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16 January 1915 - Hull City 2 Leeds City 6

Second Division - Anlaby Road - 5,000

Scorers: McLeod 5, Sharpe

Hull City: Hendry, Betts, Morgan, Edelston, Deacey, Wright, Mercer, Cameron, Stevens, Halligan, Lee

Leeds City: Hogg, Blackman, Affleck, Law, Lamph, Foley, Bainbridge, Jackson, McLeod, Speirs, Sharpe

The Yorkshire Post of 11 January 1915 reports City's sterling Cup victory at Derby two days earlier After a thoroughly depressing run through the autumn of 1914, the turn of the year brought a promising upturn for Leeds City.

On 12 December, the Peacocks hammered Leicester Fosse 7-2; a week later they lost at Barnsley but then recovered to beat Glossop twice over Christmas, 3-0 on each occasion. A 3-1 defeat at home to Stockport demonstrated the brittleness of their nascent revival, but when City won 2-1 at table topping Derby County in the first round of the FA Cup on 9 January they confirmed an undiminished ability to mix it with anyone on their day.

The Leeds Mercury reported the Cup victory thus. 'On returning to Leeds from Derby on Saturday evening, I met a jubilant City supporter. "When I saw the score was one each at half time," he said, "I was immensely pleased, and when I saw they had won I could not believe it."

'There is not the least doubt that the result would be a surprise to 99 per cent of the football community. It is true Leeds City had beaten Derby County at Derby, in October, by exactly the same score (2-1), but that stood as Leeds City's solitary away victory of the season, and since then Derby County had played fourteen games without suffering defeat, winning eleven and drawing three, whereas Leeds City had played thirteen games, and won only five of them, against five defeats.

'Leeds City are to be congratulated on thus confounding the critics. They played well, undoubtedly, but Derby County gave an astonishingly weak display, a display that would not have done credit to a Midland League side, and the surprising feature about the game was not that Derby County were beaten, but that Leeds City did not win a lot more easily.

'There was some excuse for Derby County. Eadie, their centre half-back, was absent, as he is under suspension, and at the last moment it was found that Leonard, the crack centre-forward, and Baker, the outside-left, were unable to take the field owing to influenza. Three reserves had therefore to be called upon, but this alone does not explain the poor display of the side. The regular members of the team must be suffering from the strains of their struggle to keep the leadership of the League. There was not much fault to be found with the forwards, but the half-backs and backs were unaccountably weak, and were largely to blame for the downfall of the side. Their kicking and placing was very poor, even allowing for the heavy ground and the greasy ball.

'Leeds City were vastly superior in defence. Hogg was very safe in goal, but had a very easy time of it in the second half. Blackman was not quite steady in the early stages of the game, but he improved as time went on and was very sound in the second half. Affleck was in good form all through the piece. He was daring in his tackling, but he got there, and he kicked with power and judgement.

'The half-backs were also very effective. Law in particular played well, and Peart and Foley worked very hard, Peart making up for his lack of inches by his pluck and grit. He was a good substitute for Hampson, and it is rather singular that Peart also played in the match against Derby County in October.'

City had started to edge away from the Second Division re-election zone and the nature of their victory at the Baseball Ground left them in great heart for a Yorkshire derby at Hull City's Anlaby Road on 16 January.

Previous clashes will Hull had usually been hotly contested affairs, though Leeds had won only once in the League since October 1910 and had never won at Anlaby Road, where they were hammered 6-2 in November 1912. However, they could recall with pleasure the memory of beating Hull on 11 November 1914 to win the West Riding Cup for the first time in their history.

Yorkist in the Leeds Mercury: 'For the first time on record Leeds City have beaten Hull City in a Cup-tie, the final of the West Riding competition at Elland Road yesterday, resulting in a win for the home team by a goal to nil.

'What had given promise of being a very interesting contest was almost entirely ruined by wretched weather. Heavy rain had fallen all day, and continued nearly throughout the match. It was no surprise there was only a small attendance, the number paying for admission being 830 and the receipts being under 30, which would barely pay expenses. It was a thoughtful action on the part of the Leeds City management to allow the sixpenny patrons access to the shilling stand soon after the start of the game, so that all the spectators were under cover.

'Despite the conditions, however, the players entered into the contest seriously, and there was a lot of interesting football. The spectators occasionally derived amusement from the mud baths of some of the players and twice in the first half Edelston, the Hull City right-half, had long toboggan journeys in a sitting posture.

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'An unfortunate feature of the match was that Mr Sant of Barnsley, who refereed, ordered Hampson, the Leeds City centre-half, off the field in the second half for what seemed a trivial offence against Halligan, the Hull City inside-left and captain, and the former Leeds City player.

