Rowdy Scenes, 5 December 1936
On 5 December 1936, The Fife Free Press reported on the Albert’s third round Scottish Cup replay with Musselburgh Athletic at Stark’s Park, Kirkcaldy. The game was notable for a pitch invasion involving several hundred Lochgelly supporters, which resulted in the match being delayed for some minutes, and the police having to call for reinforcements. With around ten minutes played Lochgelly were denied a clear penalty and dozens of Albert supporters invaded the pitch. Within ‘a few seconds two or three hundred of them were chasing the referee, who had commenced to run upfield to follow play’. Musselburgh opened the scoring through Sinclair, the ex-Hearts left winger, before Barnes levelled from the spot. A second-half goal from Musselburgh’s right winger, Moore, was enough to secure victory. However, the Albert lodged a successful protest on the grounds that Musselburgh’s Alexander Sharp had provisionally signed for Hearts and was ineligible to play.
The Scottish Cup tie was finally settled on 26 December 1936, after four replays, Musselburgh winning 3-1.
ROWDY SCENES AT STARK’S PARK. SUPPORTERS RUSH FIELD. Amazing scenes were witnessed at Stark’s Park on Saturday afternoon when Musselburgh Athletic and Lochgelly Albert met in their second replay of their third round Scottish Junior Cup tie. Two special trains had brought the Lothian supporters to Kirkcaldy, and over a thousand people had travelled from Lochgelly district to see the match. The game had only been in progress about ten minutes when the incident occurred which, at one time, looked as if it would cause the game to be abandoned.
Lochgelly were pressing hard. A forward shot for goal from a melee. Armstrong got down to the ball and it rebounded out. Wilson fastened on and drove a high shot for the roof of the net. The ‘keeper was prostrate and a defender palmed the ball out. The player seemed to be behind the goal line, but at any rate it was a penalty. Referee Benyon, however, who was standing within a few yards of the goal, refused the Lochgelly claims. When the crowd saw this, hot-headed Lochgelly supporters poured over the barricades and within a few seconds two or three hundred of them were chasing the referee, who had commenced to run upfield to follow play. They surrounded the official and the game came to a sudden stop. The two police officers who were on duty rushed to the referee’s assistance, but they were outnumbered. Assisted by players, however, they ultimately managed to persuade the crowd to return to the terracing. Meantime, an emergency call had been sent to police headquarters and within a few minutes a patrol car arrived with Inspector Paterson Fyfe in charge of a number of officers, who immediately patrolled the ground and continued to do so until the end of the game.
It is many years since there was a break-in at Stark’s Park. No arrests were made as the two officers had too many persons to deal with.
The Fife side never recovered from the disallowed penalty, but despite that they were value for a draw. It was a very hard tussle, with many hard knocks, but, on the whole, was remarkably free from dirty tactics.
The opening exchanges were fairly quiet, but Lochgelly provided some excitement when White sent to Allan and the winger’s cross was just scraped clear. This was followed by a Wilson lob, which just went over. Musselburgh retaliated and Donnachie found it difficult to clear a clever Moore cross. A great run by Huskie saw the Lochgelly defence in difficulties, and Taylor just managed to beat Moore to the ball. Then came a nasty incident. Lochgelly made a raid and in a melee Wilson shot hard for goal. Armstrong was beaten, and Waddell appeared to punch the ball out. The referee refused to give a penalty, and immediately dozens of Lochgelly supporters dashed on to the field and rushed at the referee. The position looked ominous when the police went to the rescue, and several hot-headed supporters had to be escorted off the field by players and police. The game was interrupted for five minutes.
Musselburgh unexpectedly took the lead through Sinclair, who headed home a Moore cross. The score was against the run of play, for Armstrong had been constantly in action. In the closing minutes of the half, Musselburgh played much better, and fine inter-passing moves gave them several openings, but the shots by Sherrett and Huskie were blocked. Westwood, at the other end, had a good try which was just off the mark.
The crowd had reached 3000 when the game restarted. Musselburgh made headway, but weak finishing kept them from augmenting their lead. After six minutes Westwood got a pass down the centre from Barns, and he dashed towards Armstrong. As he was about to shoot he was grassed, and the referee awarded a penalty, which Barns converted. This made the game keener than ever, and injuries were fairly frequent. Twice Allan severely tested Armstrong with strong drives. Armstrong was again in action when he scooped clear two dangerous lobs from White. A tense moment came at the other end, when Donnachie stopped a Sinclair shot and the ball rebounded to Reid, who shot past from five yards. Next minute a free kick on the goal line saved Musselburgh from going into arrears. Musselburgh went ahead following a melee, Moore scoring with a brilliant shot. Donnachie was injured and had to retire. Musselburgh showed the brighter touches, but the persistence of Lochgelly made them value for a draw. They never recovered from the disallowed penalty.
Lochgelly Albert – Donnachie; Taylor and Graham; Barns, Malcolm and White; Harley, Wilson, Westwood, Reid and Allan.
Musselburgh Athletic – Armstrong; Greig and Waddell; Sharp, Gordon and Sneddon; Moore, Reid, Sherritt, Huskie and Sinclair.
Referee – J. Benyon, Overtown. The Fife Free Press, Saturday, 5 December 1936, 13.
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