1874 FA Cup Final

The 1874 FA Cup final was a football match between Oxford University and Royal Engineers on 14 March 1874 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the third final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (known in the modern era as the FA Cup). Both teams had previously reached the final but been defeated by Wanderers. The Engineers had reached the final with comparative ease, scoring sixteen goals and conceding only one in the four previous rounds. Oxford's opponents in the earlier rounds had included two-time former winners Wanderers.

The final was decided by two goals from Oxford in the first twenty minutes. Their opponents had spent two weeks training for the match, an innovative concept at the time, but were repeatedly thwarted by Charles Nepean, the Oxford goalkeeper. The Engineers were said to have missed their best back, Lieut. Alfred Goodwyn, who had been posted overseas.

1874 FA Cup Final
1896 FA Cup
Event1873–74 FA Cup
Oxford University Royal Engineers
2 0
Date14 March 1874
VenueKennington Oval, London
RefereeAlfred Stair (Upton Park F.C.)

Route to the final

Oxford univ afc 1874
Oxford University's F.A. Cup winning side of 1874. Standing: Vidal, Green, Mackarness, Johnson, Benson, Birley, Nepean; Seated: Ottaway, Patton, Maddison, Rawson.

Oxford University and the Chatham-based Royal Engineers were among 28 entrants to the competition in the 1873–74 season. Both teams were ranked among the strongest in the country at the time, especially the Engineers who played 86 games between 1871 and 1875 and lost only three, scoring a total of 240 goals and conceding only 20.[1]

Both teams progressed through the first round of the competition with little difficulty, Oxford defeating Upton Park 4–0 and the Engineers winning 5–0 against Brondesbury. In the second round, the University beat Barnes 2–0 and the "Sappers", as the Engineers were nicknamed, beat Uxbridge 2–1.[2]

The Engineers comprehensively defeated their quarter-final opponents, Maidenhead, winning 7–0, the first time a team had ever scored as many as seven goals in an FA Cup match.[2][3][4] Oxford, on the other hand, were paired with Wanderers, who had won the competition in both its first two seasons and never lost an FA Cup match. They had defeated the Engineers in the 1872 final and Oxford in the 1873 final.[3][4] The first match finished in a 1–1 draw, necessitating a replay which Oxford won 1–0 to end Wanderers' grip on the competition.[2]

Both semi-final matches were played at Kennington Oval, the home of Surrey County Cricket Club, as specified by the rules in use at the time. Royal Engineers defeated Swifts in the first match to be played, and Oxford booked their place in the final a month later with a 1–0 win over Clapham Rovers.[2]



Cuthbert Ottaway
Cuthbert Ottaway was the Oxford captain.

Oxford were able to call on their first-choice goalkeeper, Charles Nepean, who had been unable to play in the previous year's final, which Oxford lost. They also selected William Rawson, whose brother Herbert was in the Engineers' team. The Engineers, who represented the Corps of Royal Engineers regiment of the British army, had undertaken two weeks of special training before the match, an innovative concept in an era when little importance was placed on training,[5] but were unable to field Alfred Goodwyn, considered to be their best back, as he had been posted to India earlier in the year.[6] Oxford's players were not all students, as the team included Arthur H. Johnson, an ordained clergyman and Fellow of All Souls College.[7] Around 2,000 spectators were in attendance, a smaller crowd than had attended the previous final.[8]

Oxford won the coin toss and elected to begin the game defending the Harleyford Road end of the stadium.[9] Charles Mackarness gave Oxford the lead after just ten minutes. Following an Oxford corner kick, a melee developed in front of the Engineers' goal, and the ball fell to Mackarness, who shot it over the crowd of players and past goalkeeper William Merriman.[10] Frederick Patton doubled the lead ten minutes later after some skillful dribbling by captain Cuthbert Ottaway and Robert Vidal, who was nicknamed the "prince of dribblers" for his skill in that aspect of the game.[11] Oxford could have had a third goal when they managed to get the ball through the Engineers' goalposts, but the players did not appeal for the goal. At the time, as in cricket, the officials were not permitted to award a goal unless the players appealed for it, thus no goal was given. It is not recorded why the Oxford players never appealed.[9] The best effort for the Engineers came when Henry Renny-Tailyour's shot struck the goalpost. Late in the game the "Sappers" mounted a series of attacks on the Oxford goal but were unable to score, being repeatedly thwarted by Nepean. Oxford thus won 2–0 and secured the cup.[12]


Oxford University2–0Royal Engineers
Mackarness Goal 10'
Patton Goal 20'
Oxford University[9] Royal Engineers[9]
Goalkeeper Charles Nepean
Goalkeeper Capt. William Merriman
Full-back Charles Mackarness Full-back Maj. Francis Marindin
Half-back Francis Birley Half-back Lieut. George Addison
Half-back Frederick Green Half-back Lieut. Gerald Onslow
Forward Robert Benson Forward Lieut. Pelham von Donop
Forward Frederick Maddison Forward Lieut. John Blackburn
Forward William Rawson Forward Lieut. Herbert Rawson
Forward Cuthbert Ottaway Match rules: Forward Lieut. Henry Renny-Tailyour
Forward Rev. Arthur H. Johnson 90 minutes normal time. Forward Lieut. Henry Olivier
Forward Walpole Vidal 30 minutes extra-time if scores are level, at captains' discretion. Forward Lieut. Charles Wood
Forward Frederick Patton Replay if scores still level. Forward Lieut. Thomas Digby
No substitutes.


