QPR (3) – Northampton Town (2) – ‘And with Commendable Coolness he Guided the Ball Past the Advancing Keeper’

Team: Mason, Barrie, Carr, Lowe, Farmer, March, Lumsden, Charlton, Cheetham, Fitzgerald, McMahon

Attendance: 3,751

Following a 6-0 win over Cardiff City five days earlier it was Northampton Town who visited Loftus Road next on Thursday, 18th February 1937. Charles Buchan’s match report appeared in the Daily News the next day:

‘With the exception of a period of 20 minutes in the first-half, during which the Rangers scored three goals, Northampton were the superior side in a bright, entertaining Southern Section game.

Considering the conditions – a heavy ball and waterlogged ground – the game reached a very high standard.

From a skill point of view, Northampton deserved to win. Their combination was better than that of the Rangers, for they found their men accurately with their passes, whereas the Rangers were prone to kick the ball hard and trust to individual effort.

There was a vital weakness in the Town defence. Hewitt and Mackie had little understanding, with the result that the Rangers’ left-wing, with plenty of time in which to work, gave a brilliant display.

Still, Rangers were fortunate to score the three goals as they did. The first came from Fitzgerald, whose shot cannoned off Thayne past the helpless Gormlie.

The second followed a clear case of handling by Cheetham. The centre-forward went on and forced a corner-kick, which Charlton headed into the net.

The third was easily the best goal of the game. A delightful flick by Cheetham gave Fitzgerald a clear opening, and the inside-left coolly beat the advancing Gormlie.

Although three goals down, Northampton dominated the second-half. Allen reduced the lead with a delightful shot after scooping the ball over Farmer’s head, and Lyman profited by a defensive mistake to score a second with 20 minutes to play.

Right to the end Northampton were the better side, but the Rangers defended strongly and successfully. Northampton deserved a better fate.

Apart from the right-flank weakness and a disinclination on the part of the inside-forwards to drop back and help the defenders, they were a clever and neat combination.

Gormlie made no error and in Little they had the best back on view, cool and always using the ball to advantage.

Thayne, a strong chap in the mud, and Simpson were resourceful half-backs and Allen and Lauderdale extremely skilful forwards. Allen had improved wonderfully since he left Charlton, I also liked the work of Dunkley, the 19-year-old outside-right.

Rangers owed their victory mainly to the left-wing. Fitzgeraldschemed cleverly, while McMahon did as he pleased with the opposition, making many brilliant raids which should have brought many goals.

Unfortunately, Cheetham was right off colour in the centre. The old Army man seems to have lost his snap and opportunism.

Charlton struck me as rather out of place at inside-forward, though he made many clever passes.

There was a lack of recovery on the part of the defenders and a hesitation in tackling. Both the Northampton goals would have been prevented if the opponent had been tackled quickly.

Farmer and March were the best half-backs and Carr the better of the backs. Mason kept a very good goal.’

Two days later the reserves took on Northampton at Loftus Road and the ‘Club Chatter’ section of the programme reported on the Rangers goals in further detail:

‘The first goal, coming at the end of six minutes, was a typical McMahon/Fitzgerald goal. Hugh cut out the running and laid it back for Paddy to finish off. On this occasion he had the help of a defender whose body deflected the ball, as the goalkeeper made his effort, to the far corner, although Paddy maintained that had the ball not been deflected the result would have been the same.

Tom Cheetham had a say in the second goal. From a McMahon corner he did well to turn the ball in with his head and Bill Charlton, with his usual “nose” for position, connected with his head to score.

The third goal was a Charlton/Fitzgerald effort. That flick from Bill into the open space found Paddy sailing through an open defence and with commendable coolness he guided the ball past the advancing keeper.’

I suppose playing the match on a Thursday afternoon wouldhave accounted for such a low attendance.

Coming up the following week was news of a dance at the Ladbroke Hall. Situated opposite Ladbroke Grove Station, music was to be provided by George Gilbert & his Orchestra. Tickets were priced at 1/6 and were available either from the Club Room, Mr N. W. Steptoe at 11, Lothrop Street, Queen’s Park, or from the Ladbroke Hall.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for unearthing Charles Buchan’s match report. Bill Charlton is shown above & the caption reads: ‘Queen’s Park Rangers’ amateur international forward, heads the second goal against Northampton’)