In 1887, Ardrossan Ensign was very active, attracting visits from Glasgow teams including Clyde, Queen's Park, Rangers and Third Lanark and still competing in the Ayrshire Cup. Ardrossan Zingari played a 'one-off' game.


ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 3 - DALRY 2
On Saturday last (22 January 1887), the Ardrossan and Dalry Football Clubs played a return match on the ground of the former and at the close, victory ended in a win for the Ensign by three goals to two.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 January 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN SECOND ELEVEN 0 - IRVINE RANGERS FIRST ELEVEN 2
On Saturday last (29 January 1887), the second eleven of the Ensign played the first eleven of the Rangers on the ground of the former, Ensign. The Rangers won by two goals to nil.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 February 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2 - LOCHWINNOCH 1
A match was played on Saturday last (5 January 1887), between the first elevens of these clubs on the ground of Ensign and ended in their favour by two goals to one.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 February 1887

GRAND FOOTBALL MATCH - ARDROSSAN ENSIGN v QUEEN'S PARK
We would call the attention of lovers of football to the match which has been arranged to be played on the ground of the local club, North Crescent, tomorrow afternoon (12 February 1887). The Hampden team of Queen's Park has this season given a good account of itself and the local players will doubtless put their best foot foremost on the occasion so that they may hold their own. We hope the weather may be favourable and that the home club will be rewarded with a big gate.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 February 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 3 - QUEEN'S PARK HAMPDEN ELEVEN 3
On Saturday last (19 February 1887), the match arranged to take place between the above teams, drew forth perhaps the largest turnout of spectators ever witnessed this season on Seafield Park, North Crescent and the gate money must have consequently been greater than that of previous Saturdays. The cause of this satisfactory result is entirely due to a visit of the Hampden Eleven of the renowned Queen's Park, a name which has always had the effect of drawing together large gatherings of the lovers of the leather. The match was favoured with one of best days of the season, no atmospheric elements having prevailed to disturb the game which was very interesting and contested and ended in a draw, three goals each. The home team won the toss and the strangers set the ball a-rolling. Piloting the leather to the home fortress, they quickly scored one minute from the start. At this point and before the strangers had registered a goal, an incident occurred which stopped the game and owing to this hitch, the strangers desired to restart the match but, by decision of the referee, the goal was granted and the game proceeded. After five minutes work, the Ensign scored goal number one and at twenty minutes, they again succeeded in reducing the Hampden colours. Play then went on for some time without any material advantage, during which some very good points of individual and collective play were observed on both sides while each of the goalkeepers were, time after time, called upon to defend their respective charges. Of the two, Reid for the home team, had the hardest work but his goalkeeping was most superb being much admired and loudly applauded and should he defend his charge on future occasions as he did on Saturday last, he will contribute greatly to the success of the home club. Eventually, after several abortive onslaughts, the Hampden representatives succeeded in equalising matters and the first forty-five minutes ended two goals each. In the second moiety, the strangers were again the first to score and fears were subsequently entertained by the more enthusiastic portion of the spectators that the home team would suffer defeat. Runs and counter runs were made on both citadels but without result, the play at intervals being both exciting and dull but the home team were not to be denied and at thirty minutes they were on an equal footing with their opponents. The remaining fifteen minutes of the game passed off without any further scoring and the match, which was a pleasant one, ended in a draw, three goals each. For the strangers, Waddell, Alexander, H Miller and Bryson played best in front while the back divisions were remarkably steady, Macgregor and Young doing good work. For the home team, Greig, Alexander and Boyd were conspicuous while Smith, Allan and Stewart at back excelled the others. The following were the teams. Hampden Eleven: goal - Warden; backs - Macgregor and Young; half-backs - Macara, J Miller and Edwards; forwards - Bryson, McCallum, H Miller, Alexander and Waddell. Ensign: goal - Reid; backs - Smith and Hogarth; half-backs - Stewart, Allan and Barbour; forwards - Greig, Alexander, Craig, Brown and Boyd. We direct attention to the match which is announced to take place on Saturday first (26 February 1887) between our local team and the Glasgow University Ramblers. Should the weather prove favourable, a good game is anticipated.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 February 1887
The team line-ups were given in 2-3-5 formation for the first time. Previously, 2-2-6 was used.

