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Wanderers FA Amateur Cup run of 1930/31

1930-1931February 1929 had seen Frank Adams play his last game for the club and the following 1929-30 season had been one of disappointment, going out of all three cup competitions at the first attempt. The 1930-31 season was therefore one full of pleasant surprise as the Blues performed consistently in the Isthmian League, recording a best ever third place finish at the end of the season. But if the league campaign was one of pleasant surprise, the FA Amateur Cup run was one of unadulterated joy and amazement.

The campaign started in December 1930 with a tricky looking tie away at fellow Isthmian Leaguers and Scots outfit London Caledonians. Despite drawing 3-3 in an Isthmian League encounter at Loakes Park three weeks earlier, Wycombe were massive underdogs going into the tie.

In those days the team was selected by committee and so on Monday 8th December 1931 Club Chairman George Miles, First Team Trainer George Harris, Club Captain John Timberlake, along with Messrs. E Burton, R Gardner, C Mitchell, H Norman, W O'Gorman and C Simmons chose the eleven players that were to represent the Club against the north London based side.

F.A. Amateur Cup First Round Proper - Saturday 13th December 1930
London Caledonian versus Wycombe Wanderers
At Tufnell Park - Attendance: 1,879

When the Blues arrived at Tufnell Park they found the pitch in a very heavy state and might have been disheartened as Caleys were renowned for pulling off their best performances on a slippery surface. John Timberlake won the toss and elected to play against the wind in the first half. This didn’t have a immediate effect as the first quarter of an hour saw the home side attack straight from the off. The Scots overhelmed their opponents and the Blues almost collapsed; playing in what was described by the Bucks Free Press as playing in an almost “spiritless” manner. In the opening minute Caleys' Judge missed the upright by inches. Judge then crossed to Coalridge who brought out a great save from Jim Kipping in the Wycombe goal. Coalridge then found himself one-on-one with Kipping but fired the ball over the bar.

Bill Brown - Wycombe Wanderers FC 1930-1931It was obvious that Wycombe were struggling to come to terms with the conditions and were reported to be playing “lifeless” football. However, the ball was played out to Alf Britnell who beat Wootton and fired a shot straight at Caley 'keeper Best. Best fell near to the goal-line and Bill Brown tried to tip him over it. The Referee then came over and had a word with the Caley 'keeper for “hanging onto the ball.”

John Timberlake then fainted after heading the ball but played on after receiving treatment. Against the run of play the Blues took the lead in the 21st minute. Bill Brown’s clever “oblique” shot was pushed into the net by Best.

Caleys play became more forceful, and just before half-time Coalridge miss-kicked with the ball striking the bottom of the post before being cleared.

Half-time: London Caledonians 0 Wycombe Wanderers 1

Doug Vernon - Wycombe Wanderers FC 1930-1931Wycombe came out a different team in the second half and were on the attack immediately. RAF man Doug Vernon’s shot was blocked by Garden but Vernon fired home the loose ball in a brilliant manner. Just before the hour Britnell collided with Best, who required attention. This spurred the home side into a response and Kipping saved a powerful drive from Hamilton, and then punched a dangerous shot over the bar. Judge then went through one-on-one and beat Kipping to the ball but Dickie Cox cleared the ball off the line.

That was the beginning of the end for the Scots as they became disorganised. In the 71st minute Wycombe won a corner and from Britnell’s delivery Doug Vernon headed home to score his second and the Blues third. Ten minutes later Alf Britnell played in a cross and Bill Brown’s shot deflected off Gates past Best and into the back of the net to make it four.

The Scots scored a deserved consolation four minutes from time, Coaridge firing home a cross from Hamilton. But by the end Wycombe were said to have showed “capital” football, as the Chairboys enthusiasm and brilliant team work proved superior to the desperate individualism of the by now exhausted Caleys.

Final Score: London Caledonians 1 Wycombe Wanderers 4

Wycombe Team: Kipping, Crump, Cox, Rance, Badrick, Timberlake, Simmons, Brown, Vernon, Braisher, Britnell
Scorers: Brown 21, 81, Vernon 46, 71

London Caledonians Team: Best, Garden, Gates, Wootton, McLean, Finlayson, Judge, Mackay, Coaridge, Davis, Hamilton
Scorers: Coaridge 86

Wanderers were drawn at home to Walthamstow Avenue in the Second Round, with the game set to take place on Saturday 17th January 1931.
Click here for memories of that game.

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