After playing home matches on Jacob Reynolds (left) land in Hatfield Road for two years the club moved to a new site for the start of the 1883-84 season with Bernard’s Heath becoming the Saints home ground. 

J ReynoldsJacob ReynoldsDespite the move to a new ground St. Albans were still in debt to Jacob Reynolds, as at this time Bernard’s Heath was also part of his territory. The Heath possessed a far larger playing area than it has today and at the time the football club played its matches there the ground was often referred to as the County Cricket Ground.

A large increase in the fixture list was made for the Saints third season with twenty-two scheduled (twenty-one were actually played). No longer were St. Albans easy pickings for other clubs as the Saints embarked on an unbeaten run spanning eleven matches that included five consecutive wins and a 5-0 thrashing of Watford side Nascot. But even Nascot got off lightly compared to the Watford Christ Church Institute who lost 9-1 at home to the Saints and then, three weeks later, 8-0 at St. Albans.

Fred A. SargentFred A. SargentThe highest score that season though came against Barnet club Lyonsdown with the Citizens putting a dozen goals into the back of the L.Hasluck’s net with. Two players, Fred Sargent (right) and H.T. Smith, scoring four apiece while Crawford, from Berkhamsted, chipped in with a hat-trick. Lyonsdown arrived at St. Albans short of four players and were loaned a quartet by the Saints (L.Sells, Williams, H.O. Chatterton and F. Johnstone).

Of the 21 games played just 14 goals were conceded in 20 of them, unfortunately the remaining two matches, both against Hendon, saw the north London club put the ball in the back of the Saints net six times on each occasion. St. Albans were well below full strength for the first encounter against Hendon, as they also fielded a side against St. John’s College on the same day, but for the return match the Saints side was as strong as might be expected. The away game with Hendon was something of an oddity as St Albans turned up to play the game on the 13th October only to discover that they were a week early and had to return the following Saturday. That particular Hendon club are not connected to the latter day Dons and became extinct in 1934.

Sargent’s goal spree against Lyonsdown was one of four hat-tricks he scored during the season. He became the first player not only to find the back of the net three times in one match for the club but also the first to notch a double hat-trick, which he achieved during the 9-1 win against the Church Institute – not a bad achievement for someone who began his career as a full-back before moving up to half-back and then centre-forward.

The goals scored by the prolific Sargent may have caught the attention of other clubs but one of the most curious incidents of the season came during a goalless draw with Clarence at their Cricklewood home when, on 1st December, two footballs burst during the course of the game. With the second ball meeting its demise five minutes from time the two teams decided that it was an appropriate moment at which to head for the changing rooms. That game, however, was not the only one to fail to go the whole distance as the matches against Hitchin and Oxhey during February and March both ended after 80 minutes, while the 2-1 win at Aldenham School was terminated after just seventy minutes.

