top of page

Game #35

Saturday, 5 March 1887

Attendance: 10,000


FA Cup Semi Final

Semi Final

Glasgow Rangers


Nantwich Road, Crewe

Archie Hunter scored a brace as Villa triumph over Glasgow Rangers in front of a fanatical crowd at Crewe to reach their first FA Cup final.

Aston Villa


Glasgow Rangers

Assist(s) | Not recorded


Archie Hunter scored a brace to send Villa to their first ever FA Cup final, Saturday, 5 March 1887




Goal, 1-0, Archie Hunter
30’ Goal, 1-1, (Glasgow Rangers)
HT Aston Villa 1-1 Glasgow Rangers
Goal, 2-1, Albert Brown
Goal, 3-1, Archie Hunter
FT Aston Villa 3-1 Glasgow Rangers


Secretary Manager George Ramsay's Villa reach their first FA Cup final.

Aston Villa

Glasgow Rangers


Glasgow Rangers

Previous 5 vs. Rangers: | - | - | - | - | - |


Season | 1886-87 |
Matchday | #9 |
Manager Game | #9 |
Saturday, 5 March 1887


Manager | George Ramsay led Management Committee |
FT Score | 3-1 |
FT Result | Won |
Last 5 Games | DWWWW |


Referee: Richard Gregson.
Umpires: Messrs R. E. Lithgoe and C. H. Darley.



Glasgow Rangers

Richard Gregson


Villa named an unchanged line up for the fourth successive game.


[Exact birth dates not recorded]

Starting XI Average Age
| 24.75 |

Oldest Player |
WH Fred Dawson | 28.28 |

Youngest Player |
D Frank Coulton | 19.10 |



George Ramsay led Management Committee

Aston Villa

GK Jimmy Warner |
D Frank Coulton |
D Joe Simmonds |
M Jack Burton |
M Fred Dawson |
M Harry Yates |
F Albert Brown |
F Richmond Davis |
F Archie Hunter |
F Dennis Hodgetts |
F Howard Vaughton |

Glasgow Rangers

Chalmers, Forbes, Now, Cameron, McIntyre, Muir, Fraser, Peacock, Lindsay, Lafferty, Lawrie.


No Substitutions permitted in period



No Substitutions permitted in period







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


"It at once became evident that they were the more popular team. Indeed the Crewe people were, if we might use the term, Villa mad, and they actually went so far as to beg cards with “Play up Villa” on them, which they stuck in their hats, and of which they seemed very proud. "

*The Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday, 7 March 1887


Public interest in the English Association Challenge Cup increases every year, and the results of the two matches on Saturday, which decided the two clubs that will have to do battle in the final tie, were awaited with eager excitement by all lovers of the game. The four clubs left in were Preston North End, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa, and Glasgow Rangers; and as all have done so well it may be interesting to give briefly their various performances in the cup competition.

Preston North End, whose doings this season have caused so much talk in the football world, beat in succession Queen’s Park, Glasgow, by 3 goals to 0, Witton by 6 to 0, Renton by 2 to 0, the Old Foresters by 3 to 0 and the Old Carthusiams by 2 to 1, while in the fourth round they drew a bye. In all they scored 16 goals, and only 1 was gained against them - a marvellous record. Indeed, before their meeting with the Carthusians last Wednesday they were considered as invincible and in some cases substantial odds were laid on their winning the cup outright. Their defeat on Saturday will of course cause a great amount of surprise, but after their very hard fight with the Carthusians, many people thought they would have all their work cut out to beat West Bromwich Albion.

The record of the West Bromwich team is remarkably good, but not quite so brilliant as Preston. They defeated Burton Wanderers by 6 goals to 0, Derby Junction by 2 to 1, Mitchell’s St. George’s by 1 to 0, Lockwood Brothers (Sheffield) by 2 to 1 after a drawn game and Notts County by 4 to 1 while they drew one bye. In all they scored 15 goals to 3.

Aston Villa can also show a splendid list of performances. Victories were gained over Wednesbury Old Athletic by 13 to 0, Derby Midland by 6 to 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers, after three drawn games (one of these was not recognised by the Association, and in the other each team scored 5 goals) by 2 to 0, Horncastle by 5 to 0 and Darwen by 3 to 2 whilst one bye was drawn. Altogether Villa scored 34 goals against 5.

The Glasgow Rangers had a walkover against Everton, and drew one bye, while they defeated Church by 2 goals to 1, Cowlairs by 3 to 3, Lincoln City by 3 to 0 and the Old Westminsters by 5 to 1, or in all 13 goals against 4.

The two matches played on Saturday are fully described below, but it may here be mentioned that the final will take place at Kennington Oval on Saturday, April 2, between Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion. The former club has never before got into the final of the competition.