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 4 - GLASGOW UNIVERSITY RAMBLERS 3
Last Saturday afternoon, a friendly game was played on Seafield Park between the Glasgow University Ramblers and Ardrossan Ensign clubs. The ground was in good condition but the playing was greatly marred by a strong south-west wind which blew nearly right across the field. The home team set the ball a-rolling against the wind and in less than one minute from the start, the strangers scored a goal. Ardrossan, however, soon rallied considerably and after twelve minutes play, Kinnear scored their first goal and after another quarter of an hour, number two was registered but was disallowed owing to a foul before being put through. The first half ended thus. On the game recommencing, the ball was kept in the Ramblers' territory where corners and narrow escapes were the rule until twenty-five minutes passed when Kinnear again gave the ball the lucky touch. Two minutes later, Smith, by a flying shot, did the needful and registered the third goal. Allan, intimidating the latter player seven minutes, later reduced the strangers' colours by a splendid shot just as the goalkeeper was regaining his post after stopping the ball. Until about three minutes from the close, the strangers played a wholly defensive game during which Smith was unfortunately "sat upon" and had to retire. His withdrawal was soon felt for the strangers, after a determined run, scored their second goal. A minute afterwards, it was again passed between the home posts. Time was called as the Ramblers rambled dangerously near the home posts. The game thus ended in favour this ended in favour of the home team by one goal and a disputed one. The strangers' right wing and goalkeeper played skilfully. The left wing and centre of the Ensign tackled well. Smith played a hard game. Stewart kicked wildly in the first half but Breckenridge, although out of practice, very judiciously footed the ball. Reid's goalkeeping was very clever. The teams were Ramblers: goal - Craig; backs - Paton and Niven; half-backs - Milroy, Barr and Moffat; forwards - Mathieson, Smith, Livingstone, Dunlop and Stevenson. Ensign: goal - Reid; backs - Breckenridge and Hogarth; half-backs - Allan, Stewart and Barbour; forwards - Greig, Alexander, Smith, Kinnear and Boyd.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 4 March 1887

