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The Story of Welsh Football: 1877-1879

1877 Scots Soccer Stars in Wrexham First

Wales played their first international in Wales at The Racecourse. Wales lost but limited Scotland to 0-2.

"Both teams played remarkably well and the contest throughout was an exceedingly close one. The Scotchmen exhibiting the utmost proficiency in the essential art of passing while the home team worked admirably, the 'Backs' exhibiting some really excellent play."

Wrexham Advertiser

It was only the second game, but the armchair critics soon put pen to paper:

"It was noticeable that the Scotch forwards were not ambitious of doing the work of the back players and this was in contrast to the Welsh team. Had the Cymry forwards played well up in the first half several goals would have been scored in their favour, but they would persist in following the ball up and down the ground."

Wrexham Advertiser

Kenrick though kept focused. He faced many obstacles. His players only met each other on match days. One player from Ruabon had to play under a false name in case his employer found out. There were even squabbles over who was qualified to play for Wales.

1877 Welsh Cup Action

The first domestic football competition, the Welsh Cup kicked off in the autumn. 19 clubs entered though only 17 actually fielded a team. The climax of the season was the final at Acton Park, Wrexham, on 30th March 1878 between Wrexham and the Ruabon Druids - a cliffhanger where the Wrexham forwards charged the Druids' defenders to take the ball over the line to win the game in the final minute. A year later there would even be a cup to take home!

1879 First Goal for Wales

On January 18th 1879 Wales played England on a snow covered pitch at The Oval (now better known for cricket.) William Davies from Oswestry "with his usual brilliant dash landed the first goal for Wales, amidst tremendous cheering". The English won 2-1 but the result did not do justice to Wales's encouraging performance.