September 23, 1893
Match: Football League, Second Division, at Anfield, kick-off: 16:05.
Liverpool – Small Heath 3-1 (2-1).
Referee: Mr. Arthur Kingscott.
Liverpool (2-3-5): William McOwen; Andrew Hannah (C), Duncan McLean; Matt McQueen, Joe McQue, James McBride; Patrick Gordon, Malcolm McVean, David Henderson, James Stott, Hugh McQueen.
Small Heath (2-3-5): George Hollis, Gilbert Smith, Bernard Pumfrey, Billy Ollis, Caesar Jenkyns, Ted Devey, Jack Hallam, John Lee, Charles Izon, Fred Wheldon, Tommy Hands.
The goals: 0-1 Jenkyns, 1-1 Stott, 2-1 Henderson (43 min.), 3-1 Stott.
The splendid form shown this season by the Anfielders, together with the fact that their visitors were last year’s champions, caused great interest to be evinced in the game on Saturday, and drew an enormous gate of about 9,000. The threatened rain kept off, the sun shone brilliantly during the greater part of the match, whilst the turf, despite the recent heavy falls of rain, was in splendid condition.
Hannah won the choice for ends, and decided to defend the Oakfield-road goal. Barely five minutes after the advertised time the teams lined up. D. Henderson, the new centre forward, making his debut to a thoroughly sympathetic audience, and M. McQueen taking up McCartney’s place at half back.
Izon gave the initial kick to what proved a most exciting and interesting match, and the new centre forward immediately made himself a avourite by pushing his way through the ruck, and with Stott and McVean carried the ball well into their opponents’ half, while rom a nice pass by McQueen Gordon put over the goal line.
A couple of fouls against the “Heathens” looked none too promising, as Gordon struck the crossbar with a finely-judged attempt and Stott found employment for Hollies, but Devey at length eased the pressure by sending up the field to his forwards, who at once made tracks for McOwen’s charge, but before the opposing quintet got within measurable distance Hannah and McLean had sent then right about, and a chance was given to Gordon, which he availed himself of to the fullest extent, executing as fine a run as he is capable of, but unfortunately demanded.
From the kick out Hallam and Lees obtained possession, and combining effectively carried the ball past McBride and McLean, eventually forcing a corner from the former. This was so well placed that Jenkyns had but little difficulty in shooting into the net, thus scoring for his team the honour of being the first to break through the almost impregnable defence of the Anfielders.
This unlooked for reverse came as a complete surprise both to the home players and spectators, but it had the good effect of steadying them down, and it soon became apparent that Liverpool meant winning. But a short time had elapsed when Stott forged his way through the opposing backs, and equalised matters with a high dropping shot, which Hollies only partially cleared. Ring cheers greeted this signal event, while it gave a fresh impetus to the home team, and it was quite evident that Smallheath would not be allowed any quarter. Brilliant play by McQueen and McQue led up another attack upon the “Heathens’” citadel, but the defence of Smith and Pomfrey, especially the latter, was so sound that some time elapsed before one of the many splendid passes of Gordon and McVean was neatly converted by Henderson. This was the signal for a wild burst of cheering, the home team being now in front and going strong and well. Directly afterwards the whistle blew for the welcome celebration, and both sides were heartily applauded for their undoubted fine display.
Smallheath soon got to work upon restarting, and McOwen was called upon twice to repel shots from Wheldon and Izon, and a corner following, a sigh of relief was heard all round when H. McQueen came out of the scrimmage with the leather at his toe, and he and Stott raced down the left wing, the latter finishing with a shot which just only missed by a few inches. Once in the enemy’s quarters the Anfielders were very stubborn to remove, and if anything increasing the pace, kept up a terrific bombardment upon Hollier and his confreres, Henderson on one occasion kicking the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands, but failing to score. Presently the persistent and well-applied energy of the Liverpool team earned its own reward, as Stott nearly tricking the half-backs, propelled a low fast oblique shot – the best of the day – which landed into the corner of the net, completely defeating Hollies, the Smallheath custodian. Liverpool were now on good terms with themselves, and the applause meted out to them was richly merited.
From this point there was bit one team possessing any chance, and but for the arduous and clever work of Smith, Pomrey, and Jenkyns the champions of last season would have looked very small fry indeed, as the latter portion of the game was a continuous assault by Liverpool against the “Heathens’” goal, whose custodian backed up the herculean efforts of the backs with capital goalkeeping, and Liverpool not being able to increase their score retired winner, more decisive than the score indicates – by 3 goals to 1.
(Liverpool Mercury, 25-09-1893)