The Daily Mail, December 27, 1913
WHY THE ’SPURS DID NOT
By P. G. WODEHOUSE.
Middlesbrough ... 1 ’Spurs .............. 0
Nothing like it has been seen since the bombardment of Alexandria. They shot, and shot, and shot, did those ’Spurs, till their brows were streaming and their toes began to stick out of their boots. Snug inside the Middlesbrough goal, Williamson peered interestedly out at the leathern storm, wondering when the weather was going to clear a bit. There were shots that missed by miles, shots that missed by inches, shots that hit the post, shots that hit the goalkeeper, and shots that would have been goals if the goal had been a few dozen feet higher; but never a shot into the net.
Middlemiss, Cantrell, and Bliss all looked like doing the trick again and again. Cantrell hit the post twice in succession within a few minutes. Now and again Middlesbrough would break away, but back the ball would come, a musical “plonk,” and another shot would have missed its billet.
After half-time the Maxim-gun effects were not immediately resumed. Twice Middlesbrough had good chances of scoring before the ’Spurs got into their stride again. Then the latter attacked. Walden (they were passing to him much better to-day, bless his little heart) got through in his own special style, and the Middlesbrough goal—or the crowd on each side of it—was in danger, but nothing happened.
A moment later Cantrell, with a clear goal in front of him, missed the ball altogether; and then came the central incident, the big scene of the day. Why Stirling was allowed to leg it down the touch-line, in such an unmolested fashion I do not know. For once the ’Spurs’ defence seemed somnolent. Stirling centred well, and Elliott shot. Joyce saved, but in doing so was temporarily stunned, and there was the ball sitting in the goal-mouth waiting for somebody to start something with it. Cartwright and Webster made bee-lines, and so did Elliott and Tinsley. The four arrived almost simultaneously, but the Middlesbrough representatives must have been first, for the ball went through into the net. Tinsley was the scorer.
The ’Spurs played up gallantly in the few remaining minutes, and Walden got right through again, only to have his shot well stopped by Williamson, who also saved a hot one from Middlemiss. But the ’Spurs could not bring it off and lost accordingly.
Technically, the match was not a very high-class exhibition of football, but it was one of the most interesting and amusing games I have seen. The slippery ground made it hard for the defence to manœuvre, with the result that whichever side had the ball kept it as a rule till they shot. And there was a good deal of tumbling of the Humpsti-Bumpsti type, well worth watching.