Friday, 28th April, 1911
Last season: Swindon (h), 1; Brighton, 0. Swindon (a), 1; Brighton 3. This season: Swindon (a), 1; Brighton 0.
The most attractive feature in the Southern League was supplied last Saturday by the meeting of Swindon and Brighton on the County Ground, and interest in the encounter was confined not only to Swindon but to the whole of the large area in which Southern League football holds sway. It was a match which claimed special attention, inasmuch as the contesting teams indisputably form the two best combinations in the League, and incidentally also two of the finest to be found in the country, while the importance of the event in its relation to the championship to which both sides have been so keenly aspiring, added an amount of interest which approached to something of a Cup-Tie order. The game, also, was unique as it brought together two champion teams, for while the visitors came as the proud holders of the shield, Swindon turned out as certain winners of the highly-coveted honour this season. To make absolutely sure of it, the "Robins" required to get only a point in their remaining matches, and very little doubt, if any, existed as to their ability to pull it off. Swindon virtually settled the question of the Championship the previous Saturday by securing a really meritorious victory at Northampton, while Brighton fell to Exeter at home, but a point was necessary on Saturday to apply the seal of certainty to the matter. In December the Town took full points from Goldstone as the result of a victory by a single goal, while at home last season they accomplished a similar performance in a very strenuously fought game. Swindon had much the better record, and as seen by the appended figures the "Robins" could claim a substantial degree of superiority in every respect:
P. W. D. L. F. A. Pts.
SWINDON TOWN 35 22 5 8 73 29 49
BRIGHTON & HOVE 35 19 7 9 56 33 45
The Town played their strongest side, and Brighton were also at full strength. The teams were:
Tout Bannister Silto
Jefferson Fleming Wheatcroft Bown Lamb
Webb Jones Smith Miller Longstaff
Haworth McGhie Booth
People had been thinking that with the brilliant sun of the morning there would be a great crowd. It was not to be, however, for just after three o'clock a light rain began to fall. Notwithstanding this, there were about 7,000 people present when the teams entered the field.
Swindon won the toss; and at once Jefferson set off for the visitors' goal. Blackman, however, brought him to the ground, but the free gave the Town little advantage. Then Bannister obtained and sent in a long shot, which travelled just wide of the post. But the Town continued to attack, and Fleming lost a capital chance by slipping during a piece of combination with Jefferson. The run of the play put Wheatcroft in possession close in, and he touched over to Fleming. But Leeming was upon Fleming before he could turn the ball into goal and dispossessed him. Up to this time, there had only been one team in the picture, and Swindon narrowly missed opening their account at this early stage as the result of work by Jefferson and Wheatcroft. Jefferson stopped the ball as it was dropping almost on the corner line, and hooked it back to the mouth of the goal. Wheatcroft met the sphere with his head and turned it towards the goal, but Whiting managed to get to it and cleared. Then Fleming made another attempt; this time he ran through the defence, and was running obliquely across the goal, when Leeming bundled into him and brought him to the ground. The referee at once awarded a penalty, and Tout was deputed to take the kick. The whistle went at the same moment as Tout kicked, and the ball sailed straight to Whiting, who touched over. But Tout was ordered to take the kick again, because of the goalkeeper having run forward. This time TOUT was more successful, and the ball flashed into the net right out of Whiting's reach. Brighton had made a frightfully poor show up to now, but after the reverse they woke up considerably. A smart attack initiated by the three inside men had the Town defence in difficulties for a few minutes, Skiller being called upon to clear. Then Longstaff broke swiftly away on the right, and got straight through the Town defence before centreing to Jones. It was a capital chance, but Jones sent the ball wide of the post. It was not long before the Town were again attacking, and after midfield play of a rather unenterprising order, Jefferson sent in a cross shot which Whiting did well to save. A few seconds later, Wheatcroft fastened on the ball in the centre of the field and burst straight through to goal. To the surprise of the crowd the referee gave him offside in a perfectly legitimate