November 8, 1897
These teams met at Anfield, on Saturday, for the first time this season. Liverpool were still without Archie Goldie, Frank Becton, and Joe McQue, and the visitors had to dispense with the services of Alf Spouncer. The following were the teams: –
Liverpool: Harry Storer, Matt McQueen, Tom Wilkie, John McCartney, Thomas Cleghorn, John Holmes, Robert Marshall, William Walker, Daniel Cunliffe, Andy McCowie, Harry Bradshaw.
Nottingham Forest: Dan Allsopp, Archie Ritchie, Adam Scott, Frank Forman, John McPherson, Willie Wragg, Fred Spencer, Charles Richards, Len Benbow, Arthur Capes, Tom McInnes.
Referee: Mr. S. Thomas.
Liverpool started, and for some time caused the Reds’ defence much anxiety, but the visitors then broke away, and Benbow nearly beat Storer after nice work by Forman. A moment later Wilkie was beaten, and McQueen saved finely from Benbow, but McCowie cleared with a long run, being easily beaten at the finish by Ritchie.
Again attacking, McCowie shot over, but at the other end McInnes was prominent, unfortunately twisting his knee in attempting to shoot. Bradshaw put in a couple of nice runs, and from the second the outside man put in a long fast shot, which hit the upright, and, continuing to press, Cunliffe mulled a fine centre from the left, whilst McCartney sent in a straight shot which was easily cleared.
The Forest then rallied, and Forman tested Storer with a grand shot, which was replied to by a splendid run from Bradshaw, which, like all the others, terminated badly, Cunliffe being again at fault with the centre. Liverpool spoiled several fine chances by weakness in front of goal, and McCowie got past the backs, but failed badly at the finish.
The Forest were always on the alert, and Spencer receiving, centred from the near the line. Benbow dashed in and headed the first goal, Storer knocking the ball inside the net when attempting to send outside. Immediately following McInnes forced a corner in a fluky manner, and the ball being well placed, Richards scored the second goal with a header.
Half-time was soon afterwards called, with Liverpool two goals in arrears, and on resuming the Forest were nearly three ahead.
However, the home team worked down, and Allsop saved on his knees from Cunliffe, though a score might have been obtained had any alacrity been shown. Walker got past the backs, but was grassed in the act of shooting, and at this period Liverpool gave glimpse of their true form.
Shots were rained in from several quarters, one from McCowie being cleverly saved by Allsop; whilst later Cunliffe, when only a couple of yards from the custodian, failed with a feeble shot. At length the ball was placed into the net, but was disallowed for a previous informality, and the Forest packing their goal successfully repelled all the attacks of the home forwards.
It seemed impossible to get the ball past Allsop and his backs, but at length McCartney sent in a fast low shot which Cunliffe helped into the net. An equaliser nearly resulted a moment later; but the Forest again reasserted themselves, and Spencer got clear away, Storer, in clearing, throwing against the Notts man, and the ball went into the net. The whistle had, however, previously blown, a case of hard lines for the visitors.
End-to-end play followed, Walker sending in a feeble shit; whilst at the other end Spencer gave Storer a warm handful. The Forest, however, appeared to have the game well in hand, and Scott and Ritchie were equal to every emergency. Repeatedly they drove back the home forwards, and then faulty play by Wilkie let in Benbow, who shot wide.
Liverpool again deteriorated and were rarely dangerous until the last minute, when a fine chance from the left was mulled, and the Forest were unexpectedly returned victorious, Liverpool sustaining their first home defeat by 2 goals to 1.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: November 8, 1897)