If football be the food of love then do we have a Valentine’s Day feast for you today. On 20 occasions the players of Hampstead Town, Hampstead, Golders Green and Hendon have risked the ire of their nearest and dearest by taking to the field and the day hasn’t been without moderate levels of success.
The story begins in 1914 and a Middlesex League match against rivals Bronze Athletic that saw the home side win 3-2. The goalscorers are unknown. 6-years later an Athenian League match against Kingstonian ended 2-2, J Hall and J Croal on target.
In 1925 as the ban on the Nazi Party in Bavaria was lifted along with the state-wide state of emergency, an Athenian League tie at Uxbridge Town ended goalless – the first of three goalless draws to occur so far on 14th February. That wasn’t the case in 1931 as Enfield were beaten 4-1 in the Middlesex Senior Cup, this on the day that Bela Lugosi’s turn as that most romantic of heroes, Dracula, was released. Freddie Evans scored twice whilst Bill Morton and Harry Walsh were also amongst the goals.
On the day the Polish Home Army was formed in 1942 to lead the resistance against the German occupation and the Japanese Army make significant gains both in Malaya and through landings on Sumatra, Finchley handed out a significant 5-0 hammering of Golders Green in the London Senior Cup. Fast forward 6-years and an Amateur Cup tie against Barking in 1948 ended 2-2 thanks to a pair of goals from Bob Avis.
Cliff Nock netted twice in 1953 as Walton & Hersham were beaten 3-2 in the Athenian League, Alan Beningfield with the other goal, and a strike from Roy Thomas in 1959 settled an Amateur Cup tie at Hallam. This was the first and only time the club has played at what is widely recognised as the oldest football ground in the world, Sandygate Road, which hosted its first match in 1860 between Hallam and Sheffield.
The second goalless draw in our round-up today occurred in 1967 in an Isthmian League match at Corinthian Casuals as Aretha Franklin was recording ‘Respect’ and three years later in 1970 Walton & Hersham gained revenge for their defeat 17-years previously by knocking the Greens out of the Amateur Cup with a 1-0 win.
1976 completed the trio of 0-0 draws as a trip to Dulwich Hamlet ended without score and then five-years later in 1981 Greens’ fans were swooning as Jock McGleish netted twice in a 4-1 win over Dagenham at Claremont Road. Alan Cosby and Kevin Folan completed the scoring.
A 1984 visit to Harrow Borough in the London Senior Cup ended in defeat, Steve Smith with the Hendon goal in a 2-1 defeat that came on the same day as Torvill & Dean win Olympic Gold in Sarajevo with a performance of rather more majesty and romance than the Greens were able to muster. Things were rather better 3-years later as Walthamstow Avenue were beaten 3-2 at Claremont Road thanks to goals from Iain Dowie, Neil Wolstenholme and Colin Tate.
In 1989 as Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie following publication of ‘The Satanic Verses’ Hendon produced a fine performance to dismantle Dulwich Hamlet in the London Senior Cup 5-1. Andy Smith grabbed a hat-trick whilst Dermot Drummy and Mark Furneaux were also on target. Nine years later Tony Lynch came off the bench to grab a point for the Greens at Heybridge Swifts.
Aldershot Town ended Hendon’s interest in the Isthmian League Cup in 2002, the Shots winning 2-0, and then two years later in 2004 a visit to Carshalton Athletic saw the Greens shrug off the first-half dismissal of Steve Forbes to win 3-1 thanks to strikes from Eugene Ofori, Andy Cook and a Scott Cousins penalty.
Today’s round-up ends with a pair of matches against Tooting & Mitcham United. The first, in 2006, was a London Senior Cup semi-final at Claremont Road that was settled by a strike from Dave Hunt to set up a final against Fisher. Then 3-years later in 2009 a fixture at Vale Farm ended 2-2. MIchail Antonio, then a teenager, netted the Terrors’ second goal just before half-time to give the visitors a two-goal advantage. An own goal and equaliser from skipper James Parker ensured a share of the spoils.
Valentine’s day has seen 20 matches – the most to date on a single day – and has produced 8 wins, 7 draws and 5 defeats. 34 goals have been scored and 28 conceded.