Mexborough and Swinton Times December 10, 1910
With Denaby to Castleford
Castleford 3 Denaby United 1
Although South Yorkshire venues do not suit Castleford as a general rule, they usually succeed in “bagging a brace” at the expense of a South Yorkshire team, at home. If anything, the conditions under which we laboured on Saturday were even worse than those Mexborough had to contend with – which is saying a great deal.
Owing to the heavy rains the Wheldon Lane ground was under water, and the old Rugby enclosure in Locke Lane had to be requisitioned. This was not a happy augury, as the grass was long.
As I entered the neglected ground, I had vivid recollection of a struggle between Denaby and Castleford some years ago in the English Cup – a match in which poor “Cocky” Bennett played the game of his Midland league career, and I was not the only one to remember the circumstances either.
In spite of the unlovely weather, there was a good “sixpenny” gate to welcome the teams – ask I should say the team. For, of course, there was only one team in it – and that was not United.
The Denaby team was once more disarranged owing to Dyal’s injury, and was as follows:
Sheppard; Jackson and Gregory; Nimrod, Westwood and Swinburn; Middlemiss, Lang, Jones, Thackrah and Dodsley
cathode-ray Newman, in Newton, a junior of the district. They were served by:
Gray; Stones and Ewing; McAllister, Randall and Crossley; Robbins, Newton, Foster, Graham and Buckley.
The Peculiarity of the Game
it will be noticed that Lang played inside to Middlemiss, who is a full-back by choice and a winger to force of circumstances. This was hardly a wise step. The Castleford backs played well up to the halfway line, and the Denaby forwards, Jones in particular also kept well up. This caused an interminable number of “offside” rule infringement, mainly committed by Jones, who seemed bewildered thereby.
And Lang, in his objections on the point to the referee, wasted a lot of time and many opportunities. There was a lot of shout as to Denaby “playing the game,” but, although the decision of the referee were generally correct, the Castleford defence got perilously near the “one back” game, and a shout of “Play the game” might, with advantage, have been applied to the doubtful tactics of the home lot. All this had the effect of spoiling the play and create a lot of unnecessary feeling, palpable fouls being committed by both sides. And naturally, Denaby did not give much away in this respect.
Denaby lost the toss, and kicked off in the face of a rather strong, cold wind. From the first it was noticeable that Castleford adapted themselves to the deceptive ground in a style born of knowledge, while the visitors were nonplussed. The home team pressed, and Ewing was close with a place kick, which curled very deceptively. Most of the play was on the left, and Dudley and his partner were playing manfully.
Another run down saw the irrepressible Foster beat Gregory easily and score a clever goal. Sheppard making but small effort to save.
Another incursion by Denaby led to a mixup, another led to the whistle blowing for offside, and then the home lot do Sheppard out to kick away from a ruck of eager players. A long spell of attacking by the home team came to nothing, and then Denaby reasserted themselves, but Lang was wide with a free kick, and Middlemiss was equally ineffective with his “spot” shot.
Denaby’s Poor Defence
Glaring mistakes by the visiting defence became more and more apparent, both the backs sinning alike in this respect. Sheppard was doing well, even though he was hardly himself. Denaby were frequently away, and were almost as frequently pulled up – and almost in their own territory too. All this had a detrimental effect upon the forwards, and the calmness born of despair gradually settled upon them.
Our Only Goal
But at last our “star” shone. After Lang had hesitated with a shot, the ball went in to Middlemiss who scored at two yards range. It was really Lang’s goal, as he had worked hard for the position. Thus the teams were level at the end of 23 minutes play.
Denaby fell back on the defensive, and this caused their downfall. Jackson found Foster inches outside the fatal area, and the ball cannoned off Nimrod with a free kick was taken. Hereabouts a lucky clearance was made by Sheppard, Buckley been responsible. The latter was playing with all his old cleverness. The visitors cleverly transferred and Jones was very close with his final shot.
The ball went out to Graham, who scored easily with a slow ground shot, Sheppard becoming unsighted.
A moment later the same player scored number three after carrying the ball a yard or two in his arm. This was the beginning of the end for Denaby, and Castleford, with visions of the Chesterfield result in their mind, were terribly eager for goals. Jones and his companions were continually discouraged by the aforesaid predicament, and they could do nothing right. Nevertheless they never really lost heart, and were at times plucky against trying odds.
From Bad to Worse
Although play opened briskly in the second half it gradually deteriorated until it became scrappy in the extreme. The ball was in the river twice. Nimrod and Graham came into contact, and the ambulance men were called in to assist the latter, but he soon recovered. Fouls were not infrequent, and the offside rule still helped the home team considerably. It can well be imagined that the whistle was never blown with more vigour than when the unfortunate official got in the way of the sphere with his eye. A piercing blast called for a cessation of hostilities until the optic nerve calmed down a little. The merriment caused by the incident, although not exactly relished by referee, came as a great relief to the weather-beaten spectators, and the situation was made more humorous by the cries of “Send him off.”
Darkness crept on and the ball made further acquaintance with the river nearby. There was hardly any pretence of serious shooting on either side and everybody was heartily glad to hear the final blast of the whistle.
The result puts the teams almost level in the table, and Castleford have “bagged” three of the four points.