It was a strange game for any match from any era, it was one of them games which I’m sure would have been called off hours (if not a day) before kick-off, perhaps there was nothing funny about the 3-0 result but the conditions in which the Rovers and Blades players where forced to endure can be nothing more than described as barbaric.
Blackburn Rovers lead the way at half-time in a comfortable three goal cushion, helped mainly by the prevailing wind, whilst the freezing cold and wet weather didn’t help either side.
As a result of poor whether, it was a particularly poor crowed turn out with many ducking for cover under the Ewood Park terracing.
The home side had the wind and rain against there backs in the first half of the match and this advantage pushed them into a three goal lead by the break – however initial threats by the home side were kept out.
They began with various assaults on the united goal; many mistakes were made due to the slippery turf – Kendall, in the Blades goal was put under a mountain of pressure as a number of crosses were launched into the box from Bruton but efforts from Dix and Thomas McLean flew over the top.
The Blades relied on quick passing and movement to their left wing with Barclay providing Oswald with a chance but he missed from close range. Williams and Barclay saw headers deflected away from danger; during that attack Carver was injured with a leg injury and had to be treated over the goal line.
In the thirteenth minute Rovers took the lead; still with only ten men on the field they won a corner, Dix missed his chance through slipping after the ball was delivered into the box but Thomas McLean saw his shot cannon off a Blades defender and slide into the net.
Shortly after going behind the visitors were handed a chance through the legendary Dunne, he was put through on goal but dived, looking for a support striker the Rovers keeper was able to take advantage and smothered his shot which fired wide of goal.
On nineteenth minute the lead was doubled when a rare mistake by Johnson, he stood motionless as Cunliffe was allowed to pass the ball to Thompson in the middle who had acres of space to hit home past Kendall.
Five minutes later the game looked dead and buried for the visiting side, from time to time Rovers produced some appealing football down the right hand side and on this occasion it lead to a goal, Cunliffe was fouled near the corner flag; he took the free-kick and found the net from a tight angle – Kendall losing balance and slipping as the ball flew past him.
The pitch was very unplayable with players falling around all over the place, in one incident Binns was forced to come way out of his goal to clear up a slip by Carver who was laying flat out in a watery patch. Just before the half-time whistle blew Thompson smashed the bar for the home side.
Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Sheffield United
When the play resumed after the break the weather conditions had worsened and the match did finally kick off again after a prolonged interval.
However the players were all suffering through the cold and Bruton needed to be revived with stimulants and artificial warmth and didn’t return to the field – and with no substitutions Rovers would have had to carry on with ten men.
Early on in the second half Rovers almost added to their lead but neither Thompson nor Dix could propel the ball through a puddle of water in front of the opposition’s goal. This stretch of water worked as an advantage to United after it caused so much trouble in the first as Blackburn failed to find a way to goal.
Yet, despite the disadvantage of the wind the Rovers defence remained strong and reliable, and within the first 20 minutes the only shots to reach Binns were from long range. Midway through the second half Bruton returned to the field after feeling ill at half-time – but almost immediately Thomas McLean was forced to leave, after suffering from exposure. At this point it was clear that the averse whether conditions was effecting the players health and ability when Blackburn sprung another attach with no player finding the energy to apply the finishing touch.
After 73 minutes of play several players required stimulants on the field as the heavy rain still fell over Lancashire, and there was a general rush for cover by the visiting players back to their dressing rooms.
Mr. A. Caseley, the match official was in some sort of a dilemma of weather the game should continue, there was only two Rovers players left on the pitch – he decided to call a ten minute break, so bad were the conditions that he claimed it was difficult to see the ball.
The referee and his assistant made several trips to the home and away changing rooms to consult with their captains as to if this game should go ahead; with 17 minutes left and a three goal lead the home side were very much prepared to carry on with the visitors very much reluctant – three Sheffield United players were in the care of the Rovers club doctor at the time.
During this break even the referee collapsed and required treatment; and after twenty-five minutes of stoppage the game resumed with Mr. H. Berry (from Huddersfield), the linesman now in charge of the game.
All of the Rovers side re-started the game, but United – whom were sporting a different colour jersey had only eight men after Dunne, Hall and Gooney being too ill to carry on.
Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Sheffield United
Blackburn Rovers: Binns, Gorman, Jones, Thomas McLean (1), Carver, John McLean, Bruton, Dix, Thompson (1), Groves, Cunliffe (1).
Sheffield United: Kendall, Johnson, Green, Gooney, Carrigan, Hall, Williams, Barclay, Dunne, Pickering, Oswald.
Referee: Mr. A. J. Caseley (Wolverhampton)