herts county cupHerts County CupAt a meeting held at the Crystal Palace on the 16th August 1886 it was announced that receipts for the 1885-86 season were £85 5s 2d, there were made up from subscriptions of £51 1s and gate money amounting to £31 15s 2d. After all the expenses had been cleared the football club went into the new season with a balance in hand of 11s 7d. It was agreed that Season Tickets would be priced at 2s 6d.

Christopher Walter Miskin, who made just one appearance during the forthcoming season, stood down as captain to be replaced by Reverend R.C. Marshall, the captain of the Wheathampstead club. Having played in St. Albans second game at the start of the 1881-82 season Miskin went on to feature in more than 60 First team games for the club, all of which were friendly matches.

St. Albans no longer had first call on Fred Sargent as the prolific centre-forward took centre stage with Watford Rovers. He did make four appearances in St. Albans colours during the season but it was to be a further seven-and-a-half years before he would return to make his final two appearances for the club.

Finding a goalscoring replacement for Sargent was a task that St. Albans failed to achieve during the season and the goals were shared between several players rather than one individual. John Charles Lomax, one of three brothers who were regulars for Luton Town, would have been a suitable replacement for Sargent but only played in seven games this season during which time he scored six times.

Overall, it was not a great season for the club despite eight goals being put past Hampstead and nine past Hatfield. The Saints were also on the receiving end with Wheathampstead being the first side to score ten times against them. That 10-3 defeat came during a run of eleven winless games before the club ended the season with four consecutive wins. In defence of the Saints they were a touch out of their depth against Wheathampstead as the village side included players from such clubs as the Corinthians, Old Etonians and Wellingborough.

A match involving somewhat less illustrious players took place on Easter Monday when a friendly was played between the Married and Single men, the married side fared better than in an earlier meeting but still went down 2-1. During the course of the season, 23rd October to be precise, the St. Albans First team faced the new Harpenden club for the first time; the Saints won 2-0 at the Holywell Hill Meadow.

Saints prepare for launch of Hertfordshire Challenge Cup

Of far greater importance than any of those friendly games, however, was the match St. Albans played on 6th November 1886. This was the day football in St. Albans took another tentative step into the unknown when the club was one of eleven to compete in the inaugural contest of the Herts County Cup, since better known as the Herts Senior Cup.

Several clubs within the county had expressed a desire to compete for a ‘silver cup’ but at a meeting of the County Association at the Crystal Palace on 23rd August no decision could be reached as to the formation of the competition and the meeting was deferred. It was a busy evening for the landlord of the Crystal Palace, James Gentle, as, immediately following the meeting of the Herts FA, the St. Albans committee moved in for a meeting concerning their club. Gentle, who ran a clothes shop in the town centre after giving up as publican at the Crystal Palace during the early part of the 1890s, had quite a reputation as a good host and earlier in the summer, on 3rd July, he laid on the refreshments for a Mid Herts Tennis tournament at Gorhambury. It was just one of numerous prestigious and major events of the era for which he provided the catering.

Fred Sargent eases St. Albans out of the County Cup

The Herts County Cup finally came into existence during a meeting at the Bedford Head Hotel, Tottenham Court Road, which, at the time, was where the Association had its headquarters. St. Albans were paired in the 1st Round with Watford Rovers. The first competitive match involving a side from St. Albans was to take place at the Rose & Crown Meadow, Watford. The two sides had last met the previous April with St. Albans running out 4-0 winners but Rovers had won four consecutive games between the two clubs prior to then.

Watford made light of atrocious weather conditions to return to winning ways with a 3-0 victory. The man who inflicted most damage to the Saints was Fred Sargent who scored two of the Watford goals but the cause of the Albanians was not aided by goalkeeper H.O. Chatterton having an off day. The custodian was felt to be at fault for a couple of the goals and at half time a decision was made to switch the ‘keeper to back with F. Johnstone going between the sticks. The move to replace Chatterton was not as big an insult as it may appear for he frequently switched between goalkeeper and an outfield position. Although some players from the team that first represented the city five years earlier were still playing none were in the side to face Watford, the line-up being:

HO Chatterton (goal); JH Dickson, H.Miskin (backs); F.Johnstone, H.Paul, M.Sharp (half-backs); Rev RE Faning, HT Smith (right); WW Miskin (centre); J.W. Dickson, H.Francis (left).

