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CPFC110 Moments: First Game, 1905

15 September 2015

Crystal Palace Football Club was founded on 10th September 1905. To celebrate last week's 110 year anniversary, we will be reliving a key moment from the club's history each day until Sunday, starting with the first game in 1905.

Early on, a lot of influence came from Aston Villa - including their claret and blue colours - with former Villa reserve player and assistant secretary Edmund Goodman playing a key role in the club's formation. Goodman would go on to be Palace's longest-serving manager, controlling the team for 18 years.

Following the formation of the club in the summer of 1905 an application to join the Football League Second Division was rejected and for reasons that remain obscure Palace were also refused admission to the Southern League First Division, so the club found itself in the league’s second tier along with other clubs’ reserve teams or lesser known outfits. 

Thus on Saturday 2nd September in the club’s first fixture in that league, Southampton Reserves were the visitors to our original home on the FA Cup Final ground at The Crystal Palace. Palace manager John Robson had seen his side play a United Counties League game 24 hours earlier, and with only 16 players in the inaugural squad, he kept faith in the 11 that played West Brompton the day before.

There was a reported 3,000 or so spectators who paid 6d (2½p) to stand on the vast terracing or 1/- (5p) for a seat in the stands for a game that was due to start at 4pm, and they were to see plenty of entertainment as a seven goal thriller would ensue.

It was Palace who drew first blood after only a few minutes as Dickie Roberts scored from a pass by Archie Needham.     

Shortly after the advantage was doubled as Needham went on a fine individual run to score with a terrific drive but the Saints then got into the action with Bob Hewitson in the Palace goal saving well, following which Palace’s outside right George Thompson gained possession and finished a brilliant run with a cross shot to make it 3-0.

However two games in two days began to catch up with Palace and they allowed Southampton to reduce the arrears through Jimmy Soye but a fourth nearly arrived when the post was hit and the ball rebounded back into play. 

With the hosts tiring and forced down to 10 men when Dick Harker had to come off injured, Soye then netted his second just before the break and the Saints forward completed his hat-trick early in the second half to bring the teams level.        

Palace applied further pressure but could not find another goal, and then as the encounter drew to a close Bert Hoskins netted the winning goal for the visitors.

It was a thrilling start to life as a football club. The beginning of a 110 year rollercoaster.
PALACE: Hewitson, Walker, Edwards, Innerd, Birnie, Astley, Thompson, Harker, Watkins, Needham, Roberts.

SOUTHAMPTON: Burrows, Hartstone, Weston, Haxton, Hogg, Metcalfe, Coham, Brown, Soye, Locke, Hoskins.

With thanks to Ian King for providing information for this article.

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