A draw at the season opener at Goodison Park

September 2, 1897
The season of 1897-98 was opened at Goodison Park, with what under ordinary circumstances, would have proved one of the most attractive friendly games possible, namely a contest between the two Liverpool League teams. A pitiless downpour of rain for nearly two hours prior to the match entirely spoiled all possibility of a big gate, and under the circumstances an attendance of about 3,000 at the start which afterwards increased to about 5,000, must be considered highly satisfactory.

Both sides were strongly represented though Liverpool without Harry Bradshaw and John McCartney must be considered below their usual strength.

Liverpool started against a stiff breeze, and were early in a strong attacking position, which was terminated by Joe McQue shooting over the bar. A foul against Billy Stewart led to Frank Becton receiving the leather and the maids inside left shooting with unerring precisions, a direct breach of the rules of the game led to a penalty kick being awarded to the Anfield contingent. Becton, who drove the ball, direct to Rab Macfarlane the custodian saving on his knees amidst tremendous cheers. The clearance was pounced upon by Jack Taylor, who raced to the other end, and passing across the goalmouth, Jack Bell missed scoring, whilst a moment later John Drivers sent over the bar, when in a good position.

The Liverpool right wing was at this period showing excellent form, and after taking the ball to the home quarters Becton centred in grand style, but Macfarlane cleared with commendable promptitude, and from his reply Thomas Cleghorn skimmed the horizontal with a long shot. The Liverpudlians cleverly robbed Taylor when about to shoot, and placing to his right wing, Robert Marshall centred across the goalmouth, but Joe Lumsden passed a capital opportunity by sending outside.

Then Everton had a turn, and Taylor brought out Storer with a clinking shot, whilst after repeated attempts by the Everton forwards near the Liverpool custodian, Archie Goldie in trying to clear nearly caused the downfall of his goal.

Again the visitors right sailed grandly down the field, but were weak near goal, and the Everton defence easily stalled off the feeble shots which, were sent in. the home right then run down, and Johnny Holt sent in a quick shot which tested Harry Storer’s ability to the full, whilst in clearing another from Edgar Chadwick the Liverpool custodian had to concede a corner, McQue cleared, and after dispossessing the home front caused a temporary cessation of the attack, which was however, returned by Taylor, who gave Laurie Bell an easy chance right in front of goal, but a backward pass gave the defenders an opportunity to clear.

Following this the Liverpool right wing had other fine opening, but the final effort were feeble, and caused the defenders little trouble.

The weather had now cleared nicely and was considerately more favorable for players and spectators alike. A strong run by J. Bell led to Storer saving a short sharp shot, Taylor and Drivers again renewing the attack save L. Bell an opening, and the centre sent in a grand shot, which Storer brilliantly cleared. The Everton front rank was again prominent, but failed to pierce the fine defence of Liverpool, and at half time, there was no score.

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

On resuming play Everton were early prominent, and as curling shot from Chadwick was headed into the goalmouth by Drivers, but Storer scooped the ball away in splendid style, though awarding a corner, and from the succeeding kick the custodian again saved in splendid style.

Everton continued to press, and Taylor just missed scoring by heading the ball on the wrong side of the post. The game then showed down considerably, but Everton at this period had the best of matters, and J. Bell, after taking the ball almost up to the goalmouth, grazed the outside of the upright with a fast low shot. Peter Meehan repeatedly defeated the Liverpool left wing, and after robbing Daniel Cunliffe the home back took the ball well down the field, and with a long swift shot sent it through the bulk of the players into the net, Storer having no possible chance of gauging the progress of the ball. This success gave a welcome stimulus to the game, and after suffering a reverse the Liverpool forwards went down in capital style, and the ball was bobbing about in the neighbourhood of Macfarlane, until Becton received, and just skimmed the horizontal with a grand shot.

Still, Everton were the more aggressive, and Storer saved splendidly from Taylor at the expense of a corner, which was however, cleared, and Becton taking the ball down in grand style, enabled Lumsden to force an unsuccessful corner at the home end.

A fine rush by J. Bell and Chadwick gave the former a splendid chance of scoring, but Storer took the ball from the toes of the outside man, when almost under the bar, making a really clever save, and Liverpool rushed the ball to the other end. Here a weak shot was sent in and Meehan in attempting to kick away, sent the ball into his own goal, equalising matters after about 25 minutes play.

Everton strove hard to gain the winning point, but Storer was in splendid form, and saved a stringing shot from Chadwick, who sent in the ball from close quarters.

Lumsden raced down from the reply, but after beating Meehan shot in from a long range, when there was a grand chance of going forward, and placing his side ahead.

Eventually the whistle blew, the score at the finish being a draw – 1 goal each.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury September 2, 1897)



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