Kick off with a bang


September 2, 1892
At Anfield-road, before a moderate attendance, Councillor John Houlding kicked off on behalf of Rotherham, Hannah having won the toss for Liverpool.

At the outset play favoured the home side, who had the advantage of the wind, and once they got into their stride some pretty passing was shown by the forwards, Wyllie, Smith, and Miller especially being prominent. Shortly after the start the last named scored the first goal of the season for Liverpool.

Kelvin then broke through the visitors’ defence, whilst a third was scored from a free kick. Following these reverses the Town played up much better, and several well-meant visits were paid to the Liverpool goal. The defence of the home backs and goalkeeper, however, was equal to the emergency, and the visitors were kept from scoring, although on at least a couple of occasions they were within a shade of doing so. Liverpool continued to have the better of matters, and for a long time Turner and Thickett had plenty to do to stave off repeated attacks of the Liverpool van.

At length Leather led his forwards on, but they were well met by Hannah, and sending across to Kelvin, the latter player essayed at goal, but his attempt went harmlessly over the bar. A moment later, however, Smith replied to the kick out from Wharton, and placed the leather over to Kelvin, who shot across the goal mouth, when Wyllie rushed up and registered goal No. 4. The ball hovered round the centre for a considerable time, when the Liverpudlians again bore down, and Smith tried a long shot, which Wharton easily cleared.

Exchanges between the backs resulted in placing the home forwards well ahead, when Wyllie again got possession from his centre, and dodging Turner sent in a shot which Wharton failed to clear. From the centre kick the visitors got well down and forced a corner, but the ball was quickly taken down the field, Wyllie and Smith working well together.

Half time was now called with the home team leading by 5 goals to nil.

On resuming, the visitors by strong combination raced down, and Ross had all his work cut out in clearing a hot shot from the opposing centre. With the wind in their favour the Rotherham forwards firmly held their position, but after the ball had twice gone behind Wyllie ran strongly down the right, but the venue was quickly changed, and after a hot pressure the leather only just missed the bar by the nearest shave. Langdon missed an easy chance a moment later, and for the next few minutes the home defenders had a very anxious time. Leather and Pickering in turn sent in capital shots, and the Liverpudlians were somewhat lucky in keeping their position intact.

The monotony was broken by some smart play by Kelso, and following a clinking run down by the right pair, the ball was sent over to Kelvin, who made a poor attempt when the visitors’ goal was at his mercy. After the goal kick, McBride rid himself of the ball under great difficulties, and the home lot were enabled to get into good position. The ball was safely worked away when the home line fairly swept down on their opponents’ charge, but the final effort was luckily saved. A few minutes later Miller found himself without opposition, and easily brought up the total to half a dozen. Wyllie quickly placed another, and, from a corner, McQue sent in a stinger, which struck the crossbar. The latter portion of the play was altogether in favour of Liverpool, though in the last minutes the visitors got well up and scored their first goal, retiring beaten by 7 goals to 1.

As a team the eleven played well together, and are sure to improve with more practice. Ross, in goal, had little to do, but in the few cases in which he had to handle, he showed great coolness and courage. The backs played well together, thoroughly understanding each other, and showing great resource when pressed. The trio of halves could hardly be improved on, McBride in particular playing a brilliant game. Forward the combination is sure to improve in time, but Smith showed a slight tendency to keep the ball too long, much to the detriment of his comrades. Both Kelso and Miller picked up injuries in the match.

Teams:
Liverpool: Sydney Ross, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean, James Kelso, Joe McQue, James McBride, John Miller, Thomas Wyllie, Jock Smith, Malcolm McVean, Andrew Kelvin.
Rotherham Town: Arthur Wharton, T. Turner, Harry Thickett, Joe Barr, H. Brown, Rogers, Billy Longden, Edward Cutts, Robert Leather, Charlie Leatherbarrow, Alf Pickering.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: September 2, 1892)

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