December 10, 1894
Liverpool have become veritable champions at “draws,” and the last, with the Sheffield United, at Sheffield, is not the least meritorious. The game was similar to the first encounter at Anfield, the Liverpudlians being far more dangerous in their attacks, and looking the easiest winners, when some loose play and non-attention to their own duties by their backs allowed the Sheffielders to pull the game out of the fire.
On the day the Liverpool team were distinctly the cleverer in every department, but that of left full back. So full of go were the Liverpool halves that seldom were the opposing forwards allowed to break away in anything approaching a gallop. The manner in which the home team scored had a flavour of luck about it, and once in his brilliant and versatile career Matt McQueen was caught napping by Harry Hammond, and checkmated when attempting to clear.
So well did the general play of the visitors please the crowd that applause was unstintingly awarded their many pleasing and effective movements, and the universal question each asked his neighbour was, “How is it that such a team as this is at the bottom of the League?”
The one special of the game was the grandly-worked and ultimately-obtained second goal of Liverpool, in which Harry Bradshaw deserves the lion’s share of praise. Matt McQueen, as usual, was alert as ever, and was only beaten when the light had gone by a long fast shot from Hammond. Had he parted with the ball the moment he got hold of it, when the second goal was obtained, that point would never have been registered.
Equally, or perhaps more, to blame was Duncan McLean, who first allowed the home right to get dangerous, and then altogether neglected to shield and guard his custodian as he should have done. John Curran did some fine work, both in the outfield and at close quarter. His attempts at pulling up John Peden were not always in the best style, but he has undoubtedly improved since his connection with the club. McLean did all right when not hustled, but his characteristic appealing against the ruling of the referee, when acting as captain, did not do any service to his side. With two such burly backs as Curran and McLean, it seems almost impossible that their goalkeeper could be rushed through, and, as before remarked, this shows a great dereliction of duty as full backs of a first League team.
The three halves were too good for the opposing forwards, Joe McQue and John McCartney shining with great brilliancy, but John McLean, possibly by over-exerting himself, showed signs of fatigue at the finish.
The whole of the forwards were at their best, especially at the start. Since the inclusion of Davie Hannah, a remarkable change has come over the attack. Bradshaw is far more serviceable at centre, and Jimmy Ross feeling more at home with the style of Hannah, the three inner men work in splendid unison, and quite catch the eye of all connoisseurs of football. On Saturday, when these three carried the ball down the field in unique style, quite nonplussing the opposing defence, the people cheered to the echo.
Malcolm McVean did nicely towards the end, and appears to be regaining strength. John Drummond made a gallant show against his former clubmates, and met with the most generous of support. If he would use his left foot a little oftener, especially in shooting, his success would be more pronounced.
Billy Foulke, the lengthy custodian of the “Blades,” kept goal excellently, but the two points recorded against him were obtained at such short range that he had no earthly chance with the shots. Bob Cain and Harry Thickett defended exceedingly well, the former especially, and all his well-known attempts to upset the Liverpool forwards for once in a way did not meet with his general success, Ross in particular evading his charges in beautiful style.
Ernest Needham was the best of the halves, and his grand save, after Foulke had missed on one occasion, was well worth witnessing. Billy Hendry was not so good as usual. Jimmy Yates and Hammond were the pick of the forwards, and from them came all the trouble. Both are fast and tricky, and require a lot of watching. Robert Hill made a creditable centre; but, although great things were expected from Peden, he was unsuccessful owing to the persistent attention of Curran and McCartney.
Taken altogether the game was most interesting, and the saving of the match when hope was completely gone quite put the spectators in good humour.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 10, 1894)