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Today marks the anniversary of Sunderland’s first ever win and goal in competitive action

On this day 137 years ago Sunderland AFC won their first ever game - a 4-0 victory over Northumbrians Ovingham FC!

Sunderland’s first ever ground - Blue House Field, Hendon
With thanks to SAFC.com

Today marks the 137th anniversary of Sunderland’s first ever win in a game.

Success came only weeks after the club was formed on 25 September 1880.

In Sunderland’s first competitive game, which was a Friendly and was played at the Blue House Field in Hendon, Ferryhill had beaten the hosts 1-0.

The match took place on Saturday 13 November 1880 - sadly, there are very few details known about the actual game itself and the Ferryhill goalscorer has, to date, not been named.

Sunderland’s second ever match was again at home, at the Blue House Field, and was played on Saturday 27 November 1880. This time the opponents were Ovingham FC - a club from Northumberland that were formed in September of that year.

Sunderland’s team that day consisted of John Grayston, Robert Singleton, John Sewell, William Elliott, Joshua Jardine, Ted Watson, John Coates, G. Roberts, John Anderson, Walter Chappell and Sunderland founder James Allan.

James Allan pictured second from the left in the middle row in the earliest surviving image of an SAFC team
Ryehillfootball.co.uk

The game attracted a “fair attendance of spectators.”

Ovingham won the toss and played with the wind at their backs. Sunderland worked hard to repel the Ovingham attacks and the pressure was occasionally relieved by the dribbling abilities of Allan and Coates.

The interval was taken at 40 minutes and the score was 0-0.

Soon after the restart came the first ever Sunderland goal.

The home side had immediately gone on the attack and it was William Elliott, playing at half back, who sent the ball through into the empty net, nets not yet having been invented. (Funnily enough they are still not officially compulsory!) Elliott was Sunderland’s first Secretary.

A second was scored by Edward Guy (Ted) Watson before James Allan, the founding father of the club, scored two more as Sunderland left the field having won 4-0.

The club’s first win, in its second reported game, was a comprehensive one.


Readers interested in the early history of Sunderland AFC should consider buying the book FOUNDING FATHERS THE MEN WHO MADE SUNDERLAND AFC - volume one by clicking here.