn and winter – in the vicinity of Notting Hill has called forth objections from certain individuals, who have serious misgivings as to the conduct of the crowd that will undoubtedly be drawn to Latimer Road in order to witness the exhibitions that will be made there of the skill of the Rangers in the ensuing season’s pastime.
But the directors of the club have endeavoured to meet the desires of the various objectors in the arrangements of the ground, so that there should be no probability of disorder; the entrance gate has been placed at the remotest part of the field, so that there shall be no obstruction caused by a waiting crowd. And when the timid inhabitants of this part of the borough have had time to judge from personal experience of the absence of any necessity for fear of annoyance, the threatened complaint to the trustees of the ground and the possible enforced stoppage of the sport may not be persevered with.
If the proceedings at the opening match on Wednesday are a fair specimen of what is to follow, then the residents of the neighbourhood may well hesitate before taking any action which will deprive those who enjoy the game of the pleasure they look forward to once or twice a week. There was very little noise created, and that only which is caused by the excited exclamations of encouragement from the supporters of the respective teams. Certainly there was no disorder, or anything that could be objectionable to those that reside in the neighbourhood.
Punctually to time (5.30) the teams lined up: so punctual were they that the visitors were two men short, the absentees arriving on the ground a few minutes late. The players were as follows: –
Queen’s Park Rangers – H. Collins, G. Newlands, C. Aston, S. Lennox, J. Bowman, B. Freeman, A. King, J. Pryce, H. Millar, H. McQueen, G. Seeley.
The Grays had won the toss, and elected to play against the wind. From the kick-off the play was carried into the visitors’ half, and it appeared as if the Rangers would early notch a point, but the defence of Edwards and Galvin was excellent.
A free kick granted to the Grays enabled them to carry the sphere dangerously near the Rangers’ goal, but Bowman got possession, and, passing to Seeley, the latter was enabled to make a pretty run down on the left, and he was on the point of shooting when he unfortunately slipped.
A few seconds later McQueen secured undisputed control and a beautiful shot in the goal was well handled by Moore. After some interesting play in the centre of the field, in which Pryce and Millar figured conspicuously, the Grays right forwards manoeuvred the ball into the vicinity of their opponents’ goal, and Collins was called upon to save. Bowman then passed out to Freeman, who, after a successful run, escaping the attentions of Siltoe and Janes, gave McQueen another opening, but the visitors’ backs were too clever.
The Grays were now playing an admirable game, and it was felt that the Rangers would have to put in all they knew to beat them. Janes, who is fast and skilful, and of great value to the Grays, did some excellent work on the right, and got in a shot, which, however, was easily accounted for by Collins.
Play was becoming very fast, and the Grays were holding their own extremely well; their combination was first-class. The Rangers tried all they knew to break through, but seemed to have met their equal. Millar was showing some fine form, and seemed at his best. He sent in a clinking shot at this time; and Moore saved, amidst cheers, by throwing himself along the ground and conceding a corner.
From this something definite was achieved, for the sphere was worked into the mouth of the goal, and King succeeded in heading through, thus scoring first point for the Rangers, who had been playing with what advantage the wind gave.
Grays woke up with a determination, if possible, to get on equal terms. The ball was taken up on the right, and Janes got in another beauty, but Collins was equal to the occasion, and transferred to the other side of the field, where Freeman had a good attempt to score by a well-directed shot, which only just skimmed the bar, thanks to the interposition of an opponent’s head.
The Grays goal was bombarded from all directions, and Moore gave an exhibition of clever goalkeeping; he met all the shots with complete composure, and eluded the attentions of the Rangers forwards with surprising dexterity. He successfully negotiated a tremendously hard shot from King, and the half-time arrived with the score standing:
On the re-start, Lennox gained possession, and passing to Freeman, the latter placed the ball beautifully for McQueen, who sent it between the sticks; but again Moore distinguished himself, amidst the cheers of the onlookers, by alluding Millar and getting the ball away. Then the players transferred to the other end of the field, and the Rangers had to act on the defence.
The ball remained in this quarter for several minutes, when the home centre forward, beating Walker, got it away, and was only prevented from adding to the score by the clever tackling of Edwards, the goalkeeper having in error left an opening. The Grays again rushed up the field, and Clement sent in a splendid shot, which Collins seemed to fumble in getting away. This ought to have been a goal if the other forwards had been sufficiently quick in support.
The game became very even for some time, Janes occasionally showing up with spirited runs on the right, but he was prevented from becoming dangerous by Aston. Presently Millar had an opening, but shot wide. The Rangers shortly after obtained a corner, but derived no advantage from it. The Grays made one last effort to equalise, and to escape from the pressure the Rangers conceded a corner; but nothing came out of this, and the result was:
Some interesting comments from the reporter who more than dealt with the issues surrounding Rangers’ arrival there and I had to smile when he referred to some of the local residents as ‘timid inhabitants of this part of the borough’. Unfortunately they were to eventually get their way and Rangers were forced to move on yet again.