Hunslet 96

Bradford and Hunslet share championship after bad light prevents extra time

Bradford finished level with Hunslet at the top of the West Yorkshire Association League in their inaugural 1895/96 season. A play off was thus arranged to decide the title. This was played at Kirkstall, the home of Leeds FC, on April 30th 1896. The following report appeared in the Bradford Observer the following day.


In consequence of Hunslet having defeated Normanton, Bradford and Hunslet, the two leading clubs in the West Yorkshire Association League, contested for the championship yesterday evening on the Kirkstall ground. The clubs had met four times previously during the present season, and two of the matches were won by Bradford, one by Hunslet, and the fourth, which was played at Park Avenue on Saturday, resulted in a draw. Thompson, who was injured on Saturday, and Lea were absent from the Bradford team. Hunslet were represented by their full strength. The game was witnessed by about 800 spectators, including a considerable number of the supporters of the Bradford club.

Hunslet kicked off, and play at once became fast and exciting. Bradford opened for attack, Callighan and Collisson retaliated with a dribble into Bradford territory where the pressure was relived by Ingham and Menzies. The ball travelled rapidly, and Dell, Matthews and the brothers Thorne for Bradford, and Eggington, Campbell and Callighan for Hunslet took a conspicuous part in play. Matthews made an unsuccessful shot at goal, and shortly afterwards Ingham and Dell broke away with a fine rush and had hard lines in not scoring. Hunslet quickly reversed the position, and Callighan got in a long shot which went wide of the posts. Menzies was cheered for some remarkably good play which transferred the venue to the Hunslet quarters where Taylor was instrumental in saving a good kick to goal by Matthews.

Eggington doubled back to the Bradford half, and the forwards, by some neat headwork, sent the ball well up to the Bradford goal, but Lemoine controlled a timely kick. Eventually the Park Avenue men had to concede a corner, but their defence was too complete to permit their opponents to score. Menzies and Matthews got away in top style, Campbell, however, intercepted and made an attempt at goal which was almost successful, the ball striking the bar. Smith relieved the pressure by a long kick, and after keen play in the Bradford half, Bradford succeeded in obtaining a corner. Hunslet had to reply to some good kicks by N. Thorne. Eventually Bradford gave way, but the forwards recovered lost ground, and Menzies, taking a centre from R. Thorne, registered a goal for Bradford.

Several corners were obtained by both sides after the restart, and once or twice, Bradford almost succeeded in sending the ball home. Eventually Jeffries and Eggington kicked into the Bradford half and the latter player made an unsuccessful shot at goal. The Bradford forwards renewed hostilities in dangerous proximity to their opponents goal, and Smaling  had to take full advantage of the goalkeeper's priviliges in order to prevent any score being made. Taylor, for Hunslet, subsequently made a good attempt at goal, but Lemoine saved the shot. Matthews, Ingham and Menzies relieved, and a corner kick by N. Thorne was neatly taken by R. Thorne, who sent the ball between the posts, thus giving Bradford a lead of two goals.

From this point, the game was played with even greater keenness, and after exciting play, Callighan managed to make a first score for Hunslet. Ingham received a nasty kick, but continued to play. Hunslet had the best of the game for the next ten minutes, and to loud cheers from the Hunslet spectators, Callighan put in a shot at goal which Lemoine was unable to stop. Great excitement prevailed during the concluding portion of the match, and though Ingham made a cracking attempt for Bradford, no further score was made by either team, leaving the final score - Bradford, two goals, Hunslet, two goals.

In was intended in the event of a draw to play extra time, but the referee decided that there was not sufficient light to permit play to continue. As the season closed yesterday, the result of the match is to place Bradford and Hunslet equal first in the league.,