England beat Ireland at Trent Bridge

February 22, 1897
As nearly everybody expected, the English Eleven at Nottingham on Saturday were altogether too good for the Irishmen. Playing with easy precision the side literally “romped home” by six goals to none.

The 10,000 people who were present at the match at Trent Bridge, of they saw much unevenness, had all the excellence of the Englishmen to enjoy, with now and again a glimpse of class among the Irish forwards notably Barron and Darling on the left wing. Gilbert Oswald Smith, the English captain, Bloomer, and Athersmith were all very brilliant in the English attack. The left wing did not work so well together, and Bradshaw seemed to be rather badly treated by his colleagues in the matter of passing.

The home halves did their work admirably and the old Oxford man Oakley, at full back was completely himself, which is saying a great deal. The fusion of amateurs and professionals, which in the past had not been invariably a success for the reason of the different methods obtaining, on this occasion turned out efficacious, and no doubt we shall see many of Saturday’s men in the great fight with Scotland on April 3 at the Crystal Palace.

Saturday was a genial day, and both footballers and spectators seemed thoroughly to enjoy themselves. Except that Athersmith played for Billy Bassett who had been injured, there was no change in the original English selected team while the solitary alteration for Ireland was Darling for Peden.

To begin with the play had a fair amount of evenness in it, but when once the Englishmen found their game the Irish defence had a very bad time. A splendid piece of work by Gilbert Oswald Smith and Bloomer led to the latter’s scoring the first English goal within a quarter of an hour of the start.

England were always playing a winning game from this point and, after plenty of fine football two other goals were kicked by Wheldon, so that at half-time England led by three goals to none. Subsequently the play underwent no change in its character. Ireland were outclassed, and England added to their score by the aid of Wheldon, Athersmith, and Bloomer. So England won by six goals to none.

This was the 16th match. England have beaten Ireland 15 times, and one game has been drawn.

England: Jack Robinson (Derby County); William John Oakley (Corinthians), Billy Williams (West Bromwich Albion); Bernard Middleditch (Corinthians), Tommy Crawshaw (The Wednesday), Ernest Needham (Sheffield United); Charles Athersmith (Aston Villa), Steve Bloomer (Derby County), Gilbert Oswald Smith (Corinthians), Harry Bradshaw (Liverpool), Fred Wheldon (Aston Villa).
Ireland: Thomas Scott (Cliftonville); Jack Ponsonby (Distillery), Sam Torrans (Linfield); Jack Pyper (Cliftonville), Robert Milne (Linfield), George McMaster (Glentoran); James Campbell (Cliftonville), George Hall (Distillery), Olphert Stanfield (Distillery), John Darling (Linfield), James Barron (Linfield).
(Morning Post: February 22, 1897)

Charles Athersmith, Aston Villa (Lloyd’s Weekly News: November 6, 1892):

Gilbert Oswald Smith (Lloyd’s Weekly News: October 20, 1895):


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