After failing to beat the Casuals on their own ground at Claremont-road, it was not surprising to find Hampstead going under in the replayed Amateur Cup-tie at Kingston on Saturday, but the large number of spectators saw Hampstead fighting to the bitter end, and the result was in doubt until the last kick.
Hampstead lost by three goals to two, but extra time would have been necessary had advantage been taken by the left-wingers of a capital centre which went right across the mouth of the goal when the referee was almost on the point of sounding the final whistle. The figures, however, give a very good idea of the run of the play, and those present who did not wear rose-coloured glasses, and speak impartially, admit that the Casuals were the better side. It was, of course, disappointing to find Hampstead on the losing side after the first two goals had been placed to their credit, but even at half-time, when Hampstead still held the lead, even the most optimistic of their supporters were doubtful whether they would retain the balance in their favour.
Had Hampstead always played as well as they did on Saturday they would have won many more games this season. The Casuals put into the field a very strong side, weak spots being strengthened by the return of W.T. Whewell to the position of centre-half and R.G. Pinfield to outside-left, and it was mainly due to these two players that the Casuals forced a win and thus saved Hampstead from a long journey to meet Portland United tomorrow. Hampstead have not met a better team this season, and it is a feather in their cap that they gave their opponents such a severe task.
The Casuals had a big advantage in weight, both Pinfield and Whewell, the Cambridge and Corinthian centre-half, making the disparity between the teams more pronounced in this respect than it had been in the previous match. Pinfield was one of the best forwards on the field. Anderson, playing one of his finest games, managed to subdue him on many occasions, and Clarke, who has been troubled with an injury to his ankle, responded nobly, but time after time shots were sent in from the left wing which, but for wild marksmanship on the part of the inside men, would have brought a big tally of goals.
Like the Casuals, Hampstead made two changes in their side from the previous game, Wardlaw and Clarke returning, and while both did well it might have been better if the latter had been given a further rest, as he again developed ankle trouble, and the winning goal came when he was still limping. On the other hand, it must in fairness be said that Trapp was off the field for a short while, while a cut on the eye was being treated, one of the other men donning his jersey. At this stage, however, Hampstead were mainly on the defensive; could they have put in one or two shots while there was a deputy goalkeeper the result might have been reversed.
The opening stages were very even, and while the Casuals - who played short for a few minutes - played the more attractive football Hampstead made many attacks, Howell, busy on his wing, just failing to reach a long shot by Pease. Shearcroft was early to the fore with nice headwork, but just as he was on the point of shooting close up he fell over. At the other end both Crouch and Robins missed chances, and it was soon noticed that Robins was not to be allowed too much freedom. Most of the best work for the Casuals was seen on the left wing, Pinfield working very energetically, and the manner in which the attack was frustrated gave confidence to the fairly big following from Cricklewood and district. After Applebee had sent in a good shot, nullified by Shearcroft being given offside, Wise shot into Trapp's hands, but continuing to have the better of the argument, a nice movement in which Anderson, Wise and Shearcroft figured led to the last-named scoring with a grand shot at the end of a quarter-of-an-hour.
This success put a good deal of spirit into the Hampstead men, who played for all they were worth and raised high hopes among their followers. There was the possibility of a second goal when, from a well-placed corner taken by Applebee, Deeks headed to Shearcroft, who in turn headed wide, but it was a good effort. The wisdom of playing an open game was realised, and Trapp had rather more work to do than Brown. There were occasions when Howell, who worked well with Wise, might have done better by shooting without attempting to run the ball into goal, and some of the other players were rather wild in their kicking, but the Casuals forwards were equally at fault. Brown made one of his best saves after Clarke had felt the full force of Pinfield's weight, and from a free kick for hands the outside-left again tested Brown's skill. There was just a little bit of luck about the way in which the attacks by the Casuals were frustrated, Anderson making one fine clearance in the goal-mouth. At the end of forty minutes Hampstead increased their lead, Wise beating Trapp with one of his unstoppables. It was a really beautiful goal, the credit for which Wise shared with Applebee, who did good work before parting with the ball. Before half-time, however, the Casuals reduced their lead through Robins. Pinfield sent in an excellent shot which Brown did well to stop, but he failed to clear it, and the enterprising Cambridge centre-forward snapped up the chance.
Play in the second half was more in favour of the Casuals, and although Hampstead defended stubbornly, the scores were equalised, and one began to see the inevitable. The visiting players, however, never gave up hope, and when Trapp, after saving a fine shot from Deeks, ran off the field for treatment, it was thought that they might take advantage of the position. However, Trapp returned, to the accompaniment of cheers, before the Hampstead men could do any mischief, and with Clarke limping, the Casuals enjoyed a big share of the play. Brown made a marvellous save from Knight, this being one of the best shots of the match, and his fine custodianship earned applause from a very impartial crowd. With twelve minutes to go Frizzell, who had missed a number of opportunities, beat Brown with a cross shot, and although Hampstead, mainly through Howell, made valiant attempts, they failed to make up lost ground, and the Casuals retired winners, after a hard-fought game, by three goals to two.
Of the Casuals Pinfield, Whewell and Robins deserve special mention, although the last-named was not so dangerous as in the previous game. The work of the Hampstead halves was a feature, Anderson showing up prominently against a dangerous wing. Parsons was the better of the backs, as might be expected, seeing that Clarke has been laid aside through injury; and Brown has no reason to feel ashamed of the result. Shearcroft did fine work in the early stages, and his first goal was a beauty, but as the game advanced he was not nearly so effective. The left wing was the stronger, but Applebee was responsible for some good movements, and promises to develop into a useful player.