A seven stars performance

March 2, 1896
Liverpool’s magnificent victory over Burton Swifts is about the best thing the Anfield club have done this season. Some gilt, however, is taken off the performance when it is known that four of the recognised first-team players of the Swifts were absent, three being dismissed for misconduct, their places being filled by reserves.

Right from the start the game resolved itself into a continuous bombardment upon the home goal by the Liverpudlians, and the former were very lucky in not being defeated with a heavier score, for some of the very best shots of the match were splendidly negotiated by Dick Gray, the custodian.

On the other hand, Liverpool were fortunate in obtaining two goals from fouls, which had they received the non-approval of the referee, would not have occasioned much discussion. After having hard luck all through the season it would seem that latterly fortune have turned in favour of the Liverpool club. Not only are they winning league matches with comparative ease, but in addition their most dreaded rivals have accommodatingly succumbed to other loss, and thus made the chances of securing the championship by the undoubtedly cleverest team in the second division appear of the rosiest hue.

On paper form, the local junior organisation ought again to come out winners of the second division championship shield, and that too in spite of having to visit Burton Wanderers next Saturday, and Manchester City on Good Friday.

A significant point of last Saturday’s encounter with the Swifts was the greatness of Liverpool’s score compared with that of the Wanderers’ successes against the Swifts. In both the league games of the local Burton clubs the Wanderers were but returned winners by one goal on each occasion, after most even and exciting contests.

Of the game itself little can be said. The ridiculously one-sidedness of the play killed all interest, and the usual excitement and encouraging demonstration of the home spectators was turned to anger towards the finish, both against the referee and visiting players.

Harry Storer gave about his best display so far in charge of the Liverpool citadel, although he had but little to do. His picking up was clean, while his judgment was excellent with two terrifically fast shots, one along the ground and the other just under the bar. Archie Goldie and Billy Dunlop were extremely safe, although a trifle lucky, but that they completely bottled up the Swifts attack proves that they carried out their mission thoroughly.

Harry Storer, Liverpool (Lloyd’s Weekly News: December 1, 1895):

All the halves worked unceasingly, as usual, and ungrudgingly came to one another’s assistance, but, strange to remark, the most noticeable among the sterling trio was Matt McQueen, who simply seemed to revel in hard work, and enjoyed the fun like a youngster.

Of the forwards Jimmy Ross was the busiest and most effective of the set, being closely followed by Harry Bradshaw, Frank Becton and George Allan. The outside left winger was especially clever in the first half, and made many brilliant individual runs, but the brunt of the work fell upon Ross, Allan and Becton, whose close centre play nonplussed the Swifts altogether.

Malcolm McVean was rather out in the cold in the early part of the play, but was kept fully occupied in the second half, and was responsible for several dashing runs, the last of which brought about a fine goal by Ross. It was rather remarkable that Ross and Becton each scored three goals.

The Burton players were a very feeble, nondescript lot, especially among the forwards, Bob Crone and Harry Chapman, with Dick Gray, having most work to do shone out above their fellows, but John West and Arthur Chadwick were very fair at half-back. Billy May was the best representative of the forward rank.

Some of the Liverpool players were interfered with upon coming off the field, but no damage was done to them. The generally expressed opinions in Burton of next week’s match with the Wanderers is that the fight will be of the severest character, and that Liverpool will “catch it hot.”

In view of the probability of this occurring, the league acted wisely in appointing Mr. J. Lewis to act as referee.
(Liverpool Mercury: March 2, 1896)


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