A Pictorial History

FOOTBALL PROGRAMMES

WEST HAM UNITED

Steve Marsh & Stuart Allen

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1953-54 Football Combination

For the second successive season our Reserves open their Football Combination programme with a home match. Unlike the format in the previous campaign where Cup games were played after the League fixtures had taken place. The playing of the Cup competition this season has been reversed to avoid such hasty arranging of Semi-Finals and Final as was necessary in 1952-53.

PORTSMOUTH : Football Combination Cup

MILLWALL : Football Combination Cup

READING : Football Combination Cup

FULHAM : Football Combination Cup

LEYTON ORIENT : Football Combination Cup

MILLWALL : Football Combination Cup

PORTSMOUTH : Football Combination Cup

FULHAM : Football Combination Cup

ALDERSHOT : Football Combination Cup

ALDERSHOT : Football Combination Cup

READING : Football Combination Cup

QUEENS PARK RANGERS : London Challenge Cup (First Round)

LEYTON ORIENT : Football Combination Cup

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Football Combination Cup

ARSENAL : Football Combination

CHELSEA : Football Combination

MILLWALL : London Challenge Cup (Second Round)

SORRY NO IMAGE

READING : Football Combination

CHELSEA : London Challenge Cup (Semi-Final)

IPSWICH TOWN : Football Combination

CONTINUE 2

SECOND-HALF

Fratton Park

2 - 4 (Hooper 2)

29 August 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Barrett

Kearns

Foan

Tucker

The Den

0 - 1

31 August 1953

Taylor

Devlin

Kinsell

Bing

Brown

McGowan

Woodgate

Matthews

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Elm Park

1 - 0 (Kearns)

5 September 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Bing

Brown

Malcolm

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Upton Park

9 - 1 (Kearns 4, Foan 2, Gazzard 2, Malcolm)

7 September 1953

Taylor

Devlin

Kinsell

Malcolm

Walker

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Upton Park

4 - 1 (Gazzard, Kearns, Tucker, Woodgate)

12 September 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Woodgate

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Upton Park

4 - 3 (Tucker 2, Gazzard, Kearns)

19 September 1953

Taylor

Devlin

Bond

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Woodgate

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Tucker [pen])

21 September 1953

Chiswick

Devlin

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Chapman

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Craven Cottage

1 - 3 (Matthews)

23 September 1953

Chiswick

Devlin

Kinsell

Bing

Walker

McGowan

Chapman

Foan

Kearns

Matthews

Gunning

Recreation Ground

1 - 1 (Woodgate)

26 September 1953

Taylor

Devlin

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Woodgate

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Musgrove

Upton Park

7 - 0 (Gazzard 3, Kearns 2, Foan, Woodgate)

28 September 1953

Chiswick

Devlin

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Woodgate

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Musgrove

Upton Park

2 - 0 (Woodgate 2)

3 October 1953

Taylor

Devlin

Bond

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Foan

Barrett

Kearns

Gazzard

Woodgate

Shepards Bush

2 - 1 (Foan, Kearns)

8 October 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Barrett

Kearns

Gazzard

Foan

Brisbane Road

4 - 2 (Barrett, Gazzard, Hooper, Woodgate)

10 October 1953

Taylor

Bond

Cooper

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Barrett

Kearns

Gazzard

Woodgate

The Valley

1 - 1 (Hooper)

15 October 1953

Clish

Bond

Cooper

Bing

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Barrett

Kearns

Matthews

Gazzard

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Kearns)

17 October 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Walker

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Woodgate

Stamford Bridge

2 - 1 (Hooper, Tucker)

24 October 1953

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Woodgate

Kearns

Foan

Tucker

Upton Park

7 - 2 (Hooper 3 [1 pen], Kearns 3, Foan)

27 October 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Walker

Bing

Hooper

Woodgate

Kearns

Foan

Tucker

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Hooper)

31 October 1953

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Walker

Bing

Hooper

Woodgate

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Stamford Bridge

0 - 1

2 November 1953

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

Portman Road

4 - 2 (Foan, Gazzard, Hooper, Kinsell)

7 November 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Foan

Dixon

Gazzard

Tucker

First-ever competative Floodlight game at Upton Park.

The Football League and F.A. had previously not given permission for their use in other than friendly games at First Team level.  Floodlit soccer at the time was still considered something of a novelty, the attendance at the Boleyn Ground exceeded 8,000.

