The 1876 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Old Etonians on 11 March 1876 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the fifth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (known in the modern era as the FA Cup). Wanderers had won the Cup on two previous occasions. The Etonians were playing in their second consecutive final, having lost in the 1875 final. Both teams had conceded only one goal in the four rounds prior to the final. In the semi-finals Wanderers defeated Swifts and the Etonians beat the 1874 FA Cup winners Oxford University.
The match finished in a 1–1 draw, the second time an FA Cup Final had finished all-square. John Hawley Edwards scored for Wanderers, but the Etonians equalised with a goal credited in modern publications to Alexander Bonsor, although contemporary newspaper reports do not identify him as the scorer. A week later, the replay took place at the same venue. The Etonians were forced to make a number of changes due to players being unavailable, and the revised team was no match for the Wanderers, who won 3–0. Charles Wollaston and Thomas Hughes scored a goal apiece in a five-minute spell before half-time, and Hughes added the third early in the second half.
|1876 FA Cup Final|
|Event||1875–76 FA Cup|
|Date||11 March 1876|
|Venue||Kennington Oval, London|
|Referee||W.S. Buchanan (Clapham Rovers)|
Old Etonians, the team for former pupils of Eton College, had reached the 1875 final but been defeated by Royal Engineers. Wanderers had won the competition in both 1872 and 1873 but had not progressed beyond the quarter-finals in the subsequent two seasons. Both teams entered the 1875–76 competition at the first round stage and were allocated matches at home. Wanderers defeated a team from the 1st Surrey Rifles regiment 5–0, and the Etonians overcame Pilgrims 4–1. In the second round Wanderers defeated Crystal Palace (not the current professional club) 3–0 and the Etonians had an easy win over Maidenhead, scoring eight goals without reply.
At the quarter-final stage, Wanderers took on the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C. and won 2–0, and the Etonians gained a 1–0 victory over Clapham Rovers. Both semi-final matches took place at Kennington Oval in London, as stipulated in the original rules of the competition. The Etonians beat the 1874 FA Cup winners Oxford University 1–0 in the first semi-final, and a week later Wanderers clinched their place in the final, defeating the Slough-based club Swifts 2–1.
Three sets of brothers played in the match. Francis and Hubert Heron lined up for the Wanderers, while the Etonians' team included Hon. Edward Lyttelton and his brother Hon. Alfred Lyttelton and Albert Meysey-Thompson and his brother Charles. The latter pair's surname had been simply Thompson until it was changed in 1874, and for the final Albert played under the name Thompson and Charles under the name Meysey. This is the only occasion that two or more pairs of brothers have played in the same FA Cup Final. Later that year, Francis Birley married Margaret, sister of his teammate Jarvis Kenrick. The Etonian team also included Julian Sturgis, who had been born in the USA and was the first foreign-born player to appear in the Cup Final (discounting those born to British parents in the British Empire), as well as Arthur Kinnaird, who had captained Wanderers to victory in the 1873 FA Cup Final. Wanderers began the match with two full-backs, two half-backs and six forwards, while the Etonians opted for one full-back, two half-backs and seven forwards.
Wanderers won the coin toss and chose to start the game defending the Harleyford Road end of The Oval. The crowd was estimated at 3,500, the largest for an FA Cup Final up to that point. The match was played in a strong wind, to the extent that when Frederick Maddison took a corner kick for Wanderers, the gale blew the ball back out of play. The Wanderers dominated the early stages of the game, but the Etonians kept them at bay for around 35 minutes until Charles Wollaston eluded Thompson and passed the ball to John Hawley Edwards, who kicked it narrowly under the crossbar of the Etonians' goal to give Wanderers the lead. In the second half the Old Etonians had the wind in their favour and had the better of the play. Around five minutes after the interval, a corner kick to the Etonians led to a "scrimmage" (a term in common use at the time to describe a group of players struggling to gain possession of the ball) in front of their opponents' goal, which resulted in the ball and a number of players being forced over the goal-line, uprooting the goalposts in the process. Modern sources credit the goal to Alexander Bonsor, but contemporary newspaper reports in The Sporting Life and Bell's Life in London do not mention his name, merely noting that the goal was scored "from a scrimmage". Neither team could manage to score another goal, and the game finished with the scores level, meaning that for the second successive season a replay would be needed to determine the winners of the competition.
|Edwards 35'||Report||Bonsor 50' (disputed)|
|1876 FA Cup Final replay|
|Date||18 March 1876|
|Venue||Kennington Oval, London|
The replay took place one week later at the same venue. The Wanderers fielded an unchanged team, but the Etonians had to make a number of changes, as Meysey was injured and three other players were unavailable due to other commitments. One of the replacements, Edgar Lubbock, had not long recovered from a bout of illness and was noted as being out of practice, and Kinnaird was still suffering the after-effects of an injury sustained in the original match.
