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London FA: 21 Representative Games Vs Sheffield (1866-1878)

Representative soccer between English football associations was a popular form of the game in the 1870s and 1880s. Although some might claim that it began with the match on 31 March 1866 played between a London FA side and a Sheffield eleven, the team from South Yorkshire, rather than being chosen from several clubs, was represented by Sheffield Football Club. Furthermore, it would have been impossible to have sent one from the Sheffield Football Association as this was not formed until 1867. Therefore, it appears that we must accept that 2 December 1871 marked the true beginnings of this process.

London FA First Encounter With Sheffield

The story of the 1866 encounter should be told to at least set the scene. William Chesterman, secretary of Sheffield FC, initiated meaningful contact between the Sheffield and London football associations by suggesting a match between the two bodies. This was discussed and accepted at the FA Committee meeting held on 22 February 1866 when it was proposed that members of the London FA clubs should put forward nominations of players for the fixture.

In Sheffield FC’s records, William Chesterman notes that he ‘did not propose for the Sheffield clubs to play the association but our club.’ Sheffield’s selection was, therefore, not a genuinely representative side as it deliberately consisted of players from Sheffield FC. This may further strengthen the view that Sheffield FC thought of themselves, probably quite correctly, as an elite body in the city and illustrates the FA’s confusion over the organization of football in Sheffield.

The match between London FA and Sheffield was played on 31 March 1866 at Battersea Park, with the home team winning by two goals and four touchdowns to nil. The fact that the fixture was played under FA rules probably assisted the London combination. The game itself was reported as a very hot one and, although Sheffield was over-matched, many of the Londoners were badly knocked about.’

In this game, the London FA team first witnessed Sheffield players heading the ball – a sight never seen before in the south of the country and one which caused some laughter. “Sheffield FC practiced the rules of the London Football Association” one week before the game. One of the biggest differences between the codes was offside. (The FA had a fairly strict offside law; the printed Sheffield laws of 1862 had none; the club tried out various offside laws over the years)  The London FA team probably had an advantage due to Sheffield’s relative unfamiliarity with the FA rules.

Should We Play Again?

An early return match was mooted, but disagreements over rules prevented one from being arranged.

Sheffield had offered to play the rules according to whoever was the home team. This was declined by the London Football Association, who felt that as they were formed with the object of creating a universal code of rules, it would be ill-advised to have a team playing to rules set by another club. However, five years after the first game between Sheffield and London FA, the next fixture between the two associations was played.

The FA’s Honorary Secretary, Charles Alcock, captained a team of London-based soccer players that traveled to South Yorkshire. Unfortunately, Charles Alcock had managed to bring only ten men on the journey north. JC Shaw, then President of the Sheffield Association, offered to help make up the numbers by playing for the visitors. The game took place at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, and the local eleven reversed the first game’s result by winning 3-1.

bramall lane ground in sheffield in the old days

By this time, the Sheffield team was a truly representative eleven, comprising players from several different clubs across the city. After the contest, the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent newspaper commented on how successful soccer in the city had become, noting, “This healthy and exhilarating game has gradually advanced in public favor since the introduction of it into this neighborhood by the Sheffield Club some years ago. Until now, it is quite as popular in the winter as cricket is in the summer with the sport-loving population of Sheffield”.

Matches between Sheffield and London FA continued, with 15 taking place between the two teams over the next four years.

The First 21 Matches

That initial encounter and the first 20 fixtures between the two associations are documented.

Certainly, the first sixteen are more controversial and interesting as there was no agreement in England over one universal code of football rules. The exact dates of the London FA vs. Sheffield fixtures from 1866 to 1878 are listed below.

Geoffrey Green in The History of the Football Association and Lord Kinnaird’s scrapbook provides the information for the game in 1866 with the rest of the dates and scores being taken from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent newspaper with various London FA goalscorers being sourced from the publication Bell’s Life.

1st Match – London FA Win

31 March 1866

Venue: Battersea Park

KO: 3.15 pm

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 2 goals 4 touchdowns (Goals: Morley, Martin; Touchdowns: Barnes 2, Tebbutt, Baker), Sheffield 0

The game was pretty one-sided, and the Londoners even offered to end the match ten minutes early, but the visitors pluckily played on.

