February 26, 1894
Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers.
When it was found that these two clubs were drawn together, at Bolton, it was generally admitted by those who knew anything about football that the Wanderers would prove just a trifle too good for their more younger opponents, and the result more than confirmed this opinion. Unfortunately our local club, through the indisposition of some of the players, were unable to place anthing like a representative team upon the field, and this, coupled with the sticky and heavy-going nature of the ground, combined to bring about the defeat of Liverpool. Long before the teams appeared the ground and stands were fairly packed, and by the time of the kick-off every coign of vantage was occupied by enthusiastic followers of the great winter game. According to the computation of accredited individuals and officials the gate fully reached 20,000, so that Liverpool, if at length defeated, have greatly increased their bank account.
The ground had undergone special preparation, and to all appearances looked firm and easy going, but its deceptive nature was soon found out when the game had been in progress but a short time. Hannah having won the toss elected to play with a fierce wind at his back, and the teams faced each other as follows: –
Liverpool: William McOwen, Andrew Hannah, Duncan McLean, John McCartney, Joe McQue, Matt McQueen, Patrick Gordon, Malcolm McVean, James Stott, Harry Bradshaw, Hugh McQueen.
Bolton Wanderers: John Sutcliffe, John Somerville, Di Jones, Alex Paton, Archie Hughes, Jimmy Turner, Davie Willocks, Robert Tannahill, Jimmy Cassidy, Jimmy Dickenson, Handel Bentley.
Promptly to time Cassidy set the ball rolling, and he and his flanks were at once off towards the Liverpool goal, but a foul occurring caused the game to be transferred to close proximity with Sutcliffe, where, however, a free kick given against McQueen for offside play gave relief. Mainly due to excellent offensive play by McQue and M. McQueen the play was mostly confined in the Wanderers quarters, but a huge kick by Jones temporarily eased the pressure, and after McQueen had caused Sutcliffe to handle Bradshaw suffered very hard lines with a headed ball just grazing the bar.
A strong rush by Willocks carried the ball to the other end of the field. M.McQueen failing to follow up, and a misunderstanding occurring between the backs, the Bolton forwards promptly seized the chance and rushed the ball through ere the game was seven minutes old. Liverpool showed up better after this, and monopolised the game, forwards and halves all shaping well; but what with weak centre play and the magnificent work of Somerville, Jones and Sutcliffe, the visitors could not find a vulnerable point.
A fine opening was given to Liverpool, the result of a foul; but although well placed in by McLean was badly finessed, as was the succeeding corner. Just as half an hour had elapsed another dash by the Wanderers’ forwards culminated in Bentley converting a lofty pass by Willocks. Try as they would, the Liverpool men could not break the defence of the trio mentioned above, but the Wanderers goal underwent two narrow squeaks – one from Bradshaw, and also from a bully formed right in the mouth of goal.
Ultimately half-time arrived with Liverpool claiming no advantage after having the assistance of the wind, but upon restarting showed more nerve and skill than hitherto, and several times looked like scoring, but when the Wanderers had put in a third goal the game was irredeemable, but it was not till McVean was hurt that the home team asserted superiority, and the last part of the game was entirely in favour of the Wanderers, and it is a rather remarkable feature of the match that neither side made that use of the semi-gale, when having its great assistance, as was expected. Eventually the Wanderers retired victors by 3 goals to nil. A protest was lodged with the referee at half-time but was afterwards withdrawn by the Liverpool executive.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: February 26, 1894)