Blast from the past
Andrew Cornell looks back at Blues’ games on May 7
Researching this article I was surprised to find how many times we have played on May 7th. Nowadays you only play in May if you make the play offs or a major cup final, but in the 60s and 70s they were less strict about extending the season because of fixture congestion and between the wars an early May date was often used for a friendly or charity game post season, so in that respect the game today is carrying on an old tradition.
May 7th 1974 was the date of one of the biggest league games Bishop’s Stortford have ever played. Picture the scene, a warm night in May, Blues had won the FA Amateur Cup at Wembley a couple of weeks earlier but due to a winter ban on floodlights they had a backlog of games to play, still five more league games after this one. They had been playing before crowds of well over 1000 but this game was a real six-pointer. Blues were six points behind Wycombe with 2 games in hand in the Rothmans Isthmian League Division 1 (no Premier Division in those days) so the title seemed to hinge on this game and the crowd – for a league game – was estimated at 3,600.
The game went perfectly to plan for Stortford, after 18 minutes John Dear took a corner and Tony Bass rose unmarked to head into the net. The crowd roared them on and John Dear had a header cleared off the line before Blues scored the second goal just before half time. Peter Leakey took a free kick which was flicked on by Bass and Dear nodded it in to give Stortford a clear lead. Wycombe came back at us in the second half but Blues soaked up the pressure and Terry Moore was in brilliant form. Tony Bass could have made it three ten minutes from time but took too long over his shot. Still, after the game Blues were three points behind Wycombe with two games in hand and three of the last five games at home. The title was there for the taking. Sadly the pressure of playing three games a week was too much and Blues lost the next game at home to lowly Leytonstone. Coupled with a narrow defeat at the other title contenders and defending champions Hendon meant Stortford ended up three points behind Wycombe in third place.
Stortford had something to celebrate exactly 20 years later in 1994. The last game of the season saw Blues travel to Abingdon already champions and promoted back to the Premier Division of the Isthmian League after an absence of two years. In a rather more low key game, a crowd of 249 saw Blues beaten 1-0, only their second away defeat in the league in the 1993-94 season.
1994 Abingdon Town 1 BSFC 0 – Isthmian League Division 1
King, Jordan, Claridge, Edmonds, Harrigan, Walker, Das, Terry Burns, Leo Fortune-West, Lee Burns, Comeerford Subs: Ingielewicz, Adamson
1983 Wokingham Town 0 BSFC 1 – Isthmian League Premier Division
Welsh, Wickenden, Brown, Smith, Gunn, Hull, Avery, Lawrence, Worrell, Robb, Sullivan
Sub: Lynch Scorer: Lynch
1977 BSFC 1 Staines Town 1– Isthmian League Division 1
Kitson, Tucker, Gaine, Flack, Clarke, Massey, Smith, Chattaway, Bailey, Gough, Twigg Sub: MacKenzie Scorer: Bailey
1974 BSFC 2 Wycombe Wanderers 0 – Isthmian League Division 1
Moore, Gibson, Coombes, Lawrence, Still, Payne, Leakey, Dear, Bass, Smith, Scott Sub: ???? Scorers: Dear, Bass
1966 BSFC 2 Walthamstow Avenue 1 – Friendly
Cherry, Smart, Atkinson, Belger, Neeves, Duley, Taylor, Chris Duggan, Ferguson, Gough, Pat Duggan Scorers: Chris Duggan, Pat Duggan
1963 Tilbury 1 BSFC 2 – Delphian League Emergency Competition
Cherry, Yell, Atkinson, Pope, Neeves, Wilson, Harkness, McGeehan, Gough, Smith, Francis Scorers: Gough, Smith
1955 Aylesbury United 2 BSFC 5 – Delphian League
Sullivan, Duncan, Hardy, Lloyd, Carter, Hanley, Giles, Yates, Scott, Horton, Burridge
1949 Willesden 2 BSFC 0 – Spartan League Premier Division
1928 BSFC 1 Blackheath Wanderers 0 – Bishop’s Stortford Hospital Cup
1927 BSFC 2 Blackheath Wanderers 2 – Bishop’s Stortford Hospital Cup
1925 BSFC 1 Saffron Walden Town 2 – Friendly
1921 BSFC 3 Hoddesdon Town 2 – East Herts League
Boxall, Smith, Walker, Thurgood, Witcher, Chapman, Clarke, Wright, Golder, Freeborn, Brazier Scorers: Golder (2), Freeborn