The Watford side contained ten players who appeared for St. Albans at one time or another; AA Sargent (goal); HJ Capell, HW Grover (backs); WA Sargent, SJ Poulton, CH Peacock (half-backs); WH Wellings, SJ Valentine (right); FA Sargent (2) (centre); G Waterman E Halsey (1) (left). Grover was the only member of the Watford team to not turn out for St. Albans.

In addition to St. Albans, the 1st Round ties in the County Cup that year were the first competitive games played by most of the entrants although Watford Rovers had gained ninety minutes experience of competitive football on 23rd October when going down 1-0 at home to Swindon Town in the F.A. Cup. Despite their early admission into the F.A. Cup, Watford Rovers did not become members of a league until 1896 - just one year earlier than St. Albans. Rovers went on to reach the final of the County Cup, on 26th March, but were defeated 5-2 in the final by Hoddesdon who received the cup from Mr G. Faudel Phillips, the owner of the Balls Park ground at Hertford where the final was contested.

St. Albans and Watford met twice more during the season, both times at the Holywell Hill Meadow, but the Albanians fared no better in going down 4-0 and 7-0. Included in the side beaten 7-0 was A.T.B. Dunn, just a week earlier he had put together a side of his own, which featured several members of the county team, that defeated the Saints 4-3 at the Holywell Hill Meadow.

Identifying exactly just how many First team games the club played during the season has not been as straightforward as it should be. Some games that appeared to be First team matches when going through the newspapers week by week then appear as 2nd XI matches in the end of the season review. To further complicate matters, the Herts Advertiser failed to record the County Cup tie against Watford Rovers at all in the end of season round up. However, when that game is included in the First team records it would appear that St. Albans played thirty-two 1st XI matches during 1886-87 and ten 2nd XI games.

Rev. F.C. Marshall moves on

At the close of the season the St. Albans captain, Rev F.C. Marshall, left the club due to moving out of the district. Full-back and county player Cecil Hugh Aylen was appointed as the new club captain.