53_08_24 WHU v. Charlton Athletic FCC 01

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Football Combination Cup

Upton Park

7 - 0 (Barrett 2, Hooper 2, Foan, Malcolm, Woodgate)

24 August 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Walker

Bing

Woodgate

Barrett

Hooper

Foan

Gunning

 

53_08_29 Portsmouth v. WHU Reserves 53_08_31 Millwall v. WHU FCC Reserves 53_09_05 Reading v. WHU Reserves 53_09_07 WHU v. Fulham FCC Reserves 01 53_09_12 WHU v. Leyton Orient FCC Reserves 01 53_09_19 WHU v. Millwall Reserves 01 53_09_21 WHU v. Portsmouth FCC Reserves 01 53_09_26 Aldershot v. WHU FCC Reserves 53_09_28 WHU v. Aldershot FCC Reserves 01 53_10_03 WHU v. Reading FCC Reserves 01 53_10_08 QPR v. WHU LCC 53_10_10 Leyton Orient v. WHU FCC Reserves 53_10_17 WHU v. Arsenal Reserves 01 53_10_24 Chelsea v. WHU Reserves 53_10_27 WHU v. Millwall LFA2 01 53_10_31 WHU v. Reading Reserves 01 53_11_02 Chelsea v. WHU LCC Semi-Final

LEICESTER CITY : Football Combination Cup (Semi-Final)

Upton Park

3 - 2 (Foan 2, Hooper)

9 November 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

BOURNEMOUTH & BOSCOMBE ATHLETIC : Football Combination

Upton Park

1 - 0 ([og])

14 November 1953

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Foan

Dixon

Gazzard

Woodgate

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : Football Combination Cup (Final)

Upton Park

4 - 2 (Hooper 2, Kearns, Tucker)

16 November 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

PORTSMOUTH : Football Combination

Fratton Park

1 - 2 (Foan)

21 November 1953

Taylor

Bond

Kinsell

Malcolm

Brown

Bing

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

CARDIFF CITY : Football Combination

Upton Park

2 - 1 (Gazzard, Hooper [pen])

28 November 1953

Chiswick

Bond

Devlin

Bing

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Foan

Hogg

Gazzard

Andrews

MILLWALL : Football Combination

The Den

0 - 2

5 December 1953

Taylor

Nelson W.

Devlin

Bing

Brown

McGowan

Hooper

Foan

Dixon

Gazzard

Andrews

LUTON TOWN : Football Combination

Upton Park

1 - 0 (Hooper)

12 December 1953

Chiswick

Nelson W.

Devlin

McGowan

Brown

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

PLYMOUTH ARGYLE : Football Combination

Upton Park

6 - 1 (Kearns 4, Gazzard, Hooper)

19 December 1953

Taylor

Nelson W.

Kinsell

Parker

Walker

O'Farrell

Hooper

Foan

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Football Combination

Upton Park

4 - 2 (Tucker 2 [1 pen], Barrett, Kearns)

26 December 1953

Chiswick

Nelson W.

Kinsell

Parker

Brown

O'Farrell

Woodgate

Barrett

Kearns

Gazzard

Tucker

CHARLTON ATHLETIC : Football Combination

The Valley

4 - 0 (Kearns 2, Southren 2)

28 December 1953

Chiswick

Nelson W.

Cooper

Parker

Brown

Noakes

Southren

Barrett

Kearns

Gazzard

Musgrove

53_11_07 Ipswich Town v. WHU Reserves 53_11_09 WHU v. Leicester City FCC Semi-Final 01 53_11_14 WHU v. Bournemouth Reserves 01 53_11_16 WHU v. Tottenham Hotspur FCC Final 01 53_11_21 Portsmouth v. WHU Reserves 53_11_28 WHU v. Cardiff City Reserves 01 53_12_05 Millwall v. WHU Reserves 53_12_12 WHU v. Luton Town Reserves 01 53_12_19 WHU v. Plymouth Arygle Reserves 01 53_12_26 WHU v. Charlton Athletic Reserves 01 54_01_02 Charlton v. WHU Reserves

Manager: Bill Robinson - Team Attendant: Harry Hooper

53_10_15 Charlton Athletic v. WHU FCC

Our Reserve Team made a shattering start to their Combination Cup beating Charlton Athletic Reserves by 7 0.

