Team: Nicholls, Higgins, Pullen, Ovens, Mitchell, Wake, Thompson, Birch, Miller, Gregory, Fortune
QPR progressed to the FA Cup 3rd Round in the 1913/14 season after conquering Bristol City (after a replay) and Swansea Town. Rangers were then up against Birmingham City at St. Andrew’s on 21st February.
‘Blues Banished – Queen’s Park Came, Saw and Conquered’ was the headline in the local Sports Argus and their comprehensive match report by “Old Blue” was as follows:
‘Though overshadowed to a large extent by the great local “Derby” at Villa Park, there was nevertheless, considerable interest in the encounter between Birmingham and Queen’s Park Rangers, which took place at St. Andrews this afternoon.
It is eight long seasons since the home club got so far in this competition, and local enthusiasts hoped that the team would at any rate reach the same stage as on that memorable occasion, but it was recognised that they had a stiff task in front of them in reaching the fourth round.
Seeing that Birmingham had only been beaten once in the last seven games, the general opinion was that they would pull safely through, even though by only a small margin. It was recognised that in Rangers, Birmingham had strong opposition, and that it would be necessary for the home men to be at the top of their form to get into the hat again, but having overcome both Southend United and Huddersfield the opinion favoured the St. Andrew’s brigade.
In their respective leagues, Rangers had the better record, and having accomplished some good performances this season many people held that they would succeed in effecting a draw, in which case Birmingham would have to make a journey to Park Royal.
The fact that Birmingham were the only Second Division club left in the Cup running led one to hope that the League would continue to have a representative for at any rate in the next round.
In preparation for the event both teams had been training quietly at their respective headquarters, and it was anticipated that both sets would be at full strength, but it was found yesterday that Tinkler would not be fit enough to take part in the match owing to the injury sustained last week.
In the circumstances McClure was chosen to fill the centre-half position, and his selection did not give any doubts, for he is just the right man for a stiff battle.
Arrangements had been made to cater for a large crowd, and as early as one o’clock the gates were opened.
The Rangers had the same team in the field as that which did duty in the other two rounds. Fortunately the weather held fine, and half an hour from the start there were about 12,000 spectators. The heavy rain overnight had rendered the ground very soft.
The enthusiasts were rolling up splendidly, and several minutes before the players appeared on the field there must have been quite 25,000 people present, while it was expected that the surplus from Villa Park would arrive every minute.
By the time the players made their appearance the crowd numbered 30,000, and a few people were still entering the ground.
Queen’s Park team arrived a few minutes later than was expected, owing to an accident on the line at Royal Oak Station, but they reached the ground in good time for the match, and, when they turned out, received a flattering ovation, showing there was a large contingent of supporters with them.
By the time the captains had tossed for choice of ends in which Queen’s Park were successful the crowd was 35,000 strong. Birmingham were to defend the goal at the railway end.
The home forwards tried to get away on the right, but a pass from Ballantyne was intercepted by Higgins and the Rangers transferred play, only to find Ball in the way of their progress.
After the Rangers’ goal had been visited again, Wake sent the ball up the field, and Fortune managed to get in a centre which caused some trouble, but in the end McClure effected a clearance before a shot could be sent at goal.
When the visitors made another raid, Ball dispelled all danger by kicking across to the left. Hastings got the ball clear of Higgins, but, after making a sprint towards goal, he shot over the bar from a difficult angle.
By persevering, the Rangers brought play into the home area again, and Wake swung the ball accurately across. Danger threatened the Birmingham citadel, but, fortunately, Birch’s shot went wide of the mark.
There was a nice movement by the visiting right pair, but in the end Birch was pulled up by the referee for a foul upon McClure, and from the free kick the home left wing tried to get away, only to be stopped by Higgins. They tried again, and this time Barton sent in a long shot that travelled just over the bar.
A splendid open movement by the visiting right spelt danger, but it was tamely ended by Thompson putting weakly to Hauser, and from his kick Ballantyne carried out a lovely solo effort and finished by giving an opening to Duncan. The latter shot miserably behind.
Then a combined raid by the Rangers completely beat the home defence. In the end Gregory shot across goal, and the ball went just outside – a very narrow escape for Birmingham.