Scotland’s last hope of winning the English Cup has have now fled. The combination team which met the Aston Villa on Saturday under the cognomen of the Glasgow Rangers, fighting hard, were yet forced to submit to the prowess of the Midland team.

The Crewe Alexandra ground was the arena in which the great combat was waged, and in the early stages of the English Cup competition the Rangers were lightly though of, and little was it imagined that they would reach the semi-final tie.

Their deeds were eclipsed by the achievements of two clubs greater than they - namely, Queen’s Park and Renton - and the canny Scots looked to one of these two clubs to bring the cup over the border. But when both succumbed to the Preston North End, every effort was made to strengthen the Rangers, and the report quickly went forth that the finest players in Scotland had been enrolled in the ranks of that club to make a last despairing bid for victory.

The strikingly miscellaneous team that played Aston Villa on Saturday comprised players from the Hibernians, Vale of Leven, Queen’s Park, and Dumbarton. One quality only did this team lack to make it one of the finest in the United Kingdom, and that was the combination which comes from a longer experience by the players of each other’s powers and style.

As eleven individual players the Rangers surpassed the Villa, but as a while the latter team were far and away the better. Exclusive of Saturday’s match, the Rangers throughout the competition have scored thirteen goals against four, whilst the Villa have obtained thirty four goals as compared with eight goals scored by their opponents.

Both teams has been in active preparation for the game, and when the Rangers arrived in Crewe on Friday night they were all looking fit and well. The Villa team have for one past week been trained at Holt Fleet, near Droitwich, to which place they have several times journeyed, and tested the efficacy of brine baths.

They arrived in Birmingham from Worcester shortly after eleven o’clock on Saturday morning, and were received by a number of their admirers. A saloon carriage was attached to the 12 o’clock express to Crewe and as the train steamed out of the New Street Station three hearty cheers were given.

The weather in Birmingham was most uninviting, but when the train arrived at Crewe the sun was shining brightly.

At about two o’clock the gates of the football ground were thrown open, and there was soon a good sprinkling of spectators present. The numbers were gradually augmented until three o’clock, by which time there were about five thousand persons assembled, and then the game commenced this number had doubled itself, the Birmingham contingent being about four thousand strong.

The field is a magnificent one, being very level, and the turf was in fine condition. The arrangements reflect great credit upon the local club, for they were perfect. Every spectator present was enabled to see the game by reason of there being a sloping bank of ashes all round the field - an arrangement well worthy of imitation by local clubs.

The Rangers were the first to put in an appearance, and their splendid physique excited much comment. They were shortly followed by the Villa, who were received with tremendous cheering, and it at once became evident that they were the more popular team. Indeed the Crewe people were, if we might use the term, Villa mad, and they actually went so far as to beg cards with “Play up Villa” on them, which they stuck in their hats, and of which they seemed very proud.

The Rangers won the toss, and chose to play towards the town goal, with a stiff breeze behind them.

Amidst the most intense excitement Archie Hunter kicked off. Some give-and-take play followed, and then both teams set themselves in earnest to their work. Hodgetts carried the ball along the left wing and centred nicely. Hunter got possession, but his shot was a weak one, and was easily stopped by Chalmers.

The Rangers now had a try to score, but sent the ball outside. They returned to the attack, however, with great pertinacity, and the Villa backs had some trouble to clear their goal mouth. Hunter at length, by a fine bit of dribbling, got the ball near the Scotchmen’s goal, and passed it to Hodgetts, who was about to shoot when the whistle warned him he was offside.

The Villa forwards were speedily flocking round their opponents’ goal again, but Forbes relieved by a huge kick, and a moment afterwards Simmonds and Coulton were busy in checking a raid by the Rangers.

By a fine exhibition of combined play the Villa worked their way to the Rangers’ goal, where a foul was given them. From the free kick Dawson made a fine attempt, but the ball went the wrong side of the post. From the goal kick Fraser and Peacock dashed away on the right, and Burton headed the ball almost into his own goal. Lindsay rushing ip made matters look very dangerous, but Simmonds cleverly kicked away. The Villa forwards fastened upon it, and some pretty passing enabled Hunter to score the first point for the Villa amidst tremendous cheering.

The Rangers, roused by the reverse, played up with renewed vigour, and Simmonds and Coulton had all they could do to keep them at bay.

The Villa forwards continued to play a steady combined game, and Brown and Davis both came near scoring. The game had by this time become very fast, the Rangers playing up with brilliant dash, but spoiling all their efforts by their wild play in front of goal. Now and again they exhibited a bit of roughness, and for a few minutes the game was stopped through Burton being hurt.

On resuming, the Rangers, aided greatly by the wind, rushed for the Villa citadel, but Coulton, who deserves a word of praise for his cool and steady defence, kicked out of danger, and the Villa forwards in turn compelled the Rangers to fall back, but the ball was sent outside.

