At the time Herbie Arthur was Blackburn's goalkeeper. However at 36, was coming to the end of his playing days. Tom Mitchell, the club secretary, initially signed Ted Doig from Arbroath to replace Herbie Arthur but he found it difficult to settle and after playing only one game he returned to Scotland. Eventually, John Horne took over as Blackburn's goalkeeper. The defence did not perform well that season letting in 45 goals in 22 games.
John Horne was then replaced by John Gow. He made his debut against Sunderland on 11th October 1890. Blackburn Rovers took a 3-2 lead and with only minutes to go a Sunderland player hit a shot at goal. Gow, realising it was out of his reach, tugged at the crossbar and therefore ensuring a goal was not scored. Despite the protests of the Sunderland players, the referee refused to take action against Gow.
In 1890-91 season Blackburn Rovers had another good run in the FA Cup and beat Middlesborough Ironopolis (3-0), Chester (7-0) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (2-0) to reach the semi-final. Tom Mitchell had not been impressed with Gow's goalkeeping and in the semi-final against West Bromwich Albion he replaced him with Rowland Pennington. Blackburn won the match 3-2 and Pennington kept his place for the final.
Gow, who had only played 15 games for Blackburn Rovers was distraught by what had happened and left the club to join Northwich Victoria.