The 1905/06 season was the first (as yet known) season in which South Kirkby entered the Football Association Cup. The season's journey began in the First Qualifying Round with a trip to Rotherham Main. The Rotherham Main team were one of three major footballing powers in Rotherham at the time but the lesser of the three. They had that season joined the Sheffield Association League, moving from the Hatchard League (which they had won in the 1903/04 season). In the first meeting of the two sides, at Rotherham, Oakes scored twice for South Kirkby but Main were not to be beaten and managed to salvage a 2 - 2 draw. In the replay at South Kirkby the game was much more cut and dry, with the Kirkbyites hammering Rotherham Main 4 - 0. The Second Qualifying Round draw saw South Kirkby drawn against Rotherham County, at The Red House Ground, however the venue was switched to South Kirkby when The Red House Ground (pictured below in 1907) was deemed to not conform to FA Cup requirements. Curiously in the First Qualifying Round The Red House Ground was used for the Rotherham club's clash with Thorpe Hesley, who also appealed that the ground was too small but the appeal was lodged too late and the match went ahead. The switch of venue obviously upset the form of County, who were then a Midland League team but went on to join the Football League after World War I. South Kirkby took a two goal lead, with Straw scoring first and Oakes adding a second, County pulled a late goal back but South Kirkby held on for a famous 2 - 1 win. Incredibly the Third Qualifying Round saw South Kirkby again drawn against Rotherham opposition, this time in the form of Rotherham Town. Remarkably Rotherham Town had actually initially lost their Second Qualifying Round tie to Worksop but it emerged that Worksop had played two players who were ineligible to play and the two sides were ordered to replay the match at the neutral venue of Bramall Lane, a game which Rotherham Town won. The Rotherham Town side, who were members of the Midland League, must have fancied their chances at the Clifton Road Ground against men from South Kirkby (enough so that a wealthy donor had funded the building of a press box at The Clifton Road Ground which was used for the first time in the meeting) but the game ended a 2 - 2 draw. It wasn't straightforward for South Kirkby though, having fallen two goals behind it took a mammoth effort to complete the comeback, with goals from Straw and Layton. It seems that Town were not happy with the idea of losing to South Kirkby in the replay and they appealed to the South Kirkby officials to switch the venue to The Clifton Road Ground, naturally South Kirkby refused. In the replay over 1,000 fans saw South Kirkby triumph, with Cutts tapping home the rebound from his own saved penalty. As a side note, in 1925 Rotherham County and Rotherham Town merged to form what is now Rotherham United.
The Fourth Qualifying Round (or Intermediate Round as it was commonly then known) saw South Kirkby drawn against then two time FA Amateur Cup winners, Bishop Aukland. The County Durham based team were members of the Northern League and had won the league on a number of occasions, so it was obviously a big draw for the people of South Kirkby to head up to see the match, so much so that special train services were laid on for fans travelling from Moorthorpe to Durham. The game proved to be an epic tussle, with both sides keen to attack at every opportunity. The furious play led to both teams being awarded penalties, which both teams duly missed and despite spirited efforts from South Kirkby Bishop Aukland scored a late, heartbreaking goal to win 1 - 0. Bishop Aukland went on to lose to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the next round (the First Round Proper).
Image from Sheffield Evening Telegraph, 27 June 1939.
In the 1906/07 season old enemies South Kirkby and Rotherham County were once again drawn against one another, though this time in the Preliminary Round. As in the previous season the The Red House was deemed too small for an FA Cup tie and County were forced to give up home advantage and switch the tie to the grander South Kirkby ground. The game was end to end from kick off, with ex County man Milton playing especially well for South Kirkby. Amusingly, before a goal was registered a fierce tackle by a South Kirkby player saw the ball smash through the roof of the new cricket pavilion, taking with it a number of panes of glass. South Kirkby were the first team to register a goal, with Dockerty scoring from a penalty kick. The lead though was short lived, with County levelling the game up within just four minutes of South Kirkby taking the lead, before racing to a 3 - 1 half time lead. South Kirkby pressed for a goal after the half-time break but found themselves 4 - 1 behind, forcing them to attack at all costs. Dockerty pulled one back for the home side but to no avail. The game ended 2 - 4 to County, with over 2,000 spectators witnessing South Kirkby unceremoniously dumped out of the competition at the Preliminary stage. It was sweet revenge for County, who went on to a lucrative Fifth Qualifying Round tie with Crystal Palace, knocking out Rotherham Town along the way. Crystal Palace were eventual Quarter Finalists (then known as the Fourth Round Proper).