position. But recognising his mistake at once, the referee tossed the ball up, and the leather was hustled away from the goal. Walker, in clearing from Longstaff, sent the ball crashing towards goal, and the goalie saved in good style near the post. Then Wheatcroft sent Lamb away along the wing. Fleming met the subsequent centre, but was dispossessed by Leeming, but the ball went on to Jefferson. The winger caught the ball on the run and drove hard in towards goal, the ball appearing to strike Whiting. The goalie managed to hold the ball, and Jefferson and Wheatcroft tried hard to get it away from him, but without success, the referee giving a foul. A cross shot from Silto came very near scoring, and Whiting, throwing himself full length on the ground, just managed to push it round the post. The resultant corner was taken by Lamb, who placed splendidly to WHEATCROFT. The latter made no mistake with his head, and turned the ball beautifully into the net. Then there was a few minutes of Brighton. Danger again came from the Longstaff end of the forward line, and after an attempt by Smith had been headed out by Kay, Booth followed up and shot wide. Jones and Webb collaborated in a dangerous attempt on the right, and in repelling this Tout had to give away a corner, This was cleared easily, and play soon returned to the Brighton end of the field. A header from Bown off a pass from Jefferson was saved by Whiting, and then Fleming, while going round towards the goal, was fouled by Booth. Walker, taking the kick, placed just over the heads of the forwards, Jefferson and Fleming making a rush for it. But Leeming got there first and cleared, and straight from this, Webb dashed in fine style to the other end, his centre being easily booted away by Walker.
SWINDON TOWN................................ 2
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION............ 0
The second half opened with a smart bit of play on the left by Bown, who drove hard down the field for Fleming to run through. But Fleming was offside to the pass. Brighton were soon swarming around the Town goal. From a throw-in on the left, the ball was swung right across to Longstaff on the opposite wing. Walker attempted to hustle him off the ball, but Longstaff touched the leather against the Swindon man, and it rebounded for a corner. Jones got to the ball and turned into goal, the sphere striking the under-side of the bar and rebounding downwards. It seemed that one of the Swindon players touched the ball out of goal with his arm, Skiller afterwards getting the leather away. Brighton appealed strongly for a penalty, but the appeal was negatived. The Town now began to force matters. Jefferson got the ball and swung it right into the goal, and Wheatcroft unsuccessfully attempted to steer it past Whiting. Bown obtained possession, and forcing his way through the defence, touched across the goal. Fleming darted in to get the ball, Whiting rushing out at the same time. But FLEMING got there just a second before Whiting, and turned the ball just beside him and into the net, amidst great cheering. The Town continued to press hotly after this, and a centre came swinging in from Jefferson. Bown got to the ball and tried to head in, but Whiting overreached him and hit away. But Silto was following up closely, and hooked the ball into the goal again, Whiting clearing. With three goals against them, the visitors now livened up a little, and attacked continuously for some minutes. The Town half backs were for some time unable to clear their lines, and during this time Booth banged in a capital long-range shot, which just went over the bar. Skiller was called upon to deal with a shot from Miller, and following this, the game was interrupted for a minute or two owing to Wheatcroft being injured. After the attention of the trainer, he was able to resume, but changed places with Jefferson, who became centre forwards. Brighton attacked again, and this time Bannister saved a dangerous situation by getting the ball away from Jones. This was followed by a smart attack by Swindon, during which Wheatcroft resumed his accustomed position. Fleming received well out on the right, and all the Brighton players stood still to appeal for offside. This allowed Fleming to cover the ground between him and the goal without opposition, and swerving in to the centre of the field, he tried to put over Whiting's head. But Whiting got his hands to the ball and managed to hold it. Then the play settled down in the Swindon end for a few minutes, and Brighton failed to turn a free kick just outside the area to account.
SWINDON TOWN................................ 3
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION............ 0