Aston Villa (Champions)


Small Heath

Scorer(s) | Steve Smith, Bob Gordon

Assists(s) | Not recorded

Game #210

Division One

Wellington Road, Perry Barr

Attendance: 20,000

Saturday, 1 September 1894



Game #210

Season | 1894-95 |
Matchday | #1 |
League Match | #1 |
Manager Game | #184 |
Saturday, 1 September 1894


Manager | George Ramsay led Management Committee |
FT Score | 2-1 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | WDWWW |


Starting XI Average Age
| 24.35 |

Oldest Player |
F Dennis Hodgetts | 30.78 |

Youngest Player |
GK Harry Wilkes | 20.22 |


Villa hand debuts to 'keeper Harry Wilkes and centre forward Bob Gordon for the first game of the season.


Not recorded


Not recorded


"We did not expect to see a great exhibition of football at Perry Barr, and therefore we were not disappointed with the contest."



Screenshot 2021-07-13 at 00.17.05.png


GK Harry Wilkes |
D John Baird |
CB Jimmy Cowan |
FB Jimmy Welford |
M Jack Reynolds |
M George Russell |
W Steve Smith |
W Charlie Athersmith |
F Bob Chatt |
F Dennis Hodgetts |
CF Bob Gordon |


ex: Also played for the Villa;

g: Scored

s/o: Sent off

s-: Sub off


No Substitutions permitted in period


No Substitutions permitted in period


[Exact timings not recorded]
1’ Debut, Albert Wilkes, Bob Gordon
1’ Goal, 0-1, (Small Heath)
Goal, 1-1, Steve Smith, Assist by Bob Gordon
Goal, 2-1, Bob Gordon
HT Aston Villa 2-1 Small Heath
FT Aston Villa 2-1 Small Heath


Reigning Champions Villa play their first ever League game against neighbours Small Heath to start the campaign with a victory.

Goalkeeper Harry Wilkes made his Villa debut aged 20 after joining from Redditch Town.

Centre forward Bob Gordon made a goalscoring Villa debut aged 24 after joining from Heart of Midlothian.


Steve Smith, scored Villa's first goal of the season, Saturday, 1 September 1894


*The Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday 03 September 1894

We did not expect to see a great exhibition of football at Perry Barr, and therefore we were not disappointed with the contest.

It was exciting enough, as is usually the case when the Aston Villa and Small Heath meet; but pretty and scientific football was only occasionally witnessed.

Now and again there were some very fine touches amongst the forwards on either side, but generally the forward play consisted of individual dashes rather than effective combinations.

It was a match in which backs and half-backs shone rather than the forwards.

The start was very sensational, but the finish was tame.

The ball had scarcely been kicked off when Hands made a dash into the corner and centred across goal to Hallam, who shot the ball into the net.

To that player undoubtedly belongs the credit of scoring the first goal in League football this season, for the match was started punctually, and it would have been a sheer impossibility to score faster than the Small Heath player did.

The goal rather took the Villa supporters by surprise, for many of them had openly expressed their opinion that the visitors would he unable to break through the powerful defence of the champions.

Well following up their early and unexpected success, the Blues set a rare pace, and, playing for all they were worth, gave the Villa backs and half-backs plenty of work to do, having, in fact, quite as much of the game as did the League champions.

The pace, however, soon told its tale, and twenty minutes from the start the Villa forwards began to attack very persistently, and at length the ball came from Athersmith to Gordon, from Gordon to Smith, who dodged the back, secured an opening, and equalised amidst great cheering.

Thirty seconds afterwards Gordon scored the second potent for the Villa, receiving a beautiful centre from Smith and easily steering the ball into the net.

From this point up to the interval the Villa were the stronger side, but the Small Heath defence was sound and the interval arrived without further addition to the score.

With the sun at their backs and with the slope in their favour it was expected that the Villa would take a commanding lead, but these expectations were not realised, and the finish found the Villa leading by a goal only - a much smaller majority than was anticipated.

There are few teams, we venture to think, who will make a more creditable display at Perry Barr than Small Heath did on Saturday.

It would be preposterous to say that the Villa were seen at their best, for their form was a long way behind that of last season, but the same remark applies to Small Heath, whose forwards, like those of the Villa, rarely got into their stride, and Wheldon, usually the bright particular star of the front rank, gave a rather disappointing display.

It is scarcely fair, however, to expect too much at the beginning of the season. Criticism will come with a better grace in three or four weeks' time, when the players have fairly settled into their places and the weather is slightly cooler than it was at Perry Barr on Saturday.

It should be mentioned that Hallam played a capital game on the outside right for Small Heath, whilst Walton and Hands also worked hard in their respective positions.

In the Villa front rank Smith was certainly the best performer : indeed, to our minds, he was the best forward on the field. He kept going all the time, and his dodging and centring were alike excellent.

It should be mentioned, however, that he was splendidly fed by Hodgetts to whose unselfishness the little outride left-winger owed a great deal of his prominence.

The left wing was a capital wing on Saturday, and the Villa committee will doubtless hesitate before they make any changes in that direction.

Gordon, the new player from the Heart of Midlothian, is a fine young fellow, but he is not an ideal centre; at any rate Saturday's play did not stamp him as such. The wing is evidently his position, and he will doubtless distinguish o himself when the opportunity arises.

Athersmith made some brilliant runs, and was responsible for some excellent centres. but Chatt was not seen at his best.

The half-backs on each side played splendidly. For the Villa Cowan and Reynolds did a lot of fine work, whilst a Russell certainly established his claim to occupy the position of left half-back in the absence of Groves.

The visitors' half-backs also performed in an able and effective manner, but Jenkins was the best of the three, indeed, there was no better half-back on the field than the captain of the Small Heath team. Welford played a splendid game at back ; and of the Small Heath pair Oliver was better than his companion, showing admirable judgment and resource, and when he has lost a little superfluous flesh he will prove a source of great strength to Small Heath.