The Giant Killers

Every F A cup giant killing since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 96

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Queen's Park Rangers 1

First round replay {after extra time}

Wednesday 31st January 1900

Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton

Attendance: 6,000

Scorer: Frank Bedingfield {107}

In 1900 a trip to London for Wolves fans should have meant just one thing, the big day out in the final itself but times were starting to change, as became apparent in the first round draw. The Wolves were drawn to play little known Queen’s Park Rangers of the Southern League and its probable that many diehard fans had to check with the club to find out exactly where on earth they would be venturing to.

The emergence of Southern professional clubs was just starting in 1900. Woolwich Arsenal had finally broken into the football league but remained the only truly southern club among its members while both Tottenham and Southampton had shown themselves to be worthy opponents to their league rivals in recent cup competitions.

Queen’s Park Rangers were an altogether different proposition. The club had only turned professional and joined the Southern league four months earlier and were playing in the first round of the cup for the first time in their history having already played through five qualifying rounds. They were a totally unknown quantity to the supporters of their opponents so it was hardly surprising that the fans of Wolves were in good voice when they converged on the up platform of Wolverhampton’s high level station at 7am on the morning of the game for the journey to London.

Despite their inexperience as a club, Rangers had plenty of experienced players in their ranks with their selection committee able to name an entire ex football league eleven.  Club captain Jimmy Hannah had won three league championships with Sunderland in the 90s while Peter Turnbull had managed a useful top flight scoring record during the same period at Burnley, Bolton and Blackburn. Of the others, Joe Knowles and Frank Bedingfield could both boast a solitary top flight appearance each, for Sunderland and Aston Villa respectively, Henry Clutterbuck, Alex McConnell, Gavin Crawford and Bill White had all been secured from Arsenal, Bill Keech had a string of second division clubs under his belt while Alf Hitch had arrived from Walsall.

Ranger’s wide-open Kensal Rise ground gave little protection to most of the 7,000 spectators who paid their 6d to watch the contest. Only a lucky few could gain cover from the sporadic showers in the tiny main stand while the rest took their places on the open asphalt banks that surrounded the running track and football pitch.

Thankfully the rain had stopped by the 2.45 kick off time as Arthur Kingscott, who would go on to referee the cup final in April, got the game underway. The early stages saw Rangers playing the better football as Wolves struggled on the heavy ground and after the southerners, sporting their then first choice colours of green & white hoops, forced a corner on fifteen minutes, panic ensued in the Wolves goalmouth. Several desperate attempts were made to complete the clearance before Adam Haywood managed to stab the ball home to set up the cup shock.

Rangers continued to be the better side and it was only after Frank Bedingfield had another goal from a corner chalked off that Wolves began to show their teeth. The top-flight visitors began to feed the ball wide to Jack Miller and suddenly Rangers found themselves on the back foot. Miller’s crosses began to cause mayhem in the Rangers back line and Henry Clutterbuck had to be at his best to keep out Billy Beats on more than one occasion as well as being thankful to some wasteful George Bowen finishing. Wolves’ purple patch blew out before half time as the crowd became more and more animated as Rangers began to get the upper hand again before the interval.

While the first half had been an enjoyable end-to-end contest, the second was an awful spectacle littered with fouls and fractured play. It took the visitors ten minutes to find their way back into the game with an excellently struck Jack Miller free kick and from that point onwards they were content to settle for a trip back to Molineux for a replay.

The replay took place on Wednesday January 31st and it was hardly a surprise that Rangers made no changes to the team who had so nearly shocked the title chasers. Wolves meanwhile did make changes with Billy Beats and Tommy Worton both declared unfit for duty. Trevor Owen and J T Bryan stepped in as 6,000 spectators took their places, fully expecting a much improved performance from Wolves, who by now knew that another Southern League side, Millwall Athletic awaited in round two.

Rangers started the replay a little cagily but soon began to get on top during a first half in which Wolves again failed to properly stamp their superior ability on the game. Tom Baddeley was easily the busier of the two keepers but far too often was troubled by hopeful long range efforts when Rangers could have worked better openings.

