Restage the 1872 FA Cup Final at the original venue of the Kennington Oval? What a jolly spiffing wheeze but the bounders at Surrey County Cricket Club would never let it happen! Except they did.
I have followed the activities of the revived Wanderers club since their 2009 reformation and the official restaging of the 1872 Cup Final was to be the biggest night of their rebirth so far.
Wanderers won the first ever FA Cup Final in 1872 when Morton Petto Betts, playing under the pseudonym of A.H. Chequer, scored the only goal of the game against the Royal Engineers. These days Wanderers compete in the lower levels of the Surrey South Eastern Combination while the Engineers, or more specifically 28 Regiment Engineers, are multi-time Army Cup winners. Suffice to say a repeat of the 1872 victory for Wanderers looked unlikely.
Interested spectators from far and wide gathered at The Oval in Kennington for the rematch, Wanderers in their traditional chocolate, pink and gold hooped shirts and the Engineers in navy and red hoops. FA Cup winner Bobby Gould guest coached the Wanderers for the event.
The superior fitness of the Engineers ensured the hosts were ran ragged in the first half, the army side rattling up a 6-0 lead with Wanderers goalkeeper Adam Wood facing a barrage of shots from the powerful Engineers front line. The Engineers made multiple substitutions at half time but it was a Wanderers substitute, the sublimely monikered, Daniel Flash, who received the loudest cheer of the night when he deftly headed in a goal for Wanderers seven minutes after his introduction to the field. A clever lob by Mike Crane, however, restored the six goal advantage.
The final whistle sounded with the score 7-1 to the Engineers and David Gold was on hand to oversee the presentation of the original trophy (his own property) to the victorious captain, James Hubbard.
Wanderers (0)1 (Flash 66)
Royal Engineers (6) 7 (Hubbard 9, Carter 17, Griffiths 21, Cottam 23,45, Ellis 33, Crane 87)
Attendance: 2,287 tickets sold (800 approx watching)
1.Adam Wood; 2.Simon Fulwood; 3.Ross Sibbit; 4.Sean Hearn; 6. Ross Edmonds; 16. Tom Nicholson; 11. Darren Tracey; 8. Robert Goodall (c); 9.Guy Bird; 18.James Byrne; 14.Stephen Samson.
Subs: 19.Mark Wilson (for 9,59 mins); 10.Ashley Stokes (for 2,59 mins); 21.Daniel Flash (for 6,59 mins); 7.Tony Alvarez (for 18,63 mins); 23.Ed James (for 11,70 mins);15.Steven Bowers (for 6,76 mins); 32.Steve Bradley (for 4,76 mins); Sai Yung Ng (for 1,87 mins).
1.Luke Cairney; 2.Dean Ellis; 3.Robert Cooper-Tompkins; 4.Gavin Greenfield; 5.Mike Williams; 6.Alex Stacey; 7.Gerwin Griffiths; 8.Alex Wright; 9.Andrew Cottam; 10.James Hubbard(c); 11.Paul Carter.
Subs: 12.Rob Ridley (for 2,46 mins); 14.Scott Ray (for 3,46 mins); 15. Mike Crane (for 19,78 mins); 16.Danny Hounsell (for 4,46 mins); 17. Tom Smith (for 6,46 mins); 18.Steven Bulger (for 8,46 mins); 19.Ryan Williams(for 9,46 mins)(for 5,89mins); 20. Chris Chianca (for 10,46 mins). Sub not used:Mathew Price.