1883-84 Season Line-ups

Oct 6 Fr HEMEL HEMPSTEAD (H) W 3 - 2 Gentle F Miskin CW Russell JT Faning RE Hatch W Halsey E Skrimshire A Smith HT (1) Sargent FA (2) Poulton J Harris T
Oct 20 Fr Hendon (A) L 1 - 6 Gentle F Hunt Goodwin W Aylen CH Miskin CW Sargent WA Smith HT Crawford P (1) Sargent FA Hatch W Halsey E
Oct 27 Fr NASCOT (H) W 5 - 0 Gentle F Goodwin W Faning RE Aylen CH Sell L Russell JT Sargent WA (1) Aylen P Sargent FA (3) Smith HT (1) Webdale HC
Nov 3 Fr Christ Church Institute (A) W 9 - 1 Gentle F Aylen CH Sell L Faning RE Ball JR Webdale A (2) Skrimshire A Webdale HC Sargent FA (6) Halsey E (1) Hatch W
Nov 10 Fr St. John's College (A) W 1 - 0 Gentle F Russell JT Aylen CH Goodwin W Turner F Sell L Webdale A Smith HT Sargent FA (1) Webdale HC Sargent WA
Nov 17 Fr Watford Rovers (A) W 3 - 2 Miskin CW Aylen CH Ball JR Goodwin W Russell JT Hurlock Webdale HC (1) Webdale A Sargent FA (2) Smith HT Gentle F
Nov 24 Fr CHRIST CHURCH INSTITUTE (H) W 8 - 0 Gentle F Aylen CH Goodwin W (1) Sell L Faning RE (1) Webdale A (1) Poulton J (1) Sargent WA (1) Sargent FA (2) Hatch W Halsey E (1)
Dec 1 Fr Clarence (A) D 0 - 0 Gentle F Goodwin W Miskin CW Aylen CH Sell L Webdale HC Webdale A Williams Skrimshire A Faning RE
Dec 15 Fr Hemel Hempstead (A) W 3 - 0 Gentle F Ball JR Aylen CH Williams Russell JT Miskin CW Smith HT Sargent WA Sargent FA (1) Hatch W (1) Halsey E (1)
Dec 22 Fr OXHEY (H) D 1 - 1 Drew R Ball JR Aylen E Sell L Williams Drew JP Jones Webdale A Gentle F Webdale H (1) Miskin W Wright
Jan 5 Fr Nascot (A) W 6 - 0
Jan 12 Fr HITCHIN TOWN (H) W 1 - 0 Gentle F Aylen CH Drew H Miskin CW Sell L Sargent WA Aylen P (1) Webdale A Sargent FA Hatch W Poulton J
Jan 19 Fr LYONSDOWN (H) W 12 - 2 Gentle F Russell JT Hill JC Miskin CW Webdale H Crawford P (3) Hill H Sargent WA Sargent FA (4) Hatch W (1) Smith HT (4)
Feb 2 Fr Luton Excelsior (A) L 0 - 1 Gentle F Aylen CH Drew H Sell L Miskin CW Russell JT Hatch W Smith HT Sargent FA Webdale HC Sargent WA
Feb 9 Fr Hitchin Town (A) W 4 - 0 Gentle F Miskin CW Aylen CH Drew JP Sell L Russell JT Sargent WA Smith HT Sargent FA (3) Miskin WW (1) Spartling
Feb 16 Fr CITY RAMBLERS (H) W 3 - 0 Gentle F Aylen CH Ball JR Miskin CW Goodwin HW Sell L Sargent WA Webdale HC Sargent FA (1) Smith HT (1) Hatch W
Feb 23 Fr Aldenham School (A) W 2 - 1 Gentle F Aylen CH Drew H Sell L Miskin CW Sargent WA Aylen P Smith HT Sargent FA (2) Hatch W Halsey E
Mar 1 Fr EXCELSIOR (H) L 0 - 1 Gentle F Aylen CH Drew H Sell L Miskin CW Crawford P Hatch W Sargent WA Sargent FA Smith HT Halsey E
Mar 8 Fr HENDON (H) L 2 - 7 Gentle F Hunt Goodwin W Aylen CH Miskin CW Sargent WA Crawford P (1) Hatch W Sargent FA Smith HT (1) Halsey E
Mar 15 Fr Oxhey (A) D 0 - 0 Davis Ball JR Williams Cook R Halsey C Gentle F Webdale HC Smith HT Webdale A Miskin WW Day AJ
Mar 22 Fr WATFORD ROVERS (H) W 6 - 1 Gentle F Aylen CH Ball JR Williams Miskin CW Webdale A (1) Webdale HC Smith HT Sargent FA (2) Poulton H Miskin WW

1883-84 Appearances & Goals 

Cecil Hugh Aylen 16
P Aylen 3 1
E Aylen 1
James Robert Ball 7
Richard Cook 1
P Crawford 4 5
Davis 1
AJ Day 1
R Drew 1
JP Drew 2
H Drew 4
RE Faning 5 1
Fred Gentle 20
W Goodwin 8 1
C Halsey 1
E Halsey 8 3
T Harris 1
W Hatch 12 2
JC Hill 1
H Hill 1
Hunt 2
Hurlock 1
Jones 1
Walter W Miskin 4 1
Christopher Walter Miskin 14
H Poulton 1
JT Poulton 3 1
JT Russell 8
Fred Sargent 17 29
W Alec Sargent 13 2
L Sell 12
A Skrimshire 3
HT Smith 15 8
Spartling 1
F Turner 1
Henry Charles Webdale 11 2
Arthur Webdale 9 3
Williams 5
Wright 1
Own Goal 1
Unknown 12 10