1. The ground to be 120 yards by 80 wide.

2. Dress of the London FA team to be white jersey or flannel shirt and white trousers.

3. The ball to be Lillywhite’s No. 5.

4. Play to commence at 3 pm and terminate at half-past four.

5. Notice of the match to be sent to The Field, Bell’s Life, Sporting Life, and Sportsman.

London FA Representative Team: Pember (FA President), Arthur Kinnaird (Wanderers), Alcock (Wanderers), Elphinstone (Civil Service), O’Leary (Barnes), Barnes (Barnes), Baker (No Names), Tebbutt (No Names), Ebenezer Cobb Morley (Barnes), Martin (Wanderers), Willis (Barnes)

Sheffield Team: Chesterman (Captain), Chambers, Dickson, Wightman, F Knowles, J Knowles, Denton, Baker, Shepherd, Webster Shaw

2nd Match – First Sheffield Win

2 December 1871

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 2.50 pm

Attendance: 2000

Rules: Sheffield Rules

Final Score: Sheffield 3 (Wood, Mills, Sampson), London 1 (Rivett-Carnac)

The Wanderers club issued a challenge to play any team in the world. The Sheffield Association accepted the challenge and offered to play two games, one in London under FA rules and one in Sheffield under the laws of Sheffield. This offer was declined as the point of the FA rules was that they were designed to provide a universal code for soccer, and playing under Sheffield rules somewhat defeated the object. However, this problem was circumvented by Charles Alcock, who suggested that he might bring a team of his choosing, which might be termed a London Football Association representative side.

The Sheffield eleven was drawn up following a trial process after nominations had been received from delegates to the association. At that time, there were 16 clubs affiliated.

Incredibly the London FA team arrived just before 2 pm, lunched, and kicked off at 2.50 pm! Unfortunately, however, they were a man short, and JC Shaw, one of the founders of Hallam FC, made up the numbers. Interestingly the London team successfully exhibited the art of dribbling and backing-up should the dribbler lose control, which was a feature of public school football.

The visitors were also guilty of deliberately handling the ball, still part of some school games but prohibited in Sheffield. There was no crossbar, with a cord being used to connect the posts. There was no halftime; ends were changed after each goal was scored.

This was a tactical victory for Sheffield, whose formation used the wider positions to good effect while the Londoners attacked too narrow a front.

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, WH Carr, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, A Wood, TC Willey, W Lockwood, C Mills, J Hollingworth, H Ash

London FA team: CW Alcock (Captain; Wanderers), CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), Percy Currey (Crystal Palace), PB Soden (Crystal Palace), P Rivett-Carnac (Harrow Chequers), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), C Warner (Upton Park), CW Stephenson (Wanderers), P Weston (Barnes), E Weston (Barnes), JC Shaw (substitute, Sheffield FA)

Umpire: HW Chambers (Sheffield)

charles clegg playing for sheffield wednesday
Sheffield captain Charles Clegg

3rd Match – London FA Victory

27 January 1872

Venue: The Oval

KO: 3.10 pm

Attendance: A few hundred

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 1 (Carr – own goal) Sheffield 0

Again the London team’s adept dribbling was stressed, and the home side was strengthened from the previous encounter. The home team was conspicuously the heavier team. The game was 12-a-side due to a misunderstanding regarding the fitness of one Sheffield player to participate. One Sheffield player, GH Sampson, headed the ball causing great amusement, a tactic the Yorkshire team frequently employed.

Half-time was called, no goals were scored, and ends were changed. When London FA scored, however, there should have been no change of ends as fairness dictated that each team should enjoy the conditions for an equal amount of time. This rule was not enforced, and ends were changed. The reporter suggests towards the end that each set of rules should be played for one half, allowing the public to judge which is the most appropriate.

