Hampstead did rather better than was generally expected in running the Casuals to a draw (three all) in the Amateur Cup competition on Saturday at Claremont-road. Many of the London papers had tipped Hampstead to win, but they often predict without knowledge of the condition of affairs. Certainly those who have followed Hampstead closely this season were none too confident, particularly as they had to take the field without two stalwarts in defence: R.S. Clarke (right-back), who is injured, and R. Wardlaw (left-half), captain, who was on holiday in Scotland. Tarrant again took Clarke's place, and A. Thorlby, who has not played in the first team since the early part of the season, was brought in at right-half, A. Anderson crossing over to left-half. The Casuals brought a good team, although they were weakened by the absence of F.H. Ewer, left-half.
Although ground records were not beaten, there was a bigger crowd than has been seen since the opening day. It numbered about 3,000. The spectators had the pleasure of witnessing a thrilling Cup-tie game, the issue being in doubt until the last moment, and looking at the game impartially, a draw fairly represents the respective merits of the clubs.
Hampstead took some time getting into their stride, and the Casuals were two goals up at the end of twenty minutes, both being obtained by Robins, who was their star performer. Later he scored a third, and thus did the hat trick. Had Hampstead had a centre of his calibre they would probably have won, as Shearcroft was like the curate's egg, good in parts. He did excellent work at times, and, as usual, used his head effectively, but there were periods when he was palpably weak. The strength of the visitors certainly lay in the forward line, but Piper might have been given more work to do.
Howell was the best forward on the Hampstead side. He worked untiringly during the whole ninety minutes, and the fact that he scored two goals gave general satisfaction. In the second instance Thorlby shared the credit, his well-judged long shot giving the winger the easiest of opportunities. Howell netted a third time, but was ruled offside, and a similar set-back awaited Parker, of the Casuals, but in this case there was some doubt on the point, and it was not until the referee had consulted a linesman that he ruled in favour of Hampstead, much to the relief of their supporters. Thorlby played a very useful game, but there is no doubt that if Wardlaw had been available, and Anderson had played in his right position, the half-back line would have been strengthened. Pease was a tower of strength at centre-half, his experience being of great value, but at times he was fairly beaten by Robins. Parsons played finely at back, but it was a great test for Tarrant to be pitted against such a strong side. At the beginning he was weak in his kicking, but later he gained confidence, and was much more serviceable. Brown had a busy time and came out of his ordeal satisfactorily. Though at times he seemed to lose his nerve, and dropped the ball several times at his feet, a practice which might have had fatal results if the Casuals' forwards had followed up as closely as they did in the early stages. On the other hand, Brown saved a number of shots, which, had they taken effect, would not have caused any reflection upon him.
In a Cup-tie play is often more vigorous than in a League or friendly game. The Casuals were a big set of fellows, and used their weight effectively, but sometimes not legitimately. The number of free kicks were added to largely by the wing halves being careless in throwing in the ball.
The first goal came at the end of a quarter-of-an-hour, and on the run of the play up to that time it was well-deserved. There were only two or three really dangerous attacks by Hampstead during this period, while shots were rained at Brown. There were four corners in succession against Hampstead, and one could not fail to admire the magnificent work of the visitor's front line. From a pass by Piper, Robins, after many fine efforts, beat Brown, and within a few minutes, after several well-directed shots, the clever 'Varsity centre got a second goal. Between these successes some fine combined work by Hampstead gave Applebee a chance, but he failed at the last ditch. On another occasion Anderson put in a beautiful centre when Trapp was lying on the ground, but no one was ready to accept the chance.
Hampstead, however, continued to fight gamely, and from a pass by Pease Howell showed a clean pair of heels to his opponents, and reduced the margin against his side, while a few minutes later, after Trapp had stopped a shot, Applebee, who was well up, banged the ball against the upright, from which it rebounded into the net. Thus, at the end of half-an-hour, the teams were on equal terms, and they remained so until the interval, although the visitors had slightly the better of the play, and, as we have said, got an offside goal through Parker. Howell made one or two good efforts to get the lead, and a long shot by Anderson almost took effect. A foul on Thorlby raised some indignation, but happily there were no reprisals, and the home side had nothing to learn from one or two of the visitors on sportsmanlike play.
The second half opened in favour of the Casuals, but as the game proceeded Hampstead played the more effective football, the visitors apparently getting tired. Trapping the ball, Pease ran in and almost scored, while he did not hesitate to put in a long shot whenever he found an opening. 'Tis a pity so many of these go wide. Shearcroft's best effort was a shot from the touch-line which deserved better luck, and Wise, who was standing a gruelling game well, gave Trapp some trouble, one of his "hot 'uns" being diverted for a corner. Twenty minutes from the restart Thorlby sent in a long shot which Howell snapped up and gave Hampstead the lead for the first time. The Casuals questioned the legitimacy of the goal, but the referee, after taking advice from a linesman, decided in favour of Hampstead. After this the game waxed more furious than ever, both teams playing in determined fashion. Howell scored again, but was ruled offside, and then Deeks hit the cross-bar with a fine shot. With time advancing it looked as though Hampstead would repeat their performance of two years back by ousting the Casuals from the Amateur Cup, but thirteen minutes from time Robins again made the scores level. Hampstead after this forced several corners, but they could not regain the lead, and now have to replay the tie on the Casuals ground at Kingston on Saturday next at 2.15.