AYR VULCAN 1 - ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2
Ardrossan Ensign met Ayr Vulcan at Ayr last Saturday (5 March 1887) and played the return friendly match. When they last played, the result was a draw. The Vulcan's field was surprise to the Ensign players, having very much the appearance of a road neglected by the road trustees. The Ensign won the toss. After some defensive play, the ball was taken into the home team's territory where a corner kick from Boyd was well-placed and the ball shot between the posts by an old Seafield man, McNeil, who was not played for seven years. The rest of the first half was evenly contested. In the second half, a quarter of an hour before time was called, the ball passed between the Ensign's posts after some very exciting play at their goal. Five minutes from the end, Stewart put in a good shot which Craig used to good advantage and scored the second goal. The game ended Ensign two goals, Vulcan one goal. Ramsay and Allan tackled well for the Ensign and Vulcan played a good game.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 11 March 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2 - GLASGOW BATTLEFIELD SECOND ELEVEN 1
This game was played at Seafield Park before a large body of onlookers. The afternoon was favourable and the game from start to finish was well-contested. The strangers kicked off and during the first few minutes both citadels were closely assailed. At ten minutes Greig, by a long shot sent the ball spinning against the goalkeeper's hands and, failing to check its inward course, it passed between the Battlefield's uprights. Beyond exciting runs and attacks, nothing definite occurred till after thirty minutes play when a free kick fell to the Ensign. This being entrusted to Stewart, he passed the ball very neatly to Greig who gave it the second successful touch very cleverly and was thus credited with registering the only goals for the home team. With the game standing at two goals to nil, it was thought the strangers would prove more fortunate in scoring during the second half of the game as they played up vigorously but their efforts were rendered futile for some time, the home team being equal to every occasion. Runs, counter runs, corner kicks and so on were the order of the game and of which several were cleverly executed by both teams. Ultimately, at ten minutes from the close, "Tammy" Houston of Stevenston Thistle, who made up the strangers' eleven, ably scored the first and only goal for the Battlefield and the match thus ended in favour of the Ensign by two goals to one. The strangers' right wing did capital service and particularly in the second part. Although "Tammy" played hard, he was rather guilty of poaching while the backs were very trustworthy. For the home team, Greig, Boyd Alexander and Smith were very conspicuous in front but Craig and Kinnear also played hard. Barbour and Stewart worked energetically as half-backs. Ramsay and Allan did giant work as backs while Malloy at goal maintained an unexpectedly bold front.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 March 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2 - IRVINE THISTLE 1
This game was played at Seafield Park on Saturday (26 March 1887). The weather was very unpropituous for playing, rain having fallen for the entire progress of the game which terminated in favour of the Ensign by two goals to one. Of the matches which have been played by our local team during the season just closing, last Saturday's game, we understand, was a most exceptional one being characterised by the very obscene language on the part of some of the strangers. We unhesitatingly condemn such immoral conduct which were fear cannot fail to have a most contaminating influence on those who are present and particularly on the young of whom there are, on all occasions, a large following. For the sake of morality, as well as for the respectability of the game, we would counsel all club committees to expel from their society those members who are guilty of such outrageous and immoral conduct and in doing so tend to promote the honour of their club and the popularity of their game which should at all times be conducted on both friendly and moral grounds. A good game has been arranged for tomorrow (2 April 1887) when the Glasgow Rangers Shields Eleven will play our local team on their ground. We hope the weather may be favourable, the turnout large and the conduct exemplary.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 1 April 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - GLASGOW RANGERS SHIELDS ELEVEN 3
On Saturday last (2 April 1887), the Shields Eleven of the famous Rangers tried conclusions with our local team on their usual rendezvous, Seafield Park, North Crescent. The attendance of spectators was smaller than on previous Saturdays which may perhaps be accounted for by the counter-attraction at Irvine the same day. A south-westerly breeze militated against the play considerably which somewhat increased towards the close of the match at which point the Rangers, playing with the wind, succeeded in scoring two goals while in the first half, they also scored one point against the breeze, the home team doing likewise in the second part. Nevertheless, the game was well-contested while each side exhibited clever work at intervals and particularly when battling against both wind and play. The game ended in favour of the strangers by three goals to one.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 8 April 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 3 - GLASGOW CLYDE SECOND ELEVEN 3
Favoured with fine weather, these teams met on Saturday last (9 April 1887), on Seafield Park to play a friendly game which was witnessed by a goodly turnout of onlookers amongst whom were several contingents hailing from Saltcoats and Stevenston who did not forget to evince their spleen against the home team when occasion offered and which, we presume, is owing to the defeat sustained by the defeat sustained by the Stevenston Thistle some months ago. After the kick-off, play went on for some minutes without any material advantage. Gallantly, the respective backs and goalkeepers frustrated the well-designed attempts of the forwards and, although each side strove hard, the colours were kept intact until twelve minutes play when the strangers scored the first point. For some time afterwards, the play became more open and was about equal, each citadel having narrow escapes. Despite the heavy pressure, the home team were successful in registering their first goal at forty minutes by a long shot. About two minutes later, the Clyde men scored their second goal and the first half ended two to one. On changing ends, it was thought by some that the home team would soon get on an equal footing with their rivals but the visitors were the first to show prominently and at fifteen minutes, they gained their third laurel. With the game now standing at three to one, many believed that the Ensign was certain to suffer defeat but, about ten minutes later, their hopes revived again when the home team registered goal number two. Encouraged by this success, they worked very aggressively but so well did the strangers play on the defence that the efforts of the home team were rendered futile until about the call of time when they equalised matters but which goal the strangers disputed on the plea that the whistle was blown. The game thus ended in a draw, three goals each.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 April 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - QUEEN'S PARK HAMPDEN ELEVEN 4
The closing game of the season took place on Monday evening last (11 April 1887) with the Hampden Eleven of the Queen's Park. The evening was beautiful and the attendance of onlookers was the largest of the season. This is the second time the strangers kindly consented to play the local team on their ground this year and, on this last occasion, they produced a stronger team than in the first instance when the game ended in a draw but the game of Monday evening terminated differently, the home team suffering defeat and which, it should be said, was not as fully representative as it ought to have been, lacking the services of Greig and Allan. In the first half, the strangers scored one goal to which they supplemented another three during the second part while the home team only managed to score one point. The game thus ended in favour of the visitors by four goals to one.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 15 April 1887

