140 years ago today -First ever Sheffield Association Challenge Cup Final Tie

Heeley FC and Sheffield Wednesday FC played in the final of the first ever Sheffield Association Challenge Cup (1876/77),played at Bramall Lane.

“The Sheffield Football Association Challenge Cup. Decidedly the most interesting match of the Sheffield football season was that which took place on Saturday afternoon, at Bramall Lane Ground, between those two well-known clubs, Wednesday and Heeley. The contest was the final outcome of the Ties for the splendid silver trophy offered for competition early in the season by the Sheffield Association. The Wednesday and Heeley teams had succeeded in defeating all their previous opponents, and now met to decide as to superiority between themselves. As may be easily understood, the highest excitement was manifested in the result of the struggle, not in Sheffield alone, but in all the football circles of this and the neighbouring counties. It would probably be within the mark to state that between seven and eight thousand spectators must have visited the ground during the afternoon. Many ladies were present – some of them, judging from the warmth of their plaudits, being doubtless relatives or close friends of the players engaged.”

“Heeley won the toss and Mr. W. H. Stacey, the Wednesday captain, kicked off against the wind, which was blowing pretty strongly. Heeley at once assumed the offensive, and at the call of half-time, they had secured three goals, two of which were accidently put through by Wednesday players, to their adversaries welcome. With the wind in their favour it was now confidently anticipated by their friends that Wednesday would soon succeed in scoring, though their most sanguine partisans hardly imagined that they would so completely alter the appearance of the game. After some magnificent play, the Wednesday players succeeded in equalising matters. The scene of excitement that followed the last goal beggars description. The efforts to score now on both sides and thus win the cup were quite terrific, time being almost up. Both of the teams laboured exhaustively till the call of time, but no further score having been effected the match was declared to be a tie. Immense cheering succeeded the declaration of this result. The players now gathered in a group in the centre of the ground, and there was a short parley as to what course should be pursued – whether the match should be played out then, or whether a postponement should take place to a future day, when the contest could be replayed from the start to the finish. The captains of the two teams eventually agreed that the team should antagonise for another half-hour – fifteen minutes each way – and if at the end of that time nothing more were scored, the match be re-played on a future occasion. After some exciting play, Wednesday scored a goal. Time was eventually called, and the Wednesday Club thus became the victor of this magnificent and gloriously contested match – unquestionably the best of this season – by four goals to three.”