Wrexham v Druids 1-0 (Welsh FA Cup Final)

Saturday, March 30 – 1878
Match: Welsh, FA Cup Final, at Acton Park, kick-off: 16:00.
Wrexham – Druids 1-0 (0-0).
Attendance: 2,000.
Referee: Mr. T. Hingle (Darwen); Umpires: Messrs. S.M. Morris (Shrewsbury) and J.W. Thomas (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Wrexham (2-3-5): E. Phennah; C. Murless, T.W. Davies; A. Davies, A.E. Cross, E. Evans, sen.; C. Edwards, J. Davies, J. Pryce, E. Evans, jun., H. Loxham (C).
Druids (2-2-6): B. Roberts; J. Powell, Ll. Kenrick (C); H. Morris, W. Williams; Ketley, E. Bowen, Dr. Grey, G.H. Thomson, E. Vaughan, J. Jones.
The goal: 1-0 J. Davies (89 min.).

The final match to decide to whom the honor of being the first custodian of the above should belong, took place on Saturday last, at Acton Park, Wrexham, and resulted in a victory for the Wrexham team, who obtained one goal to none. Great interest was manifested in the match and notwithstanding the threat of a snowstorm nearly two thousand spectators assembled to witness it, the native element being largely supplemented by the arrival by special train of a contingent from Oswestry and intervening stations.

From the summerlike 3weather of a few weeks ago it was thought that it would be much too warm for football, and more pleasant for spectators than players, but the contrary was the case, a cold piercing wind blowing across the ground and the sun which at times gleamed fitfully served only to make the cold the more intensely felt.

Play was fixed to commence at four o’clock, but it was not until some minutes past that hour that the Wrexham team, clad in their blue and red jerseys and stockings mad their appearance, closely followed by the Druids, the latter wearing white jerseys marked on the breast with the broad-arrow, a badge perhaps well suited to the war-like propensities of some of the team, but to our mind a spring of mistletoe would have been an emblem fore in accordance with their self-imposed appellation.

The Druids won the toss, and Murless kicked off the ball at 17 minutes past four, and it was taken principally by the wind, which blew diagonally across the ground towards the Wrexham goal, to the left side where the Druids played in touch. The throw in enabled E. Evans, junr., to get a run, but he handled the ball, and gave a free kick to the Druids, this was of little advantage, as the ball was directly afterwards handled by one of their own side, and the Wrexham got a free kick, and their forwards, by some good passing, took the ball into the Druids’ quarters, but hands again gave the latter a free kick, which was neatly stopped by Price.

The Druids’ forwards then made a smart run, but kicked in touch when well on their way to the Wrexham goal. Thomson next got to a run, and took the ball to the left corner, where he was well tackled by the Wrexham backs, and the ball returned to the centre of the ground. Again the ball was near the Wrexham goal, when their forwards got it away, but handled it when half way up the ground. The free-kick was well returned, and C. Edwards ran it up and took a long shot at goal, which the goalkeeper got away without difficulty.

The Druids’ forwards then took the ball towards the Wrexham goal, and after it had been in touch several times Thomson kicked it behind the line. The kick off was returned by the Druids, who again made an attack on the Wrexham citadel, the ball being twice kicked in touch by the defenders. The second throw in put the ball well up in front of the gal, where a determined struggle raged for a minute of so ere the ball was kicked behind a little wide of the posts.

The kick off was again returned by the Druids, but a throw in from touch got the ball away from the goal, and after a run by Thomson, the Wrexham forwards got well hold of it, and by some good passing took it up the ground. The Druids’ backs were, however, on the alert, and sent it well on the left side, were Jones made a run and had passed the Wrexham backs when he played in touch. A corner kick to the Druids was the next noticeable item, but Jones sent the ball behind.

Some fine defensive play by Wrexham in front of their goal next took place, and a free kick for hands was given to the Druids. Kenrick made the kick, and sent the ball in a good direction for being headed through but the wind carried it too far and it passed behind the goal line. From the goal kick a fine run was made by the Wrexham forwards, who got the ball close to their opponents’ goal, from whence it was returned to the middle of the ground, where Kenrick made a fine long kick which Thomson headed just over the bar.

The ball had travelled to either side of the ground when a scrimmage occurred in the middle of the ground and a long shot was made at the Wrexham goal but was stopped by Phennah. Another attack on the Wrexham goal resulted in the Druids’ obtaining a corner kick. The ball was well passed by Ketley and Bowen to the front of the goal and headed away by Edwards and then kicked into touch by Evans, jun., and again brought to the front of the goal, the shot, however, went wide.

