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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888



1892 - 1894

Darwen 5-4 Aston Villa

First round: 21st January 1893

Attendance: 7,300 {half time 1-2}

Scorers: {Darwen} Jonty Entwistle {3}, M McAvoy, Malcolm Sutherland : {Villa} John Devey, James Brown, Jas Cowan, Charlie Athersmith

Ranked at the time: 5

The first round produced a nine goal thriller between second division promotion chasing Darwen and title chasing Aston Villa in a game that led to a near riot in Birmingham when news of the score broke. Darwen had been a top flight side the previous season but were out of their depth and earned the distinction of being the first team to be relegated to the new second division. They had also lost against Villa in both league and cup the previous season, most notably their 5-1 mauling at Barley Bank in the league encounter. The Villains arrived at Barley Bank having been beaten cup finalists the previous season and while they were up at the right end of the table, their away form had been patchy, having lost 0-6 at champions, Sunderland the previous week. They were still too strong for Darwen in front of a healthy 7,300 crowd as John Devey and Jas Cowan's goals had cancelled out Jonty Entwistle's for the home side to see Villa in front at half time. The second half was a different story as McAvoy, Sutherland and Entwistle all found the net to put Darwen into the driving seat with still twenty minutes left. Villa rallied and were given a lifeline when awarded a penalty with ten minutes remaining. James Brown made no mistake from the spot but as Villa pushed for an equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back, allowing Jonty Entwistle to complete his hat-trick. Charlie Athersmith did bag a fourth for the visitors but it came with virtually the last kick of the game to leave no time for any hope of a dramatic leveller. For those Darwen folk present that day it was a game they still spoke of half a century later while the Villa players faced scathing remarks back at their own base, which may have sparked them into the team who went on to be the best in the land by the end of the decade. Darwen beat second division Grimsby 2-0 in the second round but were crippled by injury and illness by the time of the quarter finals and lost 0-5 to Wolves.

Speaking in 1928, Jonty Entwistle recalled "Aston Villa were the best team we ever played, with such great players as Devey, Athersmith and Cowans in their side nobody gave us a chance, but the Darwen team of 1893 was a very very good team the best team I had ever played with, and had we not been cruelly hit with sickness and injuries myself included for the quarter-final game with Wolverhampton I am sure we could have gone on and won the Football Association cup that year"

By the 1940s Alderman Taylor was a liflong associate of the reformed Darwen FC. He recalled the Villa game as the first he ever attended, although time had muddied the waters of his memories somewhat. "I didn't get onto the ground until half-time when they used to let we lads in for a penny. Villa were winning 3-1 {actually Villa were only 2-1 up at the interval}, and five minutes from the end they were still on top although Darwen had fought back to 3-4 {Darwen had actually turned the game around and led 4-3 with five minutes remaining}" "Then somebody gave two wonderful passes to Jonty Entwistle on the wing, now Jonty was not a ball player but he was a good runner, he gave yards away to the full back marking him, he put over a great centre for Mc Kennie to level the scores {This is probably the goal scored by McAvoy, which came midway through the half to make the score 4-2.} and with only a minute or so to go Jonty sped through the Villa defence to score the winner in the nick of time {Entwistle's clincher did come very late in the game but it made the score 5-3. There was still time for Athersmith's consolation goal}"

Darwen 1:A Kenyon, 2:John Leach, 3:James Orr, 4:Robert Fish, 5:R Maxwell, 6:M McAvoy, 7:John Wade, 8:William Campbell, 9:William McKennie, 10:Malcolm Sutherland, 11:Jonty Entwistle

Villa 1:Willie Dunning, 2:Arthur Stokes, 3:Gersham Cox, 4:James Brown 5:Jas Cowan, 6:Peter Dowds, 7:Charlie Athersmith, 8:Albert Brown, 9:Jimmy Logan, 10:John Devey, 11:Denny Hodgetts

Quotes and team By kind permission of Darwen Football Club website.

Middlesbrough Ironopolis 3-2 Notts County

Second round: 4th February 1893

Att: 10,000

Scorers: {Middlesbrough} J Hill, Archie Hughes, W McArthur :{County} Jimmy Burke, Harry Walkerdine

Ranked at the time: 7

On the same day that goals from Sutherland and Wade were securing Darwen's quarter final place, Northern League Champions, Middlesbrough Ironopolis were writing their own little bit of cup history at their Paradise Ground against top flight strugglers, Notts County. By coincidence County, like Villa, had lost their previous away game 0-6 in the league at Everton but it was almost a month since that game and they had kept three clean sheets in their home games since. This game against County may have been the one which produced the upset but it was their quarter final with Preston which lived in the memory. The Nops took the lead in the first minute but were behind at half time. Preston were handicapped by an injury in the second half which presented Ironopolis the chance the level with ten minutes to go and force extra time. The noise was the loudest the writers covering the game had ever witnessed at Paradise Ground but the Nops were unable to kill the tie off and were forced back to Deepdale for a replay, which they lost by a wide margin.

County: 1:George Toone,2:Andrew Whitelaw, 3:Jack Hendry, 4:Charlie Bramley, 5:David Calderhead, 6:Alf Shelton, 7:Harry Walkerdine, 8:Tom McInnes, 9:Jimmy Oswald, 10:Jimmy Burke, 11:Dan Bruce