Throughout the game we were completely on top, and visiting manager Jimmy Seed remarked " This must be your First Team! ", so surprised was he at the complete eclipse of his own side.

Malcolm opened the scoring with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, and from then on Marsh was fully occupied in stopping a variety of shots; but for him the score might well have been doubled, and our XI made it look really easy. The remaining goals were scored by Barrett (2), Hooper (2), Foan and Woodgate.

The only disappointing feature of the evening was the attendance, for there were slightly under 3,000 present to see our second-string's performance.

Charlton Athletic:

Marsh; Campbell, Gower; Townsend, Cook, Englefield; Pounder. Godwin, Dolby, Barry, Potter.

1953-54 Reserves

West Ham United

1953-54

After a 7-0 opening victory over Chariton Reserves our second-string had a set-back.

Visiting Fratton Park on August 29th the teams were evenly matched during the first half and it was not until the last two minutes of the opening period that Portsmouth went in front; one of our opponents appeared to help the ball on with his hand during the move that led up to the goal, but our appeals were disallowed and we found ourselves one down. Pompey then scored again before Hooper made it 2-1, but we went further behind when the Sailors netted a goal similar to their first. During this time we had suffered a set-back through an injury to Bond, and the team was re-arranged with our right-back at outside-right. Unfortunately a mishap to Barrett meant a further switch and Bond returned to his former position with Barrett on the wing. A further Pompey goal put them 4-1 up, but Hooper added another to round off a good performance that made the final score 4-2 in the homesters' favour.

 

On the following Monday Millwall were our opponents at The Den. The game opened at a fast pace with good approach work by both sides, but lack of finish from both forward-lines brought little possibilities of goals. We received a set-back when Ernie Devlin went off to have a couple of stitches in a cut eye five minutes from the interval, and although he resumed later he was playing out on the wing in a rearranged team.

Within five minutes of the restart Millwal! scored, their centre-forward's mishit shot taking an unexpected twist over our line, but our second-string maintained the better hold on the game and Bing showed up very well in mid-field. With a quarter-of-an-hour to go we had a goal disallowed when Matthews helped the ball in with his hand; there was no doubt about the correctness of this decision, but when we again "equalised" during an all-out attack five minutes from time it was most disappointing to also have this discounted after the referee has consulted the linesman, for in our view Ken Brown had cleanly headed the ball home without the semblance of " hands."

As a result we sustained our second Combination Cup defeat in an unsatisfactory game where Neither side took advantage of the many opportunities offered them.

 

The game against Reading Reserves brought a different story to taht agaonst Millwall, and although we won by the only goal we might easily have added to this total. Fred Kearns was our scorer during the first half, and we were rarely in danger of being caught, for we hammered at the home goal whilst our defence well held the opposing forwards. The Biscuitmen's goalkeeper also played a big part in stemming the tide, but despite our general superiority it was nevertheless an entertaining 90 minutes.

A cracked rib robbed the Cottagers of the services of inside-ieft Baxter after 30 minutes, but as they were already 4-1 down at the time it is not likely that they could have stopped our chaps even with a full team.

On 2 minutes Gazzard disposed the right-half, crossed the ball and Kearns stretched his leg to meet it to open the scoring. A minute later Hooper beat five men down the right-wing before pushing the ball across and Kearns netted in the corner on the turn. 12 mins,: with the Fulham defence all at sea, Foan thrust his way through, backheeled and Gazzard helped it home from two yards; 20 mins.: Walker miskicked and Roy Dwight scored the Cottagers' goal from 12 yards making it 3-1; 28 mins.; Kearns headed over the Fulham defence to Foan who nodded it home from the edge or' the goal-area. Half-time, 4-1.

48 mins.: Devlin threw in to Gazzard who passed to Kearns for the centre-forward to neatly left-toot it into the top comer of the net; 65 mins.: Kinsell pushed the ball to the left, and Tucker and Gazzard combined well for the latter to score from 12 yards; 74 mins.: a fierce  shot from Foan 25 yards out after beating the defence on the turn; 76 ruins.: Devlin's free-kick went to Foan and then on to Kearns who hit it home with his right foot 10 yards out; 89 mins,: Tucker's cross-field pass to Hooper was held by the right-winger until Malcolm ran from the half-way line to intercept his pass and drive in from 15 yards—a grand effort that capped a fine performance by the right-half.