'No one was more surprised at the action of the referee than Halligan, who, along with other players on each side, appealed to the referee to recall Hampson, but Mr Sant adhered to his ruling, much to the annoyance of the crowd.

'It was after Hampson had been sent off that Leeds City got the winning goal and there was thus all the more credit in Leeds City's victory. They were the smarter side all through the piece, adapting themselves much better to the heavy ground than the lighter Hull City men.

'To Speirs fell the honour of scoring Leeds City's goal, the ball going to him at close range after McLeod had Jimmy Speirs' West Riding Cup winners medal from 1914 - Speirs' goal was enough to beat Hull City in the final on 11 November 1914 at Elland Roadendeavoured to force his way between the Hull City backs. The goal recalled the famous English Cup final replay at Manchester, when Bradford City beat Newcastle United. Speirs scored the goal on that occasion. He was then captain of Bradford City and is now captain of Leeds City.

'Speirs, Sharpe and Bainbridge were the best of the Leeds City forwards, though McLeod and Jackson were by no means idle. The Leeds City half-backs were sound, Hampson playing well till his departure. When he left, Jackson dropped back to centre-half, and acquitted himself creditably in that position, though handicapped by lack of inches.

'Blackman and McQuillan were stalwart defenders, McQuillan, in particular, giving a fine display against his old colleagues. He nearly scored in the second half with a long shot from his own half of the field, the ball bouncing awkwardly to Hendry, who could do no more than divert it over the bar. Hogg had a comparatively quiet time in the Leeds City goal.

'On the Hull City side Turner was absent from the centre-half position, Wright going from left-half to centre-half, with Morgan dropping back from inside-left to left-half, while Lee took Morgan's place. Halligan and Lee were Hull City's best wing, though Mercer and Cameron were occasionally clever, but Stevens was not as prominent as usual in the centre.

'Morgan played well at left-half, but Edelston was the pick of the line. Pattison was the better of two useful backs, but Hendry was not quite comfortable in goal, though he had no chance of stopping Speirs' shot. It would not be fair, however, to seriously criticise players under the prevailing conditions.

'Mr Joseph Connor, the president of the West Riding Association, handed over the trophy at the close to Speirs, and presented the medals to the players of both teams.'

The FA Cup-tie at Derby had marked the start of a particularly testing period for Leeds. After the trip to Hull there were three successive away engagements: Blackpool, Queens Park Rangers (in the Cup) and The Arsenal, the last-named pushing hard for promotion. Later an additional game at Elland Road, against Clapton Orient, was added into the schedule the week before the game at Highbury.

In the context of that run and City's recent form, the Yorkshire Evening Post commented pragmatically, 'They have a hard row to hoe during the next four weeks They will be cheered in their difficult task if they can but succeed in sharing the points tomorrow, as, on form, they should do.'

Regular centre-half Jack Hampson was unavailable with a particularly debilitating bout of flu and his deputy, Harry Peart, who had played so well at Derby, was unavailable through suspension.

City manager Herbert Chapman responded to the crisis by calling up wing-half Tommy Lamph Tommy Lamph is in the middle of City's new signings for the 1913/14 season - Davidson, McDonald, Dunn, Lamph, Divers, Urwin, Johnsonfrom the reserves. It was something of a risk as Lamph was untried in the position and could have been identified as a weakness by Hull City, with former Peacocks forward Billy Halligan intelligent enough to exploit any uncertainty.

Hull, for their part, were still without injured right-back John Pattison (who was to play briefly for Leeds a couple of years later) and Arthur Betts continued to deputise, with the side unchanged from that which put mighty West Bromwich Albion out of the FA Cup the previous weekend. 'West Bromwich Albion were always second best at promotion chasing Hull, who should have already been in front before their legendary forward Sammy Stevens broke the deadlock. Keeper Nick Hendry, nicknamed The Human Octopus, then stepped in with an excellent second half display to keep Albion out. The Tigers went on to see off Northampton and Southampton before bowing out in the quarter finals against Bolton. Sadly the war broke up their side before they could mount another challenge for promotion and a team that included Irish International Billy Halligan was broken up. Also in the side was Joe Edelston, whose son Maurice later became BBC radio's anchor commentator for the Cup final itself in the late Sixties and early Seventies.'

Despite the attraction of a local derby, it was 'witnessed by a crowd of only about 5,000 spectators, of whom nearly half were soldiers in khaki', according to the Yorkshire Post. 'Taking the lead in the first minute, Leeds City were always on top and except for a period of about ten minutes immediately after the interval they quite monopolised the play which was contested throughout at a great pace, despite the heavy conditions.'

