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On This Day (24th December 1892): Sunderland bring some festive cheer with an away victory!

The Lads completed the second part of an impressive double over West Bromwich Albion on Christmas Eve way back in 1892!

The 1892-93 Sunderland team, as seen in the Absolute Record.

Reigning Football League champions Sunderland had started their title defence of 1892/1893 in fine form with an 8-1 October win at home to West Bromwich Albion (which you can read about here) and showing just how ruthless Tom Watson’s side could be.

The charge continued over the Christmas period with two games scheduled in the Midlands, one of which was the return fixture against the Throstles that took place on Christmas Eve.

Despite the frosty weather, the Stoney Lane pitch was in reasonable condition ahead of kick off, and although Sunderland were once again the better side, it proved to be a far more competitive affair.

Albion started well and won three early corners but goals from James Hannah, who received the ball from a cross-field pass, and Davy Hannah within a minute of each other put the Lads in control. Although Alf Geddes pulled one back from distance, the two-goal cushion was able to be restored before half time.

There were complaints from the Sunderland defence that goalkeeper Ted Doig had been fouled in the build up to the home side scoring, but it was all forgotten when Johnny Campbell scored from a free kick to make it 3-1.

At least one source claims that the shot was deflected in and should’ve been classed as an own goal, but several papers took Christmas Day off and by Monday, attention had turned to the next round of games.

As a result, the details are hard to substantiate and Campbell was subsequently credited with the goal on the basis of probability, as he’d taken the initial shot, and the assumption that the club’s statisticians made enquiries at the time.

James ‘Blood’ Hannah, a scorer on this day, as seen in the Absolute Record.

After the break, we seemingly got a bit sloppy but we’d done the bulk of the hard work already and were happy enough to run the clock down.

It appears as though the home supporters were cheerful enough too, as despite witnessing a defeat, West Brom’s biggest crowd of the season so far was said to have gone away singing Christmas carols and other songs at full time.

As for the players, they spent Christmas Day at a hotel in Wolverhampton ahead of their Boxing Day match with Wolves.

After playing at Molineux, the party headed north later the same day and travelled to Sheffield, from where they moved onto Rotherham for a friendly – arrangements having been made for what was supposed to have been a direct train to York to instead stop in the town for the club’s convenience.

Then came a Hogmanay clash with Rangers in Scotland before the next league fixture, when Wolves came to Wearside.

The visitors had been surprise victors on Boxing Day but were soon put in their place as Sunderland made an impressive return to form.

We’d already shown on Christmas Eve that we meant business and the present we really wanted- the Football League trophy- would be wrapped up soon enough during the coming months.

Saturday 24 December 1892

Football League Division One

West Bromwich Albion 1 (Geddes, time unknown)

Sunderland 3 (J.Hannah 15’, D.Hannah 16’, Campbell, time unknown)

Sunderland: Doig, Porteous, Smellie; Wilson, Auld, Gibson; J Hannah, D Hannah, Campbell; Gillespie, Harvey

Stoney Lane, attendance c 8,000


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