On paper it looked like being a good game, but unfortunately proved almost completely marred by over-robustness which did not leave a great deal of time for soccer skill. We won by 4-3, but would probably have had a greater margin of success had we been given the opportunity to play more normal football.

The Lions twice equalised before we went ahead by 4-2, and they scored again with about ten minutes to go. All these goals were the result of defensive tangles, but that scored by ex-Hamrner Frank Neary resulted from a very good angle shot taken just inside the penalty-box that beat two goal-line defenders by sheer speed.

Our first goal came after nine minutes, Foan pulling the bail through to Woodgate. who lobbed the ball over the defenders' heads for Gazzard to head it in. This and Neary's goal were the only tallies of the first half, but Foan had very hard luck with several good shots. Two minutes after the interval a cross pass by Woodgate was converted by Tucker from the 18-yard line, and although Miilwall equalised in the 62nd minute. Woodgate and Tucker again made the move that put us back in the lead. Tucker pushing the ball home at close range after Woodgate's angle shot had been diverted by the "keeper. A couple of minutes later Kearns from five yards out scooped home the ball from Tucker's pass and we were 4-2 ahead. Although Millwall scored again we were actually comfortable winners.

Our Reserves consolidated their position at the head of their Combination Cup Group by beating Portsmouth Reserves. There was an attendance approaching 7,000, and this would have been larger still but for the weather conditions, the gale-force winds proving a deterrent to many would-be spectators.

The wind was blowing almost straight down the pitch from one end to the other, and Pompey obviously hoped to take advantage of this when they won the toss. However, they discovered that the Hammers were not to be put off by this adversity and the first-half was fairly evenly fought. Both sides had several scoring attempts, and the goalkeepers were in turn called upon to make good saves, but the interval arrived with no score by either side.

In the second-half our tactics were somewhat changed. Swinging the bail about from wing to wing our forwards repeatedly broke through the Pompey defence but failed to hit the back of the net until Tucker converted a penalty for hands in the 74th minute. To say that we should have had four or five goals would be no exaggeration, although such a margin would have been flattering, but somehow the ball just wouldn't go in even when there were four or five defenders in a heap on the goal-line!

We started well enough and it was no surprise when Matthews gave us the lead after 20 minutes play. We continued to hold the upper-hand (twice hitting the bar) and remained on top until about a quarter-of-an-hour from half-time when a double-mishap befell the Hammers. First of all Devlin received a knee injury, and whilst he was being attended to we also lost the services of Bing, who had a recurrence of the strained muscle that he sustained against Portsmouth Reserves here on the previous Monday. Fulham equalised during this time when we had only nine players on the field, and the interval arrived with the score at 1-1.

At the start of the second-half we went back to our original formation but with Devlin still limping for the rest of the game and Bing being unable to assist in covering him we were forced to again re-arrange the side with Bing on the right-wing. The Cottagers took full advantage of these mishaps to press home their advantage and with two further goals they gained the points by 3-1, thus avenging their 9-1 defeat here three weeks ago.

After a goalless first half we were the first to find the net, Woodgate heading in from five yards during a goalmouth melee. Within three minutes the homesters had drawn level: there was a breakaway down the left wing, the bail was squared and it was in the net before our defence could recover.

Taking the game overall it was not of a high standard, and from our own viewpoint disappointing, lack of punch in the opposing penalty area being responsible for us not gaining a win that could have been obtained had we accepted even a small portion of our chances.

The week-end results in our Group have brought Leyton Orient up to level points with us through a 1-0 home win against Charlton Athletic: the O's visit Fratton Park on Wednesday to meet Portsmouth, who surprisingly lost at home by three clear goals against Fulham, This Pompey v. Orient clash will have a big effect on the outcome of the group championship. Miiiwall dropped a home point to Reading, and can only be rated with an outside chance from now on, even though they have three home games to one away.

Aldershot failed to force home their advantages of their good approach work in the early stages, and although they sent in occasional strong shots they found themselves on the defensive for the major part of the game, before an attendance of over 7,000,

Our opening goal two minutes after the kick-off was the first of Gerry Gazzard's three—and pur inside-right became the fourth Hammer to earn a ball this season as a memento of a "hat trick" feat; his second was also from close range after an inter-passing movement between himself, Musgrove and Foan in the 14th minute and the third followed a free-kick by Kinsell that was headed forward by Kearns with twelve minutes to go.

