Football encounter in Shropshire later this month set to mark 150th anniversary of England's first international goal

A football match will be held in Shifnal later this month to remember a local man's place in English sporting history.

William Kenyon-Slaney
William Kenyon-Slaney

Shifnal landowner William Kenyon-Slaney bagged the first goal in England’s 4-2 trouncing of Scotland at Kensington Oval cricket ground in London on March 8, 1873.

The town has already marked the auspicious occasion with an exhibition and a special church service marked by football tunes and tops.

Now, with the regular football season out of the way a football match has been arranged to mark the occasion when ace striker Kenyon-Slaney bagged the first of his brace.

A special trophy called the Kenyon-Slaney Cup has been created for what is hoped will be an annual event.

The Rev Prebendary Chris Thorpe, of the parishes of Shifnal, Sheriffhales and Tong, said the match will be held from 2pm on May 20 at the home ground of Shifnal Town FC.

Mr Thorpe said: "It will be played between Shifnal in the England kit, and Bridgnorth in the Scotland kit – always a keen local derby!

"Andrew Kenyon is coming to represent the family, and he will be presented with a replica cap that has been especially created, he will speak at half time, and he will present the medals and cups at the end.

"Proceeds from the match are going to support two local charities – the Warm Welcome Space at St Andrew’s Church and CentreStage, a youth preforming arts group in Shifnal."

Bizarrely William Kenyon-Slaney only played for his country once, and went on to a career in the military and to proudly represent the Newport constituency in Parliament during a distinguished career.

His family, who still live in Shropshire, proudly owns an England shirt bearing the number 19, the Football Association’s legacy number as the nineteenth man to pull on his country’s shirt.

Kenyon-Slaneys, descendants of the first England football goalscorer, in Shifnal. Pictured left, mayor Roger Cox, Bertie, Rupert and Caspian Kenyon-Slaney and Rev Chris Thorpe

The historic match was played at the Oval on March 8, 1873. It was the second encounter between the Auld enemies after the first game ended in a 0-0 draw.

The game was reported in the newspaper in these terms, “two of the best representative teams of England and Scotland met on Kensington Oval on Saturday afternoon to do battle at football for the honour of their respective countries.

"Light wind, a little rain and very faint sunshine rendered the atmospheric conditions for play as favourable as could be expected and gave the 3,000 or more of well-dressed spectators who attended the grounds a fair opportunity of witnessing an excellent exhibition of this manly and athletic sport.”

The special game will be held at Shifnal Town FC's Acoustafoam stadium.

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