The game was now stopped by the referee on account of Lawrie making a back for Yates, and the Scotchman was warned against repeating the offence.

From the free kick, the Villa lefts bore down on the Rangers’ goal, but Now lifted the leather outside. Fraser secured the ball from the throw-in and the Rangers’ vanguard going away with great vigour
Lindsay equalised matters after thirty minutes’ play.

The game now waxed fast and furious, both goals being repeatedly assaulted.

Quickly did Fraser compel Warner to give a corner-kick, which, being well taken, caused the Brums some apprehension; but Warner splendidly averted the danger. He continued to play grandly, and repeatedly saved his charge, the Rangers at this point doing most of the pressing.

The Villa backs, and half-backs too, were all playing as they have never played before, whilst the forward play was perfection. Davis, on the right, now became conspicuous for a fine run and a good centre. Hodgetts tried hard to get at the ball, but failed.

The Rangers retaliated by making an onslaught on the Villa fortress, and Coulton had to concede a corner-kick. The ball was dropped well into the goal mouth, and an exciting scrimmage ensured, and for the moment it looked as if Rangers would force the ball through; but Simmonds kicked away, and the Villa forwards transferred the play to the other end of the field, where it remained until the referee announced that the interval had arrived.

The game up to this point had been slightly in favour of the Rangers, who had received material benefit from the wind, which at times caused some little inaccuracy in the Villa’s kicking and heading.

After a few minutes’ rest the teams changed positions, and the hopes of the Villa supporters ran high when they noticed that the Rangers seemed blown, whilst their own men seemed fitter than at the commencement.

The ball was set in motion, and the Villa, feeling the advantage of the wind, were speedily attacking.

Three times did Chalmers have to use his hands, for the shots were coming rapidly. Fraser and Lindsay gave their defence momentary relief by a rush towards the Villa goal, but they got no further than Coulton, who lifted the ball down field, and Dawson put in a swift low shot, which Chalmers with difficulty saved.

The Scotch vanguard again tried to lessen the strain upon their backs, but the Villa forwards, playing a magnificent combined game, again drew near their opponents’ goal, Hunter shooting hard. The ball, however, struck Forbe’s head, and rebounded up the field.

The Villa were not to be denied, for, descending in a body upon the Rangers’ fortress, they added second point amidst the wildest enthusiasm, Brown shooting the ball past Chalmers.

Aided by their backs and half-backs, who checked the desultory runs of the Rangers, the Villa kept up the pressure, and the Scotch backs were in great trouble time after time.

Loud cries of “Well played” greeted a beautiful run by Brown, who took the ball the full length of the field, and centred across goal. Hodgetts tried to head the ball through, but could not quite get up in time.

The excitement grew intense, and hoarse cries resounded from every part of the field as Chalmers fell in knocking out a shot from Brown, and it was seen that Hunter was ready to shoot. Chalmers, however, while lying on the ground, managed in an almost miraculous manner, to change the direction of Hunter’s shot and conceded a corner.

On the left wing Hodgetts and Vaughton were carrying all before them, whist Hunter was playing better than he has done for a long time. Brown and Davis, on the right, were also setting the Rangers’ defence to nought.

The Villa team were playing better and faster than at the commencement, whilst the Rangers had slowed down considerably.

The match was not yet won, however, for the Rangers now and again became very dangerous, but they spoiled all their chances by their wild shooting.

At length. after a great many attempts, Hunter put the issue beyond doubt by sending the leather past Chalmers for the third time. The game became one of “shots in” up to the finish, but try as they would the Villa could not again score, and they were thus left the victors by 3 goals to 1.

At the conclusion of the match the one question asked was “Who won at Nottingham?”. At first it was rumoured that the Preston North End had defeated the Albion by six goals to one, but afterwards the real result was ascertained. The Birmingham people were highly pleased at this result for whoever wins now the Cup must come to the Midlands.

The battle between the Albion and Villa will undoubtedly be a hard-fought one, and it will set at rest the burning question as to which is the better team.

When the Villa arrived at New Street Station on Saturday night they were met by a large number of people, who cheered the team over and over again, and escorted them out of the station.

The following were the teams:-

Aston Villa: Warner, goal; Coulton and Simmonds, backs; Yates, Burton and Dawson, half-backs; Hodgetts and Vaughton, left; Hunter, centre; Albert Brown and Davis, right forwards.

Glasgow Rangers: Chalmers, goal; Forbes and D. Now, backs; Cameron, J. McIntyre and Muir, half-backs; R. Fraser and Peacock, right; J. Lindsay, centre; Lafferty and Lawrie, left forwards.

Umpires, Messrs R. E. Lithgoe and C. H. Darley. Referee, Mr R. P. Gregson.