Hampstead and Barnet met in the final of the Middlesex Charity Cup on Saturday on the ground of the Brentford F.C., and after an exciting game, played at an extremely rapid pace considering the heat, honours were easy (three goals all), and it has been agreed that each club shall hold the cup for six months.
This decision gave general satisfaction, as the players, after a gruelling ninety minutes, were not anxious to remain on the field for another half-hour. Taking the run of the play, Hampstead should have won, but they did better than was generally expected in effecting a draw having regard to the lean season through which they have passed. It looked odds-on Barnet winning when at the end of a quarter-of-an-hour they were two goals up, but Hampstead more than recovered the lost ground before the interval, and fully deserved the lead of a goal on crossing over. Thirteen minutes from the end Casey equalised for Barnet, and although strenuous efforts were made by both sides, neither goal was again penetrated. The attendance was about 2,000. Hampstead had the assistance of R.F. Brazier at right-back, this being his first appearance after a long break through injuries. He stood the test well. Barnet were without Meadows and Drew.
Fletcher, the Barnet captain, won the toss, and chose to give his side the benefit of the wind in the first half, although the sun was a disadvantage to them. For a time play ran evenly, the best work being done on the left wings, but while Howell was in fine form, Parsons was too good a player for the opposing wing. Fletcher made one fine clearance from Howell, and for Barnet Cousins, the old Hampstead player, put in a fine shot which almost grazed the bar. Goodwin did well to save at the expense of a corner when Deeks tested him, and he had another teaser from Howell, who showed himself in a dangerous mood. He not only centred well, but was at his best in taking corner kicks.
The first goal, coming at the end of ten minutes, was credited to Barnet, however, Davies doing the needful. It was of the "soft" order, and there was some doubt as to its legality, some averring that it had crossed the touch-line before it was placed in the mouth of goal by Garrett. Trevers stopped the shot, but Davies, close in, found the net. Barnet's second goal came a minute or two later, Sparrow completely beating Trevers with one of the finest shots we have ever seen. Two goals to love gave a very inaccurate indication of the merits of the teams, and Hampstead, continuing to have more than 50 per cent. of the play in their favour, soon reduced the balance, Shearcroft heading a beautiful goal from Deeks's centre. After Cousins had sent wide Hampstead returned to the attack, and from another well-placed corner by Deeks Smith put the sides level.
After this both teams fought strenuously for the lead, and while Hampstead played the prettier football, the Barnet forwards were dangerous on many occasions, the greatest trouble coming from the right wing. Pease acted as watch-dog over Sparrow, and these two experienced players had many tussles in midfield. In a bombardment on Hampstead's goal Davies hit the bar, and Trevers was conspicuous for many fine clearances. With the backing of Parsons and Wardlaw (the Hampstead captain had rarely played better), Howell had plenty of opportunities, and it was unfortunate that from one of his centres Shearcroft was ruled offside. In a raid on the Barnet goal both Goodwin and Shearcroft were laid out, but the Hampstead man appeared to be the greater sufferer, though neither went off.
Hampstead at this juncture were playing remarkably well, and Goodwin found much more work to do than Trevers, although when Sparrow got possession danger was always scented. Once the clever centre-forward had a single-handed run, but Parsons took the ball nicely from him in the nick of time. Half-time was fast approaching when Deeks beat Casey for possession of the ball, and from his centre Howell scored, amid tremendous cheering from Hampstead's supporters. When the teams retired for a welcome cup of tea it was generally accepted that Hampstead were good value for their one goal lead.
In the second half there was little to choose between the elevens, both goals being visited in turn, and the "keepers" showing that they were not to be beaten easily. In this half the Hampstead right wing proved more effective than the other pair, Smy being very unfortunate in his passes. Far too often the ball went to an opponent. Deeks was not only fleet-footed, but showing agility in jumping for the ball, and it was evident that he was sparing no effort to score against the side for which he has registered many goals. On the other hand, Goodwin was determined to show that when he changed his colours Hampstead lost a good man.
From a free kick given against Pease just outside the penalty line Snaith wasted a good opportunity by sending wide, and Cousins had decidedly hard luck with some of his efforts. Smith and Shearcroft were deadly with head shots and the centre-forward was noticeable for many deft touches to his colleagues, from one of which Howell missed a glorious chance. With thirteen minutes to go Casey, from a well-placed corner by Aldous, brought the scores level. The remaining play was slightly in favour of Hampstead, but nothing tangible resulted, and the game thus ended in a draw of three goals each.
For Hampstead, Trevers, Parsons, Wardlaw, Deeks, Howell and Shearcroft were the pick, but considering that he has been out of the first eleven for so long Brazier is entitled to much credit. On the Barnet side Goodwin, Fletcher, Casey, Sparrow and Davies served up good football.
At the close Mr. W.W. Heard, hon. secretary and treasurer of the Middlesex F.A., said they had had a splendid game. Unfortunately they had not two cups, and therefore it had been decided that the clubs should be joint holders. The two captains would toss, when the police were not looking, as to who should hold the cup and who should hold the case for the first six months.
Mrs. Spencer, wife of one of the representatives on the Council, then formally handed the cup over to the two captains, R. Wardlaw and F. Fletcher, who joined hands, and after Mrs. Spencer had been thanked by Mr. E. Jones, J.P., of Barnet, hearty cheers were given for the respective teams, who had given a capital exposition of football in a fine spirit.