September 24, 1894
The visits of the famous Blackburn Rovers Club to Liverpool have always drawn together abnormal crowds, and Saturday’s match at Anfield was no exception to the rule. Those who witnessed the first encounter at Ewood Park were fully prepared for a stiff and exciting game in the return engagement, and in this no one would be disappointed.
Recognising the loyal support their patrons have accorded them, the Liverpool Executive Committee are sparing no trouble or expense in fitting up extra accommodation and other facilities, which will add to their supporters’ enjoyment of the great game.New stands have been erected at the corners of the ground, and it is rumoured that ere long, the end stands will be covered over, so that, however bad the state of the weather may be, the spectators will all be under proper cover. This will be a boon the Liverpool public are bound to thoroughly appreciate, and in return the club’s exchequer will not give cause of alarm to the hard-working and earnest body composing the directorate.
There is one point, however, in reference to the spectators that needs but mentioning to be easily remedied. In the Aston Villa match, and again on Saturday, a certain section of the spectators made themselves particularly offensive by the use of foul and filthy language leveled at certain players, and as a matter of consequence their displays suffer deterioration, through no fault of their own. Besides incommoding the people in their immediate neighbourhood these individuals lose sight of the fact that they are the primary cause of exhibitions of temper and incipient displays of unfair tactics by the combatants. Again, to say the least, it is most unsportsmanlike, and altogether un-English in fashion to hurl threats and excretions at those who are powerless to reply. The intentional jeers and jibes at one player in particular, when doing his best, cannot come from any fair.minded person who wishes the sport to thrive in this corner of the country.
As a mark of courtesy to an older organisation, the Anfield brigade waived their right to don their own colours upon their own ground, as did Rovers in the first match. However, the white shirts – a la Preston North End – gave the men a very smart appearance.
Of the game itself, a better exposition of earnest and clever football would be difficult to imagine. It was an ideal spectators’ game – the excitement and intense interest never flagging up to the final blast of the whistle. The initial portion of the play was chiefly monopolised by the visitors, but the home team began to assert themselves distinctly before half-time.
Afterwards play generally was confined to the Rovers’ half of the field, and nothing but the magnificent work of the backs and half-backs, who literally packed their goal at times, could have kept the home team at bay for so lengthy a period. After scoring two goals, Jimmy Ross and his coadjutors on either side became ceaseless assailants, and it seemed as though victory was well within their grasp, when the famous never-say-die spirit of the Rovers showed itself, and what appeared to be but a trivial mistake by Duncan McLean cost the home team a goal. This free and unnecessary bestowal of minor points, such as corners, throw-in near the goal line, and free-kicks from fouls, is becoming much too prevalent with the Liverpool team, and has already cost the club many goals, which in two instances have turned a probable and almost certain victory into sad defeats.
Such football as was shown in this match must delight all true lovers of the game, and now that the home team have regained their old staying powers, as was amply demonstrated on Saturday, the team may view their future engagements with more complacency than hitherto. William McCann again did his work cleverly, only being beaten from close quarters. Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean were themselves again, the former in particular getting through his labours in a finished manner. McLean, however, still jeopardises his name and club by his name and club by his unrequired exploits among the forwards.
Matt McQueen, Joe McQue and John McCartney equally shared the position of honour awarded to their division, the latter coming off very well in the later stages against his opposing wing men. Hugh McQueen and Harry Bradshaw are improving as a combination every week, and, with Ross, are the best portion of the attack. The latter belied the harsh criticism of outside critics as to the entire loss of his old brilliancy, as, in fact, he played a great game, his fast dribbles and crisp passes evoking general admiration.
Malcolm McVean and John Drummond after opening in a tame fashion, brightened up considerably, and put in some really good work in the second half. The Rovers’ forwards had a fine chance during the first 20 minutes; but weak and indirect shooting, combined with the relentless attentions of the home half-backs, resulted in but one goal.
Adam Ogilvie had more to do than his vis-à-vis, while Tom Brandon and Jimmy Forrest gave no quarter when at close quarters. Like their opponents, the strong point in the Rovers’ team is the midway line, Geordie Deward, Geordie Anderson and Thomas Cleghorn being at times well nigh invincible. Their judicious feeding of the forwards is worth copying by any team. At the outset the Rovers forwards went off with splendid combination, Jim Stuart, Coombe Hall, Jimmy Whitehead and Jack Sorley shining in particular, but Matt McQueen gave such attention to Harry Chippendale, that that player was not so dangerous as usual.
On the whole Liverpool deserved a victory, but as the first match, a draw was a fitting end.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: September 24, 1894)