Sep 08 – Scunthorpe 1 Denaby Utd. 2 – Nasty Smack for the “Nuts” – Haslam’s Ordeal

September 1923

Swinton & Mexborough Times, Sep 8


Denaby Collar the “Kernel”

Nasty Smack for the “Nuts”

Scunthorpe Utd. 1, Denaby Utd. 2

Denaby United arrived light and bright, with a flying squadron in support, at Scunthorpe on Saturday to open the “Nuts”, home season in a way they didn´t quite appreciate. The Scunthorpe ground looked splendid; it really was a shame to desecrate and defile it with a Scunthorpe humiliation. The new stand which is rising on the site of the old hencoop on the north side of the ground is well on the way to completion. The superstructure, which is planned to hold 1,500 spectators, is almost finished, and in the basement all sorts of little comfies and conveniences are being packed in. It will be the finest stand owned by a Midland League club proper when it is done, and it is to cost, I understand, no more than £1,400.

Denaby were out with the team that drew at Gainsborough. Matt Taylor was there in the front row, nursing his hacked and twisted knee, and lending advice, but Jimmy Haslam was in the breach, playing right back, with Dick Coope doing duty on the other wing. Scunthorpe made no important change from the side that opened at York with a goalless draw. Last year, Denaby commanded fear, if not respect, at Scunthorpe by dry-rubbing the “Nuts” home and away, and taking nine goals from them without a reply. Their preliminary punch this year, with five points and eleven goals from three matches had not passed unnoticed either, and the crowd of four thousand came expecting a stiff tussle, but a home win all the same. There were early indications that nothing else would be patiently endured.

Denaby burst away, but ere at once pulled up and thrown on the defensive, and in the first five minutes Coope and Haslam had a hard row to hoe. They were valiantly helped, however, by Sam Kennedy, who was a wonder all through, and earned the undying hatred of the Scunthorpe fans, which was signified in the usual way. In the Scunthorpe attack the right wing, composed of clever little Meredith and sage Joe Kitchen (the old Bramall Lane hero playing in the claret-and-blue for the first time), was much the more dangerous, and it was from that quarter that the first gust of trouble came, Kitchen worked the ball up cleverly, drew Hill of Meredith, and then sent the winger clear away, Meredith got in a lovely square centre, and Kitchen was there in the goalmouth for it, but Harrison punched it clean off his kiss-curl, Josh Burkinshaw, lying a little back retrieved the ball and screwed it in with deadly aim but by this time Coope was under the bar and he coolly kicked away. The situation was well saved, but the escape was too narrow to be agreeable.

Then Kitchen gave us further unpleasant sensations by boring right through and ballooning the ball hard from ten yards out. Joe was a man to be watched, and Coope and Kennedy were the men to watch him. Both had him to grass, at an early stage of the warfare, and the great man took it much amiss, though he was fetched down roughly more than foully. In each case a free-kick close in was given and wasted. George Hill came perilously near giving a penalty when he laid Meredith by the heels as the lad was diving into the “enclosure”. Meredith himself took the kick from the edge of the box, and drove straight and powerfully, but Dick Shaw, quick as thought, put out his foot and blocked the shot.

For the first twenty minutes, Denaby were not in the picture at all, but they gradually gathered themselves and began to press. At first Bradbury and Hargreaves, a sterling pair of backs, dealt easily with their attacks, and nipped most of them in the bud. Joby Godfrey could make nothing of big Jimmy Forbes from Lincoln City, and t really seemed as if there was no way round or over, or through him, though Joby kept pegging away.

It was Kennedy who gave Scunthorpe their first fright. He took a free-kick for a foul by Shem Hill on Shaw, and passed it sweetly forward to Godfrey, who flicked it to the right wing, where Chambers rounded Hargreaves, his old Millmoor colleague, and put in a real pile-driver, which Reynolds took as coolly as if it had been a dolly shot; Godfrey flung himself fiercely at the goalkeeper, but Reynolds was not to be caught, and emerged with a polished clearance. The Scunthorpe goalkeeper, smart as he was, was nearly caught napping a moment later when George Hill sent along a slow ground shot wickedly aimed for the foot of the post, Reynolds watched it cross and at the last moment flung himself at it, body and soul, as he realised it was going in, and he just managed to put it round the corner.

It was at this stage, with honours fairly even, that the Kitchen=Meredith combination set to work again, this time with success. Meredith centred from the flag, and JOSH BURKINSHAW, with perfect timing, nodded the ball in as it flashed across. It was mild and honey and bananas to Josh to get the first blow in at his old club mates, while the crowd adjourned for a moment to be delirious.

