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By two goals to one, Hampstead emerged from the third qualifying round of the F.A. Cup on Saturday at the expense of Barnet, at Claremont-road, Cricklewood. The number paying for admission, we are informed, was 3,897, the receipts amounting to £115, so that the game - a thrilling one - must have been watched by over 4,000 people, a record for the ground. There was no counter-attraction at Hendon, and fortunately, after a stormy night, the afternoon was fine.
The ground was in a heavy state, which was a disadvantage to Hampstead. Much the lighter side, they often found it difficult to lift the ball.
The game was fiercely contested from start to finish, no quarter being given, but although there were one or two unpleasant incidents there was not that excess of feeling which has sometimes marred the matches between the clubs.
Barnet had been tipped to win by many newspapers - on the season's results it was only the question of the margin in their favour - but football has its surprises, and this game furnished one. Hampstead proved the better side and Captain Wardlaw and his men had quite an ovation on leaving the field. Well did they deserve it.
It must be said at once that Barnet were handicapped by being without the services of F. Garrett, their left-back, for the greater part of the game. He had the misfortune to twist his ankle, and although after bandages had been used he tried to serve his side at outside-left, he was incapable of rendering much help, and he did not appear in the second half. Meadows therefore dropped back as partner to Fletcher, and Richardson played in the first line of defence.
On the other hand, Hampstead had to make two eleventh-hour changes. Owing to a domestic bereavement (the loss of his sister on the previous day) Smy could not turn out, and those who have followed the fortunes of Hampstead realised what his absence meant. Often he has been the only forward worth his salt. Shearcroft, too, stood down, because he had not fully recovered from an injury sustained in the match against Chesham United. He gave himself a trial run before the game, and soon decided that he would best serve the side by giving way to another. As a result of these enforced changes two reserves were introduced : Levy at outside-left and Applebee at inside-right, the teams lining up as shown at the foot of this report; the referee was Mr. A.P. Rae.
A coin had to be tossed up three times before it was found that Hampstead had choice of ends, and Wardlaw set Barnet to defend the Hendon end. Quite early Barnet became dangerous, but Goodwin gave the ball a mighty punch just to show Barnet that while he had been dropped by them, he had not entirely lost his skill. Parsons at last put his left wing well away, and Levy shot across the mouth of goal. A few words of encouragement from the stand acted as a tonic to the little left-winger, who made some nice passes to Howell, Jones being thoroughly tested several times. At the other end Sparrow missed a fairly easy chance. Howell was bowled over unceremoniously, but not illegally, as he was plodding his way towards goal, and one could see that the weight of the Barnet fellows might easily turn the scales in their favour. However, after the first set-back, Hampstead continued to have a surprisingly large share of the game, Goodwin being comparatively idle. Jones had a habit of falling on the ball in the goal-mouth, and through interfering with him - it was difficult to restrain themselves - some free kicks were awarded against Hampstead. Reinke, while distributing the ball well, did not fail to shoot when the opportunity came, but it was left to Howell to score the first goal, which came at the end of ten minutes. Accepting a very neat pass by Levy, Howell travelled almost from the centre line with the ball completely under control, and with his shot completely beat Jones. It was the best goal of the match, indeed, some aver that it was the only legitimate goal, the others being of a doubtful character.
Jones was almost beaten by Howell a few minutes later. The strength of the Barnet side has been in the attack, but in this game the forwards could not get going. Offside spoiled several good efforts. Sparrow was closely watched by Pease, and well-backed on either side by Wardlaw and Anderson (the captain in particular playing a deadly spoiling game) the backs were not overworked, although when wanted they never failed to rise to the occasion, Shorland giving a surprisingly good display. Several corners were taken by Hampstead, but they were not well placed, and there was a good deal of ineffective potting at the Barnet goal. Sparrow tried very hard to break through the defence, but was foiled again and again, although Goodwin did well to save one of his sharpshooters.
The interval was near at hand when Sparrow, from a pass by Baxter, brought the scores level. The legality of the goal was strongly questioned. The referee, apparently under the impression that Sparrow was offside, blew his whistle before the shot was made, and therefore Hampstead claimed that the goal should not have been allowed. Howell made a desperate effort to restore the lead from Young's centre, but failed, and the teams left the field for a much needed rest on level terms. That Hampstead had proved the better side up to this stage was undisputed, and if they had made the best use of their opportunities they would have been two or three goals ahead.
As in the first half, Barnet opened strongly, but the attack was not sustained, and it was not long before Hampstead got what proved to be the winning goal, Applebee taking the credit. The young inside-right sent in a shot which was headed out by Meadows. It was claimed that in doing so Meadows had stepped over the line, but the referee decided in favour of the defending side. However, a minute or so later, Applebee got his reward. After heading over from a corner kick, he took another shot rather deliberately, which took effect. Barnet were not satisfied that the ball had crossed the line, but after consulting a linesman, the referee pointed to the centre.
Barnet played desperately to recover lost ground, but Hampstead's defence could not be penetrated. One or two players had conversations which apparently were not of the happiest kind, and the crowd were rather incensed when Jones charged Applebee into the fence near goal. However, he was not badly hurt, and after the trainer had given him some attention he was as sprightly as ever. Shorland then demanded attention after heading the ball, the game being stopped a minute or so while he recovered. Three successive free kicks were given against Hampstead in almost as many minutes, the first being against Parsons just over the penalty line when Sparrow was getting dangerously near. Goodwin saved well from Baxter. The other free kicks were for handling. Notwithstanding the heavy nature of the ground, the game continued very fast. Goodwin made several fine clearances, while the Hampstead forwards, Howell in particular, kept Jones busy. Just before the end Sparrow got perilously near Goodwin, who, however, got the better of the argument. Hampstead were naturally not sorry to hear the final whistle. The sporadic raids by Barnet were always dangerous, and it was truly a game in which it could be said that the issue was always in doubt.
Hampstead have to thank their defence for bringing them successfully out of their hardest game of the season. Goodwin was naturally anxious to excel, and on his form in this match was not a whit inferior to Jones. Parsons and Shorland did well at back, and the former, by his work during the last few games, has solved a problem. Perhaps, however, it was the half-back line which more than any other brought victory. Pease may be a little slower than of old, but he is a fine pivot, as Sparrow can bear testimony to this fact. Wardlaw is doing better than ever, indeed, there was no finer player on the field, and Anderson improved on some previous displays. The last-minute changes to the forward line was not conducive to success. Howell was the best of the bunch, but Levy was responsible for many deft touches, and ought to have a regular position in the first eleven. The line lacked weight, but keenness was not a minus quality.
On their display in this match Barnet seem to be an over-rated team, but the injury to Garrett must not be lost sight of. Jones did much good work, and Fletcher was generally very sure in his kicking, but the halves were poor in comparison with the Hampstead trio. Sparrow suffered the penalty of fame by being so closely watched, and with Richardson out of position the most effective work was naturally on the right, Morris and Baxter being a clever pair. Opposed to players below the calibre of Wardlaw and Parsons, they would have been dangerous.
One who has followed Barnet closely this season affirmed that it was their poorest performance this season. This may be an unsolicited testimonial for Hampstead, because the form of a team largely depends upon the quality of football served up by the other side.