London FA team: CW Alcock (Wanderers), CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), MP Betts (Harrow Chequers), C Holden (Clapham Rovers), TC Hooman (Wanderers), CW Stephenson (Wanderers), AC Thompson (Wanderers), A Morten (Crystal Palace), RWS Vidal (Westminster School), P Weston (Barnes), CF Woolaston (Oxford University), RC Welch (Wanderers)

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), GH Sampson, T Willey, JC Clegg, WE Clegg, A Wood, A Reaney, J Hollingsworth, C Mills, WH Carr, H Ash, JP Donovan

Umpires: A Stair (London), RW Dickinson (Sheffield)

4th Match – Sheffield Victory

2 March 1872

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.10 pm

Attendance: 5000. Barrier collapsed, and front row pitched forward, but no one hurt (Mixed Rules)

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 2 (Horton, JC Clegg), London 1 (Chenery)

Receipts were £96, one-third for the use of the ground, expenses then paid and the remainder divided between the two associations. First half Sheffield rules, Sheffield won 2-1. Second half FA rules, draw 0-0. Overall score 2-1 to Sheffield. The FA adopted two Sheffield rules as a direct result of this match.

They were the corner kick following a defender kicking the ball behind his own goal line – previously, a goal kick was awarded no matter who kicked it behind. Secondly, a free-kick was now to be awarded following a foul. Finally, speeches after the match tended to mention amalgamation of rules.

Sheffield team: J Marsh, JC Clegg, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, A Wood, WH Carr, C Mills, J Hollingsworth, H Ash, W Horton, F Butler.

London FA team: CW Alcock (Wanderers), CJ Chenery (Wanderers), P Currey (Wanderers), A Morten (Crystal Palace), D Allport (Crystal Palace), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), EH Elliott (Harrow Chequers), RE Crawford (Harrow Chequers), TC Hooman (Wanderers), FB Soden (Crystal Palace), E Lloyd (Crystal Palace)

Umpires: RW Dickenson (Sheffield); J Pashley (London)

5th Match – Sheffield Win

2 November 1872

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.05 pm

Attendance: 4500

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 4 (JC Clegg (2), Wood, Willey), London FA 1 (Kennedy)

Again the Sheffield men appeared slighter in build in comparison to their London FA counterparts. Marsh, the Sheffield captain, heads the ball to clear it from the goal, causing the reporter to comment that London players rarely use this particular skill. A crossbar rather than a tape or cord was used. Sheffield goalkeeper Carr must have been tall as he could reach the crossbar. Following the game at the after-match banquet, the Sheffield players wore badges presented to them by RW Dickenson, the Football Association’s vice-president.

Sheffield team: J Marsh, JC Clegg, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, A Wood, WH Carr, C Mills, J Hollingsworth, H Ash, TC Willey, W Widdowson

London FA team: CW Alcock, CJ Chenery, A Morten, AG Bonsor, AGF Kinnaird, J Brockbank, GG Kennedy, G Holden, RC Welch, EH Elliott, TC Hooman

Umpires: HW Chambers, RW Dickenson (Both Sheffield)

6th Match – London FA Win

4 January 1873

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.55 pm

Attendance: Limited number

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 1 (Chenery) Sheffield 0

Conditions were atrocious, and the players came off the field splattered with mud. Charging continued to be a game feature and was much commented on in the various newspaper reports. Ends were not changed after the game’s only goal had been scored, as was the custom in the London FA rules. This appeared fairer and is more akin to today’s game.

London FA team: A Morten (Crystal Palace), MP Betts (Harrow Chequers), CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), AG Bonsor (Old Etonians), RW Powell (Wanderers), AF Kinnaird (Old Etonians), CH Wollaston (Oxford University), Kingsford (Crystal Palace), RC Welch (Wanderers), Howell (Wykehamist [Winchester School]), Barker (Hertfordshire Wanderers)

Sheffield team: J Marsh, JC Clegg, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, WH Carr, J Hollingsworth, C Mills, A Wood, H Ash, G Anthony, WH Stacey

Umpire: A Stair (London)

Lord Kinnaird
London FA star Arthur Kinnaird

7th Match – Sheffield Win

15 March 1873

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.25 pm

Attendance: 5000

Rules: Mixed

Final Score: Sheffield 2 (JC Clegg, Willey) London 1 (Chenery)

The players of both teams were photographed before the game. Again Sheffield rules played for the first half and the London FA code for the second period. Some of the away team arrived on Friday night, and the Londoners would also play Nottingham in that city before their return. A stand had been erected and additional earthworks provided for spectators.

Sheffield: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, TC Willey, WH Carr, A Kirke-Smith, R Gregory, WH Stacey, JRB Owen, I Bailey

London FA team: AF Kinnaird (Captain, Old Etonians), CJ Chenery (Wanderers), AC Thompson (Wanderers), AG Bonsor (Old Etonians), H Heron (Uxbridge), A Morten (Crystal Palace), RK Kingsford (Civil Service), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), R Barker (Hertfordshire Rangers), C Warner (Upton Park), AJ Heath (Harrow Chequers)

Umpires: CW Alcock (London), RW Dickenson (Sheffield)

8th Match – Sheffield Annihilation

1 November 1873

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.10 pm

Attendance: 5000

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 8 (Sampson 2, Willey, Owen 3, Wood 2) London FA 2 (Brockbank, H Heron)

London FA was easily beaten, though the final score flattered Sheffield somewhat. Charles Alcock put his team’s poor performance down to them playing “All of a lump… in fact, in several lumps”, which conjures up a picture of packs of players dribbling in groups with substantial numbers of ‘backers up.’ Spreading out and passing the ball were not parts of London’s tactics.

The leadership shown by John Marsh, the Sheffield captain, was, not for the first time, highly praised. So it seems strange that he was never selected to play for England.

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, WE Clegg, GH Sampson, TC Willey, WH Carr, A Wood, R Gregory, WH Stacey, JRB Owen, W Widdowson

London FA team: CW Alcock (Captain, Wanderers), CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), H Heron (Uxbridge), A Morten (Crystal Palace), RK Kingsford (Old Malburians), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), A Shuker (Trent College), CJ Morice (Barnes), F Heron (Uxbridge), A Hurrell (Cambridge University), J Brockbank (Wanderers)

Umpires: J Pashley, RW Dickinson

9th Match – First Draw

william and charles clegg3 January 1874

Venue: The Oval

KO: 3.00 pm

Attendance: 100

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 1 (Kingsford), Sheffield 1 (Wood)

Conditions were described as slippery and wretched. Universal rules were a subject of debate and, although these did not exist at that time, the reporter opined that the associations continued to move closer regarding laws of the game. Offside appeared to be the sticking point.

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, WE Clegg, T Buttery, F Sellars, B Tingle, W Wilkinson, WH Carr, A Wood, R Gregory, WH Stacey

London FA team: CW Alcock (Captain, Wanderers), CH Wollaston (Wanderers), CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), H Heron (Uxbridge), R Ogilvie (Clapham Rovers), RK Kingsford (Old Malburians), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), R Barker (Hertfordshire Rangers), G Lubbock (Old Etonians), J Brockbank (Cambridge University), AW Welch (Harrow Chequers)

Umpires: A Morten (London), RW Dickinson (Sheffield)

10th Match – Sheffield Victory

4 April 1874

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.15 pm

Attendance: 4000

Rules: Mixed

Final Score: Sheffield 4 (Dixon, Gregory, Anthony, Owen) London FA 2 (Morten, Farmer)

The match was littered with injuries, and the reporter likened it to a battle scene. The winning of the toss enabled the choice of ends and which code would be played. Previous disputes regarding players stopping and then conceding a goal because they had stopped playing were discussed. The use of a whistle or the raising of a flag or walking stick were all suggested. Both sides were reduced to ten men through injury.

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, JRB Owen. HE Dixon, WH Carr, G Anthony, R Gregory, WH Stacey, T Buttery, J Hunter, W Wilkinson

London FA team: CJ Chenery (Crystal Palace), H Heron (Uxbridge), A Morten (Crystal Palace – Captain), RK Kingsford (Civil Service), RC Welch (Harrow Chequers), J Brockbank (Wanderers), E Lubbock (Old Etonians), AG Bonsor (Old Etonians), R Barker (Hertfordshire Rangers), Farmer (Wanderers), RWS Vidal (Oxford University)

Umpires: RW Dickinson (Sheffield), CW Alcock (London)

11th Match – Another Sheffield Win

7 November 1874

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.15

Attendance: 6000

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 2 (Owen, WE Clegg) London 0

London FA arrived two players short, and substitutes from Sheffield were provided. The home team wore new scarlet jerseys and nightcaps with the crossed arrows badge on the former and the word ‘Sheffield’ embroidered across it.

Sheffield team: J Marsh (Captain), JC Clegg, WE Clegg, JRB Owen. A Wood, WH Carr, G Anthony, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson

London FA team: CW Alcock (Wanderers), AF Kinnaird (Old Etonians), FT Green (Wanderers), WDO Greig (Farningham), JB Van Sommer (Pilgrims), AH Stratford (Wanderers), HHW Sparham (Cambridge University), A Morten (Crystal Palace), J Brockbank (Cambridge University), JG Wylie (substitute, Sheffield FA), M Ellison (substitute, Sheffield FA)

Umpires: RW Dickinson (Sheffield); C Hill (London)

william clegg sheffield footballer
Sheffield player William Clegg

12th Match – London FA Victory

16 January 1875

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.50 pm

Attendance: 1000

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 3 (Wollaston 2, Bonsor) Sheffield 1 (Gregory)

Sheffield fielded a relatively weak eleven due to injuries and other commitments. A new feature was using a referee who could be appealed to if the two umpires could not decide. However, this new trend appears not to have continued – perhaps due to a lack of manpower – and would not re-surface until November 1876.

Sheffield team: WE Clegg, W Orton, A Wood, WH Carr, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, JG Wylie, E Bowling, J Hanson

London FA team : CW Alcock (Wanderers – Captain), AS Savage (Crystal Palace), AF Kinnaird (Old Etonians), RK Kingsford (Wanderers), FT Green (Wanderers), E Lubbock (Old Etonians), AG Bonsor (Old Etonians), H Heron (Swifts), CH Wollaston (Wanderers), R Barker (Hertfordshire Rangers), FH Birley (Wanderers)

Referee: W Field; Umpires: RW Dickinson (Sheffield), A Morten (London)

13th Match – Two In A Row

27 March 1875

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.15 pm

Attendance: 6000

Rules: Mixed

Final Score: Sheffield 0 London FA 2 (Unnamed – scrimmage), Kenrick

This was the last match played with one set of rules used in one half and then the other set for the second period. It was also the first time that London FA had won in Sheffield.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg, WE Clegg, JRB Owen, A Wood, WH Carr, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, JG Wylie, J Houseley

London FA team: CW Alcock (Captain, Wanderers), AF Kinnaird (Old Etonians), H Heron (Wanderers), CH Wollaston (Wanderers), FH Birley (Wanderers), WS Rawson (Oxford University), J Kenrick (Wanderers), H Emmanuel (Wanderers), HS Ottaway (Oxford University), FB Maddison (Wanderers), AH Stratford (Wanderers)

Umpires: HW Chambers, RW Dickinson (Both Sheffield)

14th Match – Hattrick For London FA

1 January 1876

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.45 pm

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 4 (Unnamed, Kinnaird, Kenrick, Bain) Sheffield 0

The reporter noted the fact that London’s FA successes had been more regular in recent matches. It was also mentioned that Charles Alcock had retired from the playing side of the game, with several tributes being given. He became a referee, and this was his first match of officiating these representative matches.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg, WE Clegg, WH Carr, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, J Houseley, G Anthony, W Mosforth, E Bowling

London FA team: AF Kinnaird (Old Etonians), EB Haygarth (Swifts), AH Savage (Crystal Palace), CH Wollaston (Wanderers), WS Rawson (Captain, Oxford University), J Kenrick (Wanderers), AH Stratford (Wanderers), WJ Maynard (First Surrey Rifles), WS Buchanan (Clapham Rovers), EP Barlow (Crystal Palace), J Bain (Oxford University)

Umpires: RW Dickinson (Sheffield); CW Alcock (London)

Ebenezer Morley founder of the fa
First goalscorer Ebenezer Cobb Morley in first Inter-Association match

15th Match – Sheffield Massacre

25 March 1876

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.05 pm

Attendance: 6000

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 6 (Sorby 3, Gregory 2, Mosforth) London FA 0