Kinsell also initiated the moves for two other goals; his long pass to Woodgate on the stroke of half-time left the winger a clear run to shoot home from 20 yards, whilst another long pass down the centre five minutes after the interval gave Kearns a similar opportunity. The centre-forward added another five minutes from time, Devlin starting the move by passing through to Gazzard for the inside-left to leave an opening at close range. Albert Foan was the fourth of our forwards to appear in the scorer's list; he dribbled through after 18 minutes, his shot cannoning off an opponent's desperately outstretched leg.

This 7-0 victory brought our "home" goals in six Combination Cup matches to 32-5 — a satisfactory average!

An injury to Devlin necessitating an almost immediate re-arrangement; Kearns went to right-back and the forward-line became: Devlin, Barrett, Woodgate, Gazzard, Foan,

From then onwards we were virtually "ten men," as Devlin's ankle-injury meant that he could hardly kick a bail and running was definitely out of the question as far as he was concerned, in consequence we found our opponents rather a tough nut to crack, especially as their 4-0 win at Charlton two days before had shown them to be in form.

Although we came near to scoring several times it was not until 18 minutes from the end that Woodgate put us in front when he headed in from Foan's corner (the referee awarded a goal despite the Bjscuitmen's appeals that the ball had been kicked off the line); the same player added another three minutes later, and spent the remainder of the time in valiant efforts to complete his hat-trick and thus gain the ball as a memento! However, Reading held firm and the score remained at 2-0 till the final whistle.

The attendance of nearly 7,000 reflected the increased interest in our Reserve games this season, but although our fans saw our XI retain a 100 per cent home record by-gaining its seventh victory in a row it was not a verv satisfying fare that was provided—although this does not detract from the merit of the Hammers' success over adversity.

We visited Queens Park Rangers in the First Round of the London F.A. Cup at Loftus Road on Thursday, 8th October. This was played by floodlight, the Rangers having met Arsenal in an exhibition match on the previous Monday to celebrate the installation of their lighting system.

In the home XI were five regular First Team players, and ex-Hammer George Petchey was at right-half.

Within three minutes of the start, Higgtns put our opponents ahead, but we successfully fought back and our forwards were always threatening the Rangers' defence, in which the Powell brothers, Poppitt and goalkeeper Brown were especially prominent. However, our speedy-moving line continued to find the gaps with Barrett and Gazzard making the openings, and we levelled it up before the interval through a goal by Kearns. Maintaining the upper hand we proved to be the superior side and Foan's winner near the end was amply justified.

 

We have been drawn at home in the Second Round against Mtllwail.

Needing two points to ensure qualifying for a place in the Semi-Finals of the Combination Cup, our Reserves visited Leyton Orient. Although the Orient's defeat by Miilwall earlier in the week had put them out of the running for the group championship, they were still very keen to win this local derby and our chaps had to go all out from start to finish.

We just about earned our interval lead gained by Gazzard's goal, but the second-half saw us very much the better side and by the finish we had won fairly comfortably. The homesters equalised soon after the second-half started, but Kearns, Hooper (penalty) and Woodgate all found the net to put us 4-1 ahead before their opponents reduced the arrears with a penalty.

Having won their Group of the Combination Cup tourney to qualify for the Semi-Final, our Reserves opened their programme in Division I of the Combination.

Taking the initiative from the kick-off our second-string proved to be worthy winners, although by only one goal. This was scored by Kearns from close range after about half-an-hour's play, completing a very good movement that started when Foan sent a long pass out to Woodgate; the winger took the ball down to the goal-line and crossed it back with a perfect "lay up,"

The decisive factor in our win was the very fine performance of our half-backs who dominated mid-field play. Walker was the complete " stopper," and long before the end Holton had switched to the left-wing in an effort to find an opening. Bing and Malcolm not only covered the opposition with first-time tackling, but put forward the passes to open up the game and each had some near-efforts at scoring. Ably supported by their rearguard, our forwards were always a threat to the Gunners' defence, and it was only some excellent goalkeeping by Swindin and missed opportunities that prevented our win being more decisive, for we were at least three goals the better.

Arsenal:

Swindin; Bennett, Evans; Cook, Fothcringham, Bowen; Walsh, Oakes, Holton, Tilley, Mardon.

Our Reserves followed up their 1-0 victory over Arsenal with a 2-1 success at Stamford Bridge to keep their 100% record so far in Division 1 of the Football Combination.

