A roar of applause, heard over a mile and a half away, followed the scoring of the only goal of the match on the Joseph’s-road ground, by which Guildford City dismissed Reading, the Third Division club, from the F. A. Cup competition on Saturday.
The shout came from the City supporters – forming the bulk of the 7,831 spectators who contributed to receipts amounting to £475.It was a great victory and one which falsified the prophecies of newspaper critics, with very few exceptions, among them the “Surrey Advertiser.”
The goal was a magnificent one, scored by Brown (J.) after about 25 minutes with a characteristic left foot drive at about 25 yards range, which sent the ball at terrible speed just inside a post, Whittaker being completely beaten.
These were the events leading to the success. A fierce left-wing attack by Reading ended with Darvill clearing to McFarlane who was deputising at left half for Denby, not completely recovered from a sharp attack of tonsilitis. McFarlane immediately flicked the ball to Brown who evaded the watchful Hayhurst by quickly stepping to the left, and his shot was a first time one.
ALL DID THEIR PART
Every credit must be awarded Brown for his success, but the victory carrying the City to the Second Round Proper of the competition was contributed to by all the players. McPheat’s bustling work at inside right was praiseworthy and Robinson (S.) was the inspiration of a dour defence which in the early stages and at one period in the second half might easily have wavered under the bustling tactics of the “biscuit men.”
Goalkeeper Robb too played an important part. Reading’s shooting was much below the quality one expected. There were times however when fierce shots were on the target but the ex-Aldershot player dealt with them coolly and well. One save in the second half was a very remarkable one. He partially stopped the ball with his foot but it was travelling into goal when he shot out a leg again and turned it round a post, with two opponents almost on top of him.
There was really very little good football in the match, but the bulk of the more scientific moves were on the part of the City. Reading sacrificed science for hustle in the second half, and the result was that the standard deteriorated considerably.
The visitors also, at one time, exploited the offside trap which did not tend to lift the game to the finer heights. Had they forsaken individual rushes for method, they might have fought again.
On the other hand, the City defenders never wavered, and in the final stages the forwards, with McPheat and Brown the live wires, came near to making victory more decisive.
Fog hung so heavily over the ground when play was due to commence that there were speculations as to whether the match would be finished. The fog developed but then cleared considerably.
Curiously enough it began to get clearer after the City had scored their goal.
The turf, which had been rolled two days previously, was in the pink of condition. A hearty cheer greeted the appearance of the City men, led by Robinson, and there was applause from visiting supporters when the Reading men followed.
The Friary bandsmen who had discoursed cheery music for half-an-hour, left the pitch as the players entered the arena.
Now for some details of the more interesting phases of the contest.
THE OPENING STAGES
The City won the toss and with no wind to give advantage, Robinson decided that the team should kick towards the Woodbridge-road-end.
Reading, big fellows, with the exception of Cook at outside left, who made up his lack of height and weight in cleverness, at once attacked, but Darvill cleared from Cook’s shot, made possible by a strong centre from Watkins. Then came a fine run by Watkins and an accurate centre to Layton, but Robinson tackled immediately and cleared
Robinson’s big kick down the middle allowed Brown (J.) to initiate the City’s first attack. With Hayhurst in close attendance – he seldom relaxed his guard on the centre-forward – Brown swung the ball out to Bytheway, whose capital shot was put out for a corner-kick, which was not improved upon, Bytheway’s next attempt found him offside.
Brown (R.) came into the picture with a sharp run and neat pass to McPheat, who was bustled off the ball. A little later Brown forced Whittaker to give a corner, and when he took the kick there was a goalmouth tussle, ending with Robson clearing.
The City were letting Reading see that they were not going to have matters their way. However, Reading’s cool defenders with Gregory conspicuous with big kicking, gave their attack opportunities. With Robinson (S.) blotting out Simpson, Reading’s attacks came from the wings, with Cook the greatest danger. Besides keeping watch on Simpson and Dean, Robinson used his judgment so cleverly that he was able to meet centres and drive the ball down the middle with first time efforts.
Only one dangerous shot reached Robb for some time, and that was from Cook, following a corner kick.
Whittaker, at the other end, was frequently in action. After McPheat had received the ball from Brown (R.) he shot too high, but a little later Brown (J.) passed to Bytheway, who had a clear run but shot straight to the goalkeeper.
