December 6th 1930 Football League Division Three (South)
CLAPTON ORIENT 3
(Fowler 2, Tricker)
SOUTHEND UNITED 1
Southend United’s only ever visit to the famous twin towers of Wembley Stadium came in the most unusual of circumstances.
Their away fixture at Clapton Orient’s Lea Bridge Road stadium was moved to Wembley Stadium as Orient’s ground had been closed following a bad injury to a Torquay United player resulting from the close proximity of the pitch barrier to the playing surface. While remedial work was carried out the East Londoners were forced to hire the national stadium in order to stage two home games. The first resulted in an easy 3-0 win over Brentford in front of a healthy 8,000 plus crowd. However, the visit of Southend United attracted a crowd of only 1,916 which must have looked very odd in vast stadium with a then capacity of 100,000.
However, the Southend side turned in a distinctly unmemorable performance at the famous stadium. It should be said that Ted Birnie’s team selection was something of an experiment following the FA Cup exit at the hands of Torquay the previous weekend. He dramatically dropped skipper Tommy Dixon and brought in young Bob Ward. Furthermore Donovan moved to inside left and Johnson took over at left half. Arthur Compton despite being right footed was seconded to the outside left berth. Clapton Orient’s line up featured Rollo Jack, son of former Southend manager Bob Jack and brother to David, a future Shrimpers manager.
Southend had a good first half however and had plenty of chances before scoring in the 25th minute. Southend gained a corner kick and Fred Barnett launched a deep kick into the O’s penalty area and Jimmy Shankly’s deft header back allowed Mickey Jones the easiest of chances to nod the ball over the line from close range with Orient keeper Harry Blackwell unsighted among a ruck of player. In the next period of play Shankly skimmed the crossbar twice and Barnett had a powerful shot cannon back of the upright.
This was an equaliser following Clapton’s early breakthrough when a rare fumble by Billy Moore in the Southend goal allowed Jack Fowler to open the scoring with a virtually unguarded goal. The veteran forward was a constant thorn in the visitors side with his drive and clever play, a vital factor was Bob Ward’s nervousness in tackling the powerful Orient forward.
Into the second half and the Blues nearly took the lead through Dickie Donoven. His first effort was a speculative long range effort which caught Blackwell off guard in the Orient net. He was mightily relieved to see the ball just clear his crossbar. The a Donoven corner slipped out of Blackwell’s hands and was just about to cross the line when Ernie Morley managed to hook the ball to safety.
However Southend’s downfall came when Crompton, their best player in the opening period, was strangely neglected in the second half. This meant the side lost its shape and creativity and the home side took control of the encounter.
The O’s took the lead on 67 minutes Johnson misjudged a challenge and Reg Tricker easily converted a one on one opportunity against Moore.
The winning goal came on 73 minutes and was shrouded in controversy. Tricker played a throughball for Fowler who was clearly offside but both the referee and the linesman failed to award the decision and while the Southend rearguard appealed and waited for a whistle Fowler all but walked the ball into an empty net.
Shankly had a late chance to reduce the arrears but the side had already suffered a fatal body blow. The dubious offside call ensured that the clubs only visit to the old Wembley Stadium would be marked with a defeat.
|Teams:Clapton Orient:Harry Blackwell; Ernie Morley; Billy Broadbent; Eddie Lawrence; Jack Galbraith; Rollo Jack; Arthur Cropper; Reg Tricker; Jack Fowler; Jack Fletcher.
Billy Moore; Jack French; Dave Robinson; Bob Ward; Joe Wilson; Joe Johnson; Fred Barnett; Mickey Jones; Jimmy Shankly; Dickie Donoven; Arthur Crompton.
Goalscorer: Emlyn “Mickey” Jones