As occurred each year until 1882, the winning team did not receive the trophy at the stadium on the day of the match, but later in the year at their annual dinner.[13] The secretary of the Royal Engineers club, in his official report, stated that Oxford had thoroughly deserved their victory.[10] Some time after the match, the Engineers discovered that Alfred Goodwyn, their absent star player, had died in India on the day of the final of injuries sustained in a fall from a horse.[6]


  • Warsop, Keith (2004). The Early FA Cup Finals and the Southern Amateurs. SoccerData. ISBN 1-899468-78-1.
  1. ^ Warsop, p.20
  2. ^ a b c d "England FA Challenge Cup 1873–74". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 27 January 2001. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  3. ^ a b "England FA Challenge Cup 1871–72". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 27 January 2001. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  4. ^ a b "England FA Challenge Cup 1872–73". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. 27 January 2001. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  5. ^ Warsop, p.19
  6. ^ a b Warsop, p.81
  7. ^ Warsop, p.91
  8. ^ Warsop, p.41
  9. ^ a b c d Warsop, p.42
  10. ^ a b Warsop, p.31
  11. ^ Warsop, p.130
  12. ^ Gibbons, Philip (2001). Association Football in Victorian England – A History of the Game from 1863 to 1900. Upfront Publishing. pp. 41–42. ISBN 1-84426-035-6.
  13. ^ Warsop, p.53

External links

Alfred Goodwyn

Alfred George Goodwyn (13 March 1850 – 14 March 1874) was an English Royal Engineer, who represented his regiment at football. He was a member of the Regiment's team that was defeated in the very first FA Cup final. He also represented England in the second international football match against Scotland in 1873.

Charles Nepean

The Rev. Charles Edward Burroughs Nepean (5 February 1851 – 26 March 1903) was an English amateur cricketer and footballer who later became a vicar in the Church of England. As a cricketer he played ten first-class matches for Oxford University and Middlesex between 1870 and 1874, whilst in football he was in goal for Oxford University, the winning side in the 1874 FA Cup Final.

Frederick Maddison (footballer)

Frederick Brunning Maddison (22 July 1849 – 25 September 1907) was an English footballer who played for England as a midfielder in the first international match against Scotland, as well as winning two FA Cup medals with Oxford University in 1874 and with The Wanderers in 1876.

Later he was a music publisher and, together with his wife the composer Adela Maddison, was closely associated with the French composer Gabriel Fauré.

Herbert Jenner-Fust

Sir Herbert Jenner-Fust (born Herbert Jenner; 1778–1852), was an English judge and Dean of the Arches.

Herbert Rawson

Colonel Herbert Edward Rawson CB (3 September 1852 – 18 October 1924) was an English British Army officer and footballer who played once (as a forward) for England, and appeared in two FA Cup finals, winning the cup in 1875 as a member of the Royal Engineers.


Lenham is a market village and civil parish in Kent situated on the southern edge of the North Downs, halfway between Maidstone and Ashford. The picturesque square in the village has two public houses (one of which is a hotel), a couple of restaurants, and a tea-room. Lenham has a population of 3,370 according to the 2011 Census.Lenham railway station is on the Maidstone East Line.

The village is at the main source of the Great Stour and the Stour Valley Walk starts here, heading to Ashford and on to Canterbury and the English Channel near Sandwich. It is also the source of the River Len, which flows in a westerly direction to join the River Medway at Maidstone.

P. G. von Donop

Lieutenant-Colonel Pelham George von Donop (28 April 1851 – 7 November 1921) was a British Army officer in the Royal Engineers and later Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways. He represented the Royal Engineers at association football, appearing in two FA Cup Finals, and also made two appearances for the England national football team.

He was the godfather of the writer Sir P. G. Wodehouse, who was named Pelham in his honour.

Royal Engineers

The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers (RE), and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army.

It provides military engineering and other technical support to the British Armed Forces and is headed by the Chief Royal Engineer. The Regimental Headquarters and the Royal School of Military Engineering are in Chatham in Kent, England. The corps is divided into several regiments, barracked at various places in the United Kingdom and around the world.

William Rawson

William Stepney Rawson (14 October 1854 – 4 November 1932) was an amateur footballer who played at full-back for England in the 1870s, and was also an FA Cup Final referee in 1876.

Qualifying rounds

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