November 15, 1897
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion.
These teams met at Stoney Lane for the first time this season, but owing to the unpropitious weather there would not be more than 1,500 spectators present at any period of the game. Each team had undergone several alterations from that which did duty on the previous Saturday, and the clubs were represented as follows:
Liverpool: Harry Storer, Archie Goldie, Tom Wilkie, John McCartney, Thomas Cleghorn, John Holmes, Robert Marshall, Patrick Finnerhan, Fred Geary, Frank Becton, Harry Bradshaw.
West Bromwich: Joe Reader, George Cave, Billy Williams, Tom Perry, Abraham Jones, John Banks, Alf Dean, Albert Flewitt, George Reid, Alex McKenzie, Ben Garfield.
West Bromwich started with the wind and slope in their favour, and immediately made an advance towards their opponents’ goal. This was cleared, and Liverpool took up the running, with the result that Geary was nearly through, but the united exertions of Cave and Williams frustrated his final effort. Then Goldie in returning a long kick sent the ball against the referee, which going behind the line, resulted in a corner to the Albion, from which the Liverpool goal had a very narrow scape.
Bradshaw outpaced all opposition from the kick out, but his final shot went wide, and Finnerhan was afterwards prominent with a grounder which Reader coolly kicked away. A clever movement between Becton and Bradshaw placed Geary in possession in front, but the centre shot wide, and a foul against the home team led to several shots being sent in, Williams finally clearing with a feeble kick. The Albion worked to midfield, and the ball coming to Williams he put in a huge kick, which dropped into goal, and though Storer handlded it he allowed it to pass into the net.
This unexpected success gave renewed hope to the Albion, and in tackling Dean, Wilkie sprained his ankle, and had to be assisted off the ground. Holmes went full-back, and Bradshaw half-back, and with ten men Liverpool had to defend.
Perry put in a beautiful shot, which Storer tipped over the bar, and for a time the visitors’ defence was sorely tested. Goldie relieved, and grand play by Cleghorn, enabled him to place the left wing in possession, and after Becton had tricked Perry, he dodged the backs, and sent in a fast shot, which Reader allowed to pass through his legs. Albion were nearly forging ahead immediately after this equaliser had been obtained, and McKenzie skimmed the post, but shooting was very difficult at the bottom end of the ground.
With ten men, Liverpool held their own, and just before the interval Wilkie returned. Beckton was again in evidence, but Williams defeated him, and from a mis-kick by Goldie Reid was within an ace of scoring. The interval arrived with the score one goal each.
After the resumption the Albion forwards showed a marked improvement, Dean putting in a fine shot, but Cleghorn drove the ball well down the field, and Williams, whilst waiting for Reader to come out to clear, let in Geary, who fell just when about to shoot, a very near thing for the Albion. The ball was quickly transferred to the other end, and Goldie, in heading away, placed the ball at the feet of Garfield, who was right in front, but he shot over the bar, and the same player forcing a corner a moment later, led to a bully near Storer, Wilkie just clearing from under the bar.
The game then slowed down considerably, each end being alternately visited, and though good work was done by bith sides, little danger resulted from their efforts. Dean and Garfield missed fine chances from short range, and McKenzie skimmed the bar. Eventually a free kick was awarded the Albion near the centre, and Williams placing the ball accurately, glanced off McCartey behind the line, and from the ensuing corner Jones headed a very fine goal.
Liverpool never appeared likely to equalise, the heavy going evidently telling a tale, and the home side appeared satisfied with their lead. A fine run by Finnerhan and Marshall enabled the latter to get well down, but Williams charged his shot, and a long spell of rather uninterestig play followed. The game continued to be contested in midfield, and when the whistle blew Liverpool were beaten by 2 goals to 1.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: November 15, 1897)