September 9, 1895
Capitally as Everton performed, Liverpool also did equally as well. The long and tiresome railway journey combined with the great heat, together with the fact that they were meeting Notts under the best possible conditions, the latter always being a fast, fine weather team, stamp the Anfield Club performances with the hall-mark. The result which, by the by, should really be recorded as 3-1 instead of 3-2, as both Billy Dunlop and Matt McQueen called to each other to let the ball go untouched into the net from the free kick, and which it really did, is, however, a fair index of play.
Had the Notts forwards, however been able to shoot straighter, the score would read much more differently to what it does. They had several distinctly easy chances during the first half, which were missed entirely by bad shooting. The cause of this may be put down to their over anxiety to win. Under such broiling weather the home team went off at startling pace, and seemed to trust to obtain goals by great speed and unlimited dash rather than by methodical skill.
They played the swinging game to perfection, and wherever a Liverpool man put the ball into the air the odds were that a Notts man would get his kick in. On the contrary, although given fewer chances through very indifferent half-back play on the part of Joe McQue and John McLean in the first half, the Liverpool forwards, by keeping the ball low and their heads cool, made the most of their opportunities, and were always dangerous when set going, and fully deserved the lead of three goals.
Had the half-backs been in their best trim, they would have worn the irrepressible Notts men down, and then the score could just as easily have enlarged. The referee, a London gentleman, certainly has not had much experience in first League football, for he passed over many little infringements throughout the game which another referee would have been down on, and certainly ought to have been in an entirely different position than he was at the time Alf Shelton kicked the ball into the net. Had he done so, he probably, and most likely would, have given a different decision. As it did not lose anything to Liverpool it perhaps does not matter much now, but it would have been hard lines had it been an equalising point.
Matt McQueen did excellently throughout, while Billy Dunlop and Tom Wilkie deserve especial praise for the work of the first half; but they, in common with the halves – of whom John Curran gave by far the best display – seem to lose their nerve, when the Notts men were doing the rushing business in the second stage, and made matters worse by both lying too far up the field, leaving men like John Allan and John Chadburn, who possesses phenomenal speed, just the chance they wished for. Beyond this failing, partly caused, perhaps by having the sun in their eyes, they were all right. Joe McQue, perhaps like another brilliant centre half, takes some little time to train on, and will be tip toe form in a week or so. John McLean also is not at his best, as he appears to lack his usual speed. Curran gave a sound display of legitimate back play, but unfortunately was badly kicked on the foot.
The left wing, Frank Becton and Fred Geary, were most assiduous in the performance of their work during the first stage, and were responsible for an excellent display of combined work, but in the second half they became less effective, Geary for the nonce finding a man equal in speed to himself in James Stothert.
Harry Bradshaw did a lot of useful and ornamental work at times, and although he was by no means a non-success, he stuck to the ball once or twice without reason, thereby causing a loss to his own side. Jimmy Ross and Malcolm McVean were, in the estimation of most, a really first class and dangerous wing. It is most pleasing to note the revival of form of the latter, as he has ever been a great favourite.
The strength of the Notts men lay in their very powerful defence. Stothert is a splendid man, while the old hands – George Toone, Jack Hendry, David Calderhead, Alf Shelton and Charles Bramley – are so well known that little need be said of them. John Allan, Dan Bruce and Elijah Allsopp best represented the forwards.
Next Saturday Newcastle United, perhaps the strongest of Liverpool’s opponents in the Second Division, will appear at Anfield, and with men like Jimmy Logan, Robert Foyers, James Stott (late Liverpool), and several other new players, a keen fight may be anticipated.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: September 9, 1895)