December 25, 1922
The Christmas Derby
Denaby victorious at Mexborough
Mexborough 1 Denaby United 2
Mexborough: Williams; Roberts and Glover; Hill, Armitage, smelt; Evinson, Brayshaw, Walker, Hudson and Waterfield
Denaby United: Ekins; Coope and Taylor; Reed, cowering, Peters; Hamilton, Burkinshaw, Bretnall, Godfrey and Powell
Although Mexborough lost their Christmas day match with Denaby United (their second home defeat of the season) and retired a little sore and disappointed on various accounts, their supporters did not allow the reverse to weigh heavily on their spirits,and leftthe ground quite cheerful and contented, for they had seen a splendid holiday game, and had had their money’s worth.
Mexborough, in a sense, were unlucky to lose, although they were meeting a side that was on the whole better balanced and better sprung. Still, in the second half, this fortune waswith Denaby, and their joy might very easily have turned into wailing.
It was, of course Denaby’s turn to win, for Mexborough brought off a double at their expense last year.An hourbefore the kick off on Monday it looked as if this year’s Christmas duel would be ruined by the weather, which was bleak, wet, and tempestuous. However, Jupiter reflected that Christmas comes but once a year, and so he forced a rather liveried smile, by the light ofwhich we were able to see, in reasonable comfort, a thoroughly enjoyable game, very cleanly fought.. The unpromising prelude of the morning. Certainly, it hadits effect on the gate, for this match would ordinarily have brought up 6000 spectators, and there were in fact only 4000, many of these hurrying up at the last moment. The gate receipts amounted to £140, which was only good enough for this fixture, but much better than the financial Sec debt to hope when he opened his eyes and his stocking that morning and looked out of doors.
Denaby won the toss and open from the cricket end, taking advantage of a breeze that was at first strong and steady, but later turned to light and eddying airs. Denaby had the best of the preliminary skirmishing, the first incident of note was a powerful shot at close range from Powell. Williams saved and cleared this very coolly and cleanly, but he was not so successful when next attacked. Cowan fired in a 30 yards drive plump at him, and the greasy ball slid down behind him. He made a swift recovery, and handed the ball away, but the Denaby men made a confident appeals for a goal. It was a close thing, this and the referee, been in no position to judge, very properly gave the defending side the benefit of the doubt will stop but it was a narrow squeak, it seemed to hearten the Mexborough men a little, for they took up the attack, and kept it up until their one success. Their goal, the outstanding feature of the match, came after 20 minutes play. Evinson opened it up with a capital run past Peters and Taylor, and he lifted the ball into the centre, where Walker was fastened up. Walker, however, got the ball out to the left-wing and Waterfield centred it perfectly to BRAYSHAW, who with a quick manoeuvre got clear of Cowan and fired in a drive with the left foot. The shot from 20 yards out, beat Ekins all the way, although he got one hand to it as it was travelling into the top corner.
This feat aroused immense enthusiasm, but consolation was soon to come to Denaby, and through the returned wanderer, Burkinshaw, who found the net with a cunning shot. It was slow, but perfectly planted, and found the far corner.
BURKINSHAW had the satisfaction of adding the goal which decided the match. This also became the first half, from a flag kick by Powell will stop Burkinshaw got his eyebrows to it, and knocked it down sharply under Williams feet. Denaby and the running in the first half undoubtedly. They were helped by the wind and the strong and confident kicking of their backs, and they were a little smarter on the ball.
A change came over the game in the second half. Mexborough attack with great spirit and more method. Mexborough had their chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Walker by Coope. The award was something in the nature of a “Christmas box” but Rob Hill, who took the kick, had the mortification of completely missing the goal.
Alf Smelt, who was not in very good trim from the start, and was quite unable to hold the speedy Denaby right wing, came to grief with a heavy fall and splintered his collarbone, and though he persevered for a time he had to leave the field 10 min before the end. Denaby were kept well in subjection throughout the second half, and were rarely dangerous. They were content, towardsthe close, to ride on their lead, and they did not rely in vain, for Mexborough could not get through, though they had the Denaby defence struggling, forcing a dozen corners in this half, four of them in unbroken succession.