January 2, 1895
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion.
This return fixture between these two clubs took place at Anfield yesterday, before 10,000 spectators, and in ideal football weather, but the turf in many places was rather treacherous owing to the recent frost. Both clubs were strongly represented, Hannah and McCann returning to their old positions, while M. McQueen took up D. McLean’s position at back. On the Albion side T. Perry and McLeod again filled their respective places, and the teams faced each other in the following order:
Liverpool: William McCann, Andrew Hannah, Matt McQueen, John McCartney, Joe McQue, John McLean, Malcolm McVean, Jimmy Ross, Harry Bradshaw, Davie Hannah, John Drummond.
West Bromwich Albion: Joe Reader, Billy Williams, Jack Horton, Tom Perry, Charles Perry, Jack Taggart, Billy Bassett, Roddy McLeod, William Richards, Thomas Hutchinson, John Banks.
Hannah having won the toss elected to play with the slight wintry sun at his back, but beyond this there was no advantage to either side. Richards kicked off, and at once his team were prominent, although some wild kicking took place on both sides, owing to the slippery nature of the ground, which was at times very puzzling and difficult to play upon; and, strange to say, the Liverpool team appeared to be the more inconvenienced of the two. A dash by Ranks and Hutchinson was well attended to by Hannah, who returned to midfield, and Ross, Bradshaw, and D. Hannah ran the ball to the other end, McVean sending in a grand shot, which was finely cleared by Perry from right under the crossbar.
For some little time the home club monopolised the game, but correct shooting or centring was nearly impossible. At length, by the aid of some grand tackling on the part of T. Perry, the Throstles were placed on the attack, followed immediately by McCartney being penalised for a trivial foul, but fortunately no damage occurred. A judicious bit of play by Ross, succeeded by a rapid sprint by the same player, earned a corner, which, however, was not granted.
Nevertheless, Bradshaw obtained a beautiful opening and shot hard in, but Reader lifted the ball over the bar, and the corner brought no luck.
Then followed a succession of fouls and corners for the home team, and it was exasperating to see these numerous openings unvailed of. For the non-success, however, much credit was due to the exceedingly fine and strong defence of the Throstles. Led up grandly by T. Perry, who was ubiquitous as McQue, the visitors’ left wing dashed away, and danger was once threated to the home charge. Excellent play by McQueen, however nullified the expectations of the West Bromwich team, and in a moment McLean so well served his forwards that they were again in possession of the play, Bradshaw first of all shooting wide, and McVean being given offside after putting the ball in the net – a sample of the hard lines the home have experienced of late.
Another free kick against Liverpool for four play by McCartney ended in Ross driving in, but Perry cleverly returned, and Bassett tried to get off with one of his lightning runs. M. McQueen stopped him in effective style, and Drummond followed with a corner, from which resulted a heavy sign on the Throstles’ goal. Bradshaw, Ross, and Drummond suffering hard lines with their shots, the ground interfering greatly with the players when steadying for the final touch.
At this stage of the game the visitors were hard pressed, having repeatedly to kick out and give corners to save their goal; and when half-time arrived the home team, although having had by far the best of the game, were without a goal to their credit.
Hands against Liverpool was the re-opening item, after which Ross and D. Hannah worked a fine opportunity, but Reader just got to the ball first and cleared easily. Even play was then the order of procedure till Hannah, who throughout had played in unimpeachable form, was beaten by Ranks and Hutchinson, when the home team, for the first time in the game, were severely worsted in play. However, by keeping cool, Hannah and McQueen, well supported by McLean and McQue, drove back the invanders, and Ross getting possession when nicely placed sent forward to Bradshaw, who with McVean transferred the play to the other end, McVean securing a fruitless corner, but immediately propelling a fast one just outside the post.
Sticking to their work with evident determination the home forwards, despite an injury to Bradshaw, were decidedly to clever for their opponents, and at length a grand rush by McVean and Ross ended in the latter tipping to Bradshaw, who scored with a high shot, amidst the greatest jubilation of the spectators.
Twice Bennett and McLeod, being fed by Richards, attempted to break away, but McLean and M. McQueen were so persistent with their attentions that the famous international did not shine with much brilliance.
An injury to Reader, subsequent to a stiff attack upon his charge, caused a slight cessation, but almost at once another corner fell to the Liverpudlians, Ross dropping the ball on the wrong side of the bar.
From the kick-out the leather was nicely worked down to McCann’s end, but he was not called upon to exercise his capabilities, although several shots were levelled at his citadel. The easiest chance presented during the day was then given by McVean to Drummond, who, receiving the ball within six yards of the goal, drove it over the stand, a feat which almost appeared impossible.
However, it did not matter much to the home side, as in a trice Ross and Bradshaw, being in a favourable position, received from Hannah, and working own in characteristic fashion scored a second goal, a really brilliant effort. This altogether unlooked for, and, it may be stated, unexpected success, inspired the players with confidence, and it was not long before Ross finished another of the home forwards’ splendid dashes, making the score three for the Liverpudlians.
Once set going, as it were, they became gluttonous, and Hannah shortly after added a fourth goal with a grand screw, Liverpool’s first win being recorded by 4 goals to nil.
The committee were so pleased with the grand play of their team that they intend to take the players to-day to Matlock in preparation for the Sheffield match next Saturday, and the Derby County match later on.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: January 2, 1895)