It looked like it would ultimately prove to be the Londoner’s undoing as Wolves sprang to life shortly before the interval when they were reduced to ten men by the loss of George Harper to injury. It had looked doubtful that Harper would be fit to continue but a ten minute chance to recover at half time saw him emerge with his team mates for the second period. Wolves now began to really turn the screw as Trevor Own crashed a long range shot against Clutterbuck’s post before Harper was left holding his head in his hands when referee Kingscott stopped play for a foul on Bryan a second before Harper fired past Clutterbuck to seemingly break the deadlock. It had been a hasty decision by Kingscott, which would ultimately cost Wolves their place in the cup, though that wasn’t apparent yet. Then, ten minutes from time, it seemed that the ref was out to make amends when he awarded Wolves the softest of penalties. Ted Pheasant then stroked a tame spot kick wide of Clutterbuck’s goal and suddenly it seemed that the gods themselves were smiling on the Londoners.

Despite having to defend deeper and deeper as full time approached Rangers saw their two best chances of the game come and go when first Bill White shot over the bar when sent clean through and then moments later Peter Turnbull’s indirect free kick sailed straight into the Wolves net without anyone making contact.

1900The final whistle brought huge cheers from the travelling Rangers fans as their side had now held the third placed club in the league for three hours. There was now all to play for as the opening half of extra time saw Rangers play the better football without either side create any real opportunities. Wolves were suddenly looking jaded and when Frank Bedingfield burst past the Wolves back, line two minutes into the second period and found himself one on one with Tom Baddeley, they were in real trouble. Bedingfield made no mistake, slamming a hard struck shot low under the keeper and into the net to seal Wolves’ fate. Bill White found himself in the exact same position within a minute of the deadlock being broken but this time Baddeley did enough to force him to shoot wide while Jimmy Hannah also shot narrowly wide of the Wolves goal. It was only at this point, with the final few minutes of the game ticking away that Wolves began to regain the upper hand and though they piled bodies forward in search of an equaliser, it never truly looked likely and in their first ever cup tie proper, Rangers had pulled off the first major cup shock of the Twentieth Century.

Wolves had been battling with Aston Villa and Sheffield United in the race for the title but the cup defeat had a knock on effect on their league form and they faded to finish fourth by the end of the season. Wolves would get their name on the F A cup before the decade was out, in 1908 but none of the twelve players who took part in this tie remained.

After the euphoria of knocking out Wolves, Rangers went out in round two to Millwall Athletic in an all non-league encounter and couldn’t hold their talented team together the following season. Adam Haywood had so impressed Wolves in this cup tie that the Molineux club signed him, becoming the club top scorer in 1903.  Alex McConnell would go on to make a name for himself at Grimsby where Henry Clutterbuck managed to get one top flight appearance in 1902 while Hitch, at Nottingham Forest and White at Liverpool both managed a few top flight appearances between them.

Sadly the winning goalscorer, Frank Bedingfield’s life would prove too short to enjoy recalling knocking Wolves out of the cup. By 1904 he had upped sticks and moved to South Africa where he died at the young age of just twenty-seven.

                The Kensal Rise Athletic grounds were just one of several homes for the West Londoner’s during a nomadic existence prior to reaching their current Loftus Road home. Rangers vacated the Rise in 1901, moved back in briefly in 1902 and then left for good in 1904. Hendon FC then used the ground before the First World War but when they left, Kensal Rise became redundant and in 1921 it made way for the houses that today make up Whitmore Gardens, Leigh Gardens and Clifford Gardens.

TEAMS:

Queen’s Park Rangers: Manager-none

                Henry Clutterbuck, Joe Knowles, Alex McConnell, Gavin Crawford, Alf Hitch, Bill Keech, Peter Turnbull, Adam Haywood, Frank Bedingfield, Bill White, Jimmy Hannah

 

 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Manager: John Addenbrooke

                Tom Baddeley, Harry Davies, Joe Blackett, Hill Griffiths, Ted Pheasant, George Fleming, J T Bryan, George Harper, George Bowen, Trevor Owen, Jack Miller

                {Bryan and Owen replaced Billy Beats and Tommy Worton from the first match}

 

1900

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Queen's Park Rangers