February 22, 1896
Match: Football League, Second Division, at Anfield, kick-off: 15:30.
Liverpool – Grimsby Town 3-1 (3-1).
Liverpool (2-3-5): Harry Storer, Archie Goldie, Tom Wilkie, John McCartney, Joe McQue, Matt McQueen, Malcolm McVean, Jimmy Ross (C), George Allan, Frank Becton, Harry Bradshaw.
Grimsby Town (2-3-5): Jimmy Whitehouse, Billy Lindsay, Felix Davis, Stuart Munn, Sandy Higgins, James Graham, John Bell, Tom Pratt, Tommy McCairns, Harry Fletcher, Bob Gray.
The goals: 0-1 Gray (10 min.), 1-1 Allan (12 min.), 2-1 Becton (13 min.), 3-1 Allan (15 min.).
The visit of the redoubtable “Fishermen” to Anfield on Saturday brought together a splendid gate, the assembly numbering not far short of 10,000 spectators. The visitors were at their greatest strength, while Liverpool substituted the veteran Matt McQueen for John Holmes, who is on the injured list.
Having lost the toss for choice of ends, the Liverpool team started towards the Anfield goal, but their opponents were the first to become prominent. Goldie and McQueen reversed the play, Allan, Becton, and Ross transferring to the other end, where the game was located for some little time.
A long punt forward at length placed Fletcher and Gray in possession, and the latter getting the better of a tussle with the Liverpool backs, scored the first point with an overhead kick, which quite deceived Storer.
On restarting, the home attack went away in fine style, and by swift rushes and timely passes placed Whitehouse under a severe bombardment, which he successfully withstood till Allan entirely beat him with a fast shot from a free kick judiciously taken by McQue.
Once having equalised, the Liverpool men put in a refreshing amount of energy into their work, and as the finale of another fusillade Becton shortly afterwards broke down the Grimsby defence once more. A few moments later Allan headed a heard point from a corner taken by Ross, and although the Anfield brigade tried hard to increase their score no addition had been made by half-time.
On resuming the Liverpool men again took up the attack, but were met with unduly severe treatment, and ere long it was seen that the grand exchanges of the first half were likely to be entirely absent during the later stages; and so it proved to be, for as the encounter proceeded it degenerated into something approaching a Donnybrook fair, and football of any quality was altogether missing.
Right up to the finish this kind of a fight – which term could be used in a literal sense – went on, and at the finish an ugly rush was made upon the field from all sides, but fortunately the better sense of the people predominated, and no injury was done. A most unsatisfactory game resulted in a win for Liverpool by 3 goals to 1.
(Liverpool Mercury: February 24, 1896)
Harry Storer, Liverpool (Lloyd’s Weekly News: December 1, 1895):
Harry Bradshaw, Liverpool (Illustrated Police Budget: November 11, 1899):