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Chris Hunt

The Ironworks journey to Peterborough on Saturday to fulfil their engagement with the Loco team. There was not a large attendance considering the great rivalry that exists between these old opponents.

The teams were composed as follows:-

Ironworks. – Goal, Morris; backs, Rudkin and Middleton; half-backs, Avery, T.Braunston and Glithero; right wing, C.Atter and Pentelow; centre, Burcombe; left wing,. Miller and J.Atter.

Loc. – Goal, Shaw; backs,  Randall and Palmer; half-backs, Pearson, F.Palmer and Bean; right wing, Cannon and Darnill, centre, Fox, left wing, Burbage and Garner.

Referee, Mr Carter.

The home team won the toss, and the Red had to face the breeze in the first half. The opening exchanges were in the favour of the visitors, whose forwards displayed admirable combination. Burbage early showed up well, and from him alone did it appear that much danger was likely to ensure. J.Atter and Miller passed nicely down the left and the sphere was lifted over to the right. C.Atter secured and with a clinking shot drew first blood for the Reds.

A few minutes later the homesters were giving Rudkin and Middleton plenty of employment. The first mentioned back dropped the sphere down the right wing and C.Atter, getting the better of a tussle with Palmer and Randall, was on the point of shooting at very close range when he was ruled off-side, most unfairly, as he had beaten three opponents. Following this piece of work, the referee awarded a corner against Avery, who was yards from the ball.

The visitors showed great dissatisfaction at this, but matters reached a climax a few minutes later when a home forward standing almost under the cross-bar slipped the leather into the net from a shot by a half-back at long range. In spite of all protestations to the contrary, the referee adjudged this point to be a legitimate one.

This most disgraceful decisions caused RUNCTIONS and a lively scene ensued. The visitors decided to take no further part in the contest, but did not leave the field. They kicked the ball off from the centre, but offered no opposition to the homesters, who under the personal direction of the referee took the leather down the field and put in between the Reds’ sticks. The important but perverse functionary whose abominable decisions had caused this miserable state of affairs informed the Loco players that they must be careful not to get “off-side". J.Atter took exception to this mode of procedure, but was politely requested to “shut up”.

The spectators were talking in knots on the playing piece, and Mt J.Atter, town clerk of Stamford, and the father of the left winger, stepped on to the field with a view of pointing out duties of a referee to the “knight of the whistle”, but he was ordered off and promptly complied with the request.

The Ironworks simply kicked the ball when necessary to keep it in play, such as in the case of goal-kicks and throwing in, and by so doing did not lay themselves open to the charge of leaving the field without the referee’s permission. Several of the home players had adjourned to the neighbouring pub to discuss the matter, but were ordered to resume their position on the field and were cautioned. Again was a farcical order of the referee complied with, and the Loco took the ball down the field and scored a fourth point.

Half time arrived with the score reading

Peterborough Loco 1 goal

Rutland Ironworks 1 goal

Referee 3goals.

The forty five minutes in the second half were whiled away by the players in any way they chose, as long as they remained on the ground. Pipes were lighted and discussions friendly and otherwise took place. Before the players were allowed to leave the field the darkness spread its mantle over the scene, and stars became visible. A more unsatisfactory game can scarce be imagined, and it is evident that scenes of a similar but milder nature are not rare on the Loco ground, as the spectators acquainted the visitors that they were as bad as Boston and Spalding.


The Stamford and Rutland Guardian’s football comments in 1895 were written under the by-line ‘Half –Backs’ and he stated that:-

The “game” at Peterborough on Saturday “Ironworks v Peterborough G.N.Loco”, was a perfect fiasco, and it is high time that the Association interfered in the matter of referees. It is only fair to the Loco players to say that the majority of them were equally disgusted with the decisions of the ruling official.

Note Below

The above article appeared in the Stamford and Rutland Guardian of Friday November 15th 1895. it shows that criticisms today’s crowds express about referring decisions are nothing new. Chris Hunt

 ‘A print version can be downloaded HERE’

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