April 29, 1893
The competition for the Liverpool Cup this season has had additional interest infused into the later stages, and especially the last stage, by the fact that the composition of the teams left in was an unknown, or at any rate, of uncertain quality. Everton and Liverpool were the clubs left in, and the latter were anxious to meet their rivals from Goodison Park (Kjell note: the match was played at Bootle F.C.’s ground at Hawthorne Road).
The League team was, of course, preferred, and when it was mooted that Everton intended playing the Combination team there was some talk of Liverpool placing their reserve team on the field. Better counsels, however, prevailed, and with the exception of their goalkeeper Sydney Ross, who, I am sorry to say, has not yet recovered from the injuries he received at Bootle in the Lancashire tie, the Liverpool team was fully represented.
The Everton team consisted of the Combination forwards and backs, but the inclusion of Dick Williams, Dickie Boyle and Johnny Holt undoubtedly strengthened the most trying position on the field, so that on the whole the team was a fairly good one. I would much rather have seen the full strength of Everton on the field, and so would lots of their supporters, but the executive I suppose considered the team quite good enough to again win the cup, but when they failed it is bad form then to step in with a protest, and this on the most flimsy ground.
The run of the game was an eye opener to many, but with the exception of occasional breakaways by the Everton forwards, the play throughout the first half was in Everton quarters, and but for some clever work by Dick Williams between the sticks, and the stubborn manner in which Arthur Chadwick and John Collins defenced, the score would have been larger at the interval.
The Liverpool forwards played a good game, John Miller, Thomas Wyllie and Matt McQueen always being prominent, and generally speaking had the best of the argument with the Everton halves. Twice the ball hit the cross-bar, and when at last Thomas Wyllie scored the point was thoroughly deserved.
The second half was much better contested, and right off the reel Patrick Gordon gave William McOwen a hot shot which took the combined efforts of himself and Andrew Hannah to clear. For a time the Everton forwards kept play in the Liverpool half, but their efforts were disjointed, and the three Macs, who form the Liverpool half-back line (Kjell note: John McCartney, Joe McQue and James McBride), easily dealt with their attacks.
The game gradually opened out, and once in possession the Liverpool forwards made better progress, and on several occasions Dick Williams’ charge was almost captured. As the game progressed the Everton forwards went completely to pieces, and except for some long shots at goal they never made a decent attempt to score.
In the last minute, or probably the last half minute, Everton won a corner which was splendidly placed and fisted out by someone, and a cry raised for a penalty kick. Mr. Herbie Arthur, the referee, did not see who fisted the ball out, and the players flocking round him, and in their excited state jostled him to that he could not follow the play and consequently he blew his whistle and went to consult the linesmen, which by the way, were members of the Association and neutral.
This action on the part of the referee gave rise to some comment, but under the circumstances I don’t see that there is much in doubt as he could not get any assistance from them, he was perfectly in order in throwing the ball up. A warm scuffle ensued, but Joe McQue came away with the ball at his toes, and all was over, Liverpool winning by one goal to nil.
There is no doubt that the Liverpool men deserved the victory, and on the play the margin should have been greater. The Everton forwards were weak in the extreme, and although they occasionally put in a nice bit of work they never got in proper working order. The Liverpool men played a much better game, and played to win. There was nothing flashy about them, but their work was more effective, and they had lots of near shaves.
John Miller was always in the thick of it, and Johnny Holt for once had all his work cut out in dealing with him. It was the half backs that did the damage, and the Liverpool trio proved to be much too good for the Everton forwards. No fault could be found with the backs or goalkeepers, and the goal that Thomas Wyllie scored would have beaten most custodians.
After the match a protest was laid by Mr. William Clayton, on behalf of the Everton Club, against the general incompetency of the referee. That is a very large order, but on investigation it dwindled down to a question of a matter of fact. It is alleged that someone other than the goalkeeper fisted the ball out, and on this a charge of general incompetency put in.
Perhaps this was the only plea that would justify acceptance of the protest, for it must be apparent to all that there would be no end of confusion if protests were allowed on matters of facts which only the referee can decide; but of the protest was laid with the object of preventing the presentation of the cup to the Liverpool team, then it succeeded for the time being.
If the ball was handled by Duncan McLean or Matt McQueen, as alleged – for none seems to know which – then it is very unfortunate for Everton; but Liverpool have just as good grounds for protesting on account of time being up before the corner was taken, so you see the hollowness of the affair all through.
Another match where the football was of a passable character was that between the champions of the Lancashire League (Liverpool) and the Rest of the League. The Rest turned out to a man as chosen, and a good game was witnessed. Considering the players were strange to each other’s play, the Rest gave us a grand exposition of the game, and deserved to win, although Andrew Hannah put the ball twice through his own goal.
The forwards were a go-a-head lot and superior to the homesters, whilst the defence on both sides was at all times good, but these two goals given by Andrew Hannah spoils the effect. In the end the Rest won by three goals to one.
On Tuesday Mr. A.B. Bull presented the Liverpool Cup to Andrew Hannah, the Liverpool captain, and some nice little speeches were delivered. To gain two cups in the first season of the club’s existence is certainly unique, and the Liverpool executive are entitled to make the most of it. The Lancashire League Cup is a splendid specimen of the silversmith’s art. I should think it comes next in value to the Lancashire Association Cup.
(Cricket and Football Field: April 29, 1893)