Results

1895/96: In the Black

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Rangers began season 1895/96 with a small credit balance due to the last big game of last season against Newcastle United A and an £8 donation from former playing members now working in the gold industry in Johannesburg, South Africa. Colin Campbell again took the role as captain and it was decided that the club would remain at Shielfield, where further ground improvements had been carried out during the close season, with more levelling off the railway end.

September

In the opening game of the season on September 7th Rangers beat Berwick Athletic 5-3 in a practice match.

A week later, Rangers received a 5-1 beating at the hands of a much-improved Kelso side. Berwick were "dead" from the start, and it came as no surprise that Kelso were four goals ahead when the half-time whistle blew. It took Rangers until the last quarter of the match to up their game when Robison scored a late consolation goal.

Rangers played the KOSB Depot team on the old pitch at the Pier Field. The game was a very one-sided affair, the Borderers having suffered a through draft at the beginning of the week and two players were on furlough but, despite this disparity between the two sides, the Borderers stuck gamely to their task. The result was an 8-0 win for the Rangers with new centre-forward Holloway, who had played for several Tyneside teams, proving a dead shot and scoring five of the eight. Goals by Coulthard, Robison and Murphy, completed the rout.

October

Under atrocious weather conditions, Berwick Athletic opened their new ground at Tweedmouth, with a return match against the Rangers. To make matters worse, several of the Athletic players had left the club due to differences with the committee. Play in the first half was even but, during the latter part of the game, Rangers totally dominated and won 14-4.

Rangers travelled to Duns, on October 26th, where it was thought by many that the local team would run the Berwickers close, but the unexpected often happens. Rangers had improved considerably since the Kelso debacle and won 4-2.

November

The draw for the English FA Amateur Cup had again given Rangers a bye in the first qualifying round. Tow Law were to be the visitors in the next round and in preparation, Berwick took on Leith Rangers at Shielfield. However, it turned out to be a disappointing exercise as Rangers were out in front by four goals to nil at the interval. Leith gave a more spirited performance on the restart, but Rangers added twice more to win 6-1 in the easiest possible fashion.

Local expectations were high with the visit of Tow Law to Shielfield and a large crowd gathered to watch. Rangers opened in sensational form with Murphy scoring after just two minutes' play and were two ahead by the interval after Easton had grabbed a second midway through the half. Full of confidence, Rangers, started the second half determined to hold on to their two-goal advantage, but within fifteen minutes, Tow Law were level. The visitors scored in their first attack of the half. Hope then failed to stop a high ball from rebounding off the underside of the crossbar and over the line behind him for the equaliser. Ten minutes later, the visitors were ahead, and they made doubly sure in the 75th minute by adding again. Rangers were now in disarray and, with the contest now over, it came as no surprise when the visitors rammed home a late fifth.

The weather spoiled any prospect of a good encounter between Rangers and the newly formed Tweedside United club, at their Meadow Field ground. Heavy rain had fallen during the early part of the day and by kick-off time the ground was well saturated. A large crowd had gathered all the same and did not leave disappointed. Passing football was impossible, and it was not long before the rough element was witnessed, with the referee stopping play on more than one occasion to caution both teams. Robison put through a fine ball for Easton to send a rolling shot past a mud-stranded Ogilvie to give Rangers a 1-0 half-time advantage with the keeper unable to move let alone attempt a save. However, United started strongly after the interval and, within five minutes, Hope scored the equaliser. Urged on by their supporters, United continued to have the best of affairs and went close on several occasions, although it was not one-way. Ogilvie brought off one or two smart saves, including one on the ground with half-a-dozen piled on top of him! At the end of the day, a draw was a fair reflection of play and, considering the rough and tumble element, the crowd was eager for the Shielfield return.

A poor turnout watched the return friendly with Duns at Shielfield, in what could only be described as a tame affair that ended in a 4-2 victory for the Rangers.

December

A strong eleven of the Rangers took on the KOSB Depot team, in front of yet another poor turnout. A combination of weather conditions and the 8-0 thrashing the Military received at the hands of the Rangers a few weeks earlier reducing the gate. However, this time the Borderers earned a creditable 2-2 draw in a match that was described as "tough at times, with no innocents on the field."

