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Darlington Football Club

Ray Simpson / 14th September 2020

From the Archive -- FA Cup 1911 Darlington 2 Bradford PA 1

From the Archive -- FA Cup 1911 Darlington 2 Bradford PA 1

Cup tie fever grips Darlington for the first time ever

The special programme for the last ever home game at Feethams carried a special feature of matches through the years.

Here, we recall Frank Tweddle's research into the 2-1 FA Cup win over Bradford Park Avenue in the second round of the FA Cup in 2011.


Header pic: The 1910-11 team


Darlington 2 Bradford Park Avenue 1
FA Cup second round - February 4th 1911

Darlington really gripped the imagination of the town with their cup run in season 1910-11 when they became one of the early giantkillers of the FA Cup.
This was in the days when there were more qualifying rounds of the FA Cup, and the Football League clubs came into the competition at the first round proper stage. Quakers, by contrast, were playing in the North Eastern League, a professional league in this area which consisted of clubs like Hartlepool, Gateshead and the reserve teams of the Football League clubs.

After winning 6-1 at Blackwell Colliery in the fifth qualifying round, Quakers pulled out a plum in the next round, at First Division Sheffield United.

It was an early example of a David v Goliath cup tie, and Darlo won at Bramall Lane with a goal from Alec Fraser, the first time a non-league club had beaten a First Division club, a feat which has been forgotten about in the sands of time.

Talk about excitement -- this was the first time that FA Cup fever had really hit town as Quakers reached the second round, the equivalent of the current fifth.

Second Division Bradford PA, sadly no longer in the Football League, were the visitors to Feethams that day and 12,030, by far the biggest crowd to watch Quakers until that time, turned up for the game.

Tickets for the half crown enclosure – or the paddock as it later became known – were sold out. Fans were everywhere. They climbed all over the Polam Lane end, where the Echo observed a “good number of them had an unpleasant experience. They had just mounted a wall at the Park end of the ground where the tenant of the adjoining property threw bucketfuls of water at them.”

The day before the game, cup tie fever gripped the town and the Echo published a list of do’s and don’ts for the fans to observe.

"Why is a cup tie footballer like a finely strung fiddle? Because the least thing puts him out.

"If you don't wish to upset the cup tie footballer's nerves, then you must be very careful what you say and do. 

"Don't bombard him with questions. Don’t ask them how they are. Don’t ask them how other members of the team are. Don’t offer to stand them drinks.

“Don’t pat their muscles, and above all, don’t ask them who is going to win.”

The Echo also interviewed two of the players, a rarity for the press in those days. “Bradford will find us a tough nut to crack,” said half back Dave Taylor.

“No team in the country is too fast for us,” said centre half Jimmy Bannister.

Jimmy Bannister


Quakers made it hard for themselves, by going behind early on. Bradford’s Thackeray scoring with an “oblique ball” after a mistake by Bannister.

But Quakers raised themselves for the second half. “Like a bolt of lightning they took up the attack,” said the Echo, “and before the crowd settled down, Alec Fraser had equalised from a corner.

“The success acted a like a fuse to a cracker, and it was a means of putting fresh rigour into the Darlington players.”

Quakers scored the winner near the end. “Denham worked a clever opening, and Cornock running at great speed, got past the two backs. Just as the Bradford custodian rushed out, Cornock shot into the net.

“There was only a short time to go and the spectators went almost into hysterics with excitement.”
It was a magnificent win to put Quakers into the last sixteen of the competition, the old third round.

The Echo said; “No one who did not see the game can appreciate the true merit of Quakers’ performance. In the second half, the Bradford men were simply outplayed, Darlington were faster, fresher and more enterprising.”

Sadly, the run ended in the next round when Quakers were beaten 3-0 at home by Swindon Town.
The Darlington team was;
Brebner, Jackson, Taylor, Hanlon, Bannister, Hisbent, Donnelly, Fraser, Denham, Cornock, Dodds.


Jimmie Donnelly