‘The Rangers strongly objecting to this Injustice refrained from Lining Up’ – QPR’s 3-5 Defeat at Chatham in 1899

Team: Clutterbuck, Knowles, McConnell, Crawford, Hitch, Keech, Turnbull, Haywood, White, Evans, Cowie

Attendance: 3,000

QPR had won 7-1 at Wandsworth on 28th October 1899 in an FA Cup qualifying round. Two weeks later Rangers travelled to Chatham in a Southern League encounter. The following match report later appeared in the local press:

‘The Rangers certainly had greater opponents to meet on Saturday last, at Chatham, than has ever fell to their lot since the club commences its professional career.

The wind was blowing a perfect hurricane from goal to goal and it was quite apparent that those winning the toss would reap a tremendous advantage. This piece of luck fell to the home eleven.

White kicked off for the Rangers and the three inside forwards tried hard to keep the ball close and worked it into the home territory, but Harper relieved and passed to Johnson. Crawford fell in tackling him, but Johnson sent in a shot, which Clutterbuck made no effort to stop.

Upon resuming, the Rangers made headway against the wind only to find that all efforts to keep the ball low were frustrated directly any of their opponents were near.

Knowles was penalised for a foul, Harper placed well in and McConnell headed away. May obtaining, sent in a centre, which Kaye converted. Clutterbuck appealed for offside against Kaye (a very doubtful point), but Mr Referee Griffiths refused to listen and the game was started from the centre.

The whole of the Rangers were bombarding the home goal, but Frail was in fine form and saved miraculously two or three times. The leather was soon sent to the other end, and Laurence missed a chance of scoring.

Clements fouled Evans and McConnell placed well at the toe of Turnbull, who made a grand run, and after tricking Harper, sent in a beautiful shot from the goal line.

This would have entered the net, but Cowie running up, put the finishing touch to it. The spectators cried “goal,” and the referee walked away, but someone shouting “offside,” he consulted a linesman and a free kick resulted.

Without doubt this was a wrong decision, the supporters of the home team at once admitting that it was a good goal.

The third goal for Chatham soon followed. Crawford was penalised for a foul throw – a most unusual thing – Tranter took the kick and placed well in goal.

Clutterbuck was allowing the ball to go through when Laurence, standing behind Knowles in an offside position, placed it in the net. Again Clutterbuck appealed and was backed up in his appeal by a great number of his colleagues.

The referee refused to hear their complaints and snatched the ball away from Clutterbuck and placed it in the centre.

The Rangers, strongly objecting to this injustice, refrained from lining up, Haywood and Turnbull, however, obeyed the whistle, doubtless saving the club from serious consequences by kicking off, although the others were in the mouth of the goal discussing the affair.

Goal number 4 followed shortly after from the toe of Johnson, a good shot for which Clutterbuck was not quite prepared.

The fifth goal came from a corner, which Clutterbuck was compelled to give, the ball going out to Collins who returned sharply and thus scored, this being the score at half time.

Upon resuming, the Rangers soon made the game and Frail was exceedingly lucky in saving from Evans, Turnbull and Hitch.

The first goal fell to the Rangers eleven minutes after restarting, coming from a long shot made by Hitch.

In sixteen minutes, another goal was put on by the Rangers through Cowie, though it appeared as if he was in an offside position. But this time the decision was to the benefit of the visitors.

Corners in plenty followed, but the Rangers shooting was bad in the extreme, shot after shot going wide.

At this time the home eleven were determined to save the game and frequently kicked the ball over the pavilion, thus wasting time.

Turnbull sent in goal number three with a clinking shot. The game was soon resumed in deadly earnest.

Peter Turnbull sending in another grand shot, which went into the near high corner and certainly appeared to go under the bar, but again the referee said “No”.

This was too much for the Rangers and they appeared to lose heart. They were not able to increase their score and had to suffer defeat by five goals to three. At least according to the official version.’

The following week, the Rangers defeated the Civil Service 3-0 at Kensal Rise in the next qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance)