Dec 29 – Denaby 1 Mexborough 0 – Mexborough Unlucky to Lose a Glorious Game

December 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, December 29

Denaby´s Derby Day

Mexborough Unlucky to Lose a Glorious Game

Kennedy´s Critical Kick

Denaby United 1, Mexborough 0

The game in a nutshell – Mexborough had the play, Denaby got the points.

And now it is necessary to enlarge on the “text”.

It was a bright frosty day, the playing pitch was in good condition and a crowd of about 6,000 had assembled to witness the first of the two Christmastide encounters between the local rivals Denaby and Mexborough on the ground of the first named.

The visitors won the toss and Godfrey set the ball rolling, in what turned out to be a somewhat similar game from that played on this ground on October 20th, when Mexborough received its knock-out in the English Cup competition. This is, from the point of view of a good clean game, and the spirit of that cup-tie match seemed to hover over the field, for there was very little that was questionable during the game. From the point of view of play, it was the reverse of the cup-tie, for in this game Mexborough certainly had the major portion of the play, and must be considered very unlucky not to at least have shared the points.

During the first half Mexborough were on top practically the whole of the time, and during this period Bromage, in Denaby´s goal kept his charge like a man possessed. He had many difficult shots to deal with but he was equal to every occasion and many a time he drew rounds of applause for his extremely smart work between the sticks. Denaby made occasional raids, but Mexborough were continually on the aggressive.

After half time there was a change in the game. For the first twenty-five minutes, up to the time of the critical goal, Denaby had quite as much play as their opponents. Immediately after the goal Mexborough played like demons for a short period but gradually , slowly but surely Denaby worked their way into a commanding position and when the final whistle came, they were undoubtedly the better team, though Mexborough´s period of ascendency was of a much longer duration than was Denaby´s. And now to the game. When the teams lined up it was seen that Picknett, newly transferred from Doncaster Rovers, was figuring in Lilley´s position of inside right. Winfield again appeared in the defence. Otherwise there was no change.

Mexborough pressed from the start, but the attacks were broken up by Cope and Winfield. Then after ten minutes Hamilton sped along the wing and put across a lovely centre of which nothing came, but the movement had relieved Denaby´s defence considerably. Again Hamilton came set going by Godfrey but Glover cleared. Watts received a long swinger from the right but the venture petered out. Again Watts went along the line and put the ball on to Allen´s toes. A goal seemed certain, but Bromage displayed wonderful judgement in a very fine save, bringing forth a terrific storm of applause.

Rob Hill set a movement going but his men were offside. And Armitage, Walker, Watts combination looked menacing but Bromage made another fine save, and immediately after Chambers took the ball off Walker´s foot just as he was about to shoot.

As a relief for Denaby Cooper went down the wing but he got mixed up with Roberts and lost the ball. Allen and Saxton came into the picture with some pretty footwork, but Winfield cleared the danger. Then came a thrill, a fine pass from Bramley found only Walker and Bromage near to the ball close in to the goal, but Kennedy swept down from nowhere and kicked away.

Shaw next got a chance but he was too long in deciding what to do, eventually passing to Cooper, who put out. Then Walker stopped the ball on the side of his face and had to receive attention. Now ensued a race between George Hill and Bramley and Bromage got another shot to deal with.

Immediately after this Bromage made one of the best saves of the match. Walker banged in a real hot one. Bromage sped across the goal and deftly turned the ball round the post. It was a save which bore the Hall Mark. Coope received a kick which necessitated the trainer´s attention and he was off for a few minutes. Watts then put a corner behind the goal, his third in three tries. “Joby” got the ball and dashed along the left wing, but he made the mistake of trying to play the whole of the team and met with the inevitable defeat.

Some spectacular headwork by Godfrey, Shaw and Picknett ended in Boulding having to concede a corner. This was only about the second time Mexborough´s goalie had been called upon, his first had been a fine clearance, and it was evident that both goalkeepers were right on top of form though Boulding had had little chance to display his merit.

Shaw should have opened the scoring from a corner but he found himself bustled off the ball, and half time arrived with no score.

There was soon some excitement in this half. A centre from the left was put over by Godfrey. Picknett then banged in a beautiful cross shot and a goal seemed certain but Boulding was there. As quick as lightning, he had made his decision, flinging himself forward and just getting to the ball to divert its track so that it passed harmlessly by the post. It was a great shot and a great save and the crowd voiced its appreciation whole-heartedly.

Godfrey got in the way of a clearance at two yards range and stopping the ball on the side of the face he had to be carried off and it was ten minutes before he re-appeared.

Again Mexborough assumed the aggressive and stormed to the attack, Bromage having to deal with a number of shots from Armitage, who up to this had not done much shooting but he made up for it at this period and for some time he caused trouble to Denaby defence.

George Hill and Bramley had another race but Hill won this one. Hamilton placed the ball nicely for Chambers, but Walker, who had dropped back slightly took the ball off his toes, Tit for Tat! For Walker had had the same experience in the first half.

Twenty-five minutes had elapsed before the scoring was opened. Hamilton put in a corner which Shaw received but having his back to the goal he touched the ball to KENNEDY, who put a pile driver on the ground through the packed mass in the goal mouth. Boulding could not get to it, as a matter of fact he was most probably unsighted as there were so many defenders in his way. There was a great shout of applause mingled with blasts on the instruments of the band of the S.J.A.B., who had rendered selections at half time, but not half the persons on the field joined in it, an indication of Mexborough´s big quota at the match.

From the kick off Mexborough played for some time as though determined to equalise, Armitage again doing a good deal of work near to the goal. Picknett had to receive trainer´s attentions, but was quickly amongst it again.

Godfrey was apparently feeling the results of his knock for he was playing outside left for a short period, with Copper in the centre, but those positions were not long maintained.

Throughout the game Roberts had shown that he was a power in the defence, and Glover had ably seconded him, though Denaby´s pair of backs, Coope and Winfield had done a tremendous amount of noble work in a game which had severely tested the rear guard. Kennedy nearly added to the score in a similar fashion to his first goal, but this time his shot lacked direction.

Just before the end Godfrey got away on Denaby´s left, and Cooper crossed to centre, Shaw received, touched to Cooper who had hard lines with a warm rising shot, which just tipped the bar.

Mexborough were making valiant attempts to equalise, but time came without addition to the score.

In this hard fought match the honours undoubtedly rested with the goalkeepers, they had a lot to do and did it well. The backs have been commented upon, the half-backs throughout worked hard both in defence and aggression, but Kennedy was not quite up to his best form though he played a grand game and scored the goal which decided the issue. The most conspicuous forwards were Watts and Walker, who had a great deal of work to do, Hamilton spent rather a quiet afternoon, but the inside forwards on both sides combined well and played a very thrustful game.

To sum up, fortunes wavered first Mexborough, then Denaby, then Mexborough, and again Denaby, with Mexborough´s portion predominating. To any but the most arrant partisan a draw would have been a fitting result to a very good game.

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