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  Page Last Updated 5 October 2018



58 vs. Scotland
60 vs. Wales

Saturday, 20 February 1897
Home International Championship 1896-97 (14th) Match

England 6 Ireland 0 [3-0]

Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Brook Lane, West Bridgford, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Attendance: 13,490; Kick-off: 3.05pm GMT

England - Steve Bloomer ('very pretty pass from Smith' 17, 85), Fred Wheldon ('free-kick' 27, 'pretty' 30, 'from a scrimmage' 55), Charlie Athersmith ('The ball was passed to Bloomer, who, however, would have been offside if he touched it. Scott came out of his goal, apparently with the intention of meeting the ball before Bloomer got to it, but, seeing the latter stop, he foolishly hesitated, and before he could make up his mind what to do, Athersmith came up and put it in the net' 75)
Ireland - Bob Milne ('After a trip by Williams.... made a complete mess of it' penalty miss c.80)

Notes: Some reports state that Needham scored the second goal and that James Barron scored an own goal to put England four-up.
Match Summary
England Party
Ireland Party
Team Records
Results 1891-1900

England won the toss, Ireland kicked-off.


Match Summary





Referee - Thomas Robertson
32 (1 December 1864), Torrance, Stirlingshire, Scotland Football Association

Linesmen - not known

  Goal Attempts  
  Attempts on Target  
  Hit Bar/Post  
  Corner Kicks Won  
  Offside Calls Against  
The 1896 International Football Association Board meeting:
a few Laws rewritten
  Fouls Conceded  

England Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 1st
Colours: "...followed by the Englishmen in white"
Capt: Gilbert Smith, second, third or fourth captaincy Selectors:
In Charge: Mr A.G. Hines & Mr Harris
The five-man FA International Selection Committee (Messrs Jackson, Gregson, Hughes, Sherrington and Bentley), on Wednesday, 3 February 1897, at 61 Chancery Lane, London.
28th match, W 22 - D 4 - L 2 - F 118 - A 24.
England Lineup
    Robinson, John W. 26 22 April 1870 G Derby County FC 1 0ᵍᵃ
  2nd goalkeeper to face a penalty kick
  Oakley, William J. 23 27 April 1873 RB Corinthians FC 5 0
    Williams, William 21 20 January 1876 LB West Bromwich Albion FC 1 0
    Middleditch, Bernard 25 31 December 1871 RH Corinthians FC 1 0
only app 1897
  Crawshaw, Thomas H. 24 28 December 1872 CH Wednesday FC 5 0
  Needham, Ernest 24 21 January 1873 LH Sheffield United FC 3 0
Athersmith Harper, W. Charles 24 10 May 1872 OR Aston Villa FC 2 1
Bloomer, Stephen 23 20 January 1874 IR Derby County FC 5 11
  Smith, Gilbert O. 24 25 November 1872 CF Old Carthusians AFC & Corinthians FC 8 4
  Wheldon, G. Frederick 27 1 November 1869 IL Aston Villa FC 1 3
    Bradshaw, T. Henry 23 24 August 1873 OL Liverpool FC 1 0
only app 1897


reserves not known


Billy Bassett (West Bromwich Albion FC), had not recovered from his poorly leg and was replaced with Charlie Athersmith.
Fred Wheldon is the fortieth England player to score on his England debut.
England's unbeaten 'Home' run is now extended to a record ten matches.
Jack Robinson's penalty kick save probably makes him the oldest goalkeeper, so far, to do so.
2-3-5 Robinson -
Oakley, Williams -
Middleditch, Crawshaw, Needham -
Bassett, Bloomer, Smith, Wheldon, Bradshaw


Age 24.0 Appearances/Goals 3.0 1.2


Ireland Team



No official ranking system established;
ELO rating 6th
Colours: "the Irish team first made an appearance wearing Royal blue...."
Capt: James Barron Selectors: Team chosen by Committee; Coached by Billy Crone
Ireland Lineup
  Scott, Thomas M. 23 9 August 1873 G Cliftonville FAC 8 26ᵍᵃ
  Ponsonby, John 20 May 1876
in Dumbarton, Scotland
RB Distillery FC 6 0
  Torrans, Samuel 27 27 October 1869 LB Linfield FAC 18 0
  Pyper, John S. 19 9 January 1878 RH Cliftonville FAC 1 0
  Milne, Robert G. 26 1 October 1870
in Inverarity, Scotland
CH Linfield FAC 9 1
2nd (& missed) penalty kick against England
  McMaster, George 20/21 1876 LH Glentoran FC 1 0
  Campbell, James 21 5 September 1875 OR Cliftonville FAC 1 0
  Hall, George nk not known IR Distillery FC 1 0
  Stanfield, Olphert M. 28 26 February 1869 CF Distillery FC 28 10
  Darling, John 19 30 October 1877 IL Linfield FAC 1 0
  Barron, James H. 22 30 September 1874 OL Cliftonville FAC 6 2


reserves not known

team notes:

