The 1903/04 Season: QPR get off to a Winning Start against Brentford

Team: Collins, Archer, Newlands, Bowman, Hitch, Freeman, Cross, Milward, Brown, Blackwood, Wilson

Attendance: 10,000

On 5th September 1903, QPR took on Brentford at Kensal Rise in their opening Southern League (Division 1) game of the season. The following match report appeared in the Acton Gazette:

‘The capital display given by the Queen’s Park Rangers in their opening match of the season on Tuesday last week caused a huge crowd estimated at fully 10,000, to assemble on the Kensal Rise ground on Saturday afternoon, when they opposed Brentford in the first of their Southern League fixtures.

Wisely enough, it was resolved to rely upon the identical eleven that had beaten Fulham, and Brentford made one change from their advertised team, Spicer bing selected to play in goal in place of Frail, the ex-Luton custodian suffering from a mild attack of lumbago.

As matters turned out, Spicer proved a splendid substitute, his display being nothing short of superb, and but for him the margin in favour of the Rangers would have been much heavier.

Collins won the toss, and elected to play from the Harrow-road end, this giving his side the advantage of a slight wind that was blowing from that direction.

From the start, the visitors were awarded a free kick, but failed to take any advantage of it, and the ball was quickly transferred to the vicinity of their citadel, Spicer being called upon to use his hands within a couple of minutes from the start. He cleared all right, but Milward got possession and shot over.

From the goal-kick the heavy Brentford forwards looked dangerous, but they kicked too hard when passing, and Collins, running out, cleared easily.

During the next ten minutes the play was confined to the visiting quarters, but Spicer gave a great display in goal, although once in clearing he gave Brown a chance, which that celebrity failed to take advantage of by no more than half a dozen inches.

The B’s then had a turn of pressing, and forced a corner off Archer, but Parsonage headed over.

A capital run by Atherton proved abortive, as Brett muffed a fine centre, and then from a corner kick Turner missed a grand chance of opening the scoring.

Up to the change over, the home side had a bit of the best of the play, but failed to beat the defence, the score sheet being blank at half-time.

During the first twenty minutes of the second period, Spicer had a very busy time, but acquitted himself admirably.

At length, however, the scoring opened, as after Spicer had repulsed a hot shot from Milward, Brown, who was lying handy caught the ball on the rebound, and put it through amidst a terrific outburst of cheering.

Thus was all the scoring, although both sides played up well to the finish. Archer, at back, played a marvellous game for the Rangers and, in addition to the goalkeepers, others who enhanced their reputations were Bowman, Cross, and Milward of the Rangers, and Atherton and Bellingham of Brentford.’

QPR had beaten Fulham 2-0 the previous Tuesday at Kensal Rise in their first London Premier Division game of the season.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance)