SOME OF THE STORIES FROM THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL.. . . .
THE MATCH OF 3 HALVES
It's not often a referee is
late arriving at a match but on one occasion when that happened it saw a
unique match played in the Football League. Turn the clock back to the
opening day of the 1894/95 League season, Saturday 1st September 1894 when
Sunderland were due to entertain Derby County in a First Division fixture.
Over to the local newspaper who reported what happened next -
referee Mr. R Kirkham of Darwen missed his connection at York and
was obliged to telegram the club that he would not reach the ground
much before 5 pm. This put Sunderland in a quandary. At the
scheduled start time of 3-30pm there were between 8 and 9,000
spectators in the ground and it was not considered good policy to
keep the crowd idly waiting for an hour and a half. On the other
hand there was a difficulty in appointing a replacement referee for
it was no means certain that the league committee would allow the
match to count in these circumstances. Ultimately both sides lodged
formal protests and then agreed to start the match with Mr.
Conqueror of Southwick officiating and leave it to the league
committee to decide.
So with a replacement ref the match
kicked off and goals from Campbell, Hannah and Hyslop gave Sunderland a
3-0 lead at the break. What happened next? Back to the newspaper report at
During the interval the appointed official
arrived and promptly ordered the full 90 minutes to be played with
him as the referee if the match was to count as a league fixture.
This was a ridiculous situation for both players and spectators
alike with the 3 goals already scored by Sunderland counting for
nothing. However there was nothing for it but to comply and the full
90 minutes was played.
the half that had been played wouldn't count and two more halves were
played. Goals from Campbell (2) and Hannah again gave Sunderland a 3-0
lead when the second half-time break arrived but in the third half, or the
proper second half, Derby finally ran out of steam and goals from Hyslop
(2), Campbell, Miller and Gillespie gave the home side a resounding 8-0
victory. John Campbell, pictured right, had scored four goals that
afternoon but only three of them counted - but he still finished top of
the First Division goalscorers chart.
So that's three halves, 2 hours 15
minutes of football, 11 goals were scored but the score you will find in
the history books is 8-0!
The teams that day -
Sunderland: Doig, Meehan, Gow, Wilson,
McCreadie, Johnstone, Gillespie,
Miller, Campbell, Hyslop, Hannah.
Derby County: Robinson, Methven, Staley,
Cox, Goodall (A), Dockery, Allan, Fletcher, Goodall (J), Bloomer, McMillan.
The scoreline Sunderland 8 Derby
County 0 set the scene for the fortunes the respective clubs would
experience in the remainder of the season. It remained the best League
victory of the season for Sunderland's 'Team of all the Talents' who went on to
win their third League Championship in only their fifth season of League
membership. It proved to be Derby's worst League defeat of the season
which ended with them needing a Test Match victory to save them from
relegation to Division 2. But what has remained unique for both of them
was their involvement in that Match of Three Halves!