John Peden was replaced by John Darling as inside-left.
Olphie Stanfield extends his tally as Ireland's record appearance holder. He is already their record goalscorer.
2-3-5 Scott -
Ponsonby, Torrans -
Pyper, Milne, McMaster -
Campbell, Hall, Stanfield, Darling, Barron.


Age 22.5/.6 Appearances/Goals 7.3 1.2


    Match Report

The English and Irish international is looked upon as something of a trial for the greater match with Scotland rather than with any expectation of a close game. Such is the patent superiority of English Association football over that of Ireland. And the match at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on Saturday was only in keeping with many others in the record of England v. Ireland. The Irish eleven were simply outclassed by the brilliant skill of the combination of English amateurs and professionals, led by G. O. Smith, the old Oxford football and cricket Blue, and, playing with a well measured excellence, England won by six goals to none, three of the points coming in each half of the game. There is no necessity to dwell in detail upon such a match...

Splendid weather prevailed, and there were over 10,000 people at the match. - The Times - Monday 22nd February, 1897

    Football League

Football League Division One
20 February 1897
Team P Pts
Aston Villa 22 32
Derby County 23 29
Liverpool 25 28
Sheffield United 22 26
Preston North End 21 26
Everton 21 25
Bolton Wanderers 20 24
West Bromwich Albion 24 23
The Wednesday 22 22
Nottingham Forest 23 21
Blackburn Rovers 24 19
Bury 20 18
Stoke 23 17
Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 16
Sunderland 24 16
Burnley 21 14


Division One matches played on 20 February 1897:

Proudfoot (Settle, Henderson)
7,000 (Ewood Park, Blackburn)

nk, Boyd (Brash, Spiksley)
5,000 (Deepdale, Preston)

Wednesday were without Tom Crawshaw, who was playing for England against Ireland at Nottingham.

(Richards, Forman, McPherson pen.)
7,000 (Bramall Lane, Sheffield)

United were without Ernest Needham, who was playing for England against Ireland at Nottingham.

Gillespie 2, Morgan, Campbell (Schofield)
4,000 (Newcastle Road, Sunderland)


An emphatic Sunderland victory lifted them off the bottom of the table, where they had been for over a month. It was less than two years since they had won their third title in four years, but their influential manager, Tom Watson was now taking Liverpool to the very top.


Football League Division Two
20 February 1897
Team P Pts
Notts County 22 36
Grimsby Town 24 30
Newton Heath 22 27
Newcastle United 22 27
Leicester Fosse 20 24
Manchester City 22 23
Darwen 21 22
Gainsborough Trinity 21 21
Woolwich Arsenal 21 21
Small Heath 20 20
Blackpool 19 18
Burton Swifts 21 18
Walsall 21 17
Loughborough 22 14
Burton Wanderers 20 14
Lincoln City 20 6


Division Two matches played on 20 February 1897:

Fletcher, Bell (Martin, Clarke)
 5,000 (Abbey Park, Grimsby)

(Wigmore, Spouncer)
1,000 (Sincil Bank, Lincoln)

Roulstone 2, Blackett
 2,000 (Athletic Ground, Loughborough)

Boyd, Donaldson (Carnelly)
 8,000 (Bank Street, Manchester)

Haywood 2,1 pen., Caie
 7,000 (Manor Ground, London)


With ten games to go, Lincoln were now eight points adrift at the bottom, following the home defeat by their Lincolnshire rivals. They remained rooted to the foot, despite managing to double their points tally, but they won the re-election vote for the third time in five years and retained their Football League status once again. 


It was on 20 February 1897 that 46-year-old, Michael Melican, his wife, Bridget, and their 16-year-old son, Michael junior, were all drowned whilst attempting to get back home to Scattery Island in the Shannon estuary on the west coast of Ireland. They had bought seed potatoes on the mainland and, even though it was only a twenty-minute journey, it was a heavy sea and they were only in a rowing boat.

Source Notes

Regarding George McMaster's date of birth, NIFG state 1878, Irish Civil Registrations state the only Belfast-born George was born in 1876.

Northern Ireland's Footballing Greats
Original Newspaper Reports
Rothman's Yearbooks
FA Yearbooks 1950-60