September 3, 1896
The ground of the Liverpool club at Anfield was opened to the public last evening, when fully 1,000 spectators were present to witness the Lancashire Combination match against Rochdale.
Willie Michael kicked off for Liverpool, and the home quintet by a sequence of pretty passing quickly surrounded Jones, the Rochdale custodian, and eventually Michael scored for Liverpool, amid hearty cheers.
The visitors were by no means disheartened, and the Liverpool defence had to repel a number of dangerous attacks. Robert Neill especially shone conspicuously in defensive tactics. Just before the interval Liverpool made several brilliant attempts to add to their score, but the Rochdale backs, Duckworth and Arthur McCabe, with Jones, managed to keep their goal intact.
At half-time Liverpool were leading by a goal to nil.
On changing ends the visitors made a most determined rush towards Willie Donnelly’s charge, and after Billy Dunlop and Matt McQueen had cleared the ball, Gibson again fastened on the leather and planted it past Donnelly into the net.
The play fluctuated for a considerable period afterwards, following which Davie Hannah, Willie Michael, and John Clarke experienced hard line with good attempts to score, and on one occasion Jones saved his goal whilst lying on the ground and surrounded by Liverpool players.
Each side strove hard to gain the winning point. Woolfall dashed to the other end, and was about to shoot when McQueen knocked the Rochdale player off the ball, and a goal kick only resulted.
A few minutes before the final whistle sounded Neill passed the ball nicely to his forwards, and after some exciting play had raged around the Rochdale citadel Michael tipped it to Hannah, who headed the winning goal for Liverpool.
This success was enthusiastically cheered by the crowd, which had increased to about 1,200.
Result: – Liverpool, 2 goals; Rochdale, 1.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 3, 1899)