November 12, 1894
Liverpool seem not to be able to do any good at present. Somehow or other they have got into a wrong groove, which, combined with an unfortunate run of circumstances, makes matters very serious and disheartening for all concerned. It was fully anticipated that the team could at least defeat Stoke, especially after the disappointing display that team gave when at Anfield, but the terrible weakness in front of goal, and which, by the way, is becoming worse every week, was the primary cause of the unexpected downfall.
On Saturday the whole play of the team was at times about the best they have shown, the forward working the ball up the field in clever and at times magnificent fashion; but the fatal pottering about in front of goal by all except Neil Kerr was both annoying and disheartening to the Liverpool contingent who accompanied the team. Oft and again the excitable Stoke spectators cheered the visiting team ungrudgingly for their fine efforts, but the old weakness ruined all their previous splendid work when victory was within their grasp.
Without any undue exaggeration it can be safely stated that the visitors were in their enemy’s half fully two-thirds of the game. On the other hand, the Stoke forwards never failed to pick up the slightest chance afforded. Their style of play somewhat resembles the renowned dash of the Bolton Wanderers, and it was this unflinching, go-ahead sport, together with the unreliableness of William McCann, that won for them the match. McCann, has tarnished his hitherto splendid reputation by his recent display, and cannot be complimented on the cause of his temporary loss of form. Andrew Hannah and Duncan McLean were about as safe as ever they were, and if they are as steady next week they will be all right.
John McCartney and Joe McQue were back again to concert pitch, the latter coping in his well-known style with all comers. John McLean turned out a real champion. He is the rough diamond, and only requires polishing to be a really first-class player. If the Liverpool executive could be but as fortunate in the choice of their forwards as they are with their half-backs all would be well. Except when in front of goal, nothing but praise can be bestowed upon the Liverpool forwards. The way Neil Kerr, Davie Hannah, Jimmy Ross and Harry Bradshaw worked together, and outwitted the Stoke men, was a real treat, but their execrable finishing touches were enough to exasperate the mildest of individuals.
The Stoke keeper, George Clawley, shone most brightly when doing his work, and had the custodians been reversed victory also would have changed quarters. Jack Eccles and Tommy Clare were good, but the former is guilty of too many foul tricks. Jimmy Turner was the best of the halves, whilst Jack Farrell and Joe Schofield did most effective service forward for the home side. Farrell is a great acquisition to the team. He is tricky, fast and holds the wings together admirably. Altogether the match was interesting almost up to the finish, but a little more real British grit, and never-knew-when-you are beaten spirit in the Liverpool team, will prove most beneficial to them in the games to come.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: November 12, 1894)