January 2, 1896
The visit of the Manchester City team created the greatest amount of enthusiasm at Anfield yesterday. The weather was of the most favorable character, and was in every way conductive to a grand game. The crowd was estimated at fully 20,000. The home team was not at its full strength, Becton and Hannah being absentees, while the committee ventured a hazardous experiment in playing Ross inside left.
Upon the appearance of the team, the visitors were almost greeted with as warm and hearty a welcome as the home eleven, and especially was the enthusiasm shown further when the Manchester captain won the choice of ends.
Liverpool: Harry Storer, Archie Goldie, Tom Wilkie, John McCartney, Joe McQue, John Holmes, Fred Geary, Malcolm McVean, George Allan, Jimmy Ross, Harry Bradshaw.
Manchester City: Charlie Williams, James Harper, David Robson, George Mann, Thomas Chapman, James McBride, Billy Meredith, Patrick Finnerhan, Sandy Rowan, Robert Hill, Hugh Morris.
Upon Allan starting, the game went all in favour of Liverpool, whose forwards and half-backs were ever in possession of the play, and Williams saved several hot shots from Ross and Geary, while Bradshaw obtained two fruitless corners.
The contest ruled in favour of Liverpool for fully ten minutes, and during that time the City’s goalkeeper performed in a highly-finished manner, amidst the most exciting cheers and counter-cheers from their respective partisans. Meredith and Finnerhan receiving from McBride, who throughout had been ever prominent, however, altered the appearance of the play, and Wilkie, Holmes, and Goldie were very hard beset.
Storer was called upon by a beautiful dropping shot, but was fouled in clearing, a rather fortunate turn of affairs for Liverpool, who at this particular stage were not going to well. At length the siege was raised, and Bradshaw and Ross slipped away to the other end, Ross and McVean suffering hard lines with two grand attempts.
The game continued to be of a fast and furious nature, and Mann was responsible for a low fast shot which almost beat Storer through one of his own backs lifting his foot and allowing the ball to come to the home custodian unawares.
Another attack was initiated upon the Mancunian goal, and again Williams excelled in defensive tactics. In this manner the game continued till half-time, the Liverpool men being more dangerous in front of goal of the two, but lacking the finish and neater passing of the visitors, and when the whistle blew for cessation the score sheet had not been utilised.
On resuming, Liverpool early on took a distinct command, appearing to stay better than their opponents, and, after a brief visit to their end by Meredith, a foul awarded against the Manchester eleven was almost turned to account. From a scrimmage in front of goal “hands” was claimed against the visitors, amid cries of “penalty” from the spectators, and McQue, placing the ball well among the contestants, Ross scored the first point of the match.
Immediately following this success, Bradshaw got away, and, after Williams had handled, Geary headed into the net, but the point was negative for a previous foul, where one of the Liverpool forwards charged Williams.
Keeping up the attack in a most spirited manner, being greatly assisted by their own halves, the blue-and-whites were continually aggressive, and at length McVean was rewarded with a goal from a rasping shot at long range which the goalkeeper failed to hold.
The interest of the game now waned considerably, while both sides descended to a questionable mode of procedure – the visitors being, if anything, the leaders in this special line of warfare.
As time drew near, McQue, who had played a great game to second half, led up another attack, and Allan, putting to Ross at the right moment, the Liverpool captain scored a third point with a terrific shot.
The visitors were now a thoroughly beaten team, and with but five minutes to play it looked any odds on their being defeated pointless, but Wilkie, dealing to leniently with a rapid dash by Meredith and Finnerhan, allowed that pair to centre to Rowan, who banged into the net at close quarters past Storer, who had not the slightest chance to deal with the shot. Immediately time was called, and a fast and exciting game resulted in a win for Liverpool by 3 goals to 1.
(Liverpool Mercury: January 2, 1896)