There was a 3,000 "gate" at Cricklewood-lane on Saturday afternoon to witness the downfall of Hampstead Town in the third qualifying round of the F.A. Cup, Cheshunt obtaining a well-deserved victory by two goals to nil. For the first time this season Hampstead had failed to find the net, and one or two of the goals that had been piled up against Berkhamsted and Baldock earlier in the premier competition would have proved useful.
The match was one of the best seen on the ground this season. The ball was difficult to control owing to the recent rain, and there was some miskicking, but the pace was hot from start to finish. The visitors' work throughout was very commendable. The crowd at Cricklewood-lane is noted for good sportsmanship, and the Cheshunt men came in for a good deal of applause, while the excutive heartily congratulated the visitors on their first win at Cricklewood-lane, and wished them further success in the tourney.
The winning of the toss by Wardlaw seemed to be a good omen for Hampstead, but it is not too much to say that in the first half the home team shaped badly. Cheshunt were complete masters of the situation, and Hampstead were fortunate in being only one goal down at the interval. The visitors played as one man, the combination being perfect. By adopting the long passing game they caused Hampstead's defence no end of trouble, and shots were rained in upon Goodwin, who displayed good form. It was well that in front of him were two sterling backs.
In the early stages a couple of corners fell to Hampstead, but both were weakly taken by Irwin, who was making his first appearance in the cup team this season. He sent in a number of good centres, but his partnership with Cousins at inside-right was not a happy one, and during the course of the game they exchanged places. A good number of corners fell to Cheshunt, and their shooting was for the most part on the target, but on one occasion the ball found a resting place in a tree instead of the desired haven. Wise tried hard to rally his forwards, and was himself quite the best of the line, but no one could say the work was impressive. At the end of half-an-hour Cheshunt got their deserts, Halfhide scoring with a neat shot from a pass by Harper. Goodwin apparently made no attempt to save this shot, for the reason, we suppose, that the ball seemed to be going wide of the goalpost. Unfortunately for his side it swerved into the net. For the remainder of the first half play remained in favour of Cheshunt, Goodwin doing yeoman service. Hampstead's players seemed to be nonplussed by the tactics of their opponents, and their own shooting left something to be desired.
Upon changing ends there was a complete reversal of form, and for a quarter of an hour or more Hampstead set up a bombardment that was worth two or three goals. While Goodwin was standing idle, with time to meditate upon what had happened previously, Groves had his hands full, and one felt every second that his charge would fall. Once there was a desperate scrimmage in the goal mouth, but fortune favoured the Herts boys. At length Cheshunt managed to break away, and a second goal was scored in much the same manner as the first had been, Halfhide scoring with an oblique shot after some clever play by Harper and Smith. Cheshunt continued to do well, but could not score again, but they seemed to be well satisfied with a 2-0 win.
Of the players on the visiting side, Odell, Harper and Halfhide were very conspicuous. Hampstead were disappointing, the half-backs lacking that brilliance which has so often marked their play. Even Pease was off-colour, but Thorlby steadily improves. Brazier had a tremendous task in dealing with his wing men, but both he and Clarke came out of the ordeal with credit.