THE SEASON'S FOOTBALL AT ARDROSSAN
Of all the outdoor games now indulged in, football appears to command the greatest attraction for visitors in all ranks and conditions of life and these watch the game in their own particular way. It is needless to assert that football can be played under much more favourable conditions than almost any other outdoor sport and at less expense in this, in a great measure at least, is the secret of its popularity among the masses while it can also be played under nearly every condition in the atmosphere. But to say there are no accidents of any kind attracted to football would be making an assertion which we cannot substantiate. All sports of whatever kind have the elements of danger attached to their pursuit but with great care, these can be reduced to a minimum. These accidents can, of course, be avoided and as there are district rules forbidding rough play, clubs would do well to see that these are rigidly enforced during each season's campaign. Despite the many insults made by those opposed to the game, it continues to spread over the length and breadth of the land and has now become to be regarded - we wish we could say all - of our young men as a purely scientific game of amusement. Regarding our local Ensign team, they have just closed a most enjoyable and very successful season as will be noticed from the undernoted list of matches, and although it must be admitted that they are still deficient in some respects, yet at the same time, they have both individually and collectively considerably improved their play during the past season. In all, they played 23 matches, 18 of which took place at home and 5 from home. At these, 55 goals were scored, 13 games were won, 7 lost and 3 drawn while 31 goals were won and 10 lost. The following are the names of the respective clubs which played our local team since they opened their field with the total goals scored by each showing wins and losses by the Ensign.

 
opponents' goals
Ensign goals
wins
losses
MATCHES AT HOME        
Irvine Academicals
3
4
1
0
Kilmarnock Second Eleven
2
5
3
0
Kilwinning Monkcastle Second Eleven
1
5
4
0
Stevenston Thistle
0
3
3
0
Irvine Athletics
0
3
3
0
Glasgow Ceara
1
0
0
1
Newmilns
1
2
1
0
Ayr Vulcan *
2
2
2
0
Kilwinning Monkcastle
2
0
0
2
Dalry
2
3
1
0
Lochwinnoch
1
2
1
0
Queen’s Park Hampden Eleven *
3
3
3
0
Glasgow University Ramblers
3
4
1
0
Glasgow Battlefield Second Eleven
1
2
1
0
Irvine Thistle
1
2
1
0
Glasgow Rangers Shields Eleven
3
1
0
2
Clyde Second Eleven *
3
3
3
0
Queen’s Park Hampden Eleven
4
1
0
3
         
MATCHES FROM HOME        
Newmilns - cup tie
4
1
0
3
Irvine Academicals
7
3
0
4
Dalry
4
0
0
4
Ayr Vulcan
1
2
1
0
Irvine Thistle
2
4
2
0
         
totals
51
55
31
19

* draw
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 22 April 1887

ARDROSSAN ZINGARI 1 - SALTCOATS VICTORIA 1
This game was played at Saltcoats on Wednesday evening (8 June 1887) and ended in a draw, one goal each.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 10 June 1887
Zingari is the Italian word for gypsies.

