|Event||1877–78 FA Cup|
|Date||23 March 1878|
|Venue||Kennington Oval, London|
The 1878 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 23 March 1878 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the seventh 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 in the previous two seasons and on four previous occasions in total, including the first FA Cup Final, in 1872, in which they defeated the Engineers. The Engineers had also won the Cup, having defeated Old Etonians in the 1875 final.
Wanderers, who were considered firm favourites to win the Cup for the third consecutive season, took the lead after only five minutes through Jarvis Kenrick, but the Engineers quickly equalised. The cup-holders regained their lead before half-time and added a third goal after the interval to secure a 3–1 victory. Under the original rules of the competition, the Cup was retired and presented to the club on a permanent basis to mark their third straight win, but the Wanderers returned the Cup to The Football Association on the condition that it never again be won outright by any club.
Wanderers were the reigning cup holders and had also won the tournament in 1872, 1873 and 1876. In the first of these victories they had defeated the Royal Engineers.The Engineers had won the competition in 1875. Both teams entered the competition at the first round stage. Wanderers were allocated a home tie against Panthers and easily defeated their opponents 9–1, proceeding to the second round where they were paired with High Wycombe and again recorded a high-scoring victory, winning 9–0. Their opponents in the third round, Barnes, proved stronger opposition, particularly as key players such as Hon. Arthur Kinnaird were unavailable for the cup-holders. The match ended in a 1–1 draw necessitating a replay, which Wanderers (back to full strength) won 4–1. In the quarter-finals Wanderers defeated Sheffield 3–0 and then, with an uneven number of teams remaining in the competition, the team received a bye into the final.
The Engineers' scheduled first round opponents were Highbury Union, but they withdrew from the competition, giving the Engineers a walkover victory. The "Sappers", as the Royal Engineers regiment is traditionally nicknamed, went on to defeat Pilgrims 6–0 and Druids 8–0, with hat-tricks in both matches from Lieut. Robert Hedley,to reach the quarter-finals where their opponents were 1874 cup-winners Oxford University. The initial match finished in a 3–3 draw, and the replay also finished without a victor, ending 2–2. Finally, the Engineers emerged victorious in a second replay, winning 4–2. This set up a semi-final match against Old Harrovians, the team for former pupils of Harrow School. The match was played at Kennington Oval and the Engineers reached the final by defeating the Harrovians 2–1.
Wanderers, who were considered the firm favourites by the book-makers, won the coin toss and chose to defend the Harleyford Road end of The Oval.The match drew a crowd estimated at 4,500 spectators, the highest yet recorded for an FA Cup Final. Both teams played with two full-backs, two half-backs and six forwards; the team captains were the Hon. Arthur Kinnaird and Lieut. Robert Hedley. The cup-holders immediately dominated the game and Kinnaird quickly had an unsuccessful shot on goal. After only five minutes Henry Wace crossed the ball from a wide position and Jarvis Kenrick kicked the ball past the Engineers' goalkeeper Lieut. Lovick Friend to give the Wanderers the lead. Approximately ten minutes later, Wanderers goalkeeper James Kirkpatrick suffered a broken arm during a tussle on the goal-line, but managed to keep the ball out of the goal, and went on to play the remainder of the match despite his injury. In the 20th minute of the game, the Engineers scored an equalising goal. Some modern sources state that Lieut. William Morris scored the goal, however contemporary newspaper reports in The Field , The Sporting Life and Bell's Life in London all state that Morris took a throw-in which led to a "scrimmage" or "bully" in front of the Wanderers' goal, out of which the ball was forced over the goal-line.
Towards the end of the first half, the Wanderers were awarded a free kick. Kinnaird took the kick, which led to a second goal for the cup-holders. Modern sources list Kinnaird as the goalscorer, but some contemporary reports suggest that, following his free kick, another "scrimmage" ensued in front of the Engineers' goal before the ball was forced over the line.Shortly after the half-time break, the Engineers' captain Robert Hedley appeared to have scored a goal, but it was disallowed due to an infringement of the offside rule. After around twenty minutes of the second half, Kenrick scored his second goal following some skilful play by Hubert Heron, giving Wanderers a 3–1 lead which they retained until the end of the game.
| Kenrick 15' 65'|
As was the norm 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.Under the original rules of the competition, if a team won the Cup three times in succession, it would be retired and become their "absolute property". Wanderers secretary C. W. Alcock, however, returned the Cup to The Football Association on the condition that the rule be removed and no other team permitted to win the Cup outright. The only other team to win the Cup in three successive seasons to date is Blackburn Rovers, who won it three times in a row in the 1880s. On that occasion the club was presented with a commemorative shield.
Three weeks after the Cup final, Wanderers played Scottish Cup winners Vale of Leven at Kennington Oval in a match for the unofficial "championship of Britain". In front of a crowd of around 2,000 spectators, Wanderers turned in what was regarded by the press as a sub-standard performance and were defeated 3–1.
