September 4, 1893
Liverpool made a very successful debut in their initial match against the famous “Nops.” In spite of a lengthened journey, they “stayed” the game splendidly, and what at first appeared would be an arduous and interesting match, resolved itself into a very tame and one-sided affair, immediately after the commencement of the second half. The display of both teams was not up to a high standard, but a little simmering down of the Anfielders should soon put matters all right in that quarter.
The defence of Liverpool is excellent, in fact it is, as was the case last season, the better part of the team. William McOwen is a very capable custodian, and worthy of his place. Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean, the backs, were quite good enough to cope successfully with the home attack, Duncan McLean’s heavy kicking in particular being most serviceable.
The halves – Matt McQueen, Joe McQue, and James McBride (the former taking the place of John McCartney) – were at their strongest, and seldom allowed Ironopolis to become dangerous, and during the second half of the game were virtual masters of all they surveyed.
The Liverpool quintet did not arrive to a point of excellence. Now and then there were flashes of individual brilliancy, which were very refreshing. James Stott, Malcolm McVean, and Patrick Gordon showing up particularly well in this department, but there was a general absence of that great seared of success, combination, which had its deteriorating effect upon the play throughout.
As a wing James Stott and Hugh McQueen seemed to understand each other nicely, but the same cannot be said of the right wing. Malcolm McVean seems to be possessed of roving disposition, and often spoilt the effectiveness of his wing by being out of his place. In the second half he took the centre position, and then a decided improvement was noticeable. Patrick Gordon’s strong running and shooting powers were not quite so conspicuous as usual, but in this he was only one of the crowd.
James Henderson, the new player, does not appear to settle down into the style of his companions. He will not part with the ball freely enough, and, being on the light side, is often robbed when a judicious pass out to the wings would be of undoubted value.
The “Nops” team was something of an unknown quantity till the names appeared. As is well known, the majority of their last season’s players have gone elsewhere, and practically a new team had to be formed. Only two of the old hands turned out against Liverpool, but several of the new men gave promise of improvement, and when the team, who are practically strangers to each other, come to understand one others play, and pay some little attention to training, they will prove a thorn in the side of more than one club.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 4, 1893)