December 7, 1896
For their preliminary canter in the first round of the Lancashire Cup Liverpool had Fleetwood Rangers as opponents, and the appearance of the Anfielders in the second round became, therefore, a moral certainty. Their opponents have not over-distinguished themselves in their own particular circle – to wit, the Lancashire League – consequently little surprise need be envinced at the want of public interest in the result, as demonstrated by the feeble gate.
Of the game itself little can be said, the proceedings being of such a one-sided character as to defy criticism, but one purpose was served, namely, the provision of shooting practice for the home forwards. The inclusion of Joe McQue, Thomas Cleghorn and Frank Becton, the latter re-appeared after a seven weeks suspension, in the team reminded one of former days, and the trio were certainly very prominent throughout the game. There was no interest in the encounter beyond the possibility as to whether the local team would make their score into double figures, and though the visitors never ceased in their endeavours to obtain a solitary goal, they were so completely overplayed that only the rapid scoring gave the game any interest.
The home forwards were afforded the opportunity of exercising their abilities to the fullest extent, and the Rangers would doubtless learn a few points from their more skilled antagonists. George Allan and Becton had a rare struggle as to who could put on the more goals, and the former just got ahead, scoring four to his partner’s three. And what shots they were, almost sufficient to bring down the entire goal structures. Harry Bradshaw contributed some clever runs, and Malcolm McVean and Jimmy Ross worked hard to obtain at least one goal, but this pleasure was denied them.
The backs had an easy task, and Harry Storer must have been relieved when the game was ended. It was certainly a big task for Fleetwood to undertake, and under the circumstances they performed as creditably as was anticipated, for to tackle a League team on its own soil is no mean task for the best clubs in the country.
Harry Storer, Liverpool (Lloyd’s Weekly News: December 1, 1895):
With the big clubs steering clear of each other in the first round, the second round should witness some very warm struggles.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 7, 1896)