1886-87 Season Line-ups 1st XI

Sep 11 Fr SILESIA COLLEGE (H) W 4 - 2 Gentle F Lomax EH Peacock C Dickson JW Poulton Miskin H Miskin WW Lomax JC (1) Coles WS Berry CH (1) Webdale H (2)
Sep 18 Fr WATFORD CHURCH INSTITUTE (H) W 2 - 0 Gentle F Aylen CH Chatterton HO Bolas SP Dickson JW (1) Sharp M Ironmonger WI Aylen PL Gentle E (1) Francis H Webdale H
Sep 25 Fr HAMPSTEAD (H) W 8 - 0 Gentle F Aylen CH Sargent A Chatterton HO Payne H Sharp M Dickson JW Francis H Faning RE Halsey E Waterman G
Oct 2 Fr Hendon (A) L 1 - 6 -
Oct 9 Fr DULWICH (H) L 2 - 4 Gentle F Roe WN Paull JR Villiers EE Paul H Sargent WA Francis H (1) Low P Faning RE Marshall FC Morton PH (1)
Oct 13 Fr ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL (H) W 5 - 4 Chatterton HO Tooms AE Martin A Paul H Dickson JW Wright E Low RJ Johnstone F Dunn ATB (5) Faning RE Deacon G
Oct 16 Fr Hemel Hempstead (A) W 2 - 0 Chatterton HO Ball JR Tooms AE Everett JJ (1) Long T Butler F Johnstone F Miskin WW Francis H Hatch E (1) AN Other
Oct 20 Fr WHEATHAMPSTEAD (H) L 3 - 4 Sheldrake P Chatterton HO Tooms AE Arnold EW Rumball HA Laurie W Gentle H (1) Butler F (1) Faning RE Baldrey E Nicholls SM
Oct 23 Fr Harpenden (A) W 2 - 0 Gentle E Miskin H Dickson JH Moody HW Dickson JW Marks W Miskin WW Miskin A (1) Francis H (1) Sharp M Paul H
Oct 30 Fr Luton Town (A) L 0 - 1 Chatterton HO Paull JR Aylen CH Villiers EE Paul H Selby E Smith HT Cornat JR Miskin WW Johnstone F Gentle H
Nov 6 HSC1 Watford Rovers (A) L 0 - 3 Chatterton HO Miskin H Dickson JH Paul H Johnstone F Sharp M Faning RE Smith HT Miskin WW Dickson JW Francis H
Nov 13 Fr HEMEL HEMPSTEAD (H) W 2 - 1 Gentle F Selby E Chatterton HO Everett JJ Paul H Dickson JH Smith HT Faning RE (1) Marshall FC Hill Lancashire WT (1)
Nov 17 Fr Wheathampstead (A) L 3 - 5 Fensome W Chatterton HO Dickson JH Paul H Everett JJ Philbrick L Dickson JW Lancashire WT Gentle H (1) Arnold EW Mardall H
Nov 20 Fr ALDENHAM SCHOOL (H) L 0 - 1 Gentle F Chatterton HO Bailey EJ Selby E Paul H Brown C Smith HT Gentle C Miskin W Johnstone F Webdale H
Nov 27 Fr GUY'S HOSPITAL (H) W 2 - 1 Gentle F Paull JR Bailey EJ Selby E Paul H Villiers EE Smith HT (1) Miskin WW Aylen CH Francis H Halsey E
Dec 18 Fr BOXMOOR (H) D 1 - 1 Johnson F Chatterton HO Dickson JH Paul H Long T Gentle H Smith HT Gentle C Francis H (1) Cranfield Butler F
Jan 22 Fr HATFIELD (H) W 9 - 1 Gentle F Chatterton HO (1) Sargent WA Paul H Everett JJ Long T Gentle H Butler F Coles WT (3) Dickson JW (1) Johnstone F
Jan 29 Fr CALEDONIANS (H) L 0 - 5 Gentle F Scarborough Dickson JH Everett JJ Paul H Long T Butler F Francis H Marshall FC Dickson JW Lancashire WT
Feb 2 Fr Wheathampstead (A) L 3 - 10 Chatterton HO Sargent A Bailey EJ Selby E Dennis WJ Bennett JD Paul H Peacock C Waterman G Perkes R Fry WE
Feb 12 Fr LUTON TOWN (H) D 1 - 1 Miskin H Bailey EJ Peacock C Chatterton HO Paul H Sargent WA Wellings WH Gentle F Sargent FA Everett JJ Johnstone F (1)
Feb 26 Fr HENDON (H) D 1 - 1 Gentle F Sargent WA Peacock C Marshall FC Faning RE Paul H Waterman G Sargent FA (1) Dunn ATB Coles WT Ross EH
Mar 2 Fr St. George's School (A) L 4 - 5 Westwood J Bailey EJ Chatterton HO Dickson JH Gentle H Mardall H Francis H Dickson JW Marshall FC Lancashire WL Mardall W
Mar 5 Fr EAGLES (H) L 1 - 3 Gentle F Chatterton HO Lloyd F Gentle H Paul H Sharp M Smith HT Butler F Ross ER (1) Marshall FC Morton PH
Mar 9 Fr A.T.B. Dunn XI (H) L 3 - 4 Cornah JB Lomax EN Paull JR Mayfield J Marshall FC (1) Villiers EE Stanley SW (2) Smith HT Sargent FA Lomax DA Lomax JC
Mar 12 Fr WATFORD ROVERS (H) L 0 - 7 Chatterton HO Bragg A Paull JR Faning RE Aylen CH Stronts EM Smith HT Richardson J Dunn ATB Stanley SW Disbrowe EJ
Mar 19 Fr HOTSPUR (H) L 2 - 6 Bushell J Aylen CH Chatterton HO Dickson JW Paul H Dickson JH Smith HT (1) Francis H Lomax JC Lomax EH (1) Gibbons LP
Mar 23 Fr Wheathampstead (A) L 1 - 2 Miskin CW Bennett JD Mayfield J Dickson JW Dickson JH Mayfield Jos Cooke R Wildman J Stanley SM Gibbons LP Dennis DJ
Mar 26 Fr DULWICH (H) L 0 - 6 Gentle H Paull JR Aylen CH Myers LB Stronts EM Villiers EE Johnstone F Dickson JW Lomax JC Ross JH Miskin WW
Apr 9 Fr VULCANS (H) W 3 - 2 Miskin H Aylen CH Sargent WA Peacock C Paul H Poulton F Waterman G Stanley SM (1) Sargent FA (1) Lomax EH Lomax JC (1)
Apr 11 Fr OLYMPIANS (H) W 2 - 1 Chatterton HO Aylen CH Miskin H Lomax JC (2) Mayfield J Paul H Sharp M Johnstone F Lomax EH Dickson JW Low P
Apr 16 Fr WEST END (H) W 5 - 0 Chatterton HO Martin A Mayfield J Paul H Mayfield Jos Miskin H Ross ER Johnstone F (2) Lomax JC (2) Butler F Dickson JW (1)
Apr 23 Fr VERULAM (H) W 5 - 2 Gentle F Ball JR Aylen CH Sharp M Everett JJ Paul H Chatterton HO (1) Dickson JW Francis H (1) Webdale H Gentle H

