From the Hendon & Finchley Times, 17 December 1926 (including teams) :
In their game with Southall, the Athenian League leaders, on Saturday, before a big crowd at Claremont-road, Hampstead played sparkling football in the first half, and when they crossed over held a lead of one goal. Supporters wondered how it was that Hampstead had lost seven successive games. Having attended every one of those matches all we can say is that the form shown in the first forty-five minutes on Saturday had not been touched on any previous occasion this season.
It was therefore very disappointing that play deteriorated in the second half, and Southall pulled the game out of the fire. This might not have happened had R.S. Clarke, whose brief rest had done him a world of good, not been injured. He limped far too badly to be depended upon at right-back, and in the closing stages operated at outside-right. The winning goal came after this unfortunate accident. Until then Clarke had been showing form almost approaching his best, and all were delighted that he had got over a bad turn. In other respects things did not run smoothly for Hampstead. Players and supporters are not prone to question the decisions of a referee, but on Saturday his rulings in five cases of six went in favour of Southall. In one instance the decision was fatal. For ball handling - apparently by Pease - D. Clark took a penalty kick which brought about the equalising goal. Although Brown saved the shot Clark caught the ball on the rebound. During the game an appeal for a penalty by Hampstead went against them, and the forwards were pulled up for offside half-a-dozen times in as many minutes. While most of the referee's rulings could not be questioned, once or twice the issue was doubtful, and Southall could not complain that the scales were unevenly balanced against them.
Hampstead and Southall are old rivals, and interest in this game was quickened by the fact that Reinke, Hampstead's old centre-forward, was operating in the same position for Southall, and that Howell, Hampstead's outside-left, had put in much good work for the West Middlesex side prior to this season. Plenty of vigour was shown in the game, which was fast throughout, and although there was an absence of really rough play, there were times when one or two on the visiting side were not over-scrupulous in their methods.
Reinke came early into prominence by testing Brown with a header, and throughout the game he played with dash, but was by no means conspicuous with effective work. After the first few minutes Hampstead took the game in hand, there being some delightful forward work, Shearcroft showing much discrimination in distributing the ball. Dowse, however, did not shine, and the bulk of the work was done on the left wing, where Howell seemed to be making a special effort to do well against his old side. A lively ball somewhat hampered him, but many of the passes from Wise resulted in centres which gave the backs much anxiety. On the other wing Anderson was playing a strong game, but Webb, who is proving a great source of strength to Southall, had too much latitude. Wardlaw took some time in getting the measure of C. McKinley and Clark, but later he played one of his best games and for the second week in succession had the satisfaction of scoring a goal. This came from one of Howell's centres. Prior to that Shearcroft appeared to have a glorious opportunity of scoring from a pass by the right wing. Howell was fouled when there was a possibility of getting through, but the infringement occurred just outside the penalty area. Wise took the free kick twice - the first being disallowed by the referee and at the second attempt he gave Holding a teaser. After the first goal had been obtained Brown made a fine save from Reinke. Much good work by Hampstead was thrown away by forwards getting offside. The manner in which their movements were frustrated by the backs was clever, but did not tend to improve the game. While Deeks did not have much support from his inside man, he managed to get across some good centres, Holding doing well to keep his goal intact. With the least bit of luck he should have been beaten by Shearcroft, who seemed almost on the goal-line with the ball. Just on half-time an equally good chance was thrown away by Reinke, who shot wildly over the bar. A good effort was made by Anderson from a free kick, and Wise was just a shade too far forward for a shot to be effective.
In the second half Southall adopted the open method of play, and although Reinke was too impetuous to lead the line of attackers successfully - it was this fault which led to his being dropped by Hampstead - the other forwards showed good ball control, and wasted but very few passes. Knight and McKinley were rarely at fault, and there were two dangerous inside men in Clark and Rogers, the last-named being the old Barnet player. For some time, however, the Hampstead backs defended valiantly, both men showing a big advance on their play in previous games, while Brown seemed capable of dealing with anything that came his way. It was, therefore, a stroke of bad luck when the ball was accidentally handled in the penalty area. To the onlooker it did not appear to have been done wilfully in the hope of saving a goal, but there was no mitigation in the punishment. Clark scored in the way already stated. After that Hampstead had to struggle hard to keep on level terms. For a time it seemed possible that they would participate in their first drawn game of the season, but their chances were diminished by the accident to Clarke, whose namesake [without an 'e'] on the other side scored the winning goal from a well-placed corner. Hampstead made a few spasmodic efforts to regain lost ground, and in the last minute a beautifully-placed corner kick by Howell was headed over. Thus Hampstead sustained their eighth successive defeat by the narrowest of margins. With a little luck the result could easily have been reversed.
From the West Middlesex Gazette, 18 December 1926 (including teams) :
Hampstead must have delighted the large crowd of their supporters by the improved display they gave in the first half of the game against Southall on Saturday, when, playing at home on their new ground at Claremont-road, Cricklewood, for the first time in five weeks and after a succession of seven defeats, they held a well-deserved lead of 1-0 at the interval. But later Hampstead were outlasted and outplayed, and Southall, who gave a brilliant exhibition in the second half, proved good winners of a capital game by 2-1.
In the early stages Hampstead set a fast pace and played with considerable dash, being prompt on the ball and swinging it about freely. Much of their prominence at this period was due to the cleverness of Wise, a master strategist, whose first-time passes were always judiciously distributed. He gave his partner, Howell, the ex-Southall winger, the opportunity to make many dangerous runs, and soon Holding did well to turn a shot over the bar when Howell had got clean away. Though most of the play centred about midfield, excellent work by the Southall halves and backs could not prevent Holding being the most tried goalkeeper, and he made good saves from Shearcroft and Wise, and Hampstead's success was merited when, at the end of thirty minutes play, Wardlaw shot through after Holding had pushed the ball off the foot of Shearcroft from a centre by Howell. The Southall forwards were slower getting rid of the ball, Knight and Rogers being particularly at fault in this respect, with the result that Brown was rarely troubled, though he saved finely a fast ground shot by Knight and a difficult overhead kick by Reinke. A splendid chance of equalising was missed by Reinke, when, clean through, he shot hurriedly over the bar. At the other end Wise also shot over with a first-timer from close in.
Southall were much speedier and more accurate in their movements in the second half, the forwards displaying clever passing, Clark's smartness in making openings and the well-placed centres of Knight and McKinley being features of the play. At the end of ten minutes Clark equalised for Southall from a penalty for hands, Brown stopping the first shot but failing to clear before Clark ran in and scored. Hampstead fought stubbornly for a time, but soon began to fade out of the picture. Before this happened, however, Wise got in a terrific drive, Holding performing the finest save of the game by turning the ball round the post. The Hampstead goal underwent much pressure and had several narrow escapes, Reinke, Knight, and Rogers in turn being very close with good attempts, before Clark eventually secured the winning goal about fifteen minutes from the end, heading through from a corner well placed by McKinley.
Result : Hampstead, 1 ; Southall, 2.