From the Darlington & Stockton Times of May 7, 1921

THERE was huge controversy in the final of the Richmond Athletic Cup 100 years ago, which was played on the Green Howards’ sloping pitch between the footballers of Richmond and Reeth.

Reeth had the slope and the wind in their favour during the first half but “seemed unable to adapt themselves to the conditions, the ball being extremely lively and difficult to control”.

The D&S report said: “There was an exciting incident when the Reeth team appealed for a goal on the ground that the ball had gone over the line, but the appeal was ignored by the referee.”

Richmond immediately went up the pitch and scored, through “hot shot” Norton.

In the second half, despite having the wind and the gradient in their favour, Richmond were unable to break Reeth’s “stout defence”, and so the match finished 1-0.

“Major WH Renwick, in presenting the cup, congratulated the teams on the clean game,” said the D&S. “He regretted a dispute had arisen regarding a goal, but he agreed with the referee that in a case of doubt the benefit should be given to the defending team.

“At the same time, he personally was of the opinion that a goal had been scored for Reeth, and he hoped they would enter the competition again next season.”

Reeth must have headed for home feeling they really had been robbed. If only VAR and goal line technology had been in existence 100 years ago – that would have cleared it all up.

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