The first half was evenly-fought and there was no score at the interval. However, we gained the mastery after the resumption for a 2-0 lead. The first of these goals was scored by Ken Tucker who ran on to Harry Hooper's through pass to net from close in and a head flick by Kearns heat the Chelsea defence some time later for Hooper to register our second tally in similar fashion. We held the West Londoners scoreless until three minutes from the end when they reduced the lead, but the 2-1 margin was well-deserved and we were very good winners.

Starting off in speedy fashion we were three up in the first quarter-of-an-hour; after three minutes Tucker's corner was headed in by Kearns, three minutes later a short pass from Malcolm was slammed home by Foan, and the third came when a Tucker-Hooper movement left Kearns in a position to score his second from close range. Although the Lions continued to fight back it was not until four minutes; from the interval that they reduced the arrears with a penalty. Summersby giving Chiswick no chance with his spot-kick. However, the same player himself gave away a penalty at the other end just on half-time, Hooper restoring the balance.

Hooper completed his hat-trick within the space of 15 minutes, both goals coming from similar moves in which he cut in from the wing to shoot past the advancing Finlayson, but sandwiched between these was one of the best goals of the match when Shepherd side-flicked the ball for Hermitage to run on to it at the edge of the penalty-area and score with a fine shot. With the score at 6-2 against them Millwall fought back and hit the post during a bombardment of our goal; then almost immediately we did the same down at their end! It was a quarter-of-an-hpur before the end that the last goal came, Tucker forcing his way past four defenders to provide Kearns with a golden chance that the centre-forward accepted to bring his third hat-trick of the season—and we ended up as winners of a sparkling game in the mud by a 7-2 tally.

 

Our second-string should have won by a much greater margin than 1-0, from start to finish we slammed away at the visiting defence only to be foiled by a superb goalkeeping display by the youthful Jones. The Biscuitmen's custodian alone several times stood between us and a goal, and although he had his share of good fortune when shots from Gerry Gazzard and Ken Tucker rattled the woodwork he defied us on all but one occasion. This was about ten minutes from half-time; a short free-kick by Tucker to Harry Hooper gave the right-winger the opportunity to sidestep the opposing full-back and score with a low shot from the edge of the penalty-box. Both before and after that our front line was well on the mark; they were augmented by efforts from the wing-halves, and even full-back Harry Kinsell came up to "have a go" several times.

Nevertheless the all-round display of the Hammers more than earned the brace of points, and we can rightly claim that our Reserve side is one of the best three in the country at the present time, with the majority of them having considerable League experience.

During the long history of the L.F.A. Cup only two clubs have ever won the trophy in successive seasons; on all other occasions the holders have relinquished their honour "next time out." The two clubs concerned are Crystal Palace and West Ham United.

Having been winners in 1952-3 we were hoping to take another step towards duplicating our previous feat when we visited Stamford Bridge to meet Chelsea in the Semi-Final, for with both clubs fielding mostly their regular Reserve Teams we were confident of forcing at least a draw - having already won a Combination fixture there nine days previously. Unfortunately this was not to be, and a goal by Jim Lewis ten minutes from the end put us out of the competition.

As a game it was most disappointing. The lack of atmosphere was accentuated by the sparse attendance of 2,200, and in many cases over-vigorous methods spoiled many of the movements that might have led to goals. Both sides were far below their regular form and had either of them taken their opportunities in better fashion they would have won comfortably.

The home team got away to a good start by scoring in the fourth minute, but once the Hammers settled down it was apparent that the points would probably find their way to Upton Park. The equaliser came from Hooper, who scored from 20 yards after picking up a pass inside his own half and dribbling through the Ipswich defence and, following this, an inter-passing movement between McGowan, Tucker and Gaz/ard ended in the latter shooting home from 12 yards to put us 2-1 in front at the interval.

After the resumption Hooper made a long run down the right-wing and passed back for Malcolm to run on to the ball near the edge of the penalty-box; the half-back's first-timer rebounded from an opposing defender and Foan had the ball in the back of the net before the Town could recover. The over-run Ipswich defence then conceded another goal to put us 4-1 up, Kinsell's lob from 25 yards ing just under the bar when the goalkeeper took his eye off the ball to watch the oncoming Dixon, and although the homesters reduced the arrears with four minutes to go the result was never in doubt.

