Being without a competitive match Hampstead boldly challenged the London Combination team of Clapton Orient, the game, at Claremont-road, on Saturday, being thoroughly enjoyed by a fairly big crowd despite the bad weather. Rain fell heavily while the game was in progress, and the advantage of having a commodious stand was appreciated. Considering the conditions, a high type of football was shown, and the home players may feel very well satisfied with the show they made against the professionals, among whom were two or three first team players. The Orient led at half-time by four goals to none, and each side scored thrice in the second half, the final figures being 7-4 in favour of the visitors.
The fact that so many goals were scored was in a measure due to the slippery nature of the ground, Trevers, who kept goal magnificently, allowing one shot to beat him which in ordinary circumstances he would have easily dealt with. The O's possessed a fine forward line, the men working with clock-like precision, and had their shooting been up to the same standard as their other work, Hampstead would not have got off so lightly. In defensive work it was also shown that the Orient have a good second eleven. They were a finely-built set of fellows, but did not take an undue advantage of their weight. The game was cleanly contested, and the sporting action of the Orient in not endeavouring to bundle Trevers through his own goal when they might legitimately have done so was a point to their credit. In these days of competition football friendly games often lack spice, but this game did not come under the category of tameless exhibitions and the Hampstead supporters greatly enjoyed the change of fare. The home club will probably not find the match a big financial success, but by catering for the enjoyment of their supporters in this way they are to be commended, and if other games with professional clubs are arranged their enterprise should meet with a fuller reward.
[The teams will be found at the end of the report;] Mr. B.M. Neville was referee.
The Orient had the advantage of a strong wind in the first half, and although the play was by no means one-sided, it was plainly evident that the visitors were the better side, Corkindale being one of the cleverest men. Trevers had not only to deal with the visiting forwards, but once or twice with erratic kicks by his own backs. Smy made some fine efforts from Howell's passes, and once it looked odds on a goal from Shearcroft's head, but Slater got to the ball in the nick of time - a smart piece of work. The half was well advanced before the first goal was scored, Dixon, deputising for Spence at centre-forward, doing the trick. Smith had hard luck in hitting the post with Slater out of position: and a little later Slater did well in dealing with a hot shot from a free kick by Smy. Ames scored twice and Dixon got another before half-time, when the score was 4-0.
In the second half, when there was practically no wind, Hampstead had a much bigger share of the play, and for a time more than held their opponents. True, the Orient were the first to score, Corkindale sending in one of the best shots of the day, but then Hampstead came into their own, and roused the crowd to a high pitch of excitement by scoring twice in quick succession. Shearcroft got the first after a fine run and centre by Howell and the second was placed to the credit of Smith, also from Howell's centre, after an appeal for hands against the visitors had been disallowed. In this half Howell was in magnificent form, and after Dixon had got the Orient's sixth point, Hampstead's fleety outside-left again reduced the lead, bringing the scores to 6-3. Corkindale registered a seventh goal for the Orient, and Shearcroft replied with Hampstead's fourth goal from another good movement by Howell. Just on time Smy made a fine effort, the goalkeeper tipping the ball over the bar for a corner, which yielded nothing.
By scoring four goals for the second week in succession one cannot complain of the Hampstead forwards, who on present form are doing better than at any time this season. Deeks and Smith again combined wonderfully well, and had a clever anticipation of each other's movements. On the other wing there was also good work, particularly in the second half, and Shearcroft is making a fine leader. Anderson, Pease and Parsons did well, but on Saturday's showing the presence of Clarke (who was in the north of England on business) at right-back, and Centa at left-half, would have strengthened the side.
The game had the advantage of adding to Hampstead's experience, and was of great value in view of the forthcoming Middlesex Cup-ties.