January 8, 1894
Liverpool v Rotherham Town.
The first meeting between these clubs took place at Rotherham on Saturday, being the tenth away engagement the Anfield club has fulfilled. A heavy fall of snow had covered the ground the night previous, but energetic action on the part of the home club’s chairman rendered the ground fit to play on, and upon the arrival of the referee he was quite satisfied that the League match could be played. Andrew Hannah and Harry Bradshaw were indisposed, whilst the Rotherham centre-half failed to put in an appearance. The teams ultimately turned out as follows:
Rotherham Town: Arthur Wharton, Walter Hobson, Fred Turner; John Barr, Horace Simmonite, A. Bartlett; Fred Turner jnr, Billy Longden, Peter Rae, Johnny McCormick, Arthur Fairburn.
Liverpool: William McOwen, John McCartney, Duncan McLean, Matt McQueen, Joe McQue, James McBride, Patrick Gordon, Malcolm McVean, David Henderson, James Stott, Hugh McQueen.
Fully 15 minutes after the advertised time the teams made an appearance, this delay being caused, no doubt, by the absence of spectators, who at the finish of the game did not number 1,000.
McLean imitated Hannah’s good fortune by winning the choice of ends, and after Rae had sent out to Longden and Turner on the right with the initial kick, a heavy return by McBride at once placed the game in the home territory, and Henderson failed to seize an opening in the first minute of the game.
Another sudden dash by the visiting forwards resulted in McVean shooting in strongly, and after Wharton had safely cleared, M. McQueen sent flying over the bar, Rae, from the kick off, attempted to forge ahead, but met McQue in his best humour, and was sent to the right – about with scant ceremony.
Stott and H. McQueen then put in some smart wing play, and shots were frequently levelled at Wharton. It seemed as though an accurate cross by H. McQueen could not fail to be headed into the net by Gordon, but Wharton coolly took down the ball almost from the latter’s head and threw clear, McVean meeting the leather and grazing the bar.
A change then came over the game, and the “Town” forwards for a while were virtual masters of the situation. A long oblique pass by Bartlett put Turner and Longdon in possession, and the former getting clear away, located the ball in front of McOwen, who, however, was not troubled, as McCartney got his head in the way and temporarily relieved the pressure.
Fairburn, Rae, and Barr each in turn then tested McOwen, and, being frantically urged on by the crowd, it appeared as though the Rotherham Club would be the first to score. At length a capital kick by M. McQueen completely changed the scene of action, Gordon and McVean following well up, and, robbing Turner, worked the ball into the corner, and well timing the centre enabled Stott to secure the leather in favourable position, and he, after steadying himself for a moment, scored a splendid goal with a rising shot, which the goalkeeper had not the slightest chance with.
Upon restarting Rotherham took up the running, but when in clear possession of the field McCormick ran the ball into touch. Dashing and skilful plat by Henderson, Stott, and H. McQueen brought the ball back again in close proximity to Wharton, and after Stott had scored an offside goal H. McQueen endeavoured to break through, but found the home custodian exceptionally cool, and it was not till close upon half-time that Henderson rushed a second point for Liverpool.
Hardly had the teams got to work again, when McOwen was besieged with shots, but the “Darrener” was fully alive to the danger, and being ably assisted by his confreres repelled all attacks for a time, but offensive play by McQue opened out the game and gave Gordon and McVean a chance of distinguishing themselves, the latter winding up with a splendid effort.
Rae, the Rotherham centre, replied with a fast dribble down the middle of the field, and it required great determination on the part of McCartney to pull him up. Another burst away by Rotherham, in which McLean was beaten, ended successfully, Turner junior at close range sending past McOwen at terrific speed.
For some time after this the game was of an even nature, but the Liverpool forwards were settling down in a nice swing and from an exciting bully in the home goal, Stott found an open spot, and scored a third point. This practically settled the home team, as, with the exception of Wharton, their play became very loose, whilst Liverpool kept going very strongly, and from a nicely-judged centred by Gordon, H. McQueen rushed up and put on a fourth point, at which state the game ultimately ended, Liverpool winning by 4 goals to 1.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: January 8, 1894)