Location: London, England
"Football. The Association Challenge Cup. The Final Tie." The Sportsman, No. 1190, 19 March 1872, p. 4, col. 4; "British Newspapers," database with images, Findmypast (https://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 10 May 2020), image (subscription); British Library.
Football. The Association Challenge Cup. The Final Tie.
On Saturday the last of the matches which have taken place in the competition for possession of the Challenge Cup, presented by the committee of the Football Association, took place at Kennington Oval. The two clubs left in to contend for the honour of holding the trophy for the first year were the Wanderers and the Royal Engineers, and as rivals on this occasion were certainly the two most powerful organisations supporting Association Rules, the excitement, not only among the partisans of the respective sides, but among the lovers of football generally, was intense.
It may here be as well to state that during the earlier heats the Royal Engineers had defeated the Hitchin Club, the Hampstead Heathens, and the Crystal Palace, all without difficulty; while on the other hand the Wanderers had only defeated the Clapham Rovers by one goal, having drawn with the Crystal Palace, and enjoyed a walk over in their tie with the Harrow Chequers. Mainly in consequence of their easy triumph over the Crystal Palace Club on the previous Saturday, the Engineers were great favourites with the public, and that the estimation in which they were held was not unjustifiable may be gathered from the fact that for a period of two years they had never been vanquished. Moreover, the clever and effective manner in which they have always played, and still play, together, tended to produce a belief that they would be able, by better organisation and concentration, to defeat their opponents, despite the acknowledged superiority of the latter in point of individual excellence and skill. No pains, however, were spared by the Wanderers to collect their best representative eleven, and in this they succeeded admirably, as without doubt they mustered on this occasion the very best forces at their disposal, having both weight and speed forward, and certainly the two best backs in England to support the efforts of the ups.
Within a few minutes of three o’clock the ball was set in motion by the Engineers, the assemblage of spectators being very fashionable, though the numbers were hardly so large as might have been expected, owing, possibly, in some measure to the advance in the price charged for admission. The captain of the Wanderers won the toss, and thus at the outset his side gained not only the aid of the wind, but a considerable advantage in addition in having a very powerful sun at their backs.
At once the Wanderers set to work with the greatest determination, and at the outset their play forward displayed more co-operation than is their custom, the backing-up being vastly superior to anything they have shown during the present season. By this means, and with the aid of faultless kicking on the part of their backs, they were able during the first quarter of an hour to besiege the Sappers closely, to the surprise of many of the spectators. Thus consistently they maintained the attack, till at length, after some judicious “middling” by R. W. S. Vidal, the goal of the Engineers fell to a well-directed kick by A. H. Chequer.
Ends were now changed, but any expectations of an alteration in the state of affairs were unfulfilled, as without any diminution of energy the Wanderers, although now faced with the wind and sun, continued to besiege the lines of the Engineers without allowing any opportunities to the forwards on the latter side of effecting the rushes for which they are noted. Not long after the above goal the ball was again driven through the posts of the military goal by C. W. Alcock, but owing to a previous breach of the handling rule by another Wanderer, the claim was rightly disallowed.
Still the game was maintained with the most remarkable animation on both sides, Renny-Tailyour, Mitchell, and Rich striving hard to pass the backs of the enemy. Once Muirhead, by an excellent run, did succeed in guiding the ball into the vicinity of the Wanderers’ fortress, but A.C. Thompson interposed at the right moment, and the leather safely removed. After this one or two chances were offered to the Wanderers, but none were realized, although more than one would doubtless have been successful but for the extremely efficient goal-keeping of Capt. Merriman. On one occasion a protracted bully raged on the very edge of the Engineers’ lines, and once during its course the ball was absolutely driven against one of the posts; but here, too, the Wanderers failed to score.
During the latter part of the game it was generally imagined that the Engineers would outstay their opponents, but until the finish the play continued as fast as ever, and soon after half-past four o’clock time was called, the Wanderers thus gaining the privilege of holding the cup for a year by one goal. It was generally admitted that the play all round was superior to anything that has been seen at the Oval. The Wanderers unquestionably surprised the spectators by the effectiveness of their play collectively, and certainly they have never shown to such advantage as in this contest.
The Engineers played hard and well throughout, but were outmatched in this instance, as they only on two occasions endangered the enemy’s goal. It was in some measure the superiority of the backs on the side of the Wanderers that tended to produce the defeat of the Sappers, as the certainty of kicking displayed by Lubbock and Thompson throughout enabled the forwards of the victors to attack without fear. In extenuation of the reverse suffered by the Engineers, it should be stated that one of their best players, Lieutenant Cresswell, broke his collar-bone about ten minutes after the start, and too much praise cannot be accorded to him for the pluck he showed in maintaining his post, although completely disabled and in severe pain, until the finish.
Thus ended one of the most pleasant contest in which the Wanderers have ever been engaged, the posts of umpires and referee being absolutely sinecures. On behalf of the Wanderers, though all played throughout in fine form, R. W. S. Vidal and T. C. Hooman attracted notice by their skilful dribbling. The umpires were J. H. Giffard (Civil Service) for the Engineers and J. Kirkpatrick (Civil Service) for the Wanderers, A. Stair (Upton Park) acting as referee.
Sides: Wanderers: C. W. Alcock, E. E. Bowen, A. G. Bonsor, A. H. Chequer, W. P. Crake, T. C. Hooman, E. Lubbock (back), A. C. Thompson (half-back), R. C. Welch (goal) E. W. S. Vidal, and C. S. Wollaston.
Royal Engineers: Capt. Marindin, Capt. Merriman, Addison, Mitchell, Cresswell, Renny-Tailyour, Rich, Goodwyn, Muirhead, Cotter, and Bogle.
We understand that the cup will be presented to the victors at the annual dinner of the Wanderers’ Club, to be held early next month.
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