NEW FOOTBALL SEASON
At the decline of the football season last year, we believed that this popular game was a thing of the past here but it is with pleasure we learn that our local club, the Ensign, has again secured the field hitherto occupied by them. As the season is again fast approaching and as the members of this club are anxious once more to "get on the leather", the annual general meeting of the members was held recently when office bearers were elected for the ensuing year. Mr George Stewart was appointed captain, Mr John Brown vice-captain, Mr David Mack secretary and Mr Duncan Stewart to the office of treasurer together with a large committee. We understand that several old members have forsaken the club but their places in it have been filled by good substitutes. As the members have again the opportunity of practicing the game of which they are in many respects deficient they, in order to win a first-class match, must do so with undaunted vigour, fully determined to gain at least a few more steps up the football ladder. In fact to be able to master all the details requisite in the game, the players have to be capable of dribbling, middling and heading in a very proficient way. It is all very well to talk about brute force and lasting power but unless these are accompanied by scientific application, they are worth little and cost much. "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong." says the old proverb and members should always remember this. Now that cricket will soon be over, the Scotch youth must have something exhilarating for the coming winter and, in the order of things, football takes the place of cricket. On Saturday first, tomorrow (20 August 1887), the lovers of the game will have the pleasure of witnessing the opening friendly tussle on Seafield Park between the representatives of the Paisley Zingari and our local football aspirants. We wish the home team every success during the season just commencing.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 19 August 1887
George Stewart was mentioned in Ardrossan and Saltcoats Heralds of 1 August 1890 and 1 October 1897.

QUEEN'S PARK HAMPDEN ELEVEN v ARDROSSAN ENSIGN
On Tuesday last (16 August 1887), the Ensign travelled to Glasgow to play the Hampden Eleven of the Queen's Park where, we understand, they sustained a defeat.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 19 August 1887
The report below shows that Ardrossan Ensign were defeated by five goals to one on "Saturday last". This is likely to be an error as the reports above and below show they played Paisley Zingari on "Saturday last". It appears that he Queen's Park game was played on Tuesday 16 August 1877 and Queen's Park beat Ensign by five goals to one.

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - PAISLEY ZINGARI 3
The representatives of the Paisley Zingari made their first appearance in Ardrossan on Seafield Park on Saturday last (20 August 1887), the occasion being the opening of the local club's field for the season. The afternoon was exceptionally fine and the attendance of spectators was fair. The strangers commenced operations against a brilliant sunshine and for a short time, the play was well divided but the Zingarians were not to be denied and, in about fifteen minutes, they shot the leather between the Ensign's uprights. Hopes were, however, entertained that matters would be speedily equalised by the home team but their citadel was again charged then taken and, before the fight had ended, on other three occasions. The home team, on the other hand, only succeeded in taking their opponents' fortress once. On the whole, the match was unexciting, though it was nevertheless characterised by several good points on both sides. From the lessons which the home team have lately been receiving, we think they will become even more able to exhibit the science and art connected with the game than they have hitherto done and it is hoped with better success than that of Saturday last when they were defeated by five goals to one. Tomorrow, Saturday, the Glasgow Rangers Ibrox Eleven play the home team and a good game is expected.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 26 August 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2 - GLASGOW RANGERS IBROX ELEVEN 5
This match was played at Seafield Park, North Crescent under excellent weather auspices and before a gathering of spectators somewhat similar to that of the previous week. The Ensign won the toss and the Rangers sent the ball in motion and in the first ten minutes they played to best advantage but ultimately the local team assumed the aggressive which play they continued until five minutes of the close of the first moiety of the game. At twenty minutes, on the ball being returned from the back division, Stewart in the front got on it and after piloting it for a few yards subsequently shot for goal when the ball collided with the crossbar but rebounded into play again. Craig timeously headed the leather through the Rangers' goal for the first time. This success doubtless encouraged the home youths and for the succeeding fifteen minutes, they frequently stormed their fortress but, beyond this, all their assaults were rendered futile until the game was forty minutes old when they again managed to lower the strangers' colours. With but five minutes to play, it was natural to think, looking at the play which had been going on, that the first half would finish with two goals for the Ensign and none for the Rangers but this supposition was of short duration as the Rangers, who had been playing a good defensive game, cleverly scored their first laurel which they quickly followed with a second and the first part, contrary to expectation, ended a draw, two goals each. A change of ends now gave the Rangers the benefit of an increasing breeze which, of course, militated against the play of the Ensign. The Rangers played with a will and showed their experience by smartly scoring their third honour after four minutes work while at ten minutes they registered their fourth goal. The home team up to this point and sometime after it, had really a hot time of it striving to evade the onslaughts of their opponents, the goalkeeper having perhaps more than he bargained for but despite the Ensign's combined efforts, the Rangers, twenty minutes from the finish scored their fifth and last point. With but some fifteen minutes to play, defeat was certain to overtake the Ensign though with a slightly decreasing wind, it was nevertheless thought by some enthusiasts that they would at least retrieve part of their lost colours but all their efforts were abortive and the match, which was a very pleasant one, terminated in favour of the Rangers by five goals to two. On future occasions, we would counsel the home team to play with more judgement in kicking and closer passing. Saturday's game was very defective in these respects and without question told heavily against them. As we have said before, complete success in a team consists in the secret of perfect combined action and if an eleven play together with a fixed determination to do their very best, they will seldom, if ever, fail when engaged with a team of equal or even superior ability. Good, genuine combined play generally carries a club through the game successfully. We believe the home team are well aware of these truths but we are really surprised that they do not exhibit them more than they have hitherto done. However, with a little more practice, we hope to see them in better form than they at present are. A good game is anticipated tomorrow (3 September 1887) when the second eleven of the Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers (Third Lanark), Glasgow play the home club.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 2 September 1887
In this report, the crossbar is mentioned for the first time. It cannot be assumed that crossbars were used in the early years of football. There may have been a rope - or nothing - between the posts.

