The Daily Mail, September 22, 1913






Bristol City   .....   1     Notts County   ...   1

The 1.5 train from Paddington showed such an absurd diffidence in approaching Bristol, fidgeting about outside the station with an almost South-Eastern want of self-confidence for nearly half an hour, that play had been in progress for about five minutes when I reached Ashton Gate.

A courteous Bristolian, however, informed me that I had not missed much! He seemed a little depressed. He named certain defects in the play of the home team with a good deal of incisive bitterness. And, certainly, in the early stages of the game, there might have been a shade more snap in the manœuvres of the forward line. Broad was right enough—a sound man, Broad—and Fuge, despite one or two mistakes, made his presence felt.

The score, one goal all, does not represent the run of the play. Even in the first half Bristol were having the best of the game. Once a judicious piece of heading by Kearns set the forwards attacking, but the ball went over the line. On another occasion Fuge was fouled near goal, just when a forward movement looked dangerous. Soon afterwards a shot went over the Notts bar. It was only at occasional intervals that the Notts forwards got going and reached the other end of the ground. A shot by Haig was too high; and another was well stopped by Howling. Bassett did one or two good things on the right; but for the first half-hour the play was in Bristol’s favour.


The Notts’ goal came at the, end of thirty-five minutes, quietly, unexpectedly, and without sensation. For thirty-four minutes Notts had given no indication of having a goal up their striped sleeves; and then, following on a free kick, which had followed on a good dribble by Flint, there was a scuffle in front of goal, from which suddenly emerged Bassett, who had worked in from the right, with the ball at his toes. He proceeded to kick it mildly in the corner of the net, and Notts County led by 1 to nil.

Encouraged by this, Notts attacked vigorously, and Howlett gave away a corner. Bristol came back in great style the whole length of the ground, but Harrison waited too long before shooting and was suppressed by Clamp. Bristol continued to attack, but Clamp cleared again. With about three minutes to go before half-time Bristol woke up with a start. Burton on the left and Broad on the right attacked in turn. Two corners followed in quick succession, and only Iremonger’s energy prevented a score. The ball was in front of the goal, with every indication of being about to go through it when the whistle blew.

You would not believe the job we had to get the band off the field after half-time. They stuck to it, the brave lads, with the veins starting out on their foreheads, putting all they knew into “Dixie,” apparently blind to the fact that two popular and energetic football teams were standing about within ten yards, anxious to begin again. At last the pressure of public opinion was too much for them, and they dragged themselves off the field. Just as the trombone man and the performer who does that sort of twiddly run after the “I want to be” bit reached the touch-line, Burton missed an opportunity by attempting a ragtime shot from the left wing instead of passing. Notts cleared and attacked on their own account; and Howling was tested, as we say in the Press-box—or would have been, if Flint’s shot had not missed by some dozen feet.


Some good defence by Machin checked Bristol for a time, but by now the whole team had got well together and they took complete charge of the game. The ball was always near the Notts’ goal, Moss feeding his forwards excellently and Broad getting in some very fine centres. At this point the referee gave a free kick to Bristol for quite one of the worst fouls ever seen on the football field. A Bristol forward was peacefully dribbling when a Notts’ half seized him round the neck, whirled him round once or twice, and flung him to earth. Bristol is nearly 120 miles from London, but it was worth coming to see that great tackle. If our Rugby representatives can show an occasional flash of that sort of thing England will be safe this season.

The shot at goal failed, but immediately afterwards a splendid centre by Broad reached Harrison, and Harrison, scorning delay, let go at it. But it was not Harrison’s lucky day. The ball hit the bar and came back. From this moment till the end the game was played at a tremendous pace, and the excitement grew every minute. Bristol were going very strong indeed. Fuge ran through, but West cleared. An isolated attack by Notts was stopped by Young, and the Bristol forwards took on their work again. Iremonger saved from a shot by Fuge, and then Broad was badly fouled in the penalty area.

It was an impressive sight to see Iremonger waiting to receive Chapple’s shot. There he stood, while Chapple scanned the goal to see if there was any part of it which Iremonger did not fill up. He found such a spot in the top left-hand corner and put the ball through it, bringing the scores level. Twenty-four minutes had passed since half-time.

If Notts had been braced up by scoring in the first half, Bristol were doubly braced now.

A fine run by Broad, ending in a hot shot, led to a corner. The Notts forwards managed to break away, but Fuge took the ball back again until he was well stopped by Machin. Another brief attack by Notts gave Flint a chance at goal, but his shot missed. Burton and Chapple got away on the left and forced a corner. A second corner followed, and Kearns failed with a long shot. Broad was in wonderful form at this period of the game and all but scored. His centring was quite a feature of the second half. From one of his passes Harrison headed, but the ball went over the bar. Machin’s defence was very useful to Notts at this crisis, It was mainly owing to his work and the tackling of Clamp and Emberton that, when the final whistle went, the Bristol score had not been increased.

Take it for all in all as exciting a game as ever I did see. The football was not perfect on either side, but it was to the mistakes that much of the excitement was due. One never knew when something might not break loose. And though the defence was always sound, it did not overshadow the attack. There were always possibilities when the forwards, especially Broad and Fuge, got the ball. But Bristol ought to have won.



Editor’s note:
South-Eastern: Wodehouse had griped before about the spotty service of the South Eastern Railway. Dulwich College is served by the West Dulwich rail station, built 1862 (and originally named Knight’s Hill) as part of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, which was jointly run with the South Eastern Railway from 1899.