December 9, 1895
The difficulty of weighing up and locating the causes of the poor form of Liverpool is becoming a task almost beyond the power of ordinary critics. The fault still lies among the forwards, and despite another change last Saturday, wherein many thought the panacea of the evil lay, no better results accrued. There must be something under the surface when five forwards such as represented Liverpool against Loughborough, backed up by a solid and united defence, cannot score but only once against a bottom second-rate club.
Even Jimmy Ross’ absence cannot be used as an excuse for the poor show, as the general utility man David Hannah, who took his captain’s place, was the best forward on his side. The most singular part of the whole affair is that, in spite of the knowledge that all the Second Division clubs are noted for their strong defence – indeed their only strength lies in this special department – yet the Liverpool attack, although worsted week after week, never alter their tactics in the least.
Last Saturday they were in possession of the play for eighty minutes out of the ninety, yet they never really appeared dangerous, and but one really good shot was delivered at Hugh Monteith. Matt McQueen had about two real shots to deal with throughout the game, being a spectator most of the time. Archie Goldie and Tom Wilkie were fairly safe, but the former did not create a satisfactory idea of his general usefulness, being rash at times. John McCartney, Joe McQue, and John Holmes were on a par with each other for all-round work, and to them lies the credit for the non-effectiveness of the opposing forwards.
Malcolm McVean is not himself yet, although he did many clever things, his chief falling is being in shooting. Hannah worked hard and surprised most of the spectators by his capital attempts at goal. One in particular was a fine effort, and deserved a better fate. Frank Becton was the cleverest player of the five, but seems to have lost all accuracy in final touch. Harry Bradshaw centred very cleverly, reminding those present of the best efforts of Hugh McQueen, but George Allan nor the right ever made the slightest use of these cross passes. The inclusion of Allan was supposed to be the remedy for the loss of form and everything else, but the centre, anxious no doubt to create a favourable impression, worked very hard, and consequently was as often out of his position as in it, while his shooting was not better than that of the rest.
The Loughborough team, as exhibited on Saturday, is composed of a grand goalkeeper, two excellent backs, a hard working centre-half, and five very ordinary forwards. The battle was fought out between Hugh Monteith, Jack Berry and George Swift (the old Wolverhampton Wanderers), and the Liverpool attack, and the Liverpool men came off second best on the whole.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 9, 1895)