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - THIRD LANARKSHIRE RIFLE VOLUNTEERS SECOND ELEVEN 9
On Saturday last (3 September 1887), the Ensign team, with their new light blue and white striped jerseys, suffered a rather heavy defeat on their own ground in a friendly game with above-named team which was one of the fastest elevens that has ever yet faced the local club. If we except a slight shower, the afternoon was otherwise favourable for the occasion, while the turnout of visitors was equal to that of previous gatherings. The defeat by nine goals to one was one of the heaviest ever sustained by the club since its origin but when the many drawbacks with which the club have had to contend against - such as the loss of playing ground and of the services of old members - are taken into consideration, the issue of last Saturday's combat should not, we think, appear so bulky in the eyes of the football world. The fact cannot be ignored that had the custodier of the home territory showed better form - shown himself to what was generally expected at the commencement of this season - the game would have been more creditable to the home players but there were more than the goalkeeper at fault. The members of the team are for the most part deficient and, we believe, it will yet be some time before they are able to cope with an eleven such as that which played them on Saturday last yet it must be admitted that there are one or two in the team - we refrain from naming - who play a most conspicuous and judicious part and who therefore take the polish off the rest of their brethren. The strangers, on the other hand, showed very clever and profitable work, both collectively and individually and played remarkably fast. Inside fifteen minutes, they had three goals placed to their credit and before the first half was finished, they added a fourth to their list. After a change of ends, the home team, playing with more combination scored their first and only goal inside five minutes. The hopes of the home team and their friends were revived for a few minutes by this success but as the strangers scored their fifth goal, these again dropped. Third Lanark continued to play with success and when the whistle blew the score stood Third Lanark, nine goals, Ensign, one.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 9 September 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 6 - GLASGOW INSURANCE 0
This game was played on Ensign's ground at North Crescent under somewhat boisterous weather auspices - a strong wind accompanied with heavy rain at intervals having blown across the field - which caused the ball to be frequently in touch while there was a falling off in the attendance of onlookers. During the first half, though there were several hairsbreadth escapes, each citadel remained intact. In the second part, playing with the wind, the Ensign after ten minutes work, scored goal number one and they supplemented other five before finishing. The Insurance, who played with ten men for about twenty-five minutes in the last half, failed to count and the game terminated in favour of Ardrossan by six goals to none. Tomorrow, Saturday (17 December 1887), the Ayr club travels to Ardrossan to play the Ensign in the first round for Ayrshire Association Cup. We hope to see a good game and a good gate.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 16 September 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - AYR 12
Much interest was evinced in the first round for the Ayrshire Association's Challenge Cup this season when the fortunes of the ballot brought together the above clubs. The Ayr, it may be said, ranks as one of the crack clubs of the country and have hitherto shown remarkable efficiency and endurance, raising themselves from a position of comparative obscurity to one of honour in football circles. While respecting the Ensign, the members are but young and unskilled in the mysteries of this popular game. To play for supremacy against the Auld Toon's famous eleven, showed great pluck and perseverance on the part of the Ensign and by doing so the members have exhibited, to the football fraternity at least, a more manly and courageous spirit than is evidently possessed by the members of several other clubs in the shire who, rather than meet their opponents in cup competitions, have adopted the dishonourable rule of scratching their rivals but such a step, the Ensign youths were determined not to take, let the issue of the game be what it may. These teams accordingly met on Seafield Park, Ardrossan last Saturday (17 September 1887) when the turnout of spectators ws unusually large. Owing to the heavy rains, the ground was somewhat slithery, being rendered more so by a heavy shower towards the close of the match. Otherwise the afternoon was all that could be desired and the interest of the spectators was most enthusiastic and appreciative. Ardrossan won the toss and, to the surprise of many, selected to play against the brilliant sunshine. Ayr set the ball a-rolling and immediately besieged the home fortress where a corner fell to them and which ended in a goal after one minute's play. The home team was, no doubt, chagrined at this early success of the strangers and they had afterwards to work dexterously in order to hold their own with their superior opponents. This they did for the space of ten minutes with good effect having proved equal to every raid made on their territory as well as endangering their opponents' citadel at intervals but eventually a corner fell to the Ayr representatives which resulted in a second goal. In this half of the game, Ensign had several excellent chances to score but, as usual, proved very unlucky at goal. Though Ayr enjoyed the best of the game, yet the play was pretty even at times. The strangers succeeded in registering another two goals before the first half ended. With four goals to nil, the second half was commenced and if the first half proved a disastrous one for the home team, the second was even more so. The visitors were apparently unsatisfied with the success they had gained in the first moiety of the contest and they again and again assumed the aggressive and so determined were their attacks that goal after goal was added. The home team, on the other hand, gave their opponents some uneasiness occasionally but two or three chances were lost by erratic shots. However, they were rewarded by scoring a goal towards the close of the match but being overmatched they had chiefly to act on the defensive and the visitors, with commendable play, stormed the home citadel on no less than eight occasions in this second period of the game. Before the match was finished, the home team seemed to lose heart while several members were playing promiscuously. The game ended in favour of the Ayr representatives by the large score of twelve goals to one. The Ensign's right wing, Henderson and Craig, was decidedly the strongest and best, Greig and Stewart on the opposite wing not showing so well, the former having slightly sprained his foot in the first half while Boyd in centre played hard but was a shade selfish. The half-backs worked fair but Reid at back outshined his usually clever mate, Allan while Malloy at goal did excellently in the first half. For the Ayr team, Jack, A Campbell, Ross and Cunningham in front and J Campbell and Anderson as half-backs showed best form while McQuiston at back was very steady. Teams:- Ayr: goal - Dunbar; backs - McQuiston and Thompson; half-backs - J Campbell, Anderson and Andrews; forwards Jack, Miller, A Campbell, Ross and Cunningham. Ensign: goal - Malloy: backs - Reid and Allan; half-backs - J Barbour, Kinnear and Bannatyne; forwards - Henderson, Craig, Boyd, Stewart and Greig.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 23 September 1887
This was the worst defeat to date of any Ardrossan club.

