The Railway, Corinthians and Hayward-1904-05

 The Victoria Hall was the venue for the 1904 AGM, and proceedings were described as "dull to the last degree". The early years and the excitement of the Casuals seemingly giving way to one of 'same old same old' as the Casuals approached their 10th anniversary. So much so that even the President and the vast majority of the committee didn't bother to attend as Mr Rowsell, the chair read out their non-attendances that seemed to be never ending. 

Although, the non-attending Vice-presidents all wished to be elected again en-mass, which they duly were. Amongst them Charles Pitcher owner and landlord of The Mermaid Hotel. 

Vice president Charles Pitcher 

The balance sheet showed just £30, 4 shillings, half of what it had been the previous season. With expenses including towels and embrication and 6d for lemons! The 50 percent reduction of the balance sheet from the previous season, was considered most worrying and mainly put down to the slow lack of interest and a drop match revenue by £60. 

Fred Bond, the old stalwart had decided his time of captain the Casuals had come to an end, and he voiced that "old blood be replaced with new blood". Mr W E Maynard was duly elected to become club captain with Mr Pattern as his assistant. 

Although, the biggest interest seemed to be regarding the A (reserve) team who after winning the East Somerset league the previous season, seemed to have no one wanting to be captain and also it would seem their players being poached by the newly formed Petters United. When concerns were made of four Casual players who had been approached by Petters United cries of "they've not got them, yet" rang out! 

The Pets and the Casuals (reserves) would have their first chance to met Head to head as both had entered teams in the newly formed Yeovil and District League. 

After the now customary September warm up match with Upton Park from London , where the Casuals trialed some new blood in a 1-0  victory, the season started off proper a week later with an away fixture to Warminster in the Wiltshire League. A hard fought match against a strong Warminster team, saw the Glovers return with a fine 2-1 both goals coming on the second half from Leonard Vassell. Vassell's second coming from a run from the half way line  and shot that even had the very partisan home support applauding. 

The team for the opening match of the 1904-05 season being :

Cook, Gleave, Maynard, Cole, Pattern, Luffman, Hann, Peady, L Vassell, Hallett, Beare. 

Boyed by the win, and some would say surprising win against Warminster, the Casuals entertained Frome at Pen Mill a week later in front of a "loud and boisterous crowd" a week. Coming from a goal behind to eventually win 5-2 with Vassell again helping himself to a couple. A week later, reigning champions Melksham turned up at Pen Mill, with a strong side and full of confidence. In what was described as one of the most exciting games to ever been seen at the ground, Yeovil continued their 100 percent start to the season with a fine 2-1 victory . Vassell again on the scoresheet although picking up criticism in the local press for being 'too individual' 

League action was put on hold in early 
 October as the English Cup came round again, this time a trip to Brislington in Bristol. Brislington first voiced about changing the venue to Pen Mill, before finally deciding home advantage would see them through to the next round. 

A crowd of 200, many travelling up by train from Yeovil, saw an aggressive match with the Brislington supporters reported to be unsportsmanlike. The Casuals though played hard and matched the aggression of their opponents, so much so by half time Brislington had had one player transported to hospital and another reduced to walking wounded. By the end, the Casuals recorded a fine 3-1 victory, which made for the journey back home a pleasant one. 

The incredible start to the season continued with a hard fought 2-0 win at home to Trowbridge a week later, in a match the Wiltshire press described as a lucky win for the Casuals! 

The second round of the English cup had not been kind to the boys at Pen Mill, drawn away again to Longfleet St Mary, conquerers of the Casuals the previous season. Over 1000, lined the ropes at Longfleet's ground at Hamworthy, many from Poole, their bitter rivals coming to add support to tbe Casuals. Len Vassell opened the scoring with a thunderous shot, unfortunately it was in vain as Longfleet, seen as one of the strongest teams in Dorset ran out winners 2-1 knocking the Casuals out of the cup and inflicting their first defeat of the season. 

As with previous seasons, a defeat after a fine start or a fine run seemed to affect the Casuals mentally. Devizes were next up at Pen Mill considered one of the whipping boys of the league, alas a late Devizes penalty gave them a much welcome point in a disappointing 2-2 draw. 

The earlier fine form had seen the Casuals joint top with Bradford-on-Avon, and they were next up with a trip up north for the Casuals. For one reason or another a sub standard team made the trip with four players out. However, the Casuals found themselves 3-2 up with 20 minutes to play, two quick Bradford goals put paid to any hope of victory as Bradford took top place in the Wiltshire League. 

