The 2-1 Defeat at Norwich in 1931 – ‘Lewis, the Amateur International, did not Journey down with the Rangers, but he was expected off the 3 o’clock Train, Dressed, Ready for Play’

The 2-1 Defeat at Norwich in 1931 – ‘Lewis, the Amateur International, did not Journey down with the Rangers, but he was expected off the 3 o’clock Train, Dressed, Ready for Play’

Team: Cunningham, Nixon, Hall, Sales, Armstrong, Vango, Wyper, Lewis, Goddard, Wilson, Cribb

Attendance: 13,165

Ahead of our trip to Carrow Road on Sunday, the R’s took on Norwich City at their former ground, ‘The Nest’, on the 10th October 1931.

The following comprehensive match report appeared in the Eastern Football News later that day:

‘The visit of Queen’s Park Rangers to the Nest gained considerably in attractiveness by the announcement during the week of the transfer of “Andy” Wilson, the famous Scottish international forward, from Chelsea to the Rangers.

The prospect of seeing this great player, combined with the City’s victory at Bristol – their second success in consecutive away matches – and a day of beautiful weather, proved an irresistible lure, and there were early indications of a large attendance.

Norwich City played the same team, which had won the last three matches. Lewis, the amateur international, did not journey down with the Rangers, but he was expected off the three o’clock train, dressed, ready for play.

A quarter of an hour before the time for the kick-off there was already a five-figure gate, and the turnstiles were still clicking.

Wilson, who captained the Rangers, lost the toss to Williamson, and the City played up the slope with the light wind and sun at their backs. Wilson’s first pass in the match was sent to the right-wing, where it was trapped by Lochhead.

Wilson went to the touch-line to make some adjustment of his footwear, and he only just returned to the field of play when the City gave 14,000 spectators a thrill by scoring a fine goal.

Blakemore started the movement with a pass to Murphy, who made ground before putting across a good centre, which Bell cleverly nodded through. The game was only two minutes old when the City took the lead, and it was a good tonic to the side.

The City attacked again and Cunningham cleared a shot from Brain. A clever pass from Wilson to Cribb opened up possibilities for the Rangers, but when the ball came over Smith cleared.

The City showed fine accuracy with long passes, but sound play by Hall and Nixon prevented the City from finishing well.

The Rangers got together, the inside forwards combining well with short, ground passes. The visitors forced a corner on the right, and Wharton punched away Wyper’s well-placed kick. Wilson headed across to Cribb, and Hannah checked the advance on that wing.

Although Williamson kept a watchful eye on Goddard, the visitors’ centre-forward did a lot of clever work, and it came as no surprise when the Rangers’ skilful attack was rewarded with a goal. Cribb put the ball into the middle, and Lewis beat Wharton with a left-foot shot from close range.

Norwich had only held their lead 11 minutes, and the loss of it roused them. With long passes they kept the ball on the move and made ground. Good work in particular was done by the extreme wingers.

From one of Taylor’s centres Blakemore missed scoring by inches. On another occasion Blakemore headed outside, and although the City were pressing, Cunningham was rarely troubled.

The City forced the pace, but the Rangers’ backs covered their goalkeeper well, and through Nixon found touch for safety, he was always in the thick of it, and doing good work with head and feet.

Blakemore, who was having no luck with his shooting, again missed narrowly.

Lochhead was very constructive, besides being strong in defence.

Blakemore headed to Brain, who tricked two men, but lost it to a third, and a long-range shot from Blakemore was just off the target.

With the City holding the play, the Rangers’ halves were too occupied in defence to give their own forwards support, which left the Rangers’ forwards idle for long periods.

Twice Murphy centred well, and from the first Brain headed to Cunningham. The goalkeeper also cleared the second. Jobling was never far from Wilson, and Hannah was always dependable.

Blakemore, who had been playing very well, started a movement, which enabled the City to regain the lead.

Blakemore gave Murphy a long forward pass, which the winger took in his stride, finishing a little run with an accurate centre, which Taylor cut in to meet, and Taylor was only a few yards from the goal when he drove the ball into the net.

Eight minutes remained of the first-half and the Rangers made several attacks without looking as dangerous as when Murphy put in another of his splendid runs and centres.

The City goal, however, had a fortunate escape when Lewis aimed a fast shot from 25 yards and the ball swerved sufficiently to beat Wharton, hitting the inside of the post and rebounding into play.

Just before the interval, Wyper made a good but unsuccessful attempt to level the scores, Wharton cleverly turning aside a left foot shot.

At the interval the City led by two goals to one, and on the run of play they deserved it.

The sun had dipped behind the houses when the City commenced the second-half with a series of attacks, which brought out the good qualities of Hall, the Rangers’ left-back, who made several fine clearances.

The second-half was only four minutes old when the Rangers were awarded a penalty. Vango passed to Wilson, who sent the ball out to Cribb.

The winger ran a few paces before centring, and Hannah, who had run across, was just inside the penalty area when he put up his hand to save his face from being hit by the ball, and the referee promptly awarded a penalty.

Goddard took the kick, and lifted the ball over the bar, the Rangers thus losing a great opportunity of drawing level.

After this let-off the City attacked, Bell and Blakemore shooting wide, and Cunningham receiving an injury to his foot when clearing a centre from Murphy.

Fast exchanges followed, the Rangers playing a more open game than previously, which brought the wingers into play. Wharton pushed aside one centre from Wyper, and Jobling shot over after the City had taken a corner.

Vargo made some good passes and Cribb had opportunities of liveliness. Hannah did some good tackling. Two of Murphy’s centres passed high across the goalmouth and Blakemore saw Cunningham reach one of his best shots with his left hand when the ball seemed almost home.

Armstrong stopped Murphy with a vigorous tackle, and shortly afterwards Hannah was in the wars, but was able to resume after receiving attention from Young.

Play continued at a furious pace, each side attacking in turn, and the defences putting up a fine resistance, the sterling play of the backs providing a great shield for the goalkeepers.

Cunningham, however, was more often engaged than Wharton, but the latter made one good clearance from Wyper, and shortly afterwards tipped over the bar from Lewis.

Wharton also punched clear from a corner, and Taylor breaking away, the City forced a corner.

Wilson was accurate and deliberate with his passes, and it was after he had given the ball to Wyper, that Wharton made a fine clearance from his centre.

Ten minutes from the end the Rangers were struggling desperately to save the match.

Lewis, who was an opportunist, brought out the best of Wharton with a good shot. Cunningham gave a corner in pushing aside a low shot from Bell.

Cunningham punched away a header from Blakemore, and Taylor missed by inches. The defences successfully resisted hot attacks.’

The following week the R’s suffered a 6-2 defeat at Exeter City.

Steve Russell

(The artwork shown above is from my collection and accompanied the match report)