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 2 - IRVINE THISTLE 6
The first elevens of these teams met on Seafield Park, Ardrossan on Saturday last (1 October 1887) to try friendly conclusions. A strong wind prevailed during the greater part of the game which caused the play to be somewhat one-sided while the game was characterised by roughness. Ardrossan won the toss and Irvine commenced operations against the wind. The ball was quickly returned and, after several unfruitful attacks, Ensign passed the leather between the strangers' uprights. The remainder of the first part was at times exciting, the frequent onslaughts of the Ensign causing the Irvinites to work hard in order to save their colours. This they did most successfully and were rewarded with a goal before the first half had finished which ended in a draw one goal each. With the wind in their favour, the strangers now assumed the aggressive and at twenty-five minutes the game stood Irvine four goals, Ensign one. The last of these goals was disputed by the Ensign and the game had the appearance, for a little, of being virtually ended, so dissatisfied were the members of the home team at the decision given. However, after a little meditation, the Ensign, rather than finish the match abruptly, renewed the fight and by good work they piloted the ball against wind and play through the Irvine goal. The game now stood four goals for Irvine, two for Ensign and, with a falling wind, the play on both sides became much better. The ball travelled the field and each citadel was in turn jeopardised. The strangers, however, were more fortunate in scoring than the home team and when the whistle blew the issue was Irvine six goals, Ensign two.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 October 1887

