Leeds 1896

Bradford and Leeds introduce association football to Valley Parade, seven years before the formation of Bradford City

Bradford FC participated in the very first game of association football to be played at Valley Parade.  This was seven years before Manningham FC turned its back on rugby league and became Bradford City.  The occasion was the Leeds Workpeople's Hospital Cup semi-final replay on 14th March 1896, the first game at Hanson Lane, Halifax, having ended in a 2-2 draw two weeks earlier. The following match report appeared in the Bradford Daily Telegraph on 16th March 1896




These two teams met this afternoon on the Manningham ground.  The teams were as follows :-

Leeds. - T. Nicholls, goal;  A.D. Henderson and W. Ellison (captain), backs; W. Fulerson, John Sneddon and T. Betteridge, half backs; James Sneddon, R. Batchelor, J. Tattersall, A. Fearnsides and J.L. Price, forwards.

Bradford.- Lemoine, goal; Smith and Wells, backs; N. Thorne, Collinson, and R. Thorne, half backs; Matthews, Ingham, Dell, Menzies and Thompson, forwards.

There was a very large attendnace, great interest being taken in the match. A slight wind was blowing, Dell kicked off for Bradford, and the Leeds forwards returned, the ball going out. After the throw in Betteridge made a good shot from the centre, but Price took the ball over the line. When into play again the ball was soon at half-way, where Fearnsides returning, good back play relieved Bradford for a while though the visitors were pressing hard.  A long kick by Menzies took the game over the half-way, and Matthews and Ingham followed up with a good dribble and became very dangerous.  The ball, however, went out. Good play by Fearnsides transferred play to the Bradford quarters where R. Thorne saved, putting the ball into touch. After a throw in Leeds pressed hard, attacking their opponents'  goal with much spirit. The only result, however,  was that the ball went out. When in play again Jas. Sneddon dribbled well up to the line, the ball again going out. From the throw in a foul was allowed. Henderson took the kick, but with no result, the ball going into the net without being touched by anyone.  Fearnsides was next conspicuous by a long dribble, and when almost in front of the post passed to James Sneddon, who shot at goal, the ball going past the post. After the restart Thompson and Menzies quickly transferred play to the visitors' quarters, and for a while the Leeds backs had all their work set out to defend their goal. After a long attack the ball went out. When the ball was in play again Thompson dribbled well up and passed to Matthews, who shot, but missed.  Immediately afterwards Collinson scored for Bradford by a long kick. The game for a time was of an open character, Leeds eventually gaining a corner, Betteridge kicking over from a pass by Ingham. Matthews took play close  to the Leeds goal. Betteridge, however, despatched the ball to half-way. Bradford for a time pressed their opponents hard, but Leeds defended well. At the close of the first half Bradford were having much the best of matters.  Half-time score:- Bradford, one goal; Leeds, nil.


Tattersall re-commenced operations, and Price immediately took play in front of Bradford's goal, where Smith saved very neatly. Thompson dribbled well down the field.  Ellison charged, but gained nothing, the ball eventually going out.  Bradford made several attacks, but each time they were held in check. Price relieved his side for a while. The ball was quickly brought back, however, and Ingham passed to Matthews, who made a straight shot, Henderson saving well.  Bradford immediately secured a corner, after which play centred itself in front of the goal and some good passing followed, but Henderson defended with considerable skill, saving time after time. Batchelor gained a lot of ground by a long dribble and a pass to Price, who worked it to near the line, but it did not remain there long, the Bradford forwards, taking play into the Leeds quarters, gaining a corner. Menzies here shot through. Immediately afterwards Menzies scored the third goal for Bradford. The home team were now having all the best of the play. Leeds was seldom anything like dangerous, and had all they could do to keep Bradford from increasing their score. Wells made a long shot at goal. The ball got into the net, but it was brought back for a "foul". Towards the finish of the game Bradford had matters all their own way. Just before time Dell scored from play in front of the post, the home team therefore winning by four goals to none.

Bradford - Four goals.
Leeds - Nil.