Denaby Utd – Mexborough 0 Denaby 1 – The Night of the “Ancient Eel”

September 1905

Mexborough and Swinton Times September 9, 1905

Wharncliffe League

Mexborough Town 0 Denaby United 1


Mexborough Town: Tayles; Powell, Burgess; McNeil, Marr, Gosling; Holbein Rogers, Hakin, Lunn, Mawson

Denaby United: Massey; Lawley, Welch; Arnold, Hawkins, Nimrod; Torr, Laverly, Lees, Tonkin, Lindley

Mexborough opened their season at home on Thursday, their opponents being Denaby United, the fixture being in connection with the Wharncliffe Cup competition. There was a very satisfactory gate for a midweek match, at least 2000 people being present.

Denaby were minus Doherty and Hancock, the former being left out of the team for reasons that need not be stated, the latter standing down because, earlier in the day, he had stood up at the altar and taken upon himself a bride, who he brought with him to the match, by way of introduction to the honeymoon, accompanied by her bridesmaids and the rest of the wedding party.

Mexborough again had the two channel swimmers – Burgess and Holbein – in the team, but with without Hibberd, Fred Mawson taking his place. The clever little left-winger, when he came on the field, received an ovation for old times sake.

Lawley, Denaby’s captain beat Rogers with the coin and Denaby kicked downhill. From the kick-off Mexborough came with a rush on the right wing, and McNeil sent in a high shot, which went just over the bar. Denaby retaliated and Taylor had an easy clearance from Laverley. The visitors charged again, and Lees was brought down with the ball at his toe by Powell. Still pressing, Laverly threatened danger, when McNeil upsetting, a freekick resulting, from which the ball went wide.

Play continued in the Mexborough half until the home right got away again, when a succession of free kicks led to a bustling rally in front of the Denaby goal, which Holbein ultimately ended by kicking over the bar. There had been several narrow escapes for the visitors during the melee.

Further pressure by Denaby was relieved by Mawson with the – the visitors then stop nimrods forcing him to kick into touch. Denaby returned and Laverly with a good shot, missed by inches. From a freekick in midfield Mexborough attack, and making put in a terrific shot, which rebounded off Jimmy Massey’s chest for a corner.

The flag kick led to some warm exchanges in front of the Denaby goal, which had a series of narrow escapes, Lawley ultimately making a lucky clearance. Midfield play followed.

Mawson and Lumb caused a diversion by a fine combined run uphill. Welch charged Mawson heavily, but Lumb got in his centre, Massey running out clear just in time to prevent Holbein getting to the ball. Hakin tried to trip the “Ancient Eel,” as he went for the ball, and was severely cautioned by the referee for the misdemeanour.

Pressure on the Denaby left resulted from the free kick and Pat Torr, after several tussled with Powell, sent it to Tonkin, who put the ball into the net, while Tayles was on the ground. The Denaby supporters cheered vociferously, and the usual handshaking commenced amongst the Denaby players. This was our premature four on a vigourous appeal by Mexborough, the referee disallowed the goal on the ground that Tomkins had handled.

The home left got away again, but Mawson was offside, owing to Denaby playing the one back game. The visitors again attacked, and Laverley gave Tomkins an opening, which the latter threw away by skyscraping shot.

The visitors still press, and a put into goalmouth by Arnold resulted in a scrimmage, out of which Pat Torr registered a goal for Denaby after 35 minutes play, the popular Irishman blushing to a beetroot, under the weight of congratulations he received.

Denaby continued to have the best of the exchanges and Burgess conceded a corner which the visitors failed to convert. The slated Tayles save an awkward dropping shot from Nimrod, and there Mexborough threatened danger on the right wing, Lawley is a fine defensive work.

Half time was called with Denaby leading by a goal to nil.

During the interval the Mexborough players unable to enjoy what dicks will describe as a “modest quencher” owing to the thoughtlessness of the committee in neglecting to provide refreshment. The score might thus being called in billiard room style – one plays non-and Mexborough dry.

At the resumption, with the hill in their favour, Mexborough at once attack, but Lawley cleared from Rogers. The “Slim use” however, returned to the charge, and tested Massey with a rasping shot, the “Ancient Eel” still proving unbeatable.

After a spell of slow work which an intelligent youth in the stand described as “mucking about”, the Denaby right got away, and Lindley, tackled by Burgess, got in a grand centre. Tayles out and partially cleared, and the Mexborough goal was in danger until Burgess cleared with a big kick. Mexborough attacked on the left-wing, and Lumb forced a corner of Welsh. The ball was got away, and Pat Torr put in a fast run uphill, forcing Tayles to handle with his final shot, Tomkins been a shades too slow to reach the ball first.

With less than five minutes to go Powell in midfield escaped and Lavery taking the ball from him, came away alone. Tayles ran out to meet him but the Denaby forward put the ball past him into the net, the referee, however, ruling the Denaby man offside. It was difficult to see when he got that decision from.

Again the Denaby goal had a narrow escape with a crowd of Mexborough forward before the. Then Tomkins got possession and passed at all, was penalised for attempting to trip Powell. From the free kick Mexborough attacked again but still the “Ancient Eel” had a charmed life.

Two free kicks relieved the pressure for the visitors, and with the ball in midfield time was called, the final score being Denaby 1 Mexborough 0.

On the run of play perhaps Denaby were the better team, but Mexborough had wretched luck against them from their first shot at goal, which Massey saved without knowing it, and how much that took out of the team cannot be estimated. To Massey moreover, Denaby owed a great deal subsequently, for he had more difficult work to do then Tayles and he did it in his very best form.