The weather on the day of the match was extremely cold, with the threat of snow. The Etonians began the match playing in a rough manner, and there were also many appeals from the players for handball, which disrupted play. After around half an hour, the Wanderers' forwards surged towards their opponents' goal and Charles Wollaston got the final kick which sent the ball past goalkeeper Quintin Hogg, one of the replacement players brought in for the replay. Almost immediately afterwards, another massed attack by the Wanderers led to Thomas Hughes doubling the lead.
Soon after half-time, Hawley Edwards, Francis Heron and Jarvis Kenrick combined in a skilful attack and set up Hughes to score his second goal of the game. Although the Wanderers' goalkeeper, W. D. O. Greig, was called into action several times, the Etonians were unable to get the ball past him, and the match finished 3–0 to the Wanderers. The winning team's captain Francis Birley was praised for his performance by the press, as were both Lyttleton brothers for the Etonians.
Hughes 33' 50'
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. In addition to receiving the Cup, the winning team each received a gold medal from the committee of Surrey County Cricket Club. A week after the replay, four of the victorious Wanderers were chosen to represent London in a match against an equivalent team from Sheffield. Despite their presence, the London XI lost the game 6–0.
Albert Childers Meysey-Thompson (13 July 1848 – 20 March 1894) was an English barrister and an amateur footballer who played for Wanderers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and for Old Etonians in the 1875 and 1876 FA Cup Finals.Charles Meysey-Thompson
Revd. Charles Maude Meysey-Thompson (5 December 1849 – 11 September 1881) was an English clergyman who, as an amateur footballer, won the FA Cup in 1873 with the Wanderers. He also played in the 1876 FA Cup Final for the Old Etonians and for the Scottish XI in the last representative match against England in 1872.Edward Lyttelton
Rev. Hon. Edward Lyttelton (23 July 1855 – 26 January 1942) was an English sportsman, schoolmaster and cleric from the Lyttelton family. He played first-class cricket for Cambridge University and Middlesex as well as representing the England national football team.Francis Heron
Charles Francis William Heron (1853 – 23 October 1914) was an English footballer who made one appearance as a forward for England and was a member of the Wanderers side that won the FA Cup in 1876.Hubert Heron
George Hubert Hugh Heron (30 January 1852 – 5 June 1914) was an English footballer who made five appearances as a forward for England in the 1870s and won three FA Cup winners' medals.James Welldon
James Edward Cowell Welldon (25 April 1854 – 17 June 1937) was an English clergyman and scholar. He was Bishop of Calcutta from 1898 to 1902, Dean of Manchester from 1906 to 1918, and Dean of Durham from 1918 to 1933.John Hawley Edwards
John Hawley Edwards (21 March 1850 – 14 January 1893) was an English footballer who made one appearance for England in 1874, before going on to play for Wales in 1876. He was a member of the Wanderers team that won the 1876 FA Cup Final.Shropshire Wanderers F.C.
Shropshire Wanderers F.C. were an amateur association football club based in Shrewsbury, England. They were active during the 1870s.
They entered the FA Cup competition in each of the years from 1873–74 to 1877–78. Their greatest success came in 1874–75, when they reached the Semi-finals where they played Old Etonians at the Kennington Oval losing 1–0. They also have a unique place in FA Cup history, as the only team to be knocked out of the competition by coin toss.The Shropshire Wanderers were notable as a team that employed passing as early as 1875.Thomas Bridges Hughes
Thomas Bridges Hughes (17 September 1851 – 10 August 1940) was an English amateur footballer who was the first player to score two goals in an FA Cup Final, with Wanderers in 1876. He subsequently had a long career as a schoolteacher.W. D. O. Greig
William Dallas Ochterlony Greig (30 October 1851 – 28 January 1942) was an early Association Football goalkeeper who represented the Wanderers, the leading football club in England during the 1870s.William Lindsay (footballer)
William Lindsay (3 August 1847 – 15 February 1923) was an English amateur footballer who, generally playing as a full back, helped the Wanderers win the FA Cup in 1876, 1877 (when he scored the winning goal) and 1878 and made one appearance for England in 1877. He also played cricket for Surrey between 1876 and 1882.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.