Wanderers Football Club was an English football club based in Upper Norwood, London. The original club was an amateur one founded as "Forest Football Club" in 1859. In 1864, it changed its name to "Wanderers". Comprising mainly former pupils of the leading English public schools, Wanderers was among the dominant teams of the early years of organised football and won the Football Association Challenge Cup on five occasions, including defeating Royal Engineers in the first FA Cup final in 1872.
1871–72 was the first season of competitive association football in England. The Football Association introduced their Football Association Challenge Cup, a knockout tournament which is the world's oldest national-level football competition.
The 1871–72 Football Association Challenge Cup was the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup, usually known in the modern era as the FA Cup, the oldest association football competition in the world. Fifteen of the association's fifty member clubs entered the first competition, although three withdrew without playing a game. In the final, held at Kennington Oval in London on 16 March 1872, Wanderers beat the Royal Engineers by a single goal, scored by Morton Betts, who was playing under the pseudonym A. H. Chequer.
The 1872 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Royal Engineers on 16 March 1872 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the final of the first staging of the Football Association Challenge Cup, which became the primary cup competition in English football and the oldest football competition in the world. Fifteen teams entered the competition in its first season and, due to the rules in place at the time, Wanderers reached the final having won only one match in the four preceding rounds. In the semi-finals, they drew with the Scottish club Queen's Park, but reached the final when the Scots withdrew from the competition as they could not afford to return to London for a replay.
The 1873 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Oxford University on 29 March 1873 at Lillie Bridge in London. It was the second final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Unusually, the final was held in the morning, so as to avoid a clash with the annual Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race which was held on the same day. Wanderers reached the final without playing a match, as the original rules of the competition stated that the holders would receive a bye straight to the final and other teams would compete to gain the other place in the final and challenge the holders for the trophy. Oxford reached the final when their semi-final opponents, Queen's Park, dropped out of the competition
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. 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 1875 FA Cup Final was a football match between Royal Engineers and Old Etonians on 13 March 1875 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the fourth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Heading into the final, the Royal Engineers were playing in their third final after losing the 1872 and 1874 finals while the Old Etonians were playing in their first FA Cup final.
The 1877 FA Cup Final was a football match between Wanderers and Oxford University on 24 March 1877 at Kennington Oval in London. It was the sixth final of the world's oldest football competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup. Wanderers were the reigning cup-holders and had won the competition three times in total. Oxford had also previously won the tournament, making this the first FA Cup Final played between two former winners. Wanderers had reached the final without conceding a goal, defeating Cambridge University in the semi-finals. Oxford had only played three matches in the five rounds prior to the final due to a combination of byes and opponents withdrawing.
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. 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 history of the FA Cup in association football dates back to 1871–72. Aside from suspensions during the First and Second World Wars, the competition has been played every year since.
George Hubert Hugh Heron was an English footballer who made five appearances as a forward for England in the 1870s and won three FA Cup winners' medals.
The 1874–75 FA Cup was the fourth season of England's oldest football tournament, the Football Association Challenge Cup or "FA Cup". 29 teams entered, one more than the previous season, although four of the 29 never played a match. The final was contested by Royal Engineers – playing in their third final in the four seasons of the FA Cup – and Old Etonians – playing in their first final. On their way to the final, Royal Engineers knocked out Cambridge University in the Second Round and holders Oxford University in the Semi-finals, while Old Etonians only managed to score more than one goal in one match: their second replay against Swifts, which they won 3–0. The biggest win of the competition was recorded by two-time FA Cup winners Wanderers, who beat Farningham 16–0 in the First Round.
Francis Hornby Birley was an English footballer who played as a half back. He won the FA Cup three times in the 1870s and made two appearances for England in 1874 and 1875.
Thomas Bridges Hughes 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.
William Lindsay was an English amateur footballer who, generally playing as a full back, helped the Wanderers win the FA Cup in 1876, 1877 and 1878 and made one appearance for England in 1877. He also played cricket for Surrey between 1876 and 1882.
Henry Wace was an English amateur footballer who made three appearances for England and played for Wanderers, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1877 and 1878. By profession he was a lawyer who specialised in bankruptcy law.
Sir James Kirkpatrick, 8th Baronet was the 8th Kirkpatrick Baronet of Closeburn, Dumfriesshire. In his youth he was a keen sportsman, and helped organise the Scottish football team in the representative matches between March 1870 and February 1872. He also played in goal for the Wanderers when they won the FA Cup in 1878.
Lieut. Robert Shafto Hedley was an English soldier and footballer. He was the captain of the Royal Engineers team that reached the final of the FA Cup in 1878, where they were defeated 3–1 by the Wanderers.
Capt. Hugh Mitchell was a Scottish member of the Royal Engineers who later became a barrister. In his youth he was a keen footballer who played for the Royal Engineers in the 1872 FA Cup Final and appeared for Scotland in two of the representative matches played against England in 1871 and 1872.
Colonel William Merriman was a British officer in the Royal Engineers who played as a goalkeeper in three FA Cup Finals, winning the cup in 1875.