Rangers were again knocked out of the Northumberland Senior Cup at the first attempt, this time by Mickley, and only by the margin of a very questionable sixth-minute goal. Hope, on the goal line, knocked the ball out flat-handed; Renwick caught it with both hands and threw it up field. Everybody was expecting a penalty kick, but the referee awarded a goal, probably on the assumption that Hope was behind the goal line when he palmed the ball out. This decision disheartened the Rangers and although they rallied slightly in the second half, Mickley were the only team in the game. A protest was lodge with the Northumberland FA against the goal with the players claiming an optical illusion on the part of the referee, but the result stood, and Rangers were out of another cup.

Defences were on top in a festive friendly between Rangers and Tweedside United at Shielfield on Christmas Day. Both teams kept their heads well as there was a lot more than just football on display. Each side was missing a half-back following a disturbance of the type usually associated with local matches where teams are evenly matched, and victory means so much. At full time, the teams were still level and, on the evidence of the football side of events, it was a fair reflection of the match.

Playing in the face of a sharp hailstorm at Alnwick North End, Rangers were on the back foot for most of the opening half as Alnwick struck all parts of the woodwork but failed to score. With the change of ends, Rangers hit the home side with a second-half aerial bombardment but the Alnwick goal held out until Murphy got a chance at close range and side-footed in the only goalof the game with only ten minutes remaining.

January

New Year's Day saw a return to the Shielfield Medals Competition. Rangers played a mixed team against Tweedside United in the semi-final round and just scraped through 1-0.

In the final, Rangers played Berwick Athletic, who had beaten Vale of Tweed, the local GPO workers' team. Athletic scored first with a deserved effort, but Rangers equalised soon after with a hotly disputed goal. The ball was alleged to have gone straight through the side of the netting. Strangely enough, a hole in the net was found at the very place. After the interval, Rangers held the upper hand throughout and secured a second goal to claim the medals.

Tweedside United gained revenge for their Shielfield Cup defeat when they deservedly beat a match rusty Rangers side 4-0 at Shielfield on January 25th. Three goals down at the interval, due mainly to bad defending, Rangers decided to change keeper with Dixon replacing Hope between the sticks, but it still failed to stop a revengeful United side from scoring further.

February

In a medals competition organised by the Berwick Athletic Football Club, to be played amongst the borough's leading clubs, Rangers met the KOSB Depot team at Shielfield in a one-sided affair. Robison gave Rangers an early lead and Bryson added soon after when he met McFarlane's perfect in-swinging cross. Colin Campbell added a third, and before the Soldiers had time to recover, a fourth was scrambled in before half-time arrived. Gordon pulled a goal back five minutes after the interval as the Military upped their game. Midway through the second half they pulled back another from a well taken free kick, but Rangers had plenty in reserve and banged through a further two goals before the final whistle to win 6-2.

After a two-year absence, Edinburgh University visited a rain drenched Shielfield where a medium gate witnessed the beating of a smart-looking team 2-1. Both teams played passing football to the best of their ability, but the elements dictated play and half-time arrived with the score goalless. Seventy minutes had passed before the first goal was scored when Campbell sprinted away and centred the ball; Holloway failed to make full use of it and back passed to Rhind, who lobbed the ball high for Campbell to head home. Rangers then pressed their advantage and were lucky when a low shot from Campbell glanced off one of the Varsity backs and landed in the net with only a few minutes remaining. However, the visitors fought back and scored a late consolation goal.

An under-strength Alnwick North End picked up several local players to make up their number when they travelled to Shielfield for their return friendly. A 15th minute goal by Berwick's Andrew Campbell was all that separated the two teams at the interval, but Rangers dominated in the later stages of the match and a nice strike from Weatherburn secured a 2-0 victory.

