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Game #317

Aston Villa

Saturday, 25 September 1897




Division One

Attendance: 10,000

Blackburn Rovers

Ewood Park

Fred Wheldon scored a brace but reigning Champions Villa suffer their first defeat in 23 games as they lose by an odd goal in seven to the club at the foot of the early First Division table.

Blackburn Rovers


Aston Villa (Champions)

Assists(s) | Not recorded


Fred Wheldon, scored a brace to no avail, Saturday, 15 September 1897




Saturday, 25 September 1897

[Exact timings not recorded]
HT Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Aston Villa
Goal, 0-1, (Blackburn Rovers)
Goal, 1-1, Jack Cowan
Goal, 2-1, Fred Wheldon (pen)
Goal, 2-2, (Blackburn Rovers)
Goal, 2-3, (Blackburn Rovers)
Goal, 3-3, Fred Wheldon
Goal, 3-4, (Blackburn Rovers)
FT Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Aston Villa


Reigning Champions Villa suffer their first defeat in 23 games as they lose by an odd goal in seven to the club at the foot of the early First Division table.

Aston Villa

Blackburn Rovers


Blackburn Rovers

Previous 5 vs. Blackburn: | 🟩 | 🟨 | 🟩 | 🟩 | 🟩 |


Season | 1897-98 |
Matchday | #5 |
League Match | #5 |
Manager Game | #291 |
Saturday, 25 September 1897


Manager | George Ramsay led Management Committee |
Referee | Mr. Tomlinson, Sheffield |
FT Score | 3-4 |
FT Result | Lost |
Last 5 Games | WWWWL |


Referee: Mr. Tomlinson



Blackburn Rovers

Mr. Tomlinson


In one change from the team that beat Bury last time out, Fred Burton comes in for Bob Chatt.


Starting XI Average Age
| 25.88 |

Oldest Player |
F Jack Devey | 30.77 |

Youngest Player |
F James Fisher | 20.77 |



George Ramsay led Management Committee

Aston Villa

GK Harry Wilkes |
CB Jimmy Cowan |
FB Albert Evans |
FB Howard Spencer |
M Jimmy Crabtree |
M Fred Burton |
W Charlie Athersmith |
W Jack Cowan |
F James Fisher |
F Jack Devey |
F Fred Wheldon |

Blackburn Rovers


No Substitutions permitted in period



No Substitutions permitted in period







Not recorded


Not Recorded

Player Abbreviations:

GK : Goalkeeper

LB, RB, FB : Left Back, Right Back, Full Back

CB, D : Centre Back, Defender

M, W : Midfielder. Winger

F, CF : Forward, Centre Forward

🟢 : Debut 🔴 : Final Game


⚽ | Goal
🔥 | Assist
🔁 | Substitution

🟨 | Booking

🟥 | Sending off

🆘 | Poor refereeing performance




Not recorded


2021-22 Matchweek 38.jpg


Quotation Marks.png


"As in cricket, so in football, the unexpected is always happening."

*The Morning Post*
Monday, 27 September 1897

The League Championship.

The football community has not had long to wait for something to turn up in the way of a sensation. This occurred on Saturday at Ewood Park, Blackburn, where the Rovers beat Aston Villa, the dual champions of last season, by four goals to three.

As in cricket, so in football, the unexpected is always happening.

Aston Villa for nearly a month had been carrying everything before them, and their brilliant football had commanded success in every instance, while until Saturday, Blackburn Ravers, playing quite unworthily of their old traditions, had lost every game.

However, the Rovers won, and cast to the winds all the theories of form at football. It is simply a coincidence that this surprise should occur at a moment when the refusal of one of the Rovers' forwards to sign the transfer form to go to Aston Villa has placed the Executives of the two clubs, who had mutually agreed to the transfer, in something of a dilemma.

This Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers result will naturally monopolise the talk in football circles for some days, as in racing parlance, it brings Aston Villa "back to the field," and increases the speculation as to other teams' chances for first place.