This was the first season that only two rather than three matches were played. However, the reporter maintained that the first clash was in 1871 rather than 1866, supporting the early suggestions in this article.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg, WE Clegg, WH Carr, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, J Houseley, A Woodcock, W Mosforth, H Sorby

London FA team: AF Kinnaird, JH Bridges, FH Birley, HS Bevington, J Kenrick, AH Stratford, WS Buchanan, EP Barlow, OE Smith, WDO Greig, FT Barlow

Umpires: HW Chambers, RW Dickinson (Both Sheffield)

16th Match – Another Sheffield Victory

11 November 1876

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.10 pm

Attendance: 3500

Rules: Sheffield

Final Score: Sheffield 5 (Anthony, Hunter, Gregory 2, Orton) London FA 1 (AW Corsham)

Four Sheffield players joined another severely depleted London FA XI, all their club affiliations being affixed in the newspaper report.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg (Captain), WE Clegg, WH Carr, R Gregory, WH Stacey, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, J Houseley, G Anthony, W Mosforth, W Orton

London FA team: AF Kinnaird (Captain, Old Etonians), J Hughes (Wanderers), FD Simpson (Old Harrovians), CE Smith (Wanderers), AW Cursham (Wanderers), MP Betts (Old Harrovians), D Kenrick (Shropshire Wanderers), SS Dixon (substitute, Sheffield Club), RA Sorby (substitute, Sheffield Club), WA Matthews (substitute, Sheffield Club), J Rodgers (substitute, Brincliffe Club)

Referee: JC Shaw; Umpires: RW Dickinson, HW Chambers (All Sheffield)

17th Match – London FA Win

30 December 1876

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.45 pm

Attendance: 150 (Atrocious weather conditions)

Rules: London FA

Final Score: London 3 (Parry, Barker, F Heron) Sheffield 1 (Gregory)

Interestingly the FA was referred to as ‘the parent association,’ which indicates some deference to London’s FA superior standing in the game and is almost a year before acceptance of a national set of football rules. Barker’s goal was a header from a corner.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg (Captain), WE Clegg, WH Carr, R Gregory, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, J Houseley, G Anthony, W Mosforth, P Andrews, S Charles

London FA team : WS Rawson, EH Stratford, BG Jarrett, FB Maddison, H Heron, F Heron, R Barker, CH Wollaston, EH Parry, CE Smith, MP Betts (Captain)

Referee: CA Denton (Oxford University); Umpires: W Littlehales (Sheffield), SR Heron (London)

18th Match – London Annihilation

17 November 1877

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.10 pm

Attendance: 7000

Rules: Subsequently games played under FA laws

Final Score: Sheffield 0, London FA 6 (Wylie 2, H Heron, Wollaston, Rawson, Sparks)

There was some controversy with the selection of the Sheffield team. However, this might be seen as a comment with the benefit of hindsight as they were beaten so comprehensively that it was easy to judge them to have been deficient following the match. Nevertheless, the home team contained some good players, especially Mosforth, Hunter, the two Cleggs, Carr and Andrews. In addition, Sheffield provided a substitute – WR Wake – for the Londoners who were a man short.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg (Captain), WE Clegg, H Sorby, WH Carr, R Gregory, J Hunter, J Houseley, T Bishop, G Anthony, W Mosforth, P Andrews

London FA team: AF Kinnaird (Captain), WS Rawson, NC Bailey, BG Jarrett, H Heron, H Wace, W Barry, JG Wylie, FJ Sparks, CH Wollaston, WR Wake (substitute, Sheffield FA)
Referee: W Skinner; Umpires: RW Dickinson, HW Chambers (All Sheffield)

the oval kennington fa cup final venue

19th Match – London FA Win

29 December 1877

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.45 pm

Rules: FA laws

Final Score: London FA 2 (Wylie, Dorling) Sheffield 1 (Mosforth) Wylie’s goal was another header from a corner.

