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Friday, 18 September 2009

Corinthian FC v Dundee FC, April 4th 1896

Three months to the day of their last meeting, Dundee and the Corinthians met again at Queens Club, London. This is the same Queens Club that latterly has become famous for tennis and, reputedly, it was the first multi-sports venue in the world when it was built in 1886 and was named after Queen Victoria. Now, Corinthians managed to attract some very large crowds at this venue and it is said elsewhere that this game attracted 60,000 spectators and therefore broke all attendance records. Sadly, from a Dundee point of view, this would appear to be inaccurate. The game only attracted 2,000. When you consider that, on the same day, England were playing Scotland and that match attracted 55,000 (which, incidentally, was the new record attendance for a game of football); that Corinthian were not at full strength due to supplying 5 players for the aforementioned Home International; that the FA Cup final that year attracted its record attendance of 48,000 and that the visit a few weeks earlier of Scotland's most famous club- Queens Park- only attracted 5,000, then it becomes clear the figure of 60,000 is fanciful.

The Eleven Corinthians Selected for England to play Wales in 1894
Back row: AG Topham, LV Lodge, GO Smith, JG Veitch, R Topham, RR Sandilands
Front Row: RC Gosling, LH Gay, C Wreford-Brown, AH Hossack, FR Pelly

For the match, Corinthians were missing, amongst others, their back L.V. Lodge; half-back A.G. Henfrey and centre G.O. Smith; the latter having taken part in the Carolina Port tie. Corinthians replaced Lodge with Pelly who joined Bray at back with Lawrence in goal with Wilson, Middleditch and Reynolds at half back and the notable forwards turned out to be Sandilands and Gosling. This meant, that despite absent players, Corinthian still managed a very strong line up.
The game kicked off in heavy rain and Dundee found it extremely difficult to break down that home defence. Sandilands and Gosling linked up beautifully for the home team and the latter set up the former twice before scoring a third for himself before half time. Corinthian FC tired in the second half and there was an attempt to explain this in the match report:

"When the second period began the home side did not play so well, and maybe the reason of this, perhaps, was the long wait at the interval, when the professionals [Dundee] were away six or seven minutes. These delays between the two halves of the match are getting worse. They are against the old spirit of the game, for half-time was instituted for change of goals, not clothes."

Play slowed at little in the second 45 but Dundee were playing for pride and Alex Black, who actually only played 1 competitive game for Dundee-in a 3-1 league defeat at Ibrox on Feb 29th 1896- caused no end of bother for the home side. Indeed, it was Black's saved shot that Keillor managed to follow up upon to net Dundee's consolation in a 3-1 defeat. Despite the Dundee team containing 3-4 Scotland internationals and a player who represented the Scottish League, this was still a respectable result for the Dark Blues against a very good side.

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