March

Rangers were taking no chances of a repeat performance against Kelso, having been beaten 5-1 earlier in the season, and fielded a much stronger eleven. Included in the team were two old favourites who were back in town - James Hastie, who had been on professional terms for the last two seasons with Barnsley and latterly with Rotherham, and John Manuel, who had been playing football for several clubs in the Tyneside area. The inclusion of two old players persuaded a few more spectators than usual to make an appearance at Shielfield, and before they had time to settle on the terracing Colin Campbell had given Rangers the lead with a first-minute goal. Three minutes later, Campbell repeated the act and it looked as if Kelso were in for a hiding, but play levelled out. However, Kelso failed to maintain their momentum after the interval and Robison extended Rangers' lead on the hour. A fourth goal by Holloway shortly after ended the game as far as the visitors were concerned, but they were in luck on the stroke of time when a mistake by the home defence gifted them a consolation goal.

The semi-final of the Athletic Medals tournament took place at Shielfield Park with another "needle" match against Tweedside United. United played fast attacking football from the start, and it came as no surprise when they took the lead. After missing two glorious chances, it was third time lucky when a well-directed shot glanced off the head of defender Rhind and into the net, amid great applause and laughter from the large crowd. However, it was not a laughing matter for the Rangers who levelled the score a few minutes before half-time when Rupert King's superb overhead kick flew into the far corner of the net, leaving Ogilvie stranded. Rangers held the upper hand throughout the second half with James Campbell's 51st minute goal securing a 2-1 victory and a place in the final against competition hosts Berwick Athletic.

The final of the Berwick Athletic Medals competition took place at Shielfield on Saturday 28th March in front of a large crowd. The weather was brighter than the play in a dull first half in which Rangers secured a two-goal lead with goals from James Campbell and a superb over the shoulder shot from Murphy. There was more life in the second half with Athletic having a bigger say in proceedings, but their shooting was well off target. Rangers, on the other hand, took their chance with full effect when Bryson secured the medals with a third and decisive goal.

The final brought the curtain down not only on the playing season, but also the playing career of club captain, Colin Campbell, who retired from the field, but was to remain behind the scenes for many years to come.

It was a disappointing season on county and national level with elimination from the Northumberland Senior Cup and English FA Amateur Cup in the early rounds; however, the club continued to dominate local competitions, winning the Shielfield Cup and Berwick Athletic Medals.

Results
Date C V Opposition Res i
Sep 7 F H Berwick Athletic W 5-3
14 F A Kelso L 1-5
21 F A KOSB Depot W 8-0
Oct 5 F A Berwick Athletic W 14-4
26 F A Duns W 4-2
Nov 2 F H Leith Rangers W 6-1
9 EAC 2 H Tow Law L 2-5
16 F A Tweedside United D 1-1
23 F H Duns W 4-2
Dec 7 F H KOSB Depot D 2-2
14 NSC 1 H Mickley L 0-1
25 F H Tweedside United D 0-0
28 F A Alnwick North End W 1-0
Jan 1 SFC SF N Tweedside United 1-0
1 SFC F N Berwick Athletic 2-1
25 F H Tweedside United L 0-4
Feb 1 BAM 1 H KOSB Depot W 6-2
8 F H Edinburgh University W 2-1
22 F H Alnwick North End W 2-0
Mar 7 F H Kelso W 4-1
21 BAM SF N Tweedside United W 2-1
28 BAM F N Berwick Athletic W 3-0
Appearances & Goals
F EAC NSC SFC BAM
Player A G A G A G A G A G
William Attridge 1        
Andrew Bell 1 2
Thomas Bell 2
George Bryson 1 3 3
Andrew Campbell 1 1 1
Colin Campbell 10 2 1 1 3 1
James Campbell 7 3 2 3 2
William Collins 2
John Coulthard 3 1 2
Charles Dixon 1 2
George Easton 9 2 1 1 1
John Gordon 1
Jimmy Grieve 4 1 1
James Hastie 1
James Holloway 6 6 2 1
Tom Hope 13 1 1 3
Thomas Jamieson 7 1 1 3
James King 4 2 2
Rupert King 4 2 2 1
Tom Lindsay 2
John Manuel 4 2
William McFarlane 6 1 1 1
John Moore 1 2
Richard Murphy 9 3 1 1 1 3 1
George Park 1
Robert Patterson 1
John Renwick 12 1 1 3
Robert Rhind 12 1 1 3
Robert Robertson 1
James Robison 11 4 1 1 1 1
Robert Weatherburn 2 1
Number of players used: 31