The 1907/08 FA Cup journey began for South Kirkby with a home tie versus Darfield United, in the Preliminary Round. Unlike the previous season the Kirkbyites did not suffer the embarrassment of a Preliminary Round exit, comfortably beating the Darfield men 6 - 1. In the First Qualifying Round South Kirkby were again drawn at home, this time against Mexborough Town. The game was much more one sided than the final 1 - 0 scoreline would suggest, with South Kirkby winning the game via a fierce shot by Burton, which dropped under the bar. The Mexborough side though were no strangers to a good standard of football, being then members of the Midland League. They eventually changed their name to Mexborough Athletic, won the Midland League and folded. In the Second Qualifying Round South Kirkby were drawn away against Rotherham Town, who they had defeated in the Third Qualifying Round in the 1905/06 season. The game, watched by over 4,000 fans packed into The Clifton Road Ground, was very one sided, with Town winning 3 - 0. The best that South Kirkby could muster was a shot against the post by Biggins. Rotherham Town avenged their defeat in the last meeting of the two sides in the FA Cup, and then some, going on to eventually get beaten by West Ham United in the First Round Proper. They eliminated Crewe Alexandra along the way.
Image from Shipley Times and Express, 17 January 1913.
Any dreams of an FA Cup run for South Kirkby in the 1908/09 season were dashed early, with the Kirkbyites being drawn against Second Division Bradford (now Bradford Park Avenue) in the First Qualifying Round. South Kirkby were drawn at home but the tie was switched to the Park Avenue stadium (pictured above), where 6,000 fans eagerly watched. Bradford had played all codes of football (union, league and association) for many years and won a vast collection of silverware in doing so but in 1907 they decided to form an association football club proper and they joined the Football League in 1908. Due to this peculiarity the game against South Kirkby was their first official FA Cup game, though this did not mean that they were novices. As if South Kirkby were not up against it already the Bradford side leapt into a lead but South Kirkby rallied and courageously found themselves level at 1 - 1, Owens the scorer. However, by halftime Bradford had opened up a 3 - 1 lead and in the second half they put on an exhibition for the fans, hammering South Kirkby 8 - 1. Despite picking their way through the rounds Bradford came unstuck against minnows Croydon Common, in the Fifth Qualifying Round. Croydon Common held Arsenal to a draw in the following First Round Proper, losing in the replay.
After the poor luck of being drawn against a Second Division team in the First Qualifying round of the previous season South Kirkby were this season given a much easier draw to begin their FA Cup campaign. In the First Qualifying Round the club were drawn away to Stourton United, who were making their debut in the competition. Despite being the less experienced team Stourton took the lead in the early stages of the game but South Kirkby rallied and fine work by Geary on the right wing led to Edwards scoring the equaliser before half time, the game ended in a 1 - 1 stalemate. In the replay South Kirkby emphasised their superior status by hammering Stourton 5 - 0. In the Second Qualifying Round the club met Clayton West at Clayton and carried over the scoring form from the previous round. Ten minutes into the match Malloch opened the scoring for South Kirkby, followed by a fifteen yard, left foot thunderbolt by Edwards. Malloch added a third for South Kirkby before Crapper missed a penalty which would have put the tie to bed. That mattered little though, as South Kirkby eased to a 1 - 5 win. In the next round the club were drawn away to new club Huddersfield Town. Huddersfield had only been founded a year prior and their Leeds Road ground was basic but they routed South Kirkby 5 - 2. The game was a violent one, with Walker of Huddersfield being hospitalised with internal injuries and McGuire for South Kirkby suffering a broken leg later in the game, Smelt and Edwards scored for Kirkby. History, of course, teaches us that within 12 months Huddersfield applied to join the Football League and brought in the iconic architect Archibold Leitch to rebuild Leeds Road. Ironically an old rival of South Kirkby's proved the undoing of Huddersfield, Rotherham Town eventually defeating the West Yorkshire side in a Fourth Qualifying Round replay.