Oct 27 – Denaby 1 Mexborough 0 – Godfrey Finds the Chink in Their Armour

October 1923

Mexborough & Swinton Times, October 27

English Cup

Second Qualifying Round

Mexborough´s Fall

Godfrey Finds the Chink in Their Armour

Denaby´s Victory in a Pleasant Game

Denaby United 1, Mexborough 0

Mexborough´s cup prospects were solemnly interred at Denaby on Saturday. Sexton Hamilton dug the grave and Undertaker Godfrey popped the body in. All was done decently and in order, save that the Drums were not muted. But the mourners were too sad and despondent to worry about that detail of ritual, much less to correct it by jumping on the drum. They carried their grief with quite Christian fortitude and came away from the funeral purged of all hatred: malice and uncharitableness.

Indeed the calm of their sorrow was deep: it would have been a relief to hear some strident voice proclaiming the referee a scoundrel or the conquering “Tigers” a set of blank unmentionables. But the Mexborough team was beaten “beyond peradventure” though only by a goal and the fiercest Mexborough partisan could not get beyond Denaby´s superiority for the cause.

It was a very pleasant game considered as a game. The players though partaking a little of the excitement of the occasion played like gentlemen. If they knocked a man down they begged his pardon and assisted him to rise. Rarely have I seen a cup tie so free of fouls or played in so agreeable a spirit. The example of the players was not lost on the crowd, who for all their intense eagerness after victory were perfectly angelic. The game was very capably governed by Mr. Richardson too though that gentleman found his task easier than no doubt he anticipated.

The match attracted a big crowd though it fell a little short of the vision of bursting fences that had sweetened the sleep of the two treasurers for a week past. The gross receipts were £218, and that sum represents an attendance of 6,262 every lad and lass of them on their best behaviour. Mexborough contributed the bigger money.

We were favoured with a perfect day, bright, clear and cool, with no winds to speak of. What wind there was came whispering out of the sun and Matt Taylor winning the toss promptly put his back to both. Mexborough turned out will the heroes who snatched victory out of defeat in the previous round. Denaby played their usual eleven except that Charlie Taylor was too shaken by the knock he got at the siege of Grimsby and Tim Peters carried his pike. By the wicket gate, apathetic figure was Harry Walker, looking on mournfully at the feast to which he was not hidden. Poor Harry! I dare say he longed to be riding the whirlwind and directing the storm, teaching the doubtful battle where to rage.

Right from the first Denaby played with a masterful air, Hamilton rushed straight down and wheeled over a perfect centre which beat his insides. For the first half hour there was only one team in it. Denaby had the speed the method and the understanding. They had only to break the indomitable spirit of Roberts and Glover to have Williams at their mercy. But Roberts and Glover stood fast and did not budge an inch.

All the Denaby attacks broke harmlessly against this doughty pair. They played with faultless judgement, and though suppressed they never cleared at random or in haste. The Mexborough defence stood firm under innumerable assaults, and was not to be stampede. Thus it happened that though Denaby were almost constantly attacking and driving in the wing halves, Williams was scarcely more troubled than Bromage, who never touched the ball until the game was thirty-five minutes spent. Hamilton and Scriven seemed to be raiding about ceaselessly, but it was in the middle that the peril was acute.

Jack Armitage for once had met his master, and could not hold Joby Godfrey, who was continually thrusting himself head and shoulders but no further between the backs. The pace was very hot, and it was not until Mexborough had tuned themselves up to it that they began to have a look in. Of the first fortyfive the last ten minutes was theirs.

Just about then Matt Taylor, who had been playing well down the field and intercepting every parcel that was sent to Bromley with love from Armitage found himself in a mess. The Mexborough attack gathered strength on that wing, little Bromley got very troublesome indeed and Matt, nippy as he was could not always hold him. Moreover, the old Mexborough captain allowed himself to be rattled by is quondam friends in the stand, who selected him as “spot-ball” – there must always be a spot-ball in games of this character – and for a spell he wobbled, though he was not long in recovering.

As for Dick Coope and Hades shouting into a magnified broadcaster would not have touched the tiniest nerve of him and he played with deadly coolness and concentration. What exactly was Taylor´s offence was not clear. It could not have been a mere matter of changing shirts for two other old Mexhurians, Shaw and Chambers, should have stood in the dock with him in that case and Dick and Billy never played to a sweeter audience. It must have seemed queer to Matt to get the good old-fashioned Mexborough “bird”. He must have felt some of the astonishment that Harry Walker reeled under when first he got a cheer from a Mexborough crowd, after years of execution.

For ten minutes before the close of the half we got a shadowy suggestion of the Mexborough team that opened the year so brilliantly on this ground. The right wing several times all but burst through and there were really good shots from both touchlines Buttrill and Waterfield, Bromage being occasioned anxiety with each. Denaby in spite of this multiplicity of their opportunities had scarcely shot at all. Except for a shot off Chambers that was charged down, the only player to “draw a bead” was Kennedy with a free-kick which hit the bar.

Play was more even during the second half and on the whole more interesting. Confidence began to revive in the Mexborough supporters and their cheers seemed to communicate it to the players for the Mexborough colours were advanced boldly on either wing and particularly on the right, where Buttrill certainly fed Bramley well, though he was able to do nothing on his own account. The fleet little winger made some very gallant raids, and he “tewed” Hill and Taylor rarely, the Denaby captain having recourse to touch so frequently that the Mexborough “fans” took comfort in derisive cheers. Bromley was fast and dangerous, and Taylor had to do the best he could against him.

Waterfield too did excellent work on the other wing, and was a source of hope. He put in one of the best shots of the match and his partner Laurie Burkinshaw, though thoroughly out of tune, put in another. Bowen was hopelessly at sea. Sam Kennedy had him in his pocket almost from first to last. But Mexborough´s affairs looked distinctly promising when the end of the game was in sight and they seemed certain of a draw. If nothing better, for a lot of the fire had gone out of the Denaby attack while it stood cooling on the half-way line.

However, when matters were most promising for Mexborough, they received a mortal shock. They forced a corner on the left and the ball had no sooner been handed clear than Dick Shaw booted it out to Hamilton who was unmarked and had a clear course, Len Glover ran like Zev, but Hamilton was on the goal-line before he could be caught, and he lifted the ball right over to the other wing where Scriven caught on the wrong foot stuffed the ball to GODFREY, and the Denaby centre blinded Williams with a left-foot drive from ten yards out. It was a spectacular goal and with the aid of the drummer the Denaby supporters did it real justice, what time the hysterical players were “Chairing” Joby back to the middle.

Now was the time if ever, for Mexborough to repeat the trick that overthrew York, but the time of miracles was past. The Mexborough crowd did not look for it. They felt that Godfrey had dealt the death blow and conviction soon hardened into certainty for the Denaby defence, though watchful and apprehensive remembering. Denaby were not were not seriously troubled in the remaining fourteen minutes. Mexborough´s hope drooped, dwindled and died. They went out gently like the flicker of a candle. Except that Hamilton nearly scored again there was very little pulse in the remaining play. The virtue had gone out of Jack Armitage. He could not rescue the side twice in a week.

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