Team: Mason, Byrom, Abel, Powell, Barr, Farmer, Kelly, Devine, Stock, McCarthy, Pattison
The Rangers Reserves had finished as runners-up to Arsenal the previous season.
On the 2nd September 1939, the R’s took on Watford at Loftus Road in the first Reserve home game of the season.
The following match report appeared in the Marylebone Mercury & West London Star on 2nd September 1939:
‘Muggy atmosphere together with poor light and periods of blinding sunshine certainly did not help matters at Loftus-road on Monday evening, when the Rangers Reserves in their first home Football Combination game of the season.
If perhaps the Rangers failed to give an inspiring display of football, they can at least be congratulated on the sporting manner in which they played.
Other than off-side – not one of their players infringed throughout the whole ninety minutes. For this alone the home side deserved a draw.
They were outplayed at times and never once got on top but they never lost their heads, whereas the Watford players besides having a penalty awarded against them were often in trouble and three of their side were warned by the referee.
Rangers were conspicuously weak in defence, formed by Mason – who was in a “fumbling mood”; Abel – usually so sure-footed and sound; and Byrom – a new face at Loftus-road.
All three goals scored by Watford were presented through defensive errors and misunderstandings. Farmer, the pivot, as a matter of fact, was responsible for one whilst blame for the others could be shared equally between the backs and the ‘keeper.
The first blunder came after 14 minutes when Abel and Byrom allowed Withers to break through and the Watford inside-right cleverly scooped the ball over the advancing Mason’s head. Mason, in fact, positioned himself very badly.
In twenty minutes the Rangers drew level as the result of a dashing header by McCarthy when the ball flashed across the Watford goal through a crowd of players.
Rangers had only themselves to blame for not being at least two goals to the good at this period for they let chance after chance go a-begging.
Young Stock was disappointing as a leader. He displayed abundant enthusiasm but this was a distinct drawback for too often he spoilt brilliant openings by running offside or allowing himself to fall a victim of the Watford rear-guide off-side trap.
Within a minute of the resumption Watford went ahead again through Law who dived full length to head the ball, passed by Morgan, past the surprised Mason.
(Johnny Pattison is shown above)
After this we saw the first signs of spirited football during the game. Rangers, given the lead by left-winger Pattison, rallied.
They adopted close passing tactics and within three minutes were level once again. Pattison netted with a most amazing cross-shot from the corner flag.
Watford’s boisterous tactics presented the Rangers with many free kicks, but their forwards were either out of luck or over anxious for chances galore were wasted and when play was transferred to the other end of the field and J. Holland bundled the ball past Mason to put Watford in the lead.
Rangers seemed doomed for defeat for their attack always gave one the impression they were competing with their defence in seeing who could make the most errors!
However, Rangers were awarded a penalty when in an attempt to clear, Harris, Watford’s right-back, fisted the ball away from under the bar. Pattison made no mistake with the kick.’
Two days earlier the R’s had lost 1-2 to a strong Coventry City side.
(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the match report)