Hampstead's match-losing tendencies appear to have completely vanished, and although they admitted that the fates were kind to them in their Middlesex Cup match with Enfield, it was not luck that won for them the Athenian League match on Saturday, when they entertained and beat Redhill by five goals to three. Although playing the first half with the slight advantage of the wind, which blew obliquely across the ground, they showed undoubtedly better form than their opponents. The work of Howell at outside-left was an outstanding feature. He played really good, clean football. Faults in his tactics were few, and he successfully brought off the hat trick by scoring two goals in the first half and one in the second. He displayed shrewd judgment when tackled, and on most occasions knew just when to get rid of the ball. The home team appeared to become a little too confident of victory at the opening of the second half, when they were leading by four goals to one, and it took two goals from Redhill to bring them back to earth. Howell made the game safe by scoring the fifth goal for the home team 15 minutes from the end of the match.
Several newcomers were seen in Hampstead's team. James Smy, who recently was on the "honours list" for the Spurs "A" team, made himself conspicuous at inside-left and started very well by scoring the first goal of the match within the first few minutes of the game. G.H. Smith, who has been doing well for Cheshunt during the past four seasons, scored with a neat header. Howell and Smy constituted a splendid left wing, and if Hampstead's right wing could display equal skill and judgment, no qualms of defeat need be felt. The defence showed itself strong, and Bloxham gave a good account of himself. Brown, in goal, made some excellent clearances.
Redhill's chief strength was in Gillings, at centre-forward, Gatland, on the right wing, who was a very dangerous man, and Rose, who proved himself a very capable and useful goalkeeper. Some of the latter's clearances were remarkable, and had it not been for his splendid work Hampstead would have been able to boast of a much greater margin of victory. Towards the end of the second half he was in some tight corners, but nevertheless came out of them very well.
Hampstead opened in fine style, and the Redhill defence appeared to be caught unawares. The ball went out to Howell on the left wing, and he centred to Smith, at inside-right, who sent in a smart shot at fairly close quarters. Rose however was ready for it, and cleared. Dellow put in a shot from the right wing, but the goalkeeper punched this clear, getting the leather well away. The game was swift, and only eight minutes had passed when Smy, at inside-left, sent in a fine shot which had the goalkeeper beaten. Smy nearly got through again a few minutes later, when he was making a solo run, but he was effectively sandwiched between the opposing backs, who were playing a good game. Redhill rallied and Hampstead had a dangerous few minutes when Simpson, on the left wing, brought the ball down the field, tricked Dellow, and passed to the centre, where some smart combination work amongst the inside forwards nearly resulted in an equaliser. The home defence were up to it, however, and the ball was taken well out of the danger zone.
Howell looked very much like scoring when he shot after receiving a pass from the centre of the field, but the ball was skied, and went well over the bar. He made up for this error when he scored a sensational goal a few minutes later. From a position which could have been very little distance from the goal-line, he sent in a hot, slightly curving shot, which took the ball straight into the corner of the net. The wind was in his favour, but detracted little from the cleverness of the shot. After a few minutes of ding-dong play Shearcroft got the ball, and sent in an unlucky shot which just caught the cross-bar and bounced out to Howell, who got through with a long raking shot which found the corner of the net.
With three goals against them Redhill fought hard to reduce the lead, but the home team defended well, and the ball was kept in the visitors' half. Dellow, on the right wing, should have got rid of the ball more quickly on one or two occasions. He was fast enough on his own, and sure of himself, but when about to be tackled he appeared to lose his nerve. On most occasions he was unsuccessful in tricking his opponent, and lost one or two good opportunities. Howell, on the other wing, was still playing rattling good football, and was well supported by his inside man. Hampstead's fourth goal came from a pass off Howell, which was received by [G.H.] Smith, at inside-right, and very smartly headed into the net. Redhill made a further rally, this time with success, Goodson, who was playing inside-left, scoring. Gatland, on the right wing, brought the ball down the field and swung it into the goalmouth where [L.] Smith shot. Brown made a splendid save, but ran out, and Goodson, securing the ball, shot into the undefended goal. With their lead reduced, Hampstead fought hard, and Smy, from a pass by Dellow, nearly scored, the ball just going outside the post. [G.H.] Smith, receiving the ball from the wing, shot into an open goal, after Rose had run out, but an offside decision was given against him. Towards the end of the first half Brown was called upon to do a considerable amount of work, and was successful in keeping the ball out.
Hampstead were not playing so well in the second half, and Redhill were quick to take any opportunities. The visitors, however, were not having it all their own way, and Howell sent in some very lively shots. One dropped just under the bar, and looked like a certainty until Rose punched clear. From a melee in the Hampstead goal-mouth, Gillings managed to score Redhill's second goal with a hard shot that had Brown easily beaten. Simpson sent in a very nice shot for Redhill, but the ball went just over the bar. Shearcroft missed a number of opportunities when he continually miskicked.
Gillings eventually brought Hampstead's earlier form back when he scored Redhill's third and final goal. It was a pretty goal, scored with a finely-placed long shot, which found the corner of the net. Brown attempted to save, but despite a valiant effort, he failed to reach the ball in time. With a lead of only one goal Hampstead recovered considerably. Dellow sent in a neat centre which was smartly trapped by Smy, who smashed the ball at the goal. Rose, however, was ready, and he stopped it. The masterly way in which he stopped a fierce shot from Shearcroft was also attractive.
Howell scored the last goal of the match and did the hat trick, amidst thunderous applause from the big crowd, when, with a difficult shot from the wing, he brought the ball straight into the corner of the net. With only ten minutes to go Redhill still fought doggedly, but failed to decrease the lead, and the game finished with Hampstead still battling in their opponents' territory.
It was a straight, clean game, and Hampstead deserved to win. The form shown by the home team certainly augurs well for a good pick-up after their many earlier set-backs.