September 4, 1893
In pleasant weather, and under most favourable conditions, the Liverpool Club traveled to Middlesbrough on Saturday to oppose their dual victors of last season in the primary match of the League. Between 3,000 and 4,000 spectators lined the enclosure.
Middlesbrough Ironopolis: James Nixon, George Miller, Mark Upton, J. Garbutt, Duncan McNair, G. MacKay, Henry Allport, Frank Deakin, Walter Adams, Robert Cooper, Thomas Hunter.
Liverpool: William McOwen, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean, Matt McQueen, Joe McQue, James McBride, Patrick Gordon, Malcolm McVean, James Henderson, James Stott, Hugh McQueen.
Hannah lost the toss, and the home team played downhill with a good wind at their backs. The game opened very spiritedly, the “Nops” being the first to really menace danger, and, continuing in the vicinity of McOwen, caused noisy and enthusiastic demonstrations to be exhibited by the crowd. McOwen had a very difficult shot to deal with from Cooper, followed by a similar one from Mackay, but steady play by Hannah and McLean eventually repulsed the attacking party.
Then Gordon receiving from McQue led up an assault upon Nixon, and the siege being well sustained by Stott, McVean, and H. McQueen, the “Nops” supporters went through an anxious time, till Nixon, marvelously emerging from what had been an almost Rugby scrimmage, threw clear, and Miller securing, executed a fine run down the centre, only to be pulled up by McLean. Deakin and Cooper bothered Hannah and M. McQueen very much, and McOwen had to be exceptionally smart on one occasion to avert disaster.
Half-time gave Liverpool the advantage of wind and hill, and immediately upon resuming it was plainly evident that the pace had told its tale upon the homesters, and for fully ten minutes the Anfielders were furiously bombarding the home goal, shots by Stott, Gordon, and McVean either being successfully turned aside or partially cleared; but such persistent attempts could not always be frustrated, and at last McVean opened the scoring account by a low, fast shot.
The play of the “Nops” did not fall off with this reverse, but the Liverpudlians exerted themselves with greater vigour, and had they possessed a tithe of decent shooting their score must have been considerably larger. As it was, McQue, the centre half, added a second point for Liverpool, who were thus accorded winners by 2 goals to nil.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 4, 1893)