Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Town v County - 1902


In the aftermath of the Ibrox disaster nearly all of Scottish Football pulled together in aid of the benevolent fund and the Stirlingshire Association did their bit along with the others. A while back I wrote a weepost about the tournament at the start of the 1902/03 season, which was in effect an extra Stirlingshire Cup, the proceeds going to the fund. But before that there was a match played at the tail end of the 1901/02 Season for the same cause.

On Tuesday 15th April 1902 at Merchiston Park [the home of East Stirlingshire FC] the Stirlingshire FA organised two representative teams for a challenge match. Unlike previous matches this was not played by a Stirlingshire XI against a large club or another representative team, instead the sides were chosen along the lines of Town v County, in other words Falkirk against the Rest of Stirlingshire.

Besides the football entertainment was provided by the Carron Works, the Wright Memorial and the Falkirk Burgh Brass Bands, and a there was a "very large attendance of spectators". On the field the Town side wore the Black & White of East Stirlingshire, while County wore Red Jerseys and White shorts.


Town - Allan [FFC]; Hill [FFC] & Gillespie [FAFC]; Scott [FFC], Fish [ESFC] & Rae [ESFC]; Low [FFC] & Kellock [FFC], Leishman [FFC], Dobbie [ESFC] & White [ESFC].

County - McCrory [KPFC], Leishman [CFC] & McLeod [SFC]; Reid [CFC], McBride [SFC] & Campbell [CFC]; McNair [SFC] & Clarkson [SFC], Baird [SFC], Carrigan [CFC] & Rae [CFC].

The match itself was very competitive, although I suppose the tackling was less intense than in a more competitive fixture, and was very end to end. The first side to strike was County, who on the counter attack passed the ball to Baird who hit the leather so hard that Allan could not hold on to to it and let it slip over the line. However within three minutes Town had equalised, scorer missing. For the rest of the half County were on the ascendancy but the Town defence stood form. Half Time 1-1.

Within three minutes of the resumption Town's Centre-Forward Robert Leishman nipped in behind his wee brother William Leishman on the County side to sent Town into the lead. After some exciting goalmouth skirmishes at both ends Baird again put the teams level. But almost straight from the kick-off Dobbie took a long shot that slipped between McCrory's hands and put Town back ahead. For most of the remaining time play was camped in the Town half, but this time William Allan was on the form that was to become common for the next two decades between the sticks. Failing light brought the players off some ten minutes before the scheduled 45 minutes had been played; the result standing Town 3 County 2.

The gate reciepts were reported as £18 6s 1d, but collections made in the ground added to the sum to be given over to the Ibrox Fund.

This is the last time that I have come across a representative Falkirk [geographical] side, but I dare say that were one to compete against the County today an FFC/ESFC XI could have a decent tussle against a SAFC/SFC XI, but I am a hopless romantic and think such matches are the best way to play Benefits, Testimonials & Charity matches, far better than the same two clubs who might have played several times within the last year. I live in hope.