 

A run down the wing in the first minute showed that Hooper had the measure of his opposing defender and it was no surprise that the first goal came from this flank nine minutes after the start; Gazzard swung a long pass from one side of the field to the other, Hooper passed quickly inside and Foan had the ball in the net from 12 yards out with the visiting defence caught on one foot. Ten minutes later we went further ahead; Kearns gained possession near the half-way line, beat one man and pased the ball inside the full-back for Hooper to score with a shot along the ground from near the edge of the area. A rally by Leicester eventually had its reward when Worthington split our defence four minutes from half-time, and hit the ball into the top corner of the net.

The opening minutes after the interval again found the Hammers on top and at the conclusion of a ten-minute attacking spell we were only denied another goal when Milburn back-headed a fine shot off the line.

It was the Hammers who next pierced their opposing rearguard, this was 20 minutes after the interval, a short pass to Gazzard followed and, after drawing his man till Foan ran into position, he slipped the ball through; Foan wasted no time in pushing the ball out to the wing and Tucker hit it first time against the bar from 20 yards; with the goalkeeper helpless Foan ran on to the rebound and slammed it into the corner of the net. But within six minutes the City had made it 3-2; a comparatively simple goal followed Hogg's run down the right wing, Littler scoring from short range.

Recording their eleventh successive game without defeat in the Football Combination tournaments, our Reserves beat Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic Reserves by the only goal. This came a quarter-of-an-hour from the end when Foan crossed the ball into the goalmouth following a good move by McGowan and Gazzard for the visiting centre-half to help it into his own net whilst attempting to clear. Although a rather unsatisfactory ending to a good move that would possibly have produced a goal in any case, it was oniy justice to our chaps who had rightly earned both points in a tense tussle.

The visitors came here with quite a reputation, based on their reaching the Combination Cup semi-final in which they were somewhat unfortunate to go under to the Spurs' Reserves by the only goal. During the first 20 minues their powerfully-built side reinforced this reputation by having the better of the play, but we gradually made up the leeway and nearly opened the scoring when Dixon hit the angle of the post and crossbar at the end of half-an-hour's play.

Although the interval arrived with no score it was not long afterwards that we again threatened the visiting defence, and a goal-line clearance of Gazzard's shot seemed only to delay the inevitable. However, with ten minutes to go we sustained a shock when Kinsell pulled a stomach-muscle caused by his slipping on the ball, and the remaining members of the team had to put in that "little extra" to keep on top.

Before an attendance of 5,200 we had the better of the fast end-to-end play that marked the opening stages, but as is so often the case the "underdogs" on these occasions broke away and scored; this was from a clearance following one of our attacks - a long pass up the middle to Dudley being swung to his right-winger who cut in to shoot past the advancing Chiswick.

Undaunted by this reverse our players again went into the attack and hit the woodwork three time before scoring, although the goal was somewhat of an anti-climax - being scored from the penalty-spot by Hooper after a foul on Hogg. Maintaining the upper hand with good soccer our XI reaped further reward when a move between Foan and Hooper ended in Gazzard netting with a first-time shot to put us 2-1 ahead at the interval.

The second-half was largely a repetition of the first with the exception of the score. We were always on top and again hit the woodwork three times but could not find the net! It seemed to be one of those days when if shots had been an inch or two the other way we could have had half-a-dozen goals instead of securing a 2-1 win.

 

It took 30 minutes to produce the first goal in the Final. Foan's long pass to Hooper being followed by a push inside that Kearns rocketted into the net from 12 yards. The second tally five minutes later was on similar lines; Bing's lob up the centre was double-headed by Kearns back to Hooper—and again Reynolds was helpless as the ball sailed home from much the same spot.

The Spurs changed their line-up somewhat after the interval—Hollis moving into the middle—and when Stokes closed into score from the inside-left position in the 68th minute they momentarily threatened to get back into the picture; but their hopes were speedily dashed when Tucker made no mistake following a goalmouth melee after two corner-kicks. The final blow came two minutes from the end, a grand move between Foan and Hooper with Hooper's ground shot from 15 yards entering just inside the post, and although Hollis made it 4-2 following a good move down the right-wing it was the despairing effort of a beaten side.

The presentation of the trophy to Harry Kinsell by Mr. A. Hittinger (Chairman of the Football Combination) was a pleasing finale to a memorable evening, and the spectators who massed in front of the stand gave a demonstration of their thanks by loudly applauding all the Hammers as they came up to receive their medals.

