Andrew Cornell looks back at Blues’ games on March 23rd
Another history lesson today as the two most important matches on this date happened over 30 years ago today. We look back to an FA Trophy quarter-final replay and an FA Amateur Cup semi-final which went to a replay.
In 1982 we were defending the FA Trophy won the year before and had reached the fourth ound only to face Altrincham, twice recently Conference champions and FA Trophy finalists from four years earlier. A 2-2 draw in Cheshire three days earlier had brought our unbeaten run in the competition to a still record 17 games and having been denied a win only in the dying minutes we were confident of winning at Rhodes Avenue and facing Wycombe Wanderers in the Semi-Final.
Blues certainly started off confidently and were the better side for most of the first half, finally getting their reward just before half time. From a corner Richard Bradford headed down to Terry Sullivan who rolled it across the area for Dave Worrell to score with a low shot. Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long as three minutes into the second half Jeff Johnson headed the Altrincham equaliser in off the bar. Altrincham gradually took control in the second half from then on, Even so Blues hung on and the scores were still level with only 15 minutes to go when Barry Howard sprinted to a long ball out of defence and, beating Knapman and Brown slid the ball under Moore to give Altrincham the lead. Things went from bad to worse then as Brown was sent off for head butting Howard, A corner was then taken and Rogers nodded the ball back from the far post for Howard to make it 3-1 to the visitors and put the game out of Stortford’s reach.
Eight years earlier in our centenary year we made the journey to Sunderland to play Ashington in a FA Amateur Cup Semi-Final. In those days the Semi-Final’s were played at neutral venues, but to maximise attendances they were played closer to the ground of the team nominally drawn at home. Roker Park, Sunderland was the longest trip made by a Stortford team for a match until 2011 when we went to Blyth Spartans for a Conference North game. The crowd at Roker Park was 5529 including a train load from Bishop’s Stortford! Ashington played a very physical game and Tony Bass was brought down early as he went near the goal. Peter Leakey took the free kick and Bass steered the ball just wide. From the northerner’s very first attack Terry Moore had to make a brilliant save from a Wright header. For most of the rest of the first half defences were on top but when Blues had 3 consecutive corners they must have thought a goal was coming. Then from a counter attack Moore had to pull off another great save from a Pringle half volley. Stortford had two more chances before half time when Bass shot wide from a free kick and then John Dear shot straight at the keeper from a Dave Lawrence long throw.
The second half followed a similar pattern – goal less and with Blues having more of the play. First Bass shot over after being set up by Lawrence, then Dear was crowded by defenders and shot wide, then Bass again had the ball snatched off his head by Nesbitt. Then Pringle broke through but once again Moore foiled him, turning the ball over the bar. As Ashington tired towards the end Blues could have won the game but Bass had another chance cleared off the line before both sides had to settle for a replay at Brentford the following week. For more on that watch this space.
2002 BSFC 1 Northwood 2 – Isthmian League Division 1
Desborough, Hannigan, Riches, McGibbon, Fannon, Taylor, Hyatt, Southam, John, Paul, Thompson Subs: Bowen, Allison, Langer Scorer: Bowen
1996 BSFC 1 Hayes 2 – Isthmian League Premier Division
King, Wardley, Parkyn, Jordan, Shuttlewood, Jackman, Barnaby, Walker, Hollamby, Roberts, Cooper Subs: Forbes Not Used: Quinn, Moylette Scorer: Shuttlewood
1991 Grays Athletic 1 BSFC 2 – Isthmian League Premier Division
Taylor, Jackman, Risley, Harrigan, Went, Hopkins, Ryan, Hardwick, Joseph, Fortune-West, Manderson Subs: Adebowale Not Used: Parker Scorers: Fortune-West, Manderson
1988 BSFC 0 Orient 2 – Friendly
1985 BSFC 0 Harrow Borough 1 – Isthmian League Premier Division
Welsh, Wickenden, Simmonds, Cardines, Hull, Hopkins, Avery, Harding, Walsh, Marshall, Smith Sub: Skingle
1982 BSFC 1 Altrincham 3 – FA Trophy 4th Round Replay
Moore, Brown, Baldry, Smith, Bradford, Avery, Blackman, Knapman, Worrell, Simmonds, Sullivan Sub: Lynch Scorer: Worrell
1976 BSFC 2 Barnet 0 – Herts Senior Cup Semi-Final Replay
Kitson, Harris, Gough, Flack, Clarke, Mulkern, Leakey, Watson, MacKenzie, Twigg, Gaine
Sub Not Used: Davis Scorers: MacKenzie, Twigg
1974 BSFC 0 Ashington 0 – FA Amateur Cup Semi-Final
Moore, Gibson, Coombes, Lawrence, Still, Payne, Leakey, Dear, Bass, Smith, Murphy
Sub Not Used: Scott
1968 Finchley 1 BSFC 1 – Athenian League Premier Division
Cherry, Atkinson, Abbott, Hammond, Neeves, Gough, Battram, Duggan, Nisbett, Chappell, Haywood Sub: Davenport Scorer: Haywood
1966 BSFC 3 Boreham Wood 1 – Herts Charity Cup Semi-Final Replay
Stooks, Rolph, Atkinson, Gough, Neeves, Duley, Taylor, C Duggan, Haywood, Saggers,
P Duggan Scorer: C Duggan (2), Saggers
1963 West Auckland Town 0 BSFC 0 – FA Amateur Cup 3rd Round
Cherry, Yell, Atkinson, Pope, Neeves, Wilson, Harkness, Collett, Gough, Smith, Francis
1957 BSFC 2 Hemel Hempstead Town 0 – Delphian League
Fox, Duncan, Atkinson, Lloyd, Carter, Horton, Adamson Yates, Hussey, Burridge, Francis Scorers: Hussey, Burridge
1946 BSFC 2 Letchworth Town 2 – Spartan League Eastern Section
Harding, Springer, Shotter, Tomes, Search, Wright, Smith, Walsh, Hockley, Holgate, Crome
Scorers: Walsh, Hockley
1940 BSFC 6 Ernest Lake’s XI 2 – Friendly
1935 BSFC 1 Henley Town 0 – Spartan League Division 1
Knight, Peck, Springham, Byatt, Sharp, Wood, Riches, Spring, Watkins, Christmas, Johnson