February 4, 1893
The well-appointed ground of the Liverpool club was fairly-well filled on Saturday to witness the cup tie with Darwen. With Everton and Bootle away, it would have been a reflection on the football enthusiasm of Liverpudlians if it had been otherwise, for it was generally admitted this was the best draw of any, and the result an open question. Owing to injuries, the Liverpool team was not picked until Saturday at noon, when it was decided to plan Andrew Hannah, and the team that took the field was about the strongest at command.
Liverpool played with the wind at the start, but Darwen certainly had the best of the opening bouts. At this early stage the visitors ere the more lively, and without doing anything to cause anxiety there was a certain amount of go about their actions which told in their favor. But it was soon destined to meet with a rebuff, for the home forwards fastened on a return from Duncan McLean and were soon at the Darwen goal, where John Miller forced a corner. Hugh McQueen placed the ball nicely, and Malcolm McVean headed through and scored the only goal of the match. This incident took place took place after eight minutes’ play, so you can guess there were not many dull moments in the remaining eighty-two minutes.
It was a very exciting game, but Liverpool had rather the best of the proceedings. Their forwards pass very well and are speedy, and with an improvement in front of goal they would be a dangerous lot in the best of company. Miller, too, seemed to be slow, although he is all right in the open, but it shows itself at critical times, or else it is more noticeable then, and on several occasions a sharp forward would have bothered the Darwen backs above a bit, for plenty of good centres were sent in.
The half-backs played a grand game. They never seemed hampered, but were always where the ball was as if by instinct. Matt McQueen was especially prominent, for besides being a thorn in the side of the Darwen right wing, he often initiated a forward movement. The backs were not over-brilliant, especially in the first half, but both Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean played an effective, if somewhat clumsy, game in the second. William McOwen had not a great deal to do, and he got rid of that shot which hit the post very adroitly.
The Darwen men were best represented by the defence, and all through James Orr played a fine game, his kicking being a treat, and his style, without being showy, was taking to the eye. In this way it formed a great contrast to the efforts of McLean. Whilst in the neighborhood of Darwen, on Monday, I heard some talk of a protest on the ground of some of the men playing in the close season, but I have not heard anything since. Even if any of them had played in the close season, it does not follow that the Lancashire Association will take action in the matter, for, as far as I can see, this is not an offense against the rules of the competition, and they are not bound to follow the ruling of the Football Association.
(Source: Cricket and Football Field: February 4, 1893)