Genesis of the Avenue – Bradford’s first-ever competitive match
After four pre-season friendlies, Bradford Football Club’s new association section played its first competitive game on Saturday 28th September 1895. Featherstone were the visitors to Park Avenue. The following report appeared in the Bradford Daily Telegraph two days later.
BRADFORD v FEATHERSTONE
The first match in the West Yorkshire Association League was played on the Park Avenue enclosure between the above named clubs this afternoon. There was a blazing, hot sun, which proved trying to the teams. There were about 1,500 spectators, and as a Rugby “A” team match was to follow play began at 3.15. The teams turned out as under:-
Bradford – H. Killick, goal; H. Collinson and I. Smith, backs; R. Thorne, A. Shepherd, and N. Thorne, half backs; Ackroyd, Ingham, Menzies, Laidlaw, and Matthews, forwards.
Featherstone – A. Thompson, goal; G. North and J. Mossley (captain), backs; T. Holmes, B. Helliwell and R. Turner, half backs; H. Holyhead, J. Cooke, T. Jones, H. Polkinghorn, and J. Stafford, forwards.
The visitors kicked off, and play was carried into the Bradford quarters. Then Bradford retaliated and Matthews made a grand run half the length of the field. The ball was sent to Ingham, who passed to Ackroyd, and the latter had no difficulty in registering a goal (first score to Bradford). Shots were then rapidly exchanged on both sides, after which Ingham and Ackroyd participated in some smart dribbling, but Thompson, the visitors’ goalkeeper, saved nicely.
Then Featherstone took up the running and obtained a number of corner kicks, none of which, however, succeeded. Collinson stopped a strong attack and shot at goal, and N. Thorne put in some useful work. The visitors continued to press, and after several unsuccessful attempts Jones equalized matters (one goal each).
Both sides played up vigorously, and Bradford once more assumed the aggressive, giving Mossley a lot of work. Ingham had a shot at goal and the ball struck the uprights. At this point Bradford were having the best of the game. Matthews next got off-side, and a free kick was awarded. Subsequently a penalty kick was allowed for a foul. This was within 20 yards of the Bradford goal, and Jones was again enabled to score for the visitors. (Featherstone, 2 goals, Bradford, 1). Just before half-time N. Thorne put in a back kick, which, narrowly escaped scoring. Half-time was called at the end of 45 minutes, Featherstone still having a lead of one goal.
Immediately upon the restart Bradford carried play into the visitors’ quarters, and Ingham made a successful shot at goal. Bradford several times looked like scoring, and the visitors had to defend smartly. Collinson and Smith put in some fine work, and Mossley saved a straight shot. Bradford continued to press, and after several ineffectual attempts Ingham put on a third goal for the home team.
The visitors broke away once, but play was again carried in dangerous proximity to the Featherstone goal. Laidlaw scored the fourth goal for Bradford. The visitors managed to clear, and after dribbling were awarded a corner, but the ball struck the post.
Bradford – Four goals
Featherstone – Two goals.