ROBB’S FIRST-CLASS STOP
Corner-kicks were forced by each side in turn. From one for Reading, Robb made a first class stop from Young’s swift drive. Robinson (S.) was again in the picture in breaking attempted combination by Reading’s inside forwards. Midfield play was plentiful and for some time there was little excitement.
The dullness was broken by a sortie from the City forwards but when Bytheway put the ball forward and Jimmy Brown dashed to get to it, Whittaker beat him in the race.
A feature of the play was the steadiness which the City half-backs displayed in preventing Reading developing concerted action. McFarlane tackled superbly and Foulkes behind him, when occasion arose, kicked with brilliant judgment.
Reading evidently had fears of the sharpness of the City attacks because they exploited the offside trap which did not please the home supporters. Brown (R.) and Brown (J.) were the chief victims.
The shooting by the Reading forwards was surprisingly poor, only Layton and Cook seeming able to find the mark. One of Layton’s drives was stopped by Robb, who could not hold the ball, but Foulkes got it away in the nick of time.
Gradually but surely the City had obtained the measure of the strength of Reading, but the attack found the defence a strong barrier.
It was eventually pierced by the fine goal which Brown (J.) scored. The success was thoroughly merited.
The effect was, of course, to produce the strongest efforts from Reading. The visitors attacked desperately, although the efforts were largely individualistic, but the City defenders remained commendably firm, Robinson playing a truly captain’s part and radiating confidence. Two corner kicks were forced in quick succession and nullified.
A goal looked like coming when Marley kicked back for Foulkes to clear, and Watkins cut in, but to the relief of the City supporters he mis-kicked.
The City had their share of play up to the interval. Chief events were fine saves by Robb from Layton and Young, the latter by a one-handed effort. Gregory handled near the Reading penalty area, but Hayhurst cleared from the kick by Robinson (N.) and McPheat bustled his way through, but banged the ball onto a defender.
NOT SO INTERESTING
Chiefly through Reading’s more robust tactics, the second stage was not nearly so interesting. Hard kicking and the maximum bustle seemed to be the idea. It had the effect in the earlier stages of causing the City defenders anxious moments but the rearguard were unwavering.
Robinson (S.) seemed to glory in frustrating the rushes, and Robb was unperturbed by the shots that came his way. A slow shot by Holmes was cleared with ease, Dean’s drive failed to unsettle the goalkeeper, neither did a fast one from Simpson, Layton aimed just wide.
Foulkes was outstanding in preventing Dean and Watkins getting to close quarters on the few occasions that they got by McFarlane.
WHAT HAPPENED TO McPHEAT?
There was an incident which earned much speculation. McPheat was near the Reading goal, but play was at another part of the pitch when he was seen to fall. When the ball went out the referee called the trainer to attend McPheat. While this was in progress the referee consulted the linesmen but when McPheat was fit to carry on he awarded a goal-kick.
Robb made another fine save from Layton and Reading’s next onslaught was broken by Darvill whose big clearance sent the City attack going again.
Brown (J.) led the sortie and at the opportune moment swung the ball out to Bytheway from whose centre McPheat shot hurriedly and wide. From a freekick Marley, at some distance, aimed accurately but Whittaker was impeded.
Play became even more scrappy, Reading put on pressure but there was little science in their efforts and the defenders were giving nothing away. From a free-kick Gregory sent the ball into the goalmouth, but the referee whistled for an offside infringement.
A little later there was a stoppage for Gregory to be attended for an injury. Robinson (S.), in stemming another Reading rush, was hurt but quickly recovered.
There was a thrill when Robb stopped a shot by Simpson, from Cook’s centre and the ball looked like going into goal. Robb however, turned out a leg and turned the ball outside a post.
CITY FINISH STRONGLY
The end came with the City swarming round Reading’s goal. Robinson (N.) made Whittaker stop a swift low shot and a tussle in the goalmouth finished with Brown (J.) putting the ball just outside.
When the final whistle sounded there were scenes of enthusiasm on the part of the City spectators, and warm congratulations for the team.
GUILDFORD CITY: Robb, Darvill, Foulkes, Marley, Robinson (S.), McFarlane, Bytheway, McPheat, Brown (J.), Robinson (N.), Brown (R.)
READING: Whittaker, Gregory, Robson, Young, Hayhurst, Holmes, Watkins, Dean, Simpson, Layton, Cook