Saturday, January 18, 2014

18 January 1879 - That's The World's Third International Rivalry, Then

On 18 January 1879, England and Wales met for the first time, with England winning 2-1.

Established in 1872, England were the more experienced side, having played seven previous matches, all against Scotland, while the Welsh team, founded four years later, had played (and lost) only three, also against Scotland.

The teams met at the snow-covered Oval in London, with sleet coming down for parts of the match. The weather impacted travel for England's scheduled goalkeeper, Reverand Blackmore, and his spot was taken by Rupert Anderson, a forward. When the match finally started at 3:15 pm, play was limited to two thirty-minute halves.

It didn't take long for England to pull ahead--they scored in the eighth minute through Herbert Whitfield, then doubled their lead with a goal from Thomas Sorby twelve minutes later.

Wales cut the deficit in the second half when William Henry Davis scored--it was not just Wales' first goal of the game, but their first goal ever, as they had been shut out in their previous three games. Reports variously list the time of his goal as the 45th or 47th minute. That was as close as they got, however, as England held on for the win.

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