There were 10,000 spectators of this game at Ewood Park, Blackburn, and the general expectation was that the Villa would win easily. However, a fast and brilliant first half passed away without the scoring of a point. In the second period each side led in turn until the record reached "three all." Then came a stern fight for the winning point, and this fell to the Rovers, who won the match amidst great excitement by four goals to three. The win of the Rovers aroused much enthusiasm in the town during the evening.
*The Sporting Life*
Monday 27 September 1897


The visit of the champions to Blackburn was a great attraction on Saturday, and drew together a 12,000 gate. The weather on Saturday was of the most miserable description, but owing to a drying wind the pitch was good condition. The Villa came without Chatt. but this did not weaken them materially, and the Rovers relied upon the same team which showed such vast improvement at Stoke the week before.

The Rovers faced the and sun in the first half, but it was soon apparent that they would make the champions gallop all the way. Wilkes was soon called upon by Proudfoot, who led up his men in grand style time after time. Then Knowles had a sultry time of it from a rush led by Cowan, who wound up with a red-hot shot, which looked every inch a goal. Knowles, however, proved equal to the occasion.

The game progressed from end to end of the field for a long time, but ultimately the ball was landed into the Villa net, but the offside rule had been infringed.

The game was forty minutes old before Proudfoot forced the first corner. Nothing, however, came of it, and half-time came round with the score sheet blank.

The Rovers opened in earnest, and in the first minute were right up in the Villa goal-mouth. Then Jack Cowan ran up, and laced the ball into the centre of goal. Fisher, who beat Glover, parted to Devey, but the goal escaped, as Devey screwed in front of the posts, the ball rolling over the line.

The Villa goalkeeper was called out to a long shot, and, being rushed, lost the ball, which fell at Briercliffe’s feet. He then gave it to Campbell, who struck the right upright, and the ball lodged in the net amid loud cheers.

The Rovers were not allowed to maintain this advantage for long, as some pretty passing resulted in Jack Cowan shooting through.

Playing up under this reverse the Rovers brought an assault on the opposing citadel, which was lucky to escape capture.

The game now took an unexpected turn through a run by Athersmith. The latter ran ball close to the Rovers’ goal-line, when he was fouled Killeen. A penalty was given against the Rovers, who had their citadel lowered by Wheldon.

From a comer Wilkie almost equalised, Wilkes tipping the ball off the line, and, following up the sphere, kicked into touch.

The home team were not easily got rid of, for from the throw-in Wilkie banged the leather in the direction of goal, and Campbell shot through.

The excitement had no sooner passed off than Proudfcot scored a third goal after splendid run.

Now the fun commenced in real earnest, and, not be outdone, Wheidon lowered the Rovers’ goal for the third time, six goals coming from nineteen inmates’ play.

The Villa, playing strongly, harassed the home defence for a while, but no scoring resulted. Booth got his wings into operation and from a cross right into goal Brierclifle was mulled by Wilkie. A quick run to the home end gave Devey chance, his attempt flying against the outside of the net.

A corner off Kiilean gained nothing for the visitors. At the other end Pronufoot allowed a splendid chance of scoring another goal to slip.

The game continued to hotly contested, and as the home forwards got more in line they looked dangerous. They were not allowed to get into close quarters, as a goal kick lost the Rovers ground they had gained.

Glover gave a corner to his opponents, the bail going behind. The Villa time alter time made strong rushes for the home goal, but the defence was simply perfect.

As time was approaching both sides made strenuous efforts to gain the advantage. Athersmith dropped the ball right into the goal mouth, and as Devey steadied himself it looked all over a goal. The shot went too high, however.

The plum came to the Rovers, who from a grand bit play netted the ball. Briercliffe doing the trick from pass by Wilkie. Rovers had all their work cut out to hold their lead, but they succeeded. Result—Rovers, four: Villa, three.