The Wiltshire League was put on hold as in early November the Somerset League started with a trip against the old foes of Wells City, the Casuals it would seem to treat the Somerset League in a lacklustre nature, half the team against Bradford being replaced with reserve players. Wells's Athletic ground, where they still play, was well attended by home support, who didn't care if it was a weakened Casuals team or not, rivals were rivals. They were not disappointed as they came from behind to win 2-1, the second goal being 'celebrated with men throwing their caps in the air and dancing like children' 

Street FC arrived arrived a week later, a match Casuals easily won 5-2, in front of a sparse crowd. The sparsity being attributed to Petters United playing Sherborne just up the road. Something that must have set alarm bells ringing with the Casuals committee. 

The usual money spinner of a Boxing day match at Pen Mill didn't wet the appetite of the football loving public, Fulham Amatuers being the opponents. A wet miserable day mixed with the rather lowly opponents resulted in only the real diehards witnessing a Yeovil win 2-1, both Casual's goals coming in the first four minutes. 

The season was starting to have a deja-vu feeling about it, the early promise of a great season slowly being replaced with melancholy. The Wiltshire League hopes took a hit when just one point was earnt in back to back games with Chippenham Town over the New year period. 

The trip up north to play Bath Railway in mid-January can only be described as disastrous, again with a weakened team, including three reserve players, The Casuals were taken apart by the Railway team captained by William Hyman, Uncle of Ernest Hyman, a player who would  come to Yeovil some twenty years later. Bath ran riot and sent the Casuals packing on the back of an embarrassing 7-0 defeat! Another away trip a week later in the Somerset League on a bog of a field at Paulton Rovers, Yeovil turned up with only ten players, missing the spine of the side and came back down the tracks to Pen Mill on the back of a other defeat, this time 4-2.

Despite the Bath Railway fiasco, the Casuals still saw them in the top three after a fine 3-1 away win at Melksham, bottom of the league Wooton Bassett turned up at Pen Mill at the end of August. Yeovil's first home game for nearly two months. Bassett turned up with just nine players and in a match watched by a  disinterested crowd it was just shooting practice as The Glovers ran out 9-0 winners.

Two weeks later it was the revenge match with Bath Railway at Pen Mill  a way to repay them for the 7-0 hammering a couple  of months before. A good crowd had paid their 2d admission, and waited patiently along the ropes and in the grandstand. They waited an hour until a messenger boy from the post office turned up with a telegram informing them that Bath Railway ironically had missed their train! In pre tannoy days It was left to Fred Bond to go out and a announce the news to the crowd - 2d's refunded. Later at a meeting of the Wiltshire Committee it transpired that Bath had deliberately not set off as having only seven players! Alas, the match was rearranged for the end of the season and Bath ordered to make up any shortfall in match takings. 

After a defeat away to Trowbridge and a fine 7-2 win at home to Chippenham Utd, a match that saw the referee failing to turn up until just before half time, the Casuals made the trip to Wooten Bassett, obviously in a confident mood after their 9-0 against the same opponents a few weeks earlier. However with two players, Ewens and Luffman out playing for the county side, a slightly weakened team were still expected to easily win - The Casuals lost 1-0, in a game taking place in near hurricane conditions. The result all but finished any hope of Wiltshire League glory.

In the Somerset League, Wells City arrived at Pen Mill only to find out that the legendary Yeovil Casuals and Corinthians player Gilbert Vassell was making an appearance for the Green and Whites. News of his appearance soon spread around the town as a fine crowd and packed grandstand witnessed that GC Vassell had lost none of his legendary skills, scoring two in a fine 7-0 win. 

As per previous seasons the season was slowly and disappointingly coming to an end, an Easter friendly with Windsor & Eton, won 2-1 by the Glovers hardly troubling the man collecting the admission fees on the gate. However a match the following day against the 2nd Somerset light infantry, a prestigious fixture in those days, brought a larger crowd out to see a 3-1 win for The Glovers. 

These friendlies were nothing compared to the excitement raised in the town  the visit of World famous, The Corinthians to come and play at Pen Mill a very large crowd lining the ropes and the grandstand packed, saw the Corinthians with GC Vassell in its ranks easily sweep aside the Casuals 7-0, with the Yeovil hero scoring four against his home town club. 

The Cornthians in 1905 

With the Wiltshire League's earlier decision to make Bath Railway travel to Yeovil again to fulfil their fixture it left a bit of a dilemma. They were due to play Frome away on the same day in their final Somerset league fixture. The Casuals showing the Somerset league where their loyalty laid, packed off the reserves to Frome to fight out a 2-2 draw at Badgers Hill. 

The first team, played out a farce of a match against the eight Bath Railway players who could be bothered to arrive. The 12-0 scoreline being seen as a waste of time for all concerned! 

The only success of the season saw the reserves win the new Yeovil & District league pipping rivals Petters Utd to the title, where the two matches involving the sides were keenly played and not without controversy as Petters appealing about the late registration of Casuals players. 

To celebrate the reserves played the Rest of the league at Pen Mill. Amongst their opponents was a young forward Hayward from the YMCA, a player who would become a legend and who over 100 years later is still never forgotten! 

Happy days! 


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