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A very tough afternoon in West Bromwich


September 17, 1894
Liverpool paid their first visit to West Bromwich on Saturday, and despite the greater counter attractions, Aston Villa v. Sunderland and Small Heath v. Wolverhampton Wanderers, a goodly crowd assembled to witness the performances of the seaport club. Neil Kerr was again an absentee through injuries, and James McBride resumed his position at left half, Matt McQueen taking a well-earned rest. The game was delayed owing to the late arrival of the referee. Andrew Hannah, having won the choice of goals, elected to play up the slope with the wind.

Thomas Hutchinson opened the game, and at once the home team were to the fore with a strong dashing movement, and an exciting rally occurred in the Liverpool goalmouth within the first few moments of the the game. This attack was, however, repelled by Duncan McLean.

Jimmy Ross, Patrick Gordon, and Harry Bradshaw rapidly changed the scene of action, and were within an ace of scoring, Bradshaw just heading over the bar. Keeping up a fine and spirited assault, the Liverpudlians were seen to advantage, and from a pass by Ross, which Williams failed to intercept, Hugh McQueen dashed up and sent into the net, but the point was nullified by the referee.

Not to be denied, the Liverpudlians entered into the game with splendid spirit, and Gordon after a fine effort, just failed to get in his final pass. From some good work between Joe McQue, Ross, and Bradshaw, John Givens ought to have driven home with effect. Responding to repeated cries of the spectators, the Albion, mainly by grand work of Bassett, came rushing down in characteristic style, and another tremendous scrimmage took place right under the bar, the ball eventually being rushed over the goal line, 15 minutes after the start.

At this period Gordon, who had been limping, left the field, and Liverpool, after opening so well, were compelled to fight out the remainder of the game with but ten men.

Hardly had the game been restarted, when Bassett sent in a long dropping shot, which the rest of the home front rank endeavoured to rush through the coveted space a second time, and Hannah charging, from off William McCann, was penalised, and from the penalty kick Williams added a second point to the home score. With but four forwards the visitors’ attack suffered greatly, and for a space the game was confined to the Liverpool half.

However, Bradshaw, Ross, and McQueen, by neat and effective passing, brought about a change, and a dangerous shot by the latter was charged down by Tom Perry only just in the nick of time. John McCartney then struck the crossbar immediately afterwards, while Ross brought Joe Reader to his knees with a fast grounder. Being well fed by Perry and Roddy McLeod, Bassett was given excellent chances, and from one of his dashes Hutchison put the ball into the net from close range, and with this score half time arrived.

Having now to face the breeze, the chances of winning of the Liverpool men were very remote, especially as one ot two of the team hung out signals of distress. McCann was early called upon, but resolute kicking by Hannah and McQue gave relief, and Bradshaw and Ross attempted to break away, but being poorly supported, were easily dispossessed.

Playing a winning game, the home forwards swooped down again upon McCann’s charge, and Bassett and McLeod outwitting McLean, the latter shot past the Liverpool custodian for the fourth time. From this point the visitors were a beaten team, and the home team’s play improved as that of their opponents deteriorated.

Carrying all before them in another of the favourite dashes, a fifth point was registered, McCann being much hampered with his own players being too close upon him.

Nothing further of a tangible nature accrued, and Liverpool retired defeated by 5 goals to nil.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 17, 1894)

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Joe Reader, West Bromwich (Lloyd’s Weekly News: May 1, 1892):

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