October 9, 1893
Liverpool still continue the even tenour of their way in a manner which must be gratifying to all true footballers. Their record reflects the greatest credit both upon the management of the club and the team, and it is to be hoped the present harmonious state of affairs will still continue.
On Tuesday last the team still further enhance their claims for greater respect by summarily disposing of the aspirations of the Darwen club at Barley Bank. Commencing in a most determined and earnest manner, Liverpool had all the best of the opening manoeuvres, and won the good opinion of the spectators by the finished style of play.
Darwen opened the scoring account by a rather fortunate goal (obtained by William McOwen kicking the ball against an opposing forward’s chest and rebounding into the net), but after this point the Liverpool team settled down into a splendid swing, and the Darwen goal was subjected to an incessant bombardment.
Backs, half-backs, and forwards vied with each other as to who should play the most sterling and effective game, and the result was a delightful exhibition of ideal football by the visitors.
The home team’s display never rose above the stage of mediocrity, and comparing their form with that of Notts County it seems somewhat inexplicate that the latter should have been relegated into the second division by the former.
Although Liverpool only won by 3 goals to 1, yet the score is not a true reflex of the game. The most noticeable item was the fine combination of the Liverpool forwards, whose exhibition was equal to that of almost any First League team.
The once famous Middlesbrough Ironopolis team were the visitors on Saturday, and notwithstanding that the cream of their last season’s team are now located in other clubs, still a large and generous crowd greeted their appearance.
Having defeated the visitors on their own ground a month ago, it was only the question of increasing the goal average that received the attention of the Liverpudlians. The game, therefore, was not an enjoyable one from a spectator’s point of view, being too one-sided, whilst several of the home team, through want of better judgment, allowed the game to descend into positive comedy by tactics not conducive to gain respect for themselves nor induce spectators to make another visit to witness their games.
This gallery play is out of all keeping with the seriousness of League matches, and the sportive insult given to opponents by making little of them, whether they are at the bottom of the League or not, is not-calculated to do the game any good, and should, therefore, be most severely condemned.
Of course Liverpool won handsomely, and their goal average has benefited considerably, but such an opportunity for piling on the agony may not occur again. In the matches at home on no occasion have the games been of the brilliant order seen at Ardwick, Newton, and Darwen.
As usual the Liverpool defence was in fine fettle, Duncan McLean adding to his previous good efforts by scoring a goal. Joe McQue for a wonder was not at his best, but so consistent has been the form of this fine player that his vagaries of last Saturday may at once be overlooked. James McBride was the “star” among the defenders, his skilful tackling and accurate placing earning the hearty plaudits of all.
The forwards played an in-and-out kind of game, at times showing brilliant cohesion and dash, and then spoiling the effect by unaccountable dilatoriness. James Stott was in grand in form, and if his style of play had been imitated by the others it would have been to their advantages.
Patrick Gordon and Malcolm McVean executed some fine work during the first half, but it was neutralised by a manifest indifference later on. David Henderson worked hard throughout, and although not meeting with much success, yet led up many a fierce attack.
Of the visitors’ team little can be said, their futile and unfinished efforts counting for but little against the Liverpool men. Henry Allport, G. Mackay, and Thomas Hunter were the best of the forwards, and Duncan McNair, who at times was guilty of questionable play, with Jimmy Grewer, were the best of the halves, while Walter Adams played a good defensive game throughout.
(Liverpool Mercury: October 9, 1893)