The Story of The Blues
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Games so far:
1st Round - London Caledonians 1 Wycombe Wanderers 4
2nd Round - Wycombe Wanderers 6 Walthamstow Avenue 1
3rd Round - Wycombe Wanderers 6 Romford 2
4th Round - Metropolitan Police 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1
4th Round replay - Wycombe Wanderers 2 Metropolitan Police 1
Just a week after Wanderers quarter-final reply win over the Metropolitan Police, it was off to East London to face fellow Isthmian Leaguers Woking at Ilford’s Newbury Park ground in the semi-final. Woking were struggling towards the foot of the table and the Chairboys had done the double over their Surrey-based opponents in the league. The Wanderers selection commitee sat on Monday 2nd March and agreed an unchanged line-up with Greenwell keeping his place due to the injury to Captain John Timberlake sustained during the first game with the Metropolitan Police.
As usual the Bucks Free Press’ ‘Touchline’ was there to report on the game. He also penned a short preview of the big match warning that “Woking are one of the most scientific teams in the league. Wycombe will have to cope with an extremely lively attack and a granite-like defence.” He added, “The Ilford ground, however, generally is “lucky” to the Wanderers” and their victory there earlier in the season was “the start of the remarkable run of victories that the Wanderers have enjoyed. Since that game the Wanderers have not been beaten. They have played 14 games, won 12 and drawn 2.” He concluded “I find that there is an enthusiasm among the members of the team that is very favourable. I give the Wanderers to win.”
Wycombe Wanderers versus Woking
At Newbury Park, Ilford FC - Attendance: 7,500 (receipts £444)
Wanderers were backed by an estimated 4,000 travelling fans in the 7,500 attendance. The travelling throng made use of three special trains plus dozens of 'motors coaches' and 'private cars'. Despite the attendance being more than 3,000 down on the replay with the Metropolitan Police at Loakes Park, receipts were higher after admission charges were set at 1s(5p) for standing and 2s(10p) for seats. This compared to half these charges at Loakes Park.
Again the conditions were to play a big part in the game and the Wanderers hardly had time to settle down before Woking, assisted by the wind, were making raids on the Wycombe defence. Led by Cox and Crump, Wanderers defensive duo were indomitable and played a huge part in the result of the game. Woking’s tactics were clear; they played the ball to their international winger, Warnes who was brilliant throughout the game and very dangerous whenever he got close to the Wanderers goal.
Despite Woking’s dominance, and numerous chances they couldn’t find that all important first goal. Wanderers' 'keeper Kipping was called upon to make one remarkable save from Warnes. While just before the interval Wycombe nearly scored against the run of the play when Vernon, who had played for the RAF on the Thursday, was subdued by Woking centre-half Craddock and just couldn’t reach the ball as it was played across the goal-mouth. The half-time whistle blew and the Wanderers spectators indulged in periodic bursts of cheering. Woking ought to have been at least two goals ahead and with the wind now in their favour, Wanderers had a big advantage for the second-half.
Half-time: Wycombe Wanderers 0 Woking 0
The Wanderers began the second half in an accomplished manner and soon gave the Woking defence more awkward situations to deal with. Four minutes in and Britnell came so close, firing his shot against the foot of the post. Two minutes later Simmons crossed into the centre of the goalmouth for Alf Britnell to head past Montgomery to put the Wanderers ahead. Vernon then raced away on a break but could only earn his side a corner. Woking came back at the Blues and the defence again had to withstand some fierce onslaughts.
11 minutes into the second half and the Wanderers attacked again through the prominent Simmons and from an acute angle crashed a shot against the crossbar, only for Bill Brown to drive the rebound into the net to score Wycombe’s second goal. From the restart the ball again found Brown who raced away to score, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. Woking reacted magnificently and Wycombe had to defend their goal strenuously for ten minutes solid. During this period Kipping dived across the net to hold a powerfully low drive from Warnes which drew spontaneous applause from the crowd. As he lay with the ball on the ground he was badly hurt and had to receive attention. It turned out afterwards that he had split his eardrum!
Ten minutes from time the ball was played into Alf Britnell who lobbed an easy shot at Woking goalkeeper Montgomery only for the custodian to let the ball slip between his hands and into the goal for the Wanderers third. Woking continued to play with determination and missed two easy chances, one of which saw Warnes dribble through the Wanderers defence only to fire the ball wide. It was the last blow for Woking as the final whistle blew. 'Touchline' summed up his report by saying Woking had been beaten by a more skillful side but had been very unlucky. Nevertheless Wycombe Wanderers had done it; they had entered the final of the Amateur Cup for the first time in their history and in fine style!
Final score: Wycombe Wanderers 3 Woking 0
Wycombe Team: Kipping, Crump, Cox, Badrick, Rance, Simmons, Greenwell, Brown, Vernon, Braisher and Britnell.
Scorers: Britnell 51, 80 Brown 56
Woking Team: Montgomery, Beadle, Turner, Greenwood, Craddock, Lockwood, Bateman, Stockley, Mason, May, Warnes.
Wanderers progress to the Semi-Final attracted widespread local interest and those unable to attend the game were kept up to date with progress from Newbury Park via a telephone link provided by The Bucks Free Press. The following is a description of events in High Wycombe as reported in the BFP on Friday 13th March 1931.
"High Wycombe 900, are you there?"
"Wycombe are three up at the moment. Warnes, Woking's International outside right, has just missed a glorious chance for Woking - a perfect 'sitter', but the Wanderers have the game well in hand. Two minutes to go"
"Hang on still; the final whistle will go any minute now."
The Wycombe public read the good news from Ilford at The Bucks Free Press office within thirty seconds of the final whistle. Thousands of people read the bulletins recording the progress of the match posted outside The Bucks Free Press office in the High Street. Telephonic communication was maintained with the ground during the greater part of the game.
Hundreds of people waited patiently until reports came through and at half-time we were able to give them the re-assuring message that "Wycombe's prospects were good". This prophecy was quickly fufilled.
There were cheers when the first goal was recorded and excitement became more and more intense when further goals were scored. The crowd at one time extended to the middle of the High Street.
The news was too good to be missed, although it was bitterly cold standing about. People waited for the final result not only of the Wanderers match but also of the match between Bishop Auckland and Hayes.
Before the crowd dispersed they knew that Wycombe had beaten Woking and that Bishop Auckland had been beaten by Hayes. Obviously they were pleased not only with Wycombe's win, but with the prospect of two southern clubs contesting the final.
Click here for memories of the build up and the final to follow.
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