This From the Vault feature takes us back to December 1927 for the visit to Clarence Park of north London club Tufnell Park. Founded in 1907 Tufnell Park had spells in the London, North Middlesex, Spartan and Athenian Leagues.
After the Great War they were invited to join the Isthmian League where they remained until 1950. The ‘Tuffs’ finished bottom of the table in 1949 and 1950, at which time they merged with Edmonton Borough and renamed as Tufnell Park Edmonton. Still success eluded the club and after two more bottom of the table finishes left the Isthmian League in 1952.
They played in the final of the Amateur Cup in 1920 but lost in extra time at Millwall as an extra time goal by the legendary England international Edgar Kail won the trophy for Dulwich Hamlet. Three times Tufnell Park finished as high as third in the Isthmian League but were bottom of the pile when they came to the Park in December 1927.
Their problems began even before kick- off with two of their best players, wing half-backs E.W.Ling and J.W.Bowles, being absent after being selected to play for the London F.A. against Lancashire at Bolton.
The weather was far from good and it was agreed that there would be just 40 minutes play each way. The poor weather failed, however, to deter the locals and a crowd in the region of 2,000 turned up to see if City, the reigning Isthmian League champions, could extend an excellent record against the Tuffs that showed just one defeat in 12 previous league meetings.
City attacked down the slope towards the Hatfield Road goal for the opening half. The terracing behind the goal at this time consisted of railway sleepers that had been installed just six years earlier. City were two goals to the good inside
26 minutes through Ken Seabrooke and Roy Bethell. Although given little hope of avoiding defeat Tufnell Park competed well during the first half and pulled a goal back through J.Taylor.
Playing up the slope posed no problems for St Albans after the interval and, despite the Tufnell Park goalkeeper F.Hodgson having a good game, added a further five goals through Bethell 2, Wally Buckingham 2 and a penalty by Robinson.
Leading the City attack during this 7-1 win over Tufnell Park was our all-time top goal scorer, Wilfred ‘Billy’ Minter. During his 362 games for the Saints we scored seven or more times on 21
occasions but this was just one of two matches in which so many goals were scored without Billy putting his name on the scoresheet.
The win extended our run of unbeaten home Isthmian League games to 21, which included 14 straight wins. The unbeaten run at the Park that had begun on 10th April 1926 with a 7-2 win over Leytonstone, was ended on 5th May 1928 by Clapton, by which time we had stretched the run to 29 games. Coincidentally, the final game of the undefeated run was, just like the first game, against Leytonstone.
St Albans City: A.Ward; A.L.Martin and H.Mead; H.Figg, R.J.Robinson and W.Leach; P.Pierce, K.Seabrooke, W.H.Minter, R.Bethell and W.Buckingham.
Tufnell Park: F.Hodgson; A.Hankins and J.Rutledge; J.Cawthorn, C.Cood and R.Hutton; F.Fricker, W.Harris, G.Tomalin, J.Taylor and R.Willcocks.
Referee: J.M.Harris (Tooting).