A run by Pryce was stopped by Kenrick, and Jones made a run but again played in touch. After some good play in the centre between Thomson and others, the Wrexham got a free kick for a foul. The ball was directly after in touch and then Grey and Ketley got a run and the ball was passed to Vaughan who took a long shot at goal, but the ball went a little wide. Wrexham got another free kick but played in touch, and pending the result of an appeal, Murless picked up the ball, and a claim made by the Druids’ for hands, was of course, allowed and the ball was directly after sent behind the Wrexham goal line.

Again, by some good passing, the Wrexham men got the ball well up the ground, and it passed for the first time to the rear of the Druids’ goal line. Vaughan next got hold of the ball, and some neat passing ensued between Jones, Williams, and himself, the result of which was a corner kick, which sent the ball behind the line. After the kick from goal a series of scrimmages took place in front of the Wrexham goal, Jones and Vaughan being most noticeable in the attack, and Murless and Cross in the defence. A run by Wrexham forwards was stopped by Powell, and the ball was again near the Wrexham goal when half time was called.

On changing ends the home team got the benefit of the wind, which had now considerably increased in strength. Kenrick kicked off and the ball went in touch, and after some good played by Vaughan a dispute arose, and when some minutes had been wasted in argument the ball was thrown up. It was then taken across the ground, and run up by the side, and sent twice behind the Druids’ goal.

After kick off the ball was blown from the middle of the ground near to the Druids’ goal, but was returned, and remained near the centre for some minutes, when Vaughan got in possession, and, aided by Jones, took it up the left side and got a free kick for hands. The Wrexham backs prevented the Druids getting to the goal, and their forwards made a run down, Evans, jun., getting a shot at the goal, but it was misdirected.

It was again behind the Druids’ goal, and then Vaughan ran it up the left side, but the ball got in touch. The throw in took it near the Druids’ goal, from whence Thomson ran it well up. It was returned, and another run made by Vaughan and Jones, the former passed the ball to Grey, who succeeded in evading the backs, but was not fast enough to get to the goal before he was collared by Murless, who sent the ball well forward, and it was taken to the Druids’ quarters, where a kick by Powell rebounded behind the line.

The Druids made another dash, and got again in front of the Wrexham, when the ball was kicked in touch. Some very fine played followed, each side passing the ball in good style, and it made several journeys across the ground. Jones then got a run, and Davies kicked the ball in touch. After being thrown in Bowen and Ketley passed the ball up the ground, but it was returned, and after being in touch, got behind the Druids’ goal.

A run by Thomson was followed by another by Edwards, the latter getting the ball behind the goal, but very wide. Jones made a smart run up the side, and kicked the ball behind the Wrexham goal line. It was afterwards taken near the Druids’ goal, and played twice in touch, and the Grey and Vaughan had run it up the left side, when play was stopped by Price striking Jones, the latter retaliation, a stand-up fight appeared imminent, the belligerents were, however, pacified, and Price made a shot at the Druids’ goal, which the goalkeeper stopped, and then Vaughan and Thomson took the ball up the ground.

It was, however, returned, and a shot at the Druids’ goal made by Evans, jun. It was stopped, and a scrimmage resulted in a corner kick for Wrexham. Cross placed the ball well in front of goal. It was headed away, but returned by Evans, jun., and rushed through the goal after a sharp tussle, and a goal thus scored to the home team just before time was called. This was the signal for immense cheering, and the excited spectators crowded over the ropes, and it is doubtful of time had not been called whether play could have been resumed, at least for some time. The captain and several of the Wrexham team were then carried shoulder high from the ground.

The game was very fast one, and well contested, but if either had the best of the play we think it was the Druids but we cannot but express our great regret that the contest was not of a more friendly character, and played with less violence. Several men lost their tempers, but none went so far as Pryce, who seems rather prone to fighting, at least we have on other occasions heard him threaten his opponents.

The Wrexham team played well together, passing the ball most unselfishly, Evans, jun., particularly distinguishing himself, and to his quick return of the ball to the Druids’ goal must be chiefly ascribed the victory of his side.

For the Druids Vaughan, Jones, and Thomson, of the forwards, deserve special  mention, the former, indeed, seemed the best on the field, and had they played as strongly on the right as the left side, or had a fast man to work with the latter in the centre, they would doubtless have got several goals.

The backs and half-backs on either side played extremely well, with, perhaps, the exception of A. Davies, who frequently missed his kicks, and seemed most at home when throwing the ball from touch.

That the formation of the Association, and offering a cup for competition had done much to popularize the game in the Principality no one will deny, but if it was, as we think it must have been, intended to unite the clubs who entered the Association, it has certainly failed in its object, as many disputes the committee have had to settle will show, and we are informed that the decision of the final match will be the subject of an appeal, and that they will fight the battle o’er again in the committee-room if not on the field.
(Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 05-04-1878)

Wrexham 1878

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