Blast from the past

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Andrew Cornell looks back on Blues’ games on March 30

Going back into the archives to 1974. For younger supporters it is hard to emphasize just how big a deal the FA Amateur Cup was for clubs like Bishop’s Stortford FC. At this time there was no national league for non-league clubs so for BSFC the Isthmian League was as high as they could go and winning it did not mean promotion. They could turn professional like Chelmsford or Cambridge United but that only meant a sideways move into the Southern League with still no promotion possible to the Football League. Against this scenario the FA Amateur Cup was a national competition that brought together some of the best non-league clubs from all over the country in an open draw from the last 32. Even in the 70s the matches still caught the imagination with crowds of several thousand for the later rounds.

Bishop’s Stortford had reached the semi-final stage in 1973, dominated the game but lost narrowly to Slough Town. In 1974 we reached the same stage again, were the better side, but could only get a replay against Ashington. On this day, the replay was played at Brentford and it was now or never for Blues. This was our centenary year and it was the last year of the FA Amateur Cup, so there would never be a better time to play at Wembley.

 

There were 20 coach loads of Blues supporters at Brentford and they lifted the team to a fine win. They posted a warning early on when Tony Bass headed narrowly wide from a corner. This aside, both defencess were on top early on, although Stortford began to show more composure as the half wore on and a great ball from John Dear split the defence only for Dennis Murphy to mis-kick. Soon after Peter Leakey started a great move and almost finished himself, but shot over the bar. Against the run of play Brian Pringle for Ashington had the ball in the net, although the offside flag was already up, and shortly afterwards he forced a good save from Terry Moore with a header from a corner. Soon after Eddie Nesbitt, the Ashington keeper was injured and needed prolonged attention before continuing, no doubt grateful when the half time whistle went at 0-0.

 

Blues finally broke the deadlock in the 48th minute as Bass headed on and Murphy rushing down the middle sliced through the Ashington defence to beat Nesbitt and score. From now on the action was all one way and the unfortunate Nesbitt didn’t look fit, but no substitute goalkeepers in those days. In the 55th minute Stortford decided the game by scoring again. A long throw from Dave Lawrence had the defence at panic stations and Dear firmly headed a loose ball into the net for 2-0. There was one scare when Gibson had to bring Pringle down from behind to prevent a scoring chance but otherwise Stortford looked more likely to score again than concede and made it 3-0 through Murphy, but the game was over as a contest by that stage. Blues were on their way to Wembley for the first time.

 2013 BSFC 1 Brackley Town 3 – Conference North

Pentney, Sampayo, Herd, Prestedge, Bailey-Dennis, Francis, Johnson, Webb, Woodall, Wilson, Baker Subs: Lobjoit, Cawley, Sappleton Not Used: Abdullahi, Mattock Scorer: Woodall

2002 BSFC 2 Oxford City 0 – Isthmian League Division 1

Desborough, Hannigan, Riches, McGibbon, Fannon, Taylor, Hyatt, Allison, John, Paul, Southam Subs: Braham, Wolf, Langer Scorers: Riches, Fannon

1999 Gravesend & Northfleet 4 BSFC 1 – Isthmian League Premier Division

King, McDonald, Benstock, Williams, Snowden, Blake, Woolley, Willcock, Hayes, Witney, Cooksey Subs: Baillie, Waldron, Winger Scorer: Hayes

1996 St Albans City 3 BSFC 0 – Isthmian League Premier Division

King, Wardley, Parkyn, Shuttlewood, Jordan, Parratt, Jackman, Walker, Conroy, Roberts, Eaton Subs: Barnaby, Cooper Not Used: Forbes

1991 Leyton Wingate 0 BSFC 3 – Isthmian League Premier Division

Taylor, Jackman, Risley, Adebowale, Went, Hopkins, Ryan, Parker, Joseph, Fortune-West, Manderson Subs Not Used: Parnwell, Hardwick Scorers: Risley, Adebowale, Joseph

1989 Boreham Wood 0 BSFC 2 – Herts Senior Cup Semi-Final Replay

Taylor, Jackman, Ryan, Harrigan, McCayna, Hoddle, Milbourne, Weddell, English, Zacchau, Cowley Subs Not Used: Barker, Greene Scorers: Weddell, Zacchau

1985 Walthamstow Avenue 2 BSFC 0 – Isthmian League Premier Division

Taylor, Wickenden, Simmonds, Baker, Hull, Marshall, Avery, Harding, Walsh, Cardines, Smith Sub Not Used: Bentnik

1982 BSFC 1 Hayes 2 – Isthmian League Premier Division

Moore, Gunn, Baldry, Brown, Bradford, Avery, Bailey, Knapman, Worrell, Sperrin, Sullivan Sub: Simmonds Scorer: Bailey

1976 BSFC 2 Leytonstone 0 – Isthmian League Division 1

Kitson, Harris, Davis, Flack, Clarke, Mulkern, Leakey, Gough, MacKenzie, Twigg, Gaine

Sub: Clarke Scorers: MacKenzie, Gaine

1974 BSFC 3 Ashington 0 – FA Amateur Cup Semi-Final Replay

Moore, Gibson, Coombes, Lawrence, Still, Payne, Leakey, Dear, Bass, Smith, Murphy

Sub: Scott Scorers: Dear, Murphy (2)

1971 BSFC 0 Dagenham 3 – Athenian League Cup 4th Round Replay

Mollison, Lawrence, T King, Clarey, Neeves, Sharkey, Whyte, Chappell, Devaux, S King, Argent Sub Not Used: Ellis

1970 Hayes 2 BSFC 3 – Athenian League Premier Division

Cherry, Mitchell, King, Pettipher, Neeves, Hill, Whyte, Duggan, Allaway, Gough, Slater

Sub Not Used: Ellis Scorers: Allaway (2), Slater

1964 BSFC 3 Hertford Town 2 – Herts Senior Cup Final 1st Leg

Cherry, Rolph, Atkinson, Gough, Neeves, Wilson, Taylor, Duley, Smith, Saggers,

Francis Scorers: Taylor (2), Duley

1963 BSFC 1 West Auckland Town 0 – FA Amateur Cup 3rd Round Replay

Cherry, Yell, Atkinson, Pope, Neeves, Wilson, Harkness, Collett, Gough, Smith, Francis

Scorer: Collett

1959 BSFC 3 Ware 2 – Delphian League

D Cook, Lloyd, Atkinson, P Cook, Newman, Wilson, Wacey Holman, Phelan, Horton, Francis Scorers: Wacey, Phelan, Horton

1957 Barnet 2 BSFC 2 – Herts Charity Cup Semi-Final

Fox, Duncan, Atkinson, Lloyd, Carter, Horton, Adamson Yates, Hussey, Burridge, Francis Scorers: Adamson, Yates

1946 Stansted 2 BSFC 1 – Saffron Walden Rotary Cup 1st Round

Harding, Springer, Shotter, Hoy, Search, Wright, Bayford, Hockley, Defevre, Holgate, Crome

Scorer: ????

1934 BSFC 2 Leighton United 0 – Spartan League Division 1

Vasey, Johnson, Spring, Saunders, Price, Wood, Kimber, Scott, Pike, Ashton, Underdown

Scorer: Scott (2)

1929 BSFC 3 Eastminster 0 – Friendly

1923 BSFC 4 Hitchin Blue Cross 1 – Herts County League

Boxall, Smith, Whiffen, R E Punter, L Chapman, J Chapman, Clarke, Prior, Brazier, Freeborn, R A Punter Scorers: Clarke, Brazier, Freeborn, R A Punter

Author: Dave Ryan