Match Report – Wigan Observer – 18/03/1885


The Southportonians visited Wigan on Saturday last to play the Wigan Association Club. The match, says a correspondent, has been looked forward to with much interest by the Wiganers, whose club have made rapid strides in the “dribbling” game since last season, only the other week beating the smart South Shore Club. Wigan were strongly represented in view of their important match with the Bolton Wanderers for Monday; whilst Southport played their Cup team, with the exception of Briggs, whose place was filled by Hodge. Southport won the toss, and it was at once seen a close and hard game would be the result, and as the soft, slutchy ground suited the heavy Wiganers, they did not forget to use their weight on the light Southport forwards. Dalby kicked off, and the play became very fast, the ball travelling from end to end in rapid succession. Baldwin got the ball and raced down the wing and passed nicely to Mann, but Baxter saved at the expense of a corner, but nothing resulted. The home team again pressed the visitors; Baldwin fouled Baxter, but the referee failed to see it. Baxter evidently felt the effect of the foul, and intimated to Baldwin a quiet warning. Platt soon afterwards saved a rattling shot from the foot of Mann. Southport warmed in their work, and smart passing between Morris, Burnett, Melross, and Dalby landed the ball at the Wigan posts, but Morris missed a splendid chance, shooting clean over the bar, much to the disappointment of the “Stripes”. Melross next tried a long shot, but the goalkeeper fisted it out just in time. Bailey hereabouts was conspicuous for some goof play, and half-time was called with the score nil. No time was lost in resuming, and Wigan kicked off, the game being again very fast, each side stribing hard to obtain the mastery. Sowter made a good run down the left, but was tackled by Griffiths, who gave the ball to Mellor, who sped down the wing, and he passing to Burnett, who in turn passed to Morris, who put the ball through the posts. To the astonishment of the “Stripes” the goal was disallowed. Nettled by this reverse, the Southport forwards played in grand style, their passing, especially the right wing, being capital. Melross obtained the ball from a nice pass by Burnett, and, sprinting down the field, passed the half and full backs, and just shot for goal when Morris, who was going for the goalkeeper, unfortunately arrested its progress and the ball rolled outside the posts. Shortly afterwards Dalby, Melross and Morris again took the ball up and it was put through; but again the Wigan team objected to the point, and while they were arguing Melross quickly rushed the ball through and claimed the goal. Once again the referee decided against the “Stripes” and as they could not gain a winning point, the game – a rather noisy and rough one – ending in a draw, no score being allowed. Teams: Southport: Goal, S.Platt; Backs, Baxter and Griffiths; half back, Dalby (captain), Johnson and Bailey; forwards, Morris, Melross, Burnett, Hidge and Mellor. Wigan: Goal, Laing; backs, Kay and Aspden; half backs, Wilding, Leyland and Sowter (captain); forwards Clarke, Walton, Mann, Baldwin and Gee.

(Wigan Observer – Wednesday 18th March 1885)