November 9, 1896
The return League game between these clubs took place at Anfield on Saturday, before an assemblage of 10,000. The weather was extremely unpropitious, rain, accompanied by an overhanging mist, making a most disagreeable state of affairs.
The teams lined up as follow:
Liverpool: Harry Storer, Archie Goldie, Tom Wilkie, John McCartney, Robert Neill, John Holmes, Malcolm McVean, Jimmy Ross, George Allan, Willie Michael, Davie Hannah.
Sunderland: Ned Doig, Robert McNeill, Donald Gow, Matthew Ferguson, William Longair, William Dunlop, James Gillespie, John Harvey, John Middleton Campbell, Jimmy Hannah, Andrew Hamilton.
The only change in the Liverpool team was the substitution of Hannah, who filled Harry Bradshaw’s place, the latter being engaged in the Inter League match at Belfast.
Sunderland commenced operations, and started in vigorous style, a couple of corners falling to them in the first few minutes. Gillespie and Hamilton led another invasion om the home goal, and though a slight diversion was caused by Michael breaking away to the opposite end Sunderland continued to have the best of the exchanges.
The home team gradually settled down to more telling work, and after Ross, Allan, and Michael had carried the ball well up the field, McCartney shot across, and Hannah just failed to divert the leather into the net. This was but the prelude to further energetic efforts on the part of the home forwards, and another clever run along the right ended in McVean centreing finely, and Ross shot strongly, but Gow saved. The ball, however, went to Ross again, and another shot was repelled, followed by an exciting scrimmage in the goal mouth, which was eventually cleared.
Liverpool were now showing superior prowess, and Michael shot over the bar when in a good position whilst immediately afterwards the Sunderland goal was subjected to a perfect bombardment, and it was astonishing how the defence managed to avert the downfall of their goal.
Reward, however, quickly came, a movement on the right ending in Ross sending across, and Doig clearing feebly, Hannah scored the first goal from close range. A clever run by Gillespie, who centred beautifully, was not negotiated, and with Liverpool again busy half-time arrived, with the score one goal to nil in their favour.
The second half opened in favour of Sunderland, and Campbell nearly got through, but after this Liverpool again assumed the upper hand, and McVean and Ross taking the ball along with beautiful precision, the latter centred, and though Doig cleared, Hannah pounced on the ball and scored the second point.
This was quickly followed by another, a splendid bit of play by Neill giving Allan possession, and McVean, receiving, shot strongly, and the ball found its way into the net for the third time. Doig appearing to divert the leather in its course.
Sunderland now strove desperately to reduce the big deficit, and Campbell had a grand chance in front of Storer, but dallied with the ball, which was eventually driven to midfield. Still the visitors continued to play strongly, and Dunlop gave to Gillespie, a grand opening being frustrated by Neill, who cleverly robbed the outside man. All the attempts of the Northeners were broken up before the forwards could obtain an advantageous position, but eventually another effort between Hamilton and Hannah led to a couple of corners, which were, however, successfully cleared, after an exciting tussle near goal.
The visitors now protested, on account of the fog, which had become worse, but the referee decided to continue the game. The remaining stages were slightly in favour of Sunderland, the home players being content with their lead, and despite all the efforts of the visitors, they were unable to test Storer with a really dangerous shot. The call of time found Liverpool winners of a grandly-fought contest by 3 goals to nil.
(Liverpool Mercury: November 9, 1896)