Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Sunderland 7 WBA 1 in January 1895 - a brilliant exhibition of forward play

25th January 1896                                                                          League Division One

                SUNDERLAND   7                        WEST BROMWICH ALBION   1
                   (Millar 30,??,??,                                           (McLeod)
           Campbell 55,76,88,Gillespie)

Referee Mr W.H.Stacey of Sheffield                                                        Attendance 3,000

Sunderland:-- Doig, McNeil, Gow, Wilson, Dunlop, Johnston, Gillespie, Harvie, Campbell, Millar, Hannah.

West Brom:- Reader, Horton, Williams, Perry(T), Higgins, Taggart, Bassett, McLeod, Richards(J), Richards(W), Heywood.

This was one of those dark, damp and dreary days which almost bring on an attack of melancholia and it was no wonder that there were barely 3,000 people present at the Newcastle Rd enclosure. Those who braved the miserable conditions were rewarded by seeing the most brilliant exhibition of forward play since Sunderland first won the league championship in 1891-92. The transformation was remarkable and it was quite evident that the slating they had received after the display at Nottingham had a salutary effect on the forwards.

West Bromwich were at full strength and travelled on Friday staying overnight at the Grand Hotel. Wilson and Gillespie were again able to take their place in the Sunderland team. The ground had only the faintest semblance of grass on it and the top looked very slippery. Campbell kicked off and Sunderland attacked at once taking play up to Readers goal where Dunlop had the 1st shot of the game saved. Reader saved another shot from Harvie and then a free kick for handball against Perry was shot behind by Hannah.

Wilson’s clever pass gave Millar a chance but he sent his cross shot just wide of the far post. The Albion forwards made only fitful attempts to relieve the pressure on their defence but they were quickly frustrated by the home halfbacks.  Sunderland kept going very strongly and Williams was lucky to block a hard shot from Hannah. Millar was then pulled up for offside when he had the goal at his mercy before at last Albion managed to visit the other end where Doig saved from Higgins.

Grand passing between Gillespie, Wilson, Harvie and Campbell threatened the Albion goal again with Campbell driving his shot wide. Reader made another fine save and then Hannah missed the mark with a good effort. A sudden dash by the two Richards almost caught Sunderland out but when the ball was passed to Heywood the offside flag came to their rescue. Sunderland returned to the attack and Reader with a little luck on his side saved again and again. Sunderland won a corner that was cleared to Bassett who streaked away towards Doigs goal. 

Doig had just gathered his shot when he was heavily charged by Richards. Gillespie soon took the play to the Albion end and more shots rained in on the visitor’s goal. The Albion luck held as both posts were struck and many other goalbound efforts were blocked by the full backs. Horton was hurt in blocking a shot from Campbell and went off for a few minutes but while he was absent Sunderland finally opened the scoring. Gow sent the ball well downfield where Campbell got it to Millar who let fly from long range to beat Reader with an absolute beauty in the 30th minute.

Sunderland continued to press hard and after getting the ball from Wilson Millar set up Hannah to fire in a demon shot that was just too high. Capital passing by the home forwards made a chance for Harvie but Williams got the ball away for a corner. Both Campbell and Hannah got in shots that and Reader saved wonderfully. Horton now returned just in time to see Dunlop find Hannah with a capital pass. The ball was quickly moved on to Millar who scored Sunderland's 2nd goal with a tremendous shot.

Another Sunderland corner followed and Reader saved once again. Johnston, Millar and Dunlop all got in shots that that the Albion goalkeeper kept out and then Campbell had a fine shot tipped over the bar by Reader. When the corner came in Millar scored Sunderland's 3rd goal with a grand shot. Albion started the 2nd half well but Bassett was ruled offside and after some give and take play Sunderland worked their way up field again. Hannah sent a fine pass to Millar whose shot flashed across the face of the goal.

Reader saved from Harvie but Sunderland maintained the pressure and Hannah just missed with a telling shot. At last Albion got away and forced their 1st corner which was headed away by Dunlop. Gillespie then ran ¾ of the length of the field to get in a rare shot that went a bit too high. Millar was in splendid form and worked the ball up to give Campbell the chance to beat Reader for the 4th time. Moments later Campbell drove a shot just over the bar and Johnston went close before Gillespie put in good shot that struck the post and came back into play.

Harvie whipped it back in low and Reader was lucky to trap it between his legs. Harvie shot wide from Hannah’s neat pass but Sunderland stormed back again and Gillespie drove in a low cross shot to notch Sunderland's 5th goal. Wilson swung in a free kick to the home side which Hannah headed over the bar. McLeod and J.Richards swapped places for Albion and it almost brought success when Richards sprinted away to give Doig a hard shot to save. The ball was cleared but McLeod got possession again to stride forwards and beat Doig with a splendid shot.

With 15 minutes to go Sunderland were still not satisfied and Campbell got in a fine ground shot that hit Reader on the foot and bounced away to safety. A minute later and Campbell had better luck when he raced past Horton and Williams to drill the ball into the net well out of Readers reach. Sunderland continued to press right to the end and with 2 minutes left a grand solo run from Gow gave Campbell the chance to make it seven for the home side.                                                                                (Newc Dly Ldr)

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