Mid-Week Football Combination
Team: Drinkwater, Baker (P), Williams (W), Keen, Rutter, Bedford, McClelland, Collins, Evans, Towers, Barber
On the previous Monday, the Rangers Combination side had lost 0-3 to Aldershot at Loftus Road. Seven changes were made for the visit of Reading on 15th January 1962, which provoked Mr Elverson to write the following letter to the Reading Standard:
‘Sir, I am writing to explain my disapproval of the way Football Combination matches are ruined. I have been a Reading supporter for 13 years, and rarely miss a Combination match.
Last week, Queen’s Park Rangers saw fit to put their entire first team out against Reading Reserves, who at the time fielded not one first team man.
Reading hold a good position in the Combination league and would probably be two more points better off had QPR fielded their reserve team.
Rangers are not the only side to field regular first team men. Swindon and one or two others have been fielding anything up to six or seven first teamers.
Surely a limit should be made – of about two first teamers.’
The Sports Editor responded as follows:
‘It’s unfortunate that this letter should clash with Reading’s decision to field the first team against Charlton.
I think that Harry Johnston’s action is perfectly fair, and probably the Rangers had a similar reason for playing senior men.
Obviously, clubs must use the Combination League mainly for reserves, but surely the needs of first team players come first.
If they require match practice, reserve matches provide a perfect opportunity, and so long as a manager has the decency (like Johnston) to inform the opponents, I see no reason for complaint.’
As for the match, Mickey Barber nabbed a couple of goals and Bernard Evans scored the other one in the 3-1 win. The Reading goal was scored by Dougie Webb.
(Thanks to Colin Woodley for his assistance. The programme is from my collection)