From 1960: Chelmsford City (4) – QPR X1 (3)

Team: Spence, Newcombe, Colgan, Keen, Whitfield, Brown, Barber, Pearson, Keeble, Baten, Kerrins (Turner)

Attendance: 1,560

A QPR X1 played Chelmsford City on 2nd January 1960 in a hastily arranged friendly after their game against Barry Town was postponed because of their involvement in a Welsh Cup tie. J. C. Chaplin wrote the following match report for the local Chronicle:

‘The rain-drenched match on the squelching New Writtle Street pitch was no ordinary friendly in the generally accepted sense. It had as many thrill as a cup or league match. The pace considering the wretched conditions, was tremendous.

Manager Harry Ferrier gave a trial to Jim Weston, 24, formerly of Gloucester City, at left-back and wing-forward and Essex County cricketer Gordon Barker was tried at centre-forward.

Weston, dark-haired, stocky and rather on the short side for a full-back, did not come into the picture until the second-half, when he gradually played himself into the game.

Barker was not a success in the middle. His ball distribution was often good, but he was obviously out of position. He was at his best form late in the match when Leslie Brown retired with an injured leg and he moved to the right-wing position, with Ken Birch coming on and leading the attack with great spirit during the short time at his disposal.

Hayward, Phillips, Tiffin, Brown, Eisentrager and Walker were the pick of a fast-moving City team that had ideas and initiative.

2701002015QPR sent a team, which was virtually their Combination side and it included centre-forward Roy Keeble from Cambridge City; and goalkeeper Spence and tall, rangy centre-half Whitfield, both having had first team matches this season.

Ken Whitfield had a good match – until the 80th minute when he “scored” the winning goal! With the score at 3-3 Alec Eisentrager, master craftsman, weaved the ball through to the right-wing position and cracked it fiercely into the goal-face.

Whitfield, standing on the goal-line, attempted to stab the ball out. Instead, he turned it in at an acute angle wide of ‘keeper Spence, who threw up his hands in despair.

The game started sensationally. Weston made no attempt to challenge nippy right-winger Barber, who collected the ball at ease and swung in a terrific shot from 20 yards out, and goalkeeper Newton saw it soaring over his head into the top corner. That was after three minutes.

A minute later City were level. Taking the ball close in from the right-wing, Barnard found the back of the net with a neat ground shot.

At 17 minutes, the elusive Barber ran over to the left and beat Newton with a snap shot.

Chelmsford equalised after 58 minutes. Walker started the move. He waltzed round Newcombe and slipped the ball to Barnard who turned it over for Brown to score with a shot that went in via the upright.

Barnard put the City in front three minutes later, just beating Spence for the ball. Spence was laid out in the process but he quickly resumed.

Rangers were level again after two minutes. Receiving from the right-wing, Keeble was in position to head in with the greatest of ease.

The winning goal, in the 80th minute, was when Whitfield turned Eisentrager’s shot into his own goal.’

The original Chelmsford club dates back as far as 1878 and they moved to the New Writtle Street ground in 1922. After they folded, the present club was formed as a professional side in 1938 and were admitted to the Southern League.

A record attendance of 16,807 was set for the local derby against Colchester United on 10th September 1949. Floodlights were installed in 1960 but in 1997 the club was forced out of the area when the site was sold to developers.

After a partnership with Maldon Town, the club moved on to share with Billericay Town. However, in January 2006, the Clarets re-located back to Chelmsford when they became tenants at the Melbourne Athletics Stadium, which is also known as the Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre.

The club currently play in the National League South.

Steve Russell
(Many thanks to Colin Woodley for uncovering the match report. The potted history of Chelmsford City FC was obtained from their official website)

2 thoughts on “From 1960: Chelmsford City (4) – QPR X1 (3)

  1. My local team and yet another ‘What might have been’ club if they had not had financial problems and they had been given the permission to expand their New Writtle Street Ground.
    As a Security and Safety Surveyor I visited the ground just after it closed which was a sad experience knowing a bit about their history prior to the closure. It was a well appointed stadium for the league they were in as can be seen above.

  2. A ken Whitfield own goal? Unbelievable Jeff! Whenever I saw him play for the first team he was centre Forward or Inside left. He played in those positions for his previous club Wolves too.

    Colin and Steve. Well done to you both for this excellent article.

    I once met Gordon Barker the Essex cricket player mentioned here in the 1970’s when he was a guest at Eton Manor CC.

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