The opening goal came directly after the kick off, as reported by Yorkist in the Leeds Mercury: 'The game had a most sensational opening, as Leeds City got the lead before a single one of the Hull City players had a kick at the ball. Halligan had beaten Speirs in the toss, and Leeds City had to face a troublesome breeze.

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'McLeod, in starting the game, sent the ball wide out to Sharpe, who promptly lofted it over the heads of the Hull half-backs. Betts ought to have got to it in time to clear, but the left-back hesitated and Speirs reached it first. He immediately passed the ball inside to McLeod and the Leeds City centre-forward could not have been more than five seconds in progress and naturally everybody was taken by surprise. The goal gave Leeds City confidence, and despite having to play against the wind they had the better of the exchanges toThe Yorkshire Post of 18 January 1915 reports City's astonishing 6-2 victory at Hull of two days earlier the interval.'

That stunning opening undermined Hull badly, but Halligan almost managed an immediate equaliser, missing what was practically an open goal.

It was a rare moment of promise for the home side and when Leeds came again they did so with verve and style, their forwards combining in stunning fashion on several occasions.

Sharpe was denied by the crossbar when he fired in a spectacular, swerving drive, but his side were not to be rebuffed for long. The persistent probing saw them increase their lead after half an hour.

Speirs and Bainbridge combined well on the right to feed McLeod who sent the ball on to Sharpe on the left. A mistake by the covering Betts allowed the England amateur to get away and McLeod got his head to a fine cross and nodded home his second goal.

That was the signal for Hull to rally: in the 38th minute, after forcing a corner which was only partially cleared, Halligan fired a shot against Fred Blackman. The full-back was slow to recover and Sammy Stevens had time to fire home the loose ball. Their recovery was nearly completed when a fine drive by David Mercer struck the bar, but Leeds were worth their half time advantage of 2-1.

The first ten minutes following the resumption went the way of Hull, but they wasted a number of scoring opportunities thanks to indecision in front of goal. Their best opportunity came when Stevens struck the foot of the upright with a raking shot. Then Leeds keeper Tony Hogg was twice pressed hard before he could throw the ball out and Stevens got possession, beat Tommy Lamph and George Affleck and got in a shot which ran narrowly wide.

Having withstood some determined assaults, the Peacocks responded by increasing their lead in the 62nd minute. Full-back Doug Morgan failed to clear a corner kick and John Jackson seized on the opportunity to make an opening from which McLeod was able to complete his hat trick.

That served only to whet Leeds' appetite for more goals and they scored again with around twenty minutes remaining. Hull forced a corner which was well placed by Jack Lee, but Fred Blackman headed away. McLeod got to it and lofted a long ball out for Ivan Sharpe to chase with practically an open field in front of him. He was partially checked in his advance by Betts, but recovered possession to break away and finished off a good run by beating goalkeeper Hendry from close range to make it 4-1.

Five minutes later a centre from Bainbridge allowed McLeod to beat Morgan and fire home his fourth and City's fifth goal.

At that stage, Jimmy Speirs was forced to retire with a badly swollen knee and the Peacocks had to see out the final fifteen minutes with ten men.

With eight minutes of time remaining Billy Halligan pulled a goal back for Hull following a great run by Mercer, but that only prompted the visitors onto the attack.

Within a minute, it was the redoubtable McLeod once more, crowning a fantastic personal performance by scoring his fifth goal of the game after good build up play by Jackson and Bainbridge.

A number of records were established by this astonishing game. It was the first occasion on which any visiting team had scored six goals at Anlaby Road, the site to which the club returned in December 2002 when they left Boothferry Park for the newly-built KC Stadium. Leeds had never scored six away from home in a League match and never beaten Hull on their own enclosure. McLeod's five goals were the highest by a Peacocks player in a single game, beating the four the same player managed against Nottingham Forest in November 1913. That haul matched those of Fred Hargraves and Dickie Morris against Morley in the FA Cup in October 1905 and David Soldier Wilson against Clapton Orient in March 1906.

The Yorkshire Post: 'Following upon a good start, Leeds City played with every confidence and fully maintained the excellent form which won their Cup-tie the previous week at Derby. Although, to use a football expression, everything came off for the winners, they were decidedly superior to the home team in every point of play. Two players in particular distinguished themselves. McLeod surpassed himself as a sharp shooter, but it was not alone in his shooting that he excelled; he showed wonderful control of the ball in midfield, and was generally much too clever for the defence. Ivan Sharpe was the other conspicuous individual success of the match. His pace was too much for Betts, but it was in his centres, admirably judged whilst on the run, that he showed his skill. No players were so much in the picture as McLeod and Sharpe, and it is not too much to say that it was their enterprise and enthusiasm which carried Leeds City to triumph.

