September 10, 1894
Liverpool followed up their fine performance with the Rovers by an even better exhibition against Burnley at Turf Moor on Monday evening. The previous contests between the clubs have been evenly contested, and, therefore, the young aspirants for League honours met the almost unassailable Turf Moorites with but little concern.
The game was splendidly fought out and gave unlimited pleasure to the spectators who witnessed it. The play was of the ding-dong order, rather than of the methodical style. Neither side gave any quarter, and, consequently, there was never a slack moment throughout.
Burnley for once were tackled with their own peculiar style of game, but not possessing the determination and rare dash of their opponents were lucky to escape defeat. A vast improvement was noticeable in the Liverpool team. They combined infinitely better, shot accurately and with force, whilst the wing forwards repeatedly raced away from the Burnley backs, and the whole team stayed right up to the finish.
The last quarter of an hour’s play was mostly in Liverpool’s favour, and the home club must thank the referee for rescuing them from what would have been an ignominious position. Yet, as the result stands, it certainly is highly creditable to a team composed as it was of players all of whom, excepting William McCann, are included in the category of being last season’s performers.
Favoured with grand weather, the opening game at home was a complete success in every sense but one – the inability of the home team to follow up their previous prowess by taking a point out of the Aston Villa. This unpalatable fact is due to two or three causes. First, the injuries the men received at Burnley, and which showed itself distinctly in the latter stages of the game; secondly, the continued indisposition of Neil Kerr, and disinclination to play on the part of Jimmy Ross, which of course, causes the club to be heavily handicapped; and thirdly, to the altogether unaccountable manner several of the team, especially those from whom it was least expected, lost command of themselves at a most crucial point of the game.
Had these players kept their work with their accustomed collectedness and deliberation, it is not saying too much that the home club could have at least wound up with a draw. On the other hand, every credit must be given to Aston Villa, for their untiring energy and promptitude in availing themselves of the apparent looseness of the Liverpool players, and converting what, up to the last quarter of an hour, appeared to be a defeat into a well-earned victory.
That the better team won no one will gainsay, but when the Liverpool forwards get moulded in something like first league form the team will have to be treated with due respect by all comers. If Andrew Hannah and his team will review the game aright, and each member resolve to correct the slight but disastrous errors which were apparent on Saturday, then the defeat may be productive of more real good than a victory which might have intoxicated the players with false ideas of greatness and undesirable pride.
Even with the result, as now recorded, no disgrace can be attached to the Liverpool club, as throughout last season’s league tourney the Villans suffered reverse on but five occasions. William McCann unmistakeably demonstrated that he is the right man in the right place, and must be commiserated with in his ill-luck when clearing that shot from Steve Smith, which resulted in the visitors equalising.
Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean were superb during the first half and greater portion of the second period, but then appeared to lose their tempers, and their play in consequence suffered greatly. Matt McQueen was in excellent form at left half, checking Charles Athersmith and Bob Chatt most successfully. Joe McQue was evidently somewhat out of sorts. The injury he received at Blackburn still has a deterrent effect upon his play, but no doubt he will soon be himself again. He had a wily customer to face in Jack Devey, and that he coped with such a class player is the manner he did in the first half is highly creditable. John McCartney, through lack of speed, was nothing approaching the success he was in the two previous matches. If James McBride is fit to play, it would appear to be advisable to introduce that player in the half-back division in preference to McCartney when opposing clubs possessing speedy forwards.
The home forwards at times showed up finely – their dashing and headlong rushes taking the Villa’s defence by surprise, and being always an imminent source of danger. Harry Bradshaw, Hugh McQueen and Patrick Gordon were most prominent, although John Givens put a lot of honest work in in his onerous position, but did not shine as a shootist.
Albert Wilkes, Jimmy Welford, and James Elliott make a very string and combined defence, Elliott showing slightly the best form. The three halves are exceptionally good, Jack Reynolds and Jimmy Cowan, in particular, defending, attacking and running in brilliant style. The forwards generally displayed grand football, dodging, passing, and repassing in fine style; but their shooting was of the lowest order, lacking both sting and precision.
Jimmy Ross was upon the ground, and did not play owing to the want of condition. It is expected, however, that he will take part in the game on Thursday against Bolton Wanderers. The gate realised between £500 and £600, and is the record for the Anfield-road enclosure.
(Liverpool Mercury, 10-09-1894)
Jimmy Ross, about to get ready to play for Liverpool F.C.