Liverpool Football Club: A brilliant opening

September 5, 1892
The first match of the season on the Anfield Enclosure took place on Thursday, in the presence of about 1,000 spectators, the Liverpool team being opposed by Rotherham Town, champions of the Midland League. To those who in former seasons were in the habit of frequenting this well-known football resort – made famous by many a well-fought battle – the attendance was rather disappointing. Why it was so, is now a matter of ancient history, well known to all the followers of the great game, and no good would be served by ranking up the old grievance here.

It is now the future which must be looked to, and although the number present was small in comparison with former gatherings, the enthusiasm was such as to warrant the belief that Anfield Road will still witness its former greatness, and the echoes rising therefrom tell the “misinformed” that the prestige of former days has not vacated the spot with the name of Everton.

But to the match. The weather though dull was still dry, and the turf in capital condition for play. Eclat was given to the proceedings by the presence of Mr. Willcox, M.P. for the Everton Division of the city, and the Mayor of Liverpool (Mr. James De Bels Adams), also accompanied by Mr. John Houlding, C.C., president of the club.

A few minutes before six, Andrew Hannah, having won the toss, chose to defend the Oakfield Road end, and the sphere was set in motion by Mr. Houlding. At once the home players settled down to work, and before many moments had elapsed, Malcolm McVean had safely planted the ball past Arthur Wharton, and registered the first goal for the new organisation. Not to be denied, the homesters once more came down upon Wharton’s charge, and although both Harry Thickett and T. Turner did yeoman service in the line of defence, they were quite powerless to cope with the fierce onslaught of the Liverpool men, who soon placed another goal to their credit, this time from the foot of Andrew Kelvin. So matters progressed for the remainder of the first half, each man playing for all he was worth, and the result being that the temporary cessation of hostilities found the Anfield Roaders in a majority of 5 goals to nil.

On turning round, the visitors commenced to press, and, aided with the wind, hoevered for a little time in the vicinity of Sydney Ross’s charge, but the tactics of Andrew Hannah and his comrade Duncan McLean proved too much for the opposing attack, and gradually they were driven back. Still the play was now more open, and both ends were visited in turn, but no impression made, though in two cases Wharton was exceedingly lucky in not having a couple of points notched against him. As the termination drew near, both sides made an effort to break the ice, and at length the spectators were treated to a grand individual effort by John Miller, who, passing both halves and backs, planted the ball safely out of the reach of the visiting custodian – a piece of work which was deservedly cheered. Soon after this another point was added by the home team, while Charlie Leadbarrow produced the only point for the visitors, the game closing with the record – Liverpool, 7 goals; Rotherham Town, 1 goal.

The victory was well deserved, and is the one thing needed to make the venture a success. A word about the players. 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, James McBride in particular playing a brilliant game. Forward the combination is sure to improve in time, but Jock Smith showed a slight tendency to keep the ball too long, much to the detriment of his comrades. The visitors are a well-built lot, but lacked the fire and ability of their opponents.
(Source: Field Sports: September 5, 1892)

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