Tooting and Mitcham could, also, on count on ten men for half and hour. At this stage Beavan, who had not played for three seasons, took up the outside-right position, and the home team improved considerably. The Dons played determinedly, but were unable to overcome the handicap of being a man short.
Originally the match was fixed to take place at Plough Lane, but because of ground difficulties it was hurriedly transferred to Tooting's ground at Sandy Lane. Tooting had already beaten Golders Green and Sutton United, and were playing at home for the third week in succession.
Not quite as formidable as last season, they have acquired some useful players, perhaps the best of whom is English, a sixteen-years-old forward, who is an artist in ball control and was most effective with his centres. But it was the veteran Beavan who was most prominent in attack for the winners. Be had the advantage of coming on fresh when the rest of the players had had a lively half-hour, but for one who had ostensibly retired from the game Beavan showed remarkable speed, and augmented this with some clever centres and shots.
G. Osborne, a younger brother of last season's centre-forward, is also a useful player, and it was in attack where Tooting showed to advantage.
This could hardly be wondered at, seeing that the Dons had but four forwards. These included Bacon, who had one game towards the end of last season with the Dons, and Woods, formerly of the Metropolitan Police. The pair did uncommonly well, especially Bacon, whose thrust and dash were always in evidence. Laker was most enterprising, but, strangely enough, Stevens was slow and unable to do the right thing and was often outpaced by Sargeant.
Two Guardsmen came to the assistance of the Dons. The soldiers thoroughly enjoyed the game, particularly Grainger, the left-back. Time after time he saved dangerous situations with audacious tackles, and in this respect he made full use of his long legs. Richards, the other Guardsman, was at centre-half, and if not as successful as his comrade-in-arms, he was a useful pivot.
Fennell played a tireless game at right-back, and inspired the team as captain, while Hunt revealed excellent form at right-half. This player created a big surprise, but the outstanding man was Maxted, the youthful custodian. He was calmness personified, and some of his saves at close quarters were astounding.
It only remains to mention Clements, who gave a good show at left-half, but who, I think, is better suited in his customary position at forward.
Tooting were well served in defence. Hawkins was, as usual, most reliable in goal, and Martin made Sergeant a good partner at back. In the half-back line Cumberlidge was outstanding, but Parker, who has been at the club for many seasons, was also trustworthy. Another player of long service, Norris, was in good trim.
The Dons took the lead in two minutes. Stevens got away from a pass by Clements and shot on the run. Hawkins turned the ball for a corner, and following this Bacon headed a goal.
Tooting were hard pressed for a time, and Hawkins saved from Laker, but was fortunate when, from a shot by Stevens, the ball struck Martin and glided just wide of a post. Richards and Grainger were useful in their clearances, but following one of these English headed in smartly, but was a shade wide. The home forwards enlivened the proceedings with some determined rai>ds, and Maxted showed excellent judgment in dealing with shots from Osborne, Norris and English.
Tooting On Top
While both teams were a man short the game was fairly evenly contested, but when Beavan came on Tooting gradually gained the upper hand. Maxted failed to hold a fast drive from English, but recovered the ball at the second attempt. As Osborne ran in to deprive the goalkeeper of the ball Richards charged the centre-forward.
A free kick inside the penalty area was the result. A goal could not be scored direct, and Osborne back-heeled the ball to Cumberlidge, who beat Maxted with a great drive. Just before the interval English got to the ball before Maxted, who had run out to intercept a centre, and cleverly hooked it into the net. Half-time: Tooting 2, Wimbledon 1.
Tooting dominated the game after the restart, and Maxted was well tested before being eventually beaten twelve minutes after the interval. A centre from Beavan landed in the goalmouth, and Maxted ran out to meet it. Osborne got there first and lobbed the ball over the outstretched goalkeeper into the net.
Another free-kick to Tooting was taken by Osborne, who again passed back to Cumberlidge. The half-back's effort to score was hampered by the ball striking an opponent, and Maxted was able to run out and clear.
The Dons made headway following a long clearance by Hunt, and Woods fired in a shot which hit the crossbar. The ball rebounded and struck Martin in the back and went into the net. After this the Dons made great efforts to get on level terms, but their attack was held by cool defenders.
Norris shot for goal, and, with Maxted out of position, Richards ran back to clear. In his eagerness the defender handled and gave away a penalty. Martin took the kick and hit the foot of an upright, and when the ball rebounded into play, English shot across the goal. Before the end, however, Beavan centred for Osborne to score rather easily to give Tooting a well deserved win.