This day, 3rd December, in 1910 Tottenham registered their first Football League win over Woolwich at the third attempt. We look at how the press of the day recorded the match.
The London News led with the story of ‘A more entertaining match than that in which Tottenham Hotspur beat Woolwich Arsenal by three goals to one has not been seen at White Hart Lane this season.’
A story originally penciled in for last season when we looked at great games at White Hart Lane.
The News continued ‘Each side strove strenuously until the last few minutes when it was a case of bellows to mend and undoubtedly the Hotspur owed a great deal to being a little faster of two speedy teams once the Arsenal defence had settled down it was the superior by reason of its steadiness but all through the Tottenham forwards excelled the Woolwich quintette the Hotspur's five were quicker away with the ball and showed the cleverer footwork. Furthermore they worked with method whereas the Arsenal attack was spasmodic and appeared to have no definite plan of campaign beyond indulging in long passes without any special regard for direction.’
Tottenham certainly had the better of the early exchanges ‘largely due to the energy of Humphreys and the nice combination of Middlesmss and McTavish (a late replacement for Bobby Steel and only his second game) on the left wing they romped round the Arsenal defence except that Bateup stood between them and a score, three fine saves were affected by the Woolwich goalkeeper and several shots a trifle wide.’
Woolwich took the lead after quarter of an hour when ‘Darnell blundered badly in dribbling near his own posts when the danger might easily have been averted before the whistle blew for a free kick near the penalty area. From this Cameron banged the ball to Lunn who did well to stop it and was not to blame for Chalmers score from the rebound.
Short lived was Arsenals elation for barely a minute had elapsed before Humphreys equalized a brilliant shot from Minter bounding from the cross bar and giving him a chance with a header.’
Tottenham took the lead near the break when ‘Bateup was deceived by the wind catching Darnell’s (top) high shot and turning it into the net for Tottenham’s second goal the Arsenal custodian scarcely made the effort expected to cope with the possible contingency.’
Spurs led 2-1 at half time, ‘a situation well merited on the run of the game.’ Arsenal were better in the second half and Tottenham goalkeeper Tommy Linn received praise, ‘that Lunn accomplished wonders in stopping them. Lunn further distinguished himself during an exciting fusillade by keeping out three capital shots in half a minute.’
Tottenham increased their lead but the News felt ‘it would have occasioned no surprise if Tottenham’s third goal had been disallowed for Humphreys was harassing Bateup at the time Minter made his shot.’ While the Star Green paper claims that he was ‘stood close up but not actually touching’ and pondered that he was in an off-side position but not interfering.’
The Weekly Herald said of Humphreys that he ‘gave as good a display as he has done in any match this season and his spirited leadership was not an unimportant factor in the game.’
The Sportsman commented ‘Spurs gave a bright display on their own ground’ and informed us ‘that the heavy rain had made the ground on the soft side.’ that this suited Spurs ‘who were always playing a winning game.’
The London News closed its report ‘Not great football perhaps but thoroughly enjoyable because its keenness and general cleanness.’
The win took Spurs level with Woolwich on 12 points from 15 games. The crowd is given as 16,000 but some estimates were higher. At that time you could reserve your seat by sending a postal order for two shillings and six pence to the club.
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