We soon got their temperature down again, however, for seven minutes after that, thirty seven minutes from the commencement, Denaby were on level terms. Scriven started it with a beautiful run and centre, which Chambers fastened on after Reynolds had pushed out a speculative shot and missed. The old County man was hemmed in, but he managed to scramble the ball through the ruck to Shaw, who was dead on the mark with a first-timer, and Reynolds yards away. However, the shot was met under the bar by Forbes, who coolly knocked it down and kicked away. Referee Trowell happened to be watching Forbes´s hands and not his face with its innocent air of do-you-think-I-would-do-such-a-thing, and Scunthorpe had to take their gruel. Hamilton, to compensate SHAW for his disappointment, gave him the spotkick and Reynolds never saw the ball till it came snugly to rest in the net.

At Half-time the teams stood level, as they deserved to be, after a regular pull-devil-pull-baker round. A heavy rainstorm an hour before the match had left the fine turf very slippery and it was difficult to get a foothold, both sides being handicapped in this respect. In the circumstances the backs were surprisingly sure and safe. Little had been seen of Hamilton this half, and neither Kennedy nor Godfrey had done him justice. For Kennedy it must be said that he had his work cut out to watch Burkinshaw and Kitchen, while Godfrey simply could not evade the unwinking vigilance of Forbes.

The second half was not nearly so interesting or eventful as the first, and not so pleasant, either. Little feuds broke out. There were passages between Kennedy and Kitchen, and the referee had to administer cautions all round. The crowd, too, got sour as fortune swung steadily away from Scunthorpe, and pig-iron began to slump. The only goal of this half came after twenty-three minutes play, and it decided the match. Exchanges had been fairly even, with the defences never in serious trouble, until Scriven made a great effort on the left wing, and fired in a glorious shot which Reynolds could only repel. Scriven took it on the rebound and again fired in low and hot and straight, but again Reynolds saved, and this time cleared. He had not however cooled down from this ordeal before Godfrey had set Scriven at him again. The ball was put across to the right and Hamilton lifted it dead true SCRIVENS and Reynolds leaped together. The Warmsworth lad got the ball on his forehead, and Reynold´s glove in his ear. Hargreaves made a despairing dash, but he could only assist the ball into the net, and the young Denaby winger ran proudly back, mobbed with congratulations, and almost unaware that he had had a smack that might have felled a bullock, though Reynolds, of course, did not intend it.

At the same time Joby Godfrey, while dashing up to help in all this history-making, wrenched his knee and had to be helped off. He came hobbling on ten minutes later, but he could only keep watch on the line while Hamilton went centre-forward. Denaby were disorganised in front in consequence of this mishap, but they wisely stuck to the offensive whenever they could, and played a normal game. The Denaby defence was very cool and steady at this critical sage, and Harrison brought off a particularly fine one-handed save from Raby, who put in at close range the best shot of the match.

In the closing sages there was a stupid incident which delighted the Scunthorpe spectators at the moment, though they got no permanent satisfaction from it, Jimmy Haslam, annoyed by a remark from the crowd, very foolishly kicked the ball hard over the embankment. The referee, in the exercise of some obscure right which does not appear in any rule or instruction that I have seen or heard of, ordered Haslam to fetch the ball, and he instantly obeyed. This action of the referee was cheered to the echo. The crowd shrieked with ecstasy, and some of the ladies and gentlemen on the stand have surely not laughed so heartily since Jack Creasey´s jaw was broken on the same ground three seasons ago. Referees who have a fancy for enforcing discipline in this Mikadoesque way, should be reminded that they take a serious responsibility in ordering a player to pass unprotected through a hostile and excited crowd. Haslam did not escape unmolested, and, in consequence, Mr. Trowell had to call upon the police. Haslam might have been much more seriously assaulted, and in that case he would have had serious ground of complaint against the referee, who is not authorised by any rule to deal in any special way with such offences as this.

The other incident of the half was the wonderful escape that the Denaby goal had, twenty minutes from the restart. Josh Burkinshaw was fed with a perfect pass along the floor, after Kitchen and Meredith had broken right through, and Burkinshaw in trying to guide the ball past Harrison with the side of his foot put too much power into the effort and sent the ball yards over. That was before Denaby had gained the lead, and it was his bloomer which turned the fortunes of the game. Josh got a special cheer, half friendly and half ironical, from the lithe knot of Denaby spectators, as he jogged off at the finish, and he acknowledged it with a very rueful grin. Teams:-

Scunthorpe and Lindsey United: Reynolds; Bradbury and Hargreaves; Hill, Forbes and Crookes; Meredith, Kitchen, Burkinshaw, Raby and Foster.

Denaby United: Harrison; Haslam and Coope; C. Taylor, Kennedy and Hill; Hamilton, Chambers, Godfrey, Shaw and Scriven.

Referee: Mr. G. Trowell, Doncaster

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