Watford (3) – QPR (4) – ‘And to the Consternation of the Home Supporters, Thompson Scored Again’

Southern League (Division One)

Team: Kingsley, Lyon, Wassall, Yenson, White, Downing, Thompson, Sugden, Bevan, Ryder, Roberts

Attendance: 7,000

Following a 3-0 win over Reading at Park Royal, Rangers travelled to Watford on 18th November 1905. A match report appeared in the Herts Advertiser a week later:

‘Watford received another reverse in the Southern League on Saturday, but it was generally admitted that they were very unlucky in losing the brace of points. 

The result came as a great surprise on the top of their excellent performance of the previous week. 

A large crowd gathered to witness the match at Watford. Both teams were well represented and a fast and exciting game resulted. 

The first attacking movement was made by Watford, and a fairly promising run ended in Kelly shooting past at long range. 

A passing bout, in which all their forwards took part, enabled the Rangers to make the acquaintance of Biggar, and Bevan sent in a shot which the keeper easily saved. The Rangers forward was offside when he received, and from the free kick Watford made progress. 

A corner fell to them, and from this Kelly again shot behind. The shooting of the Watford forwards did not look very dangerous, and a few chances were wasted. 

At the other end, Bevan got well in, but Aston hampered his movements and gave Biggar an opportunity of clearing. 

The visitors came again, and after Roberts had sent in a futile shot, the ball came to Bevan when the latter was offside. The free kick went out to Kelly, who dashed along the wing, but was stopped by Lyon. 

A tussle for possession ensued, in which the Rangers’ back came off best, and a hot attack on the Watford goal ended in a defender saving at the expense of a corner. This was well taken, but the defence had no difficulty in sending the ball out. 

Midfield play followed, and the exchanges for a time were quiet and even. 

A splendid piece of defensive play by White, who tackled, and then beat several opponents, sent the visitors away, and for a time Watford had to act on the defensive. 

A rush to the other end was followed by a long, dropping shot from McCartney, which just topped the bar. 

As the interval approached the game became faster, and both goals were visited in turn. In an attack on the Watford goal,Biggar accidently kicked Bevan in the face. 

The Rangers’ centre retired for a few minutes, and during his absence the game was slightly in favour of Watford, who, however, never appeared dangerous.

When Bevan returned, the Rangers pressed, but they were gradually forced back, and after Eaton had failed to turn to account a centre from Kelly, Turner succeeded in beating Kingsley with a fine shot

The remainder of the first-half was in favour of the visitors, but they could not get the ball past Biggar. 

On resuming, the Rangers went off in irresistible style, and within a minute had succeeded in equalising. Bevan sending the ball past Biggar from close in. 

Play was no sooner re-started than another combined movement saw the Rangers in the home territory, and, after a few exchanges, in which the defence could not get the ball completely away, Thompson drove it home again.

The visitors thus equalised and secured the leading goal within five minutes. This rapid scoring seemed to demoralise the home defence, and the Rangers’ forwards ran through them with the greatest ease.

The excitement raised by the visitors’ second success had no sooner died down than Thompson again beat Biggar. From the centre-kick. Bevan obtained possession and, darting through, he sent across to the right, and a hot attack on Biggar’s charge followed. 

There were several exciting passages in the Watford lines, and to the consternation of the home supporters, Thompson again scored. 

Thus, the Rangers had scored four goals in less than 15 minutes. Watford, playing more steadily after these reverses, claimed a larger share of the game, and a sparkling run by Kelly, followed by an accurate centre, gave Eaton a chance, which he promptly turned to account and reduced the deficit. 

The game became particularly fast, and the men on both sides played with great determination. 

An illegal charge on Reid five yards from goal led to a penalty against the Rangers. McCartney took the kick and reduced the Rangers’ lead to one goal. 

Watford now exerted themselves to the utmost, and several corners falling to them kept the home supporters in a tense state of excitement. 

Kelly, in a favourable position, put the ball over the bar, and Reid shot past. At this point the light began to fail, but the game was fought out in the keenest and fastest manner. 

The Rangers acted mainly on the defensive, and try as they would, Watford were unable to equalise. 

When the whistle went the visitors were somewhat lucky winners of a very fast and exciting game.’

Meanwhile, at Park Royal, QPR’s reserves beat Watford 1-0.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance. The above pic of Frank Lyon comes from a Handbook of the period that was kindly loaned to me)