Sheffield team: JC Clegg (Captain), WE Clegg, WH Carr, T Buttery, GB Marples, A Woodcock, P Paterson, J Hunter, W Wilkinson, J Houseley, W Gosforth

London FA team: C Warner (Upton Park), EB Haygarth (Wanderers), FW Hotham (Herts Rangers), NC Bailey Clapham Rovers), BG Jarrett (Old Harovians), P Fairclough (Old Foresters), W Dorling (Barnes), JG Wylie (Wanderers), F Barry (Old Foresters), CH Wollaston (Captain – Wanderers), H Heron (Wanderers)

Referee: CW Alcock (FA); Umpires: CJ Morice (Barnes), RW Dickenson (Sheffield)

20th Match – Draw

16 November 1878

Venue: Bramall Lane

KO: 3.00 pm

Attendance: 4000

Rules: FA laws

Final Score: Sheffield 1 (TH Sorby) London FA 1 (Bailey)

The Sheffield reporter was disappointed that London FA did not bring all their big-name players and also commented that, not for the first time, they had arrived a man short and lacking an umpire. In addition, the weakness of the visitors’ eleven adversely affected the attendance.

Sheffield team: F Stacey, WE Clegg (Captain), J Houseley, GB Marples, J Hunter, T Buttery, A Woodcock, TH Sorby, W Mosforth, J Tomlinson, E Barber

London FA team: NC Bailey, BG Jarrett, EC Bambridge, W Dorling, AJ Stanley, HSW Jarrett, CAL Jones, JR Fox, H Wace, JG Wylie, RA Sorby (substitute, Sheffield FA)

Referee: W Skinner; Umpires: JC Clegg, WR Wake (All Sheffield)

21st Match – The Third Draw

28 December 1878

Venue: The Oval

KO: 2.50 pm

Attendance: Very fair company

Rules: FA rules

Final Score: London FA 3 (Lowis, Wollaston, Fairclough) Sheffield 3 (Hunter, Barber, Mosforth)

The game was by now being played under a national code, that of the FA, and, as such, comment and controversy became limited. New drainage at The Oval enabled the game to go ahead on a surprisingly good playing surface.

London FA team: CH Wollaston (Captain, Wanderers), J Lowis (Old Harrovians), NC Bailey (Clapham Rovers), BJ Jarrett (Old Harrovians), AH Stratford (Wanderers), F Field (Clapham Rovers), EC Bambridge (Swifts), P Fairclough (Old Foresters), F Sparks (Hertfordshire Rangers), W Dorling (Barnes), C Warner (Upton Park)

Sheffield team: WE Clegg (Captain), J Hunter, R Gregory, T Buttery, A Woodcock, JH Sorby, W Mosforth, H Corsham, J Tomlinson, H Barber, HN Moss

Referee: J Kirkpatrick (Civil Service); Umpires – W Peirce Dix (Sheffield Association), R Bastard (Upton Park)

Who Was The Superior Team

No team won while playing under the other’s rules. The more interesting reports and points of controversy are in the early years when each association had its own set of rules.

Comparisons between the two sets invariably occurred in the press. London FA often arrived in Sheffield short of players. However, it might be remembered that when there were three games between the associations, the third match was always hosted by Sheffield. Attendances were substantially higher in Sheffield.

The reporter often commented on the difference in physical stature between the two elevens, the southerners weighing substantially more than their opponents. Each team list usually noted the club affiliations of the London players, but this only occurred in later matches for their Sheffield opponents. However, even this was on an irregular basis. This is hard to explain unless the early Sheffielders represented multiple sides, though this was generally the case with the best English footballers around this time.

Sheffield And London FA Moving Forward

After a series of 21 matches, the Sheffield Association adopted London FA Laws in 1877, while the Football Association absorbed certain clauses from the Sheffield code. A common set of Laws raised the FA to a level above all Counties under its authority as the central authority of the game.
On 2nd February 1882, the London Football Association was formed to cater to club football in the capital in order for the Football Association to concentrate on international matches against Scotland, Wales and Ireland, as well as determining the Laws of the Game.
In the London FA’s area, a circle 12 miles in radius with Charing Cross at its center, all levels of men’s, women’s, and junior football are managed. Having more than 2,000 clubs, over 1,000 referees, and over 50 leagues/competitions, this is one of the biggest football associations in the country.

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