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From the Archives: Did Villa incident lead to stoppage time?
Paul Brown on B6 matters from the past.
19th May 2014
From the Archives: Did Villa incident lead to stoppage time?


Brown

Could an incident involving Villa have led to the introduction of stoppage time?

The mystery is no nearer being solved after discussions with club statistician Frank Holt.

Several sources claim that a match between Villa and Stoke in November 1891 resulted in the FA bringing in stoppage time.

The story - available widely on the internet - goes that on Saturday November 21, 1891, the Potters were trailing 2-1 to Villa when they were awarded a spot-kick with mere seconds of the match remaining.

However, it is reported, Villa goalkeeper Bill Dunning picked up the ball and mischievously kicked it clean out of the ground.

It is thought that by the time it had been returned to the pitch, the referee had blown for full-time.

Apparently, later in that season the law was changed to allow time to be added at the end of games.

However, there is still some very real uncertainty about the legitimacy of the story.

There is no mention of the incident in John Lerwill's extensive 'The Aston Villa Chronicles' book, which does feature a small match report of the game.

And statistician Holt also told us: "I am aware that a football writer refereed to this incident taking place when Stoke were awarded a penalty in the league game at Perry Barr.

"However, he also refers to goalkeeper Bill Dunning picking the ball up and hoofing it clean out of the ground.

"This could not be correct as Albert Hinchley was in goal on this date - in fact, Dunning did not arrive from Bootle until July 1892.

"I have read comprehensive reports of the Stoke game published in November 1891 but there is no reference to this incident in these.

"Over the years I have also read press reports for all of Villa's competitive games since the formation of the club, but I have been unable to verify the incident."

Can you shed some light on this story? Please email us here to give us your information.

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