This was our first season back in action since the end of the First World War and was to be our final one as members of the Spartan League.
By the time of meeting Luton Clarence in the FA Cup on 29th October City had played two league games. The first was lost 4-3 at home to Wycombe Wanderers while the second saw us go down 4-0 to Great Eastern Railway at their Romford home. Progress had been made in the Amateur Cup with a 3-0 win away to Luton Amateurs. A crowd of fewer than 90 assembled at the Amateurs ground at The Dell in Bedford Road, Luton, to watch the game.
In the FA Cup 1st Round Qualifying City despatched Barnet Alston 1-0 at the Park courtesy of an Alf Furness goal, this set up a tie at home to Luton Clarence. The Bedfordshire club were members of the Athenian League, one rung above the Spartan League. The two sides fought out a goalless draw at Clarence Park in front of around 1,000 spectators on 25th October and reconvened four days later at Dunstable. Below is an extract from the Herts Advertiser match report.
‘St Albans City visited Dunstable on Wednesday to replay their fixture in the F.A. Cup with Luton Clarence. They put up an excellent performance, but were eventually beaten by three goals to two. Ford opened the scoring for Luton after about twenty minutes play and soon afterwards they got another goal through Panter, who found the net with a splendid long shot. These reverses brought an improvement in the style of play of St Albans and they took up the offensive. W.Paul got a brilliant goal for them after receiving a centre from Day. A few minutes later C.Paul equalised after an exciting scrimmage in front of goal. Play continued very even until half- time, which arrived with the score: Luton Clarence 2 goals, St Albans 2.
Upon resuming W.Paul gave the Luton goalkeeper a hard shot which he just managed to clear at the expense of a corner. Staines played splendidly for St Albans and his rushes down the wing were very dangerous. Panter scored the winning goal for Luton with a long drive, which gave the St Albans goalie no possible chance to save it.
St Albans City – H.Smith; C.Fearn and A.E.Fearn; A.Trulock, T.Christmas and G.Meagher; H.Day, W.Paul, C.Paul, A.Furness and P.G.Staines.
Eight of the City side that faced Luton Clarence played for the Saints either side of the war. P.G. Staines played just five games for the club but these were spread over three seasons. Albert Trulock was the great-uncle to future City secretary Steve Trulock. Alf Fearn was a full-back who later gained notoriety for being a stand-in goalkeeper during our famous 8-7 FA Cup defeat at Dulwich Hamlet in 1922. George Meagher played 203 times for the Saints and, in addition to playing in that match at Dulwich, was also in the side that lost 3-1 at Gillingham in December 1921; our first FA Cup tie against Football League opposition.
Alf and Charlie Fearn, and Charlie and Willie Paul were two of 35 sets of brothers to have played for the club down the years.
St Albans ended the 1919-20 season in third place, well adrift of champions Wycombe Wanderers and second placed G.E.R. Although home matches were listed as being at Clarence Park they were not played on the football ground. The military, having taken over the ground during the war, were slow to remove themselves, which left the football club as having to play its matches on the cricket pitch adjacent to the football ground. Great efforts were made to protect the actual cricket square during our time on that pitch.
Back: George Hartley, William J. Green, E.Little, Sammy Hatton, Herbert ‘Micker’ Smith, Tommy Field, Harry Gray, Frederick R. Martin
Middle: Phil Pierce, Willie Paul, Harold Figg, Bertie Butcher, Albert Furness
Front: Harold Chipperfield, Tommy Christmas, George Meagher
20th March 1920