A big kick by Womack put Birmingham on the attack again, and during a scrimmage just outside the penalty line, the ball came to Duncan. Turning sharply round he sent in a strong, first-time shot, which beat Nicholls. The point was loudly cheered by the crowd.
After this the visitors pressed hotly, and Gregory got through, but he shot wildly over. A minute later Hauser turned round the post a strong drive from Fortune, and from the corner kick Mitchell sent the ball high over the bar.
Another attempt by the visiting forwards ended in three of them getting offside. Womack punted the ball straight in front of the Rangers goal. Pullen headed out, but the ball came to Morgan, and he sent in a lovely rising shot, which Nicholls handled splendidly. Walker next got the ball past Pullen, and after making a sharp sprint put in a shot that gave Nicholls little trouble.
At the other end Ball failed to put a stop to a strong movement by Fortune and Gregory, and the latter was left with a chance, but he could only send the ball wide of the mark.
The Rangers were certainly having the better of matters, and they continued the assault in good style. The home defence stood the pressure well, and prevented them getting in any shots.
Rangers swung the ball about splendidly, and they managed to keep the play in the home area. A foul was given against McClure. From the free kick the ball was sent across to Fortune, who was left unmarked, but any danger was soon dispelled. In a tussle McClure was injured, and had to receive attention from the trainer, and quickly recovered.
The home goal was subjected to another assault, but Womack cleverly dispelled the danger. At length Birmingham managed to transfer play as the result of a smart pass out to the left by Walker, and Hastings managed to swing the ball across goal, only for it to be bustled behind during a tussle near the post.
At the other end Hauser made a lovely save from Birch, and in order to complete the clearance Ball had to concede a corner. Following the kick there was an exciting scrimmage round the Birmingham goal, and after Hauser had once saved on his knees from Fortune, Gregory managed to head the ball into the net thirty-eight minutes from the start.
Walker made a gallant dash for goal, but when he reached the penalty area he was tackled in rather doubtful manner by Higgins and upset.
Thompson, who was left unwatched on the line, executed a run when he received a long pass from Miller, and he finished with a splendid centre across to Gregory, who headed towards goal. Hauser, however, managed to turn the ball round the post for a fruitless corner.
The home forwards made a desperate rally as the interval approached, and the ball hovered about in dangerous style, but the visiting defence kept them at bay. Half-time: Birmingham 1 – Queen’s Park Rangers 1.
After the Rangers had made an ineffectual raid on the home goal, Birmingham pressed hotly, following some clever work by Walker, and Morgan, during the scrimmage, got the ball into the net, but the referee disallowed the point on the ground of offside.
The attack was sustained in splendid fashion by the home forwards, and there was another dangerous raid on the Rangers citadel, but in the end Pullen got the ball away.
Keeping up the pressure Walker and Duncan made a dash for goal, and Nicholls had to leave his charge. While he was out the ball came to Ballantyne, and he headed against the side post. Play was then stopped through an injury to one of the defenders.
When play was resumed the Rangers beat off the attack, and then McClure caused a temporary stoppage, while no sooner had the game proceeded than Higgins was injured and had to be assisted off the field.
Fortune made a splendid run along the line, and after making an opening for himself sent across goal outside. A foul was given against Womack, and Hauser was compelled to turn a shot round the post for a corner. During the tussle Barton gave a second corner, and from the kick Miller turned the ball into the net with his head sixty minutes from the start.
Birmingham retaliated strongly, and Walker was injured in a collision with the custodian, but he soon resumed. He was limping so badly, however, that he had to go out on the wing.
The Rangers took up the assault again hotly for a time, but Birmingham defended stubbornly and prevented them from getting in a shot. When the play was transferred Ballantyne was fouled, and from the free kick Bumphrey sent the ball wide.
Another raid by the visitors was repelled by Ball, who gave Duncan a neat pass. He had a splendid opening, but shot miserably wide. At this stage Walker had to leave the field, and consequently both teams were left with ten men. Bumphrey went to assist the forwards, and Ball took his place in the half-back line.
In the final stages of the game the Rangers took no risk, and whenever Birmingham got at close quarters they promptly put the ball out of touch.’
Rangers were drawn away to Liverpool in the next round and went down 2-1 at Anfield.
(My thanks to Colin Woodley for unearthing the match report. The team pic is from my collection)