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'Leeds City's success was all the more remarkable in that their team included the reserve player Lamph, who, whilst being essentially a wing half-back, was played in the important position of centre-half, rendered vacant by the continued illness of Hampson and the suspension of Peart. The newcomer, although somewhat shaky in his defence, succeeded in his special mission of holding Stevens in attack, and fitted admirably into Leeds City's scheme of attack.

'It was the short passing game, in which McLeod, Speirs and Jackson are masters, which baffled the home defence, and often left Betts and Morgan completely nonplussed. Defence was not a strong point with the home side, and in that particular the sound tackling and volleying of Affleck and Blackman were in striking constant to the hesitating methods of Betts and Morgan. Although completely outplayed for three parts of the game, Hull City were by no means dispirited, and some of the efforts of Halligan and Stevens deserved something better than the hard luck with which they were attended.'

Yorkist in the Mercury: 'For the second Saturday in succession, Leeds City startled the football world, and their performance at Hull was even more amazing than that at Derby. Who would have deemed that a Second Division side could score six goals against Hull City on the Hull City ground? This is what Leeds City accomplished.

'This latest performance of Leeds City was much more meritorious than their Cup triumph at Derby. Leeds City won at Derby not by reason of their own brilliance so much as the astounding weakness of their opponents. But Leeds City did play magnificent The game was a personal triumph for five-goal Billy McLeod. His League haul for City now stood at 160football on Saturday, and the score of 6-2 does not unduly flatter them.

'They were a great side all round, more especially in the second half, and five of their six goals were thoroughly well-deserved. It was an extraordinary game, and by no means as one sided as the score indicates, for it was not until the last half hour that Leeds City gained the mastery, but even then Hull City never ceased to persevere.

'Leeds City's display was a revelation, and was certainly the best they have provided this season. The forwards were not convincing at Derby, but they were all on the top of their form on Saturday, and were admirably assisted by the half-backs and backs.

'McLeod had a great day, and he was cleverly supported by Speirs and Sharpe on the one wing and Bainbridge and Jackson on the other. It is pleasing to know that the injury to Speirs is not likely to prove serious enough to keep him out of the team.

'Law and Foley did splendid work at half-back, and the experiment of playing Lamph at centre-half was a success, the youngster giving a pleasing display. He pluckily shadowed the bustling Stevens, and never allowed him much rope. With a little more weight and experience Lamph should develop into a first rate player.

'As at Derby, Blackman and Affleck distinguished themselves in defence. They were sound throughout and scarcely made a mistake, while there was little fault to find with the work of Hogg in goal. There was not a weak spot on the side.

'Hull City had the same side as triumphed over West Bromwich Albion in the Cup-tie, and the victory of Leeds City was therefore all the more remarkable. Though Hendry had six goals scored against him, he could not be blamed for any one of them. Betts, who again deputised for Pattison at right-back, was below form, but Morgan was invariably sound. Edelston, Deacey and Wright had a gruelling time at half-back, but they worked hard throughout.

'Of the forwards, Cameron was the least conspicuous, but he was lamed early in the game and could not do himself justice. Halligan and Mercer were the pick of the line, but Stevens and Lee also did good work.'

Unfortunately, the comprehensive victory produced no sustained improvement for the Peacocks and they lost their following five games. That included Derby County exacting revenge for their Cup exit by winning 5-3 at Elland Road on 13 February. Curiously they then won four games on the bounce before losing six of their final eight fixtures in this most inconsistent of seasons. Manager Herbert Chapman could be excused for feeling beside himself with frustration.

Stephen Studd in Herbert Chapman: Football Emperor: 'Leeds finished a poor fifteenth in the Second Division in 1915.Wartime conditions had robbed players of the incentive to win promotion because of the uncertain future of League football, and caused a sharp fall in gates which made it virtually impossible to spend money on improving the team. Set against wage reductions and the receipt of several hundred pounds from the League Relief Fund was an average gate yield of less than 200. But other clubs facing similar conditions had done better than Leeds. And the factory hours and Rugby support which militated against soccer in Leeds had been challenged with some success from 1912 to 1914.

'A more likely explanation for the slump can be found in the shaky financial structure of the club, which made it hard for Chapman to act with any confidence. For some time financial control had been in the hands of a receiver after the Leeds City company was wound up.'

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