IRVINE THISTLE SECOND ELEVEN 8 - ARDROSSAN ENSIGN SECOND ELEVEN 3
The second elevens of the above teams played at Irvine and after a somewhat pleasant game, victory ended in favour of the home team by eight goals to three.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 7 October 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 0 - QUEEN'S PARK HAMPDEN ELEVEN 4
Undeterred by their defeat at the commencement of the season, the Ensign again placed a team before their friendly rivals on Seafield Park, Ardrossan on Saturday last (22 October 1887). The game was witness by a large body of enthusiastic onlookers who repeatedly cheered and applauded the good points. The afternoon was dry but unfortunately a strong westerly wind prevailed which militated against the play considerably. At first, the strangers who kicked off with the breeze at their backs, threw sufficient energy into their work to cause the home side much anxiety but they, on each occasion, recovered from the force of the raids made by the Hampdenites on their fortress and at intervals removed the fight to the other end of the field. With varying success, the play went on for ten minutes when a hand fell against the home team about three yards off their goal. The free kick, however, came to nothing as the home youths successfully beat off their opponents and the play was afterwards of a give-and-take nature, the strangers having the best of it. Eventually, the black and white jerseys bore down on their adversary's citadel and at fifteen minutes, they scored the first goal which performance they again repeated at thirty minutes. The strangers were now playing with greater precision and caused the home team to act chiefly on the defensive which they did with praiseworthy efforts and at interval assailed their opponents' uprights but Hampden's representatives were not to be denied and in the last five minutes, placed another two goals to their score, the first half finishing Hampden Eleven four goals, Ensign nil. By a change of ends and with the wind for an ally, it was thought that the Ensign would reduce the Glasgow colours but this they failed to do, though they caused the ball to collide with their rival's sticks at different stages of the game. Runs and counter runs and corner kicks were abundant on both sides without result, the home team, if anything, having the best of the play in the second half of the game which ended without a goal by either side. The match, which was a pleasant one throughout, thus terminated in favour of the strangers by four goals to nil. The Hampden team acquitted themselves well, the forwards being unselfish in their display of passing while the back divisions, including the goalkeeper, were effective throughout. The home forwards wrought fairly well but their passing was not so judicious as their opponents and should have been closer and more frequent while the backs, on the other hand, made a creditable appearance on the whole. The home goal was occupied by a young player who was perhaps a shade timid on his first venture
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 28 October 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN SECOND ELEVEN 3 - DALRY SECOND ELEVEN 3
These teams met on at Ardrossan on Saturday last (19 November 1887) on friendly terms. The day was fine and the attendance of spectators fair. In the first half, Ensign placed three goals to their credit while the strangers scored two. Dalry in the second half equalised matters and the match, which was somewhat amusing at intervals, ended in a draw three goals each.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 25 November 1887

ARDROSSAN ENSIGN 1 - KILWINNING MONKCASTLE 4
On Saturday last (24 December 1887), the Ardrossan Ensign and Kilwinning Monkcastle football clubs played a return match at Ardrossan. Under excellent weather auspices, the game, though somewhat rough at intervals, was nevertheless very well contested. The Monks' team was a strong one and included the famous Allan who was expected by the onlookers to show something grand but his play called for no special comment. From the start, the strangers seemed bent on effecting a big score as they played with great speed and determination but, we think by the issue of the game, their preconceived notions were not fully realised. They scored the first goal from a scrimmage after one minute's play and from a corner, they subsequently registered a second point. The home team was the next to score and the first thirty minutes of the game ended two goals to one. In the second part, the Monks placed another two goals to their credit while the Ensign failed to take their opponents' fortress and the match ended in favour of the strangers by four goals to one.
            Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 30 December 1887