October 16, 1893
Fast, fierce, and furious are the three best adjectives to describe the meeting of the two champions Liverpool and Small Heath. In accordance with the reputation of the clubs, “record” gate awaited their appearance.
There was little to choose between the teams, the fault which was noticeable among the Small Heath team when the first match too place – the want of condition to stay the game – being remedied.
It was patient to all ere the game had commenced that Small Heath had undergone a special training for the match, and intended to force the pace to its utmost. And right well they did fulfill their mission, for a faster game it would be impossible to imagine.
Liverpool although expecting a stubborn fight, had not made any particular preparations, but realising the importance of the issue played very gamely. The most pleasing feature about the match was the grand all-round improvement among the Liverpool forwards.
Patrick Gordon was at his best and it was mainly due to him that the first three goals were obtained. A commendable dash was much in evidence, and had Gordon converted a very easy chance offered there is every reason to suppose by appearance that the Heathens would not have made such a bold show.
David Henderson played a fine game, some of his touches quite delighting the people, and he undoubtedly ha a large share in the victor. Malcolm McVean and Gordon got on very well, and made the better wing, but quite as effective work, if not so brilliant, was got through by James Stott and Hugh McQueen.
Matt McQueen played a great game at half-back, his clearances at most critical times being of immense service to his side. James McBride also won golden opinions for his clean, taking play, which was of his usual high order.
Joe McQue has unfortunately lost his excellent form. This is pity, as he was building up a great reputation. He never seemed to get hold of his men properly, while he has exhibited a proneness to a style of play he can well dispense, and which will bring him to glory whatever.
The backs at the outset, with William McOwen, were very unsteady, Andrew Hannah being slightly the best; but afterwards they all cooled down and improved greatly, Duncan McLean in particular, by keeping his place, showing up with great success.
Small Heath were not at all like the team that played at Anfield. A fortnight’s good training had transformed them into a very formidable team. Their forwards and half-backs are of the first quality, while Gilbert Smith and William Reynolds are a reliable pair of backs.
The style of play adopted on Saturday by the Heathens is likely to upset the intentions of many teams. The loss of Caesar Jenkyns ruined the Heathens’ chances, but he is an old player and ought not to have so far forgot himself.
North End will be played to-day (Monday), at Preston.
(Liverpool Mercury: October 16, 1893)
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