The first Football League encounter at Anfield

September 10, 1888
A crowd of close on 12,000 turned up at Anfield Road ground on Saturday, to witness the above encounter (Everton v Accrington), which was the first of the series of fixtures arranged by the League. The Accrington team was the strongest they could put on the field, while the home club substituted R. Jones at half-back instead of Warmby, and W. Lewis (Bangor) in Costley’s place at centre forward, Smalley again taking his position between the posts.

Everton: Robert Smalley, Alec Dick, Nick Ross, Johnny Holt, Robert Jones, George Dobson, George Fleming, David Waugh, William Lewis, Edgar Chadwick, George Farmer.
Accrington: John Horne, John Stevenson, Jack McLellan, George Haworth, Jonathan Wilkinson, Luther Pemberton, Joe Lofthouse, Jim Bonar, Jack Kirkham, J. Holden, Peter Chippendale.

The weather was fine, with a strong sun and very little wind, and the ground in good order. The visitors who turned up 20 minutes later, won the toss, and Lewis sent the ball rolling against the sun. Waugh was the first to be conspicuous by passing nicely to Fleming who sent it to Farmer and the latter put in a scorching shot. Horne clearing at the expense of a corner, which was badly taken.

A goal-kick to the visitors enabled Joe Lofthouse to get within shooting distance, but Dobson cleared nicely and gave Lewis’s a chance. Stevenson robbing him, however, while in the act of testing Horne, from a throw in Chadwick had a corner conceded against him, which Farmer put to the side. Aided by Dobson and Holt, the home right got away and Waugh sent in a low swift shot which Pemberton negotiated following by Chippendale being eased by Holt, who returned the leather well down, but Lewis found the defence impenetrable.

An exciting bit of play now ensued. Howarth, In clearing a shot headed into Horne, who threw out in nice style, and Waugh rushing down, kicking on to the crossbar, the ball falling over. Dobson having had a trail for goal the visiting forwards rushed up in a body, only to find Dick ready to meet them by planting to his right wing pair, and Waugh was loudly cheered for making a passage through the visitors and troubling Horne.

Stevenson off disaster, but Lewis eventually got cleverly away, and gave a long pass to Fleming, who could not get down, in time, and the ball rolled out. By means of a goal kick. Holden and Chippendale dribbled up, but the latter had his shot spoiled by Ross.

Holt now got his hands in the way, and from the penalty Howarth sent the ball spinning over Smalley’s charge for the first time. R. Jones, who appeared to be lame, managed to beat Kirkham and then the home left worked down, Farmer’s attempt going wide, arousing themselves to the call of their captain to ‘’play up, Reds’Chippendale and Bonar each had shies, but Ross and Holt relieved and play was taken to the ‘’Reds” end, where Lewis, Dobson and Chadwick had shots in rapid succession. Horne however, defended well, and managed to avert a downfall.

Dobson, who had to keep watching Lofthouse enabled Joe to get freedom, that player giving Smalley his first handful with a stunner. Everton than had a couple of free kicks, from one of which Lewis had hard luck in heading over the crossbar. Coming again, the home forward’s swarmed around Horne, and Stevenson managed to spoil Waugh in a tricky run.

Hands to the visitors in the home quarters gave the homester a chance, and Fleming, form a pass by Chadwick, was pushed off the ball by Horne while in the act of shooting it through half-time arriving with a clean sheet. On changing ends, Accrington became busy, but Dobson managed to clear, Ross having intercepted Chippendale who was playing a grand game in his new position, the home club took up the running, and literally swarmed Horne, who was in splendid form.

Pressure was at length eased by Holden running to the other end, where Dick relieved and Dobson had the misfortune to foul Bonar. From the free kick Ross returned the ball, and Horne’s charge was again in danger the visitors conceding a corner to Holt. The kick was nicely taken Dobson heading in, and McLellan and Stevenson preventing disaster.

Another corner having been got rid of by the visitors. Lofthouse was stopped in a run by Dobson, who gave the pass to Waugh, who in turn gave to Farmer, and that player enabled Fleming to head the first goal striving hard to equalise, Bonar and Lofthouse was held, in check by Holt, but the visitors still kept in the home quarters, and Dick was the hero of the finest bit of back play seen on Everton ground for some considerable time, keeping his lines clear in grand style.

Taking the play up the hill, Chadwick and Lewis looked dangerous, and the former sent in a low shot, when Horne , in clearing, fractured a rib, necessitating a stoppage of play. McLennan went in goal, and Howarth back. Resuming, Everton again became aggressive, and Fleming soon registered a second goal from a pass by Farmer.

Accrington next had the best of the play, and after Holden had headed on the bar and Kirkham had hard lines, a free kick was conceded them, from which Holden beat Smalley. Everton than had another try to score after which Holden severely tested the home custodian, but without effect, a strongly contested game thus ending with the result Everton two goals; Accrington one.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 9, 1888)


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