Having already been beaten at The Den once this season (in the Combination Cup) our Reserves were hoping to meet with better fortune when they again travelled to New Cross to meet Millwall Reserves in the league tournament of the Combination. However, such was not to be, and our side finally succumbed by two clear goals in a game of changing fortunes.

The first half-hour saw us have much the better of the exchanges, but the Lions beat off our attacks and gradually came into their own and at the end of this period reaped their reward with a good goal scored by the outside-right after a combined movement. This Droved to be the only tally of the first half and appeared likely to be the end of the good football—for the game deteriorated considerably after the resumption.

However, with about 15 minutes to go the Hammers really swarmed to the attack. During one of these forays the ball hit a home defender and was deflected to Foan who promptly banged it into the net—but the 'goal was disallowed for offside and we were denied the equaliser that had been well-earned. The second Millwall goal in the closing seconds only served to "rub it in" and we could consider ourselves rather unfortunate not to have picked up a point in a game that never really " reached the heights."

The visit of Luton Town Reserves to Upton Park provided the anticipated tough struggle with one of our nearest rivals for the Combination championship, and there was little quarter asked or given between two very well-matched teams that included a majority with Football League experience.

Each side had their chances in turn and both goalkeepers were responsible for some really magnificent saves, although of the two Chiswick in the Hammers' goal probably distinguished himself more than Baynham largely because he had more opportunities.

Nevertheless it was left to our chaps to net the only tally of the game after an hour's play, Foan flicking a pass out to Hooper for the winger to cut inside the full-back and neatly put the ball past a defence caught on one foot. From then onwards it was cut-and-thrust at both ends and each set of full-backs were much to the fore; Devlin and Nelson put in some really fine first-time tackles for the Hammers whilst Pcmberton saved the visitors on one notable occasion by kicking off the line.

Although there were only 3,500 spectators present the game was worthy of a better following to see our chaps maintain their 100% home record, as a result of which we moved one place up the table into the runners-up position, The present leaders—Tottenham Hotspur Reserves—dropped a point at home to Fulham Reserves, and we are now one point in arrears.

Our Reserve Team returned to the heavy goal-scoring efforts which earned them the Football Combination Cup in the earlier part of the season, and a continuance of this net-finding would probably be the means of enabling them to bring off the league and cup ''double" a feat never previously achieved by any team in the Combination.

It was only a couple of minutes or so after the kick-off that we went ahead through Hooper, and although a defensive error in the tenth minute put the visitors on level terms we once more gained the lead when following a free-kick by Kinsell a run by Hooper ended in Kearns netting from about ten yards range. The centre-forward added another when Tucker's terrific shot from close range could only be parried by Shortt, Kearns following up to drive the bail home from five yards.

Holding an interval lead of 3-1 our chaps came out full of confidence for the second-half and a shaky Argyle defence quickly conceded another; a bad clearance by a defender went to Kearns who slammed it in first-time for his third tally of the game and when Fred held off both fullbacks to crack another into the net after good work by Gazzard. it was apparent that little could stop our chaps. We made it 6-1 when Gazzard converted Tucker's pass and should have made it "lucky seven" when the best "goal" of the match was disallowed.

It was apparent from the opening minutes that we would hold the upper hand throughout, and it was not long before Kearns put us ahead when he followed up to net the ball after goalkeeper Uytenbogaart had merely parried Tucker's terrific shot. Tucker then made an individual run down the middle from the half-way line beating man after man to slam in another piledriver that left the 'keeper helpless —and we weat in at the breather with a 2-0 lead.

Good work by Gazzard led to the third goal; he pushed the ball through for Parker to carry on the move, and as the right-half pulled it back, Barrett netted from near the edge of the penalty-area, A reply by the visitors was nullified by Tucker's conversion of a penalty, and with our chaps easing up towards the finish the Robins further reduced the arrears for us to gain an easier win than the 4-2 score suggested.

The Hammers made no mistake this time and never eased up their relentless pressure on the homesters' goal. A sterling display by Marsh kept the score down to 4-0. but it might easily have been more. The goals came as follows;

The first goal came when Southren's corner was helped into the net by the goalkeeper; for the second Gazzard drew the centre-half and slipped the ball through for Kearns to score as the goalkeeper advanced. In a goal-mouth melee Kearns notched his second and the Hammers' third. Jim Barrett and Tommy Southren combined well for the latter to score his second and the 4-0 victory. The first three goals came before the interval.