Kilnhurst 1897

Bradford's first ever FA Cup tie

Bradford FC entered the FA Cup for the first time in 1897 and was drawn away to Kilnhurst from the Sheffield Association League in the first qualifying round.  The following report appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on Monday 27th September 1897. Division III refers to the eight-team qualifying group to which the two teams were assigned.



Only a very small crowd, numbering 300 persons, put in an appearance at this match at Kilnhurst on Saturday. The weather was all that could be wished for, the day being a delightful one, with a fresh breeze tempering the sun's rays, and the "meagre" gate must consequently be attributed to lack of enthusiasm on the part of the villagers, and to the increased price of admission. Very little interest locally appeared to be taken in the match, consequent, no doubt, on recent poor performances of the Kilnhurst players, and the only mild flutter of excitement was provided by the late arrival of the Bradford men. Owing to this the kick-off did not take place until ten minutes after the advertised time.

With a strong breeze blowing down the field, winning the toss meant something to the fortunate ones, as it also gave them the advantage of having the sun behind them; it may be imagined, therefore that when the Bradford representative got the better of the local man in the spin of the coin, the spectators didn't enthuse much. The home team, however, went away with a burst from the kick-off, and for a few minutes were decidedly aggressive, but faulty passing spoilt their efforts. A foul against Kilnhurst gave relief to the visitors, who now put on the pressure, and seven minutes from the commencement their centre forward, Matthews, scored the first goal.  From this point the home team played up determinedly, doing most of the pressing, and G. Gladwin had hard lines in not scoring with a capital shot, while almost immediately the Bradford goalkeeper was called upon to clear twice in quick succession. In fact, Harker was at this stage giving a very good display between the posts. A couple of unproductive corners came to the home team, who were still on the aggressive, and then G. Gladwin sent in a fast shot which went through, but the point was disallowed for off-side. Again the ball came back to Harker, but he managed to clear, half-time arriving with the score:- Bradford, 1 goal; Kilnhurst, 0 goal.

On the resumption, the home team took almost immediate advantage of the wind, and as a result of a piece of combined play amongst the forwards, W. Gladwin made the scores equal three minutes from the re-start. Bradford now played up with more vigour, but though quick on the ball and kicking strongly, they lacked decision, and the forwards allowed themselves to be robbed of the ball time after time. Desultory play in midfield ruled for a time, and then the visitors were slowly but surely forced back, their goal narrowly escaping downfall from the foot of Birkenshaw. Play was hereabouts stopped for a couple of minutes, owing to Clarke getting kicked.  On resuming, pressure on the visitors' goal was continued, and Harker was compelled to give a corner, which was taken by Jessop, but the final shot went wide. Directly afterwards a free kick accrued to Kilnhurst consequent on Harker carrying the ball more than the two steps allowed by law, and from this Birkenshaw scored; whilst the ball had scarcely been set in motion again, when Ramsden notched a third point for the home team. Following this, play was of a give and take character, and with nothing further scored by either side, the game ended:-

KILNHURST - 3 goals,
Bradford - 1 goal.

Teams:- Kilnhurst. - Hammond, goal; G. Caterer and Hawcroft, backs; Bentham, Pepper, and Clarke, half-backs; Ramsden, Jessop, W. Gladwin, G. Gladwin, and Birkenshaw, forwards.

Bradford.- Harker, goal; H. Collinson and Isaac Smith, backs; Drennan, Duncan Menzies and N. Thorne, half-backs; Garner, Ingham, Matthews, David Menzies and Helmhirst, forwards.