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The calendar flips around to 2nd April and for us this year, we find ourselves on Good Friday. Over the years the 2nd April has provided the club with more good than bad, particularly in the first 70-years, however more recent times have seen the club struggle rather more on this day.
We begin in 1921 with a Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final tie against Enfield at The Avenue Ground which ended in a 2-2 draw, both Hampstead Town goals scored by Cecil Burrage. Two years later and the club’s 1923 tour of the Channel Islands continued in successful fashion with a 4-3 win over a Guernsey XI in front of a crowd of 7,000, Travers Day scored twice with a goal each for Lewis Smith and Freddie Young.
1926 saw the birth of Australian motor racing great, Jack Brabham, and also goals for Oscar Reinke and George Bucci in a 2-1 win away at West Norwood in the Athenian League. A year later a thrilling Middlesex Charity Cup semi-final match with Uxbridge Town saw the two sides share nine goals, five of them going the way of Hampstead to set up a final with Barnet. George Howell grabbed two along with one apiece from G H Smith, Harry Shearcroft and Jimmy Smy.
Five years on in 1932 and goals from W Bramley, Freddie Evans and Bill Butland saw Southall beaten 3-1 in the Athenian League at Claremont Road, this on the day that US aviator Charles Lindbergh paid a $50,000 ransom for his kidnapped son. Two years later in 1934 and the club picked up their first Middlesex Senior Cup with a 2-0 win over Park Royal. Evans was again on target as was a Park Royal player with an unfortunate own goal.
Moving forward to 1945 and another Middlesex Senior Cup Final appearance, this one at Wealdstone, saw Southall win 3-1 ending Golders Green’s hopes of another piece of silverware, Mac Cochrane was the man who grabbed the Golders Green goal. It was back to Athenian League action in 1949, on the day that broadcaster Paul Gambaccini was born, as Hayes were beaten 3-2 at Church Road, Roy Stroud grabbed a couple of goals which were added to by Ted Hornsby.
Half a dozen years later in 1955 Norwegian international Ragnar Hvidsten was amongst the goalscorers along with Graeme Cunningham and John Core secured a 3-1 Athenian League win at Sutton United. In 1960 a Middlesex Senior Cup semi-final replay against Uxbridge ended in a 3-0 win and a final place against Enfield, Jimmy Quail scored twice and Terry Howard once on the day that future Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie was born.
Dave Swain continued the run of success in 1963 with the only goal of the game against Finchley in the Athenian League and three years later he scored twice in a 4-0 Isthmian League over Woking at Claremont Road, Laurie Churchill and Roy Sleap also on the scoresheet, this on the day that Teddy Sheringham was born and the novelist CS Forester sadly passed away.
The run of five straight runs came to an end in 1977 as Ilford came to Claremont Road and held the Greens to a 0-0 draw on the day that Red Rum won the Grand National for a third time. Normal service was resumed in fine style in 1983 as Hitchin Town were hammered 6-1 at Top Field. Andy O’Brien scored twice with one each from Billy Stagg, Adrian Smith, Ali Sylvester and Steve Kirkby.
Just two years later the Greens grabbed half a dozen of the best again, this time at Claremont Road against Bognor Regis Town who failed to register a consolation. Gary Allen and George Duck scored twice each whilst Fred Barwick and Martin Coates also grabbed goals. Two years later in the second leg of the Isthmian League Cup semi-final Yeovil Town were beaten 2-0 at Claremont Road as Dermot Drummy and Mick Kiely netted to set up a final against Bognor.
Exactly a year later a visit to struggling Basingstoke Town ended in a disappointing 2-0 defeat at The Camrose, a first reverse on 2nd April in 43 years and after nine matches unbeaten, then the club’s final win on this day arrived in 1994 as player-boss Bob Dowie and an own goal secured a 2-0 win over Molesey.
All good things must come to an end and after years of almost unhindered success so it’s proven on this day. The rot began to set in with a tedious 0-0 draw against Yeading at The Warren in 1996 where the talk of the Greens faithful was all about the impending signing of former Rangers and Blackburn Rovers striker Andy Kennedy. Five years later in 2001 Ross Pickett scored at Scraley Road against Heybridge Swifts in a 4-1 defeat.
There was another goalless draw in 2005, this time against Tonbridge Angels, as teammates Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer were sent off for trading punches at St James’ Park against Aston Villa and Pope John Paul II passed away. Half a dozen years on in 2011 Kevin Maclaren was on target at Cray Wanderers in a 3-1 defeat at Hayes Lane as India thrilled their home fans by lifting the cricket World Cup in Mumbai.
Tonbridge returned to North-West London in 2016 and this time completely outplayed Gary McCann’s men, winning 3-0 at Earlsmead, then two years later the Greens had to settle for a point at Wingate and Finchley, courtesy of two Niko Muir penalties despite a host of missed opportunities going begging.
23 matches on 2nd April to date have seen 13 wins, five draws and five defeats. 49 goals have been scored and 29 conceded.