|Venue:||Manor Field, Plumstead|
|Referee:||J.C Tillotson (Birmingham)|
|Charles Alfred Williams|
|John Alfred Storrs|
|Joseph Frederick Heath|
First League Game In London Ends In A Draw
This was the first ever official Football Association League game to be played in London and Newcastle had to survive a real early fright going one down in the early minutes of the first half, and falling further behind early in the second half. However they got themselves back into the game and came away with a very creditable draw.
First HalfThompson, handed the Arsenal captaincy, won the toss and elected to start the game with the light wind, and sunshine, behind them, though giving the 'kick-off' to Newcastle. So the very first kick, in the very first League game in the Capital went to Newcastle and Willie Thompson.
Newcastle pressed early and they were rewarded with a corner from the efforts of Crate and Bowman. The corner was "fisted away" by Williams and Jeffreys "put in a long kick" that was "supplemented by a fine passing run" from Booth and Elliott. This ultimately led to a corner for Arsenal which was "unproductive" as Crate and Bowman combined to relieve the pressure. Play was then said to "be neutral" with both teams giving as good as they got in a start that showed both teams lacked match practice. However that was to change in the sixth minute when Arsenal went ahead. Elliott broke away, passing to Booth who in turn played the ball to Shaw who "was equal to the occasion, and with a good shot sent the ball into the net, amidst tremendous cheering", this with Ramsay "failing to reach it". Subsequently Arsenal had a "well placed free-kick" from Powell but it came to nothing.
Newcastle fought back and for a period it was said that they were "making matters warm for Arsenal". They won two corners, but unfortunately nothing came from either. After another period of "play of an even character" Newcastle pressed and Sorley, after combining with Wallace, forced a save out of Williams. There then came an excellent chance for Arsenal to double their advantage when a foul by Newcastle enabled Henderson, Gemmell and Shaw to be in advanced positions and Henderson having extremely bad luck when his shot hit "the left upright" and went behind for a goal-kick. This rallied the Arsenal and they had a sustained period of pressure, "keeping the ball in the United half". This was ended when Wallace and Sorley "transferred play to the other end". Arsenal came back though and Henderson had hard lines with a header that went wide following a long clearance from Powell and passing between Elliott and Booth.
Approaching the latter stages of the half Newcastle pressed themselves and had a header just over the bar and a couple of corners. Ultimately though the half ended with them still behind 1-0.
Second HalfShaw kicked off the second half for the Arsenal and they immediately went on the attack. Gemmell forced a save out of Ramsay. There followed a fine solo run from Booth who "single-handed, beat his opponents" and passed to Elliott who delivered a "stinging shot which completely nonplused Ramsay" and Arsenal were 2-0 up.
There followed a period of even play until Newcastle forced their way forward through Wallace and Sorley only for Thompson to fall foul of an off-side. Undeterred Newcastle kept pressing but Arsenal were equal to anything they had to offer. Thompson won a corner for Newcastle when dispossed by Powell the ball went behind. Williams made a save from the corner but a couple of minutes later a "fast shot" from Crate had him beaten and Newcastle were edging their way back into the match.
With Newcastle now "playing prettily together" they won a free-kick in front of Arsenal's goal. From this Sorley brough Newcastle level with a header. The last 10 minutes was said to be very exciting, with both teams trying"their utmost to add to the score, but nothing further was scored. So the first of many trips to London for Newcastle, and the first league game ever to played in the capital, ended all square, a decent game and result.
NotesNB: Many thanks to Adam Kelly for his invaluable help in providing me with the Kentish Mercury Match report. Please visit Andy at "The Arsenal History" - http://www.thearsenalhistory.com
Anon, 1893, Football: Woolwich Arsenal v Newcastle United, Kentish Mercury, 08/09/1893,
Kelly, Andy, 2014, No Subject, Personal Email recieved 30/07/2014,
LMA, (ud), Manager Profiles : Arsenal, League Managers Association, LMA, http://www.leaguemanagers.com/managers/?club_id=46207, [Accessed: 29/08/2016],