Appearances & Goals

EW Arnold 2 P Low 2
PL Aylen 1 RJ Low 1
Cecil Hugh Aylen 10 H Mardall 2
EJ Bailey 5 W Mardall 1
E Baldrey 1 W Marks 1
James Robert Ball 2 FC Marshall 7 1
JD Bennett 2 A Martin 2
CH Berry 1 1 J Mayfield 4
SP Bolas 1 Jos Mayfield 2
A Bragg 1 Alfred Miskin 1 1
C Brown 1 Christopher Walter Miskin 1
J Bushell 1 H Miskin 7
F Butler 7 1 Walter W Miskin 8
HO Chatterton 21 2 HW Moody 1
Walter S Coles 1 Philip Howard Morton 2 1
W Theo Coles 2 3 LB Myers 1
R Cooke 1 SM Nicholls 1
JB Cornah 1 Horace Paul 21
JR Cornah 1 JR Paull 6
Cranfield 1 H Payne 1
George Deacon 1 Charlie Peacock 5
DJ Dennis 1 R Perkes 1
WJ Dennis 1 L Philbrick 1
JH Dickson 8 Poulton 2
James William Dickson 17 3 F Poulton 1
EJ Disbrowe 1 J Richardson 1
Arthur TB Dunn 3 5 William Nichols Roe 1
JJ Everett 7 1 EH Ross 1
RE Faning 8 1 ER Ross 2 1
W Fensome 1 JH Ross 1
H 'Jock' Francis 12 4 HA Rumball 1
WE Fry 1 Alf Sargent 3
C Gentle 2 Fred A Sargent 4 2
E Gentle 2 1 W Alec Sargent 4
Fred Gentle 13 Scarborough 1
H Gentle 9 2 E Selby 5
LP Gibbons 2 Ernest Michael Mannock Sharp 7
E Halsey 2 P Sheldrake 1
E Hatch 1 1 HT Smith 10 2
Hill 1 Sidney Margetts Stanley 2 1
WI Ironmonger 1 SW Stanley 2 2
F Johnstone 11 3 EM Stronts 2
WL Lancashire 1 AE Tooms 3
WT Lancashire 3 1 Edward E Villiers 5
W Laurie 1 George Waterman 4
F Lloyd 1 Herbert Webdale 4 2
David Alexander Napier Lomax 1 WH Wellings 1
Ernest Herbert Lomax 4 1 J Westwood 1
Lomax 1 E Wright 1
John Charles Lomax 7 6 Unknown Scorers 30
Tom Long 4

1886-87 Season Line-ups 2nd XI

Oct 2 Fr RICKMANSWORTH (H) L 2 - 4 2 Gentle F Everett JJ Lloyd E Sharp EM Thody RC Long T Gentle H Johnstone F Miskin WW Nicholls SM Arnold EW
23 St Mary's W 8 - 0
23 City Ramblers L 1 - 2
Nov 20 St Mary's W 4 - 1
Dec 11 Fr WATFORD ROVERS (A) L 0 - 2 0-2 Bushell J Ball JR Tooms AE Miskin H Chatterton HO Paul H Smith HT Thody RC Miskin WW Francis H
Feb 12 Hatfield D 1 - 1
Feb 19 Fr Aldenham Grammar School (A) D 1 - 1 1-1 Wilson AM Roe WN Aylen CH Sargent WA Smith S Selby E Morton PH (1) Coles WS Richardson AJ Sisson H AN Other
19 Rickmansworth L 0 - 3
26 Foxes D 3 - 3 Sutton J Dickson JH Chatterton HO Long T Everett J Thody RC Butler HD Philbrick L Nicholls SM Lancashire P Arnold E