December 27, 1897
Match: Football League, First Division, at Anfield, kick off: 14:10.
Liverpool – Sunderland 0-2 (0-0).
Referee: Mr. J. H. Strawson.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Harry Storer; Archie Goldie, Billy Dunlop; John McCartney (C), Joe McQue, Thomas Cleghorn; Fred Geary, Daniel Cunliffe, Abe Hartley, Andy McCowie, Joe Lumsden.
Sunderland (2-3-5): Ned Doig; Phil Bach, Peter Boyle; Matthew Ferguson, Sandy McAllister, Billy Dunlop; Hugh Morgan, Jim Leslie, Jock Brown, Hugh Wilson, Jimmy Chalmers.
The goals: 0-1 Brown (75 min.), 0-2 Own goal (Cleghorn, 85 min.).
The “Boxing Day” fixture at Anfield-road yesterday afternoon was against the “team of all the talents,” Sunderland, but which was almost unrecognisable from the eleven which last appeared here, only two of last season’s players being left. There was an enormous attendance, and it was found necessary to close several of the gates fully fifteen minutes before the start, so great was the pressure, and when hostilities commenced there would be close upon 25,000 present, and thousands outside unable to gain admission. (Liverpool Daily Post, 28-12-1897)
** Sunderland started, and were immediately fouled, McCartney placing nicely, but Back cleared.
** The game was fought at a fast pace, and the visiting forwards breaking away in fine style Leslie and Morgan got clear, the latter sending just outside the post with a tremendous shot.
** After nice play on the Liverpool left, the Sunderland front rank burst away, and Wilson shot in at a terrific rate, Storer saving magnificently at the expense of a fruitless corner.
** Sunderland were extremely smart on the ball, and kept the play in the home half, but Cunliffe and Hartley took the ball down, and a fine centre from the former was intercepted by Boyle.
** Liverpool again attacked, and Hartley gave Cunliffe a nice pass, but the latter’s shot went wide.
** The Liverpool forwards exhibited clever passing, but McCowie mulled when in nice position, and McAllister clearing, the Sunderland front rank broke away, but Dunlop brought relief with a tremendous kick.
** Fast and even play followed, the ball travelling at a great pace from one end to the other, and from a centre Lumsden sent over the bar when close in.
** The visitors’ left then bore down, and sending across to the opposite wing, Morgan put in a fast shot, which Storer cleverly threw away.
** A moment later Chalmers tested the custodian with another, but Storer was not to be beaten, and the home forwards racing down in splendid style, Geary put in a fine shot, which Doig beautifully cleared.
** A foul to Liverpool looked ominous for the visitors, but their defence proved equal to all emergencies, and after Storer had thrown away from Leslie, Cunliffe gave Hartley a beautiful pass, and sending to McCowie, the latter had a clean course, but was beaten by Bach.
** A determined attack by the Sunderland front rank followed, and grand passing took place to the home goal, Chalmers striking the upright with a terrific shot.
** A couple of sprint by Geary followed, and from the latter Cunliffe had a chance of scoring, but he was hampered by the visiting backs, and the ball was finally sent outside.
** Sunderland forced a corner, and Storer saved beautifully from Chalmers, whilst a hot bombardment of the Liverpool goal was with difficulty cleared, several shots being sent in, but the ball was eventually got away.
** Liverpool were quickly at the other end, and Geary sent in a fine shot, which Doig cleverly repelled, but another from the same wing was met by McCowie, whose shot was blocked by Bach.
** Nice passing by Chalmers and Wilson gave Brown a chance in front, but the centre put in a weak shot, which Storer easily threw away – a narrow squeak for the Liverpudlians.
** The home custodian was called upon in rapid succession, and Sunderland were decidedly more dangerous in front of goal, but when half-time arrived there was no score.
** On resuming, a miskick by Cleghorn let in the Sunderland front rank, and Storer had to fist away.
** Attacking strongly, Sunderland by clever passing worked the home goal, and a vigerous onslaught kept the Liverpool defence fairly busy for some time.
** Storer was again in evidence, and finely cleared by dodging Wilson, but eventually Liverpool were enabled to get clear, and, Geary sending to Cunliffe, the latter shot strongly, Doig mulling the ball at the first attempt, but then clearing.
** DISALLOWED GOAL: A splendid bit of play by the Liverpool front rank put Geary in possession, and racing away he centred, and Cunliffe drove into the net at a tremendous pace, but the goal was disallowed, amidst howls of disapprobation.
** In a trice Sunderland were down again, and two corners followed in rapid succession.
** Geary was then prominent with a grand run, and sending to Hartley a scrimmage occurred right in front of goal, McCowie sending over the bar when almost under the posts.
** Liverpool had now the best of matters, and a warm shot from Cunliffe hit the outside of the net, whilst later Hartley sent to Geary, who shot wide.
** Wilson worked through from the left, and Morgan shot strongly, Storer giving a corner in clearing, and from the kick Sunderland nearly scored from a bully in goal.
** Goldie let in the visitors’ left, and Storer had again to throw away a beautiful shot from Chalmers.
** A splendid sequence of passing between McCowie, Cleghorn, and Hartley placed Hartley in position, but Boyle cleared brilliantly.
** A free kick to Sunderland looked ominous for Liverpool, but Storer was fouled in clearing, and relief was obtained.
** GOAL: Again attacking, Sunderland got in front, and Chalmers sent in a hot shot which Storer failed to clear, and Brown rushing up put the ball into the net. This success occurred about a quarter of an hour before the close.
** GOAL: Sunderland now played more strongly than ever, and in a short time Cleghorn, in attempting to save from Chalmers, put the ball into the net a second time.
** Liverpool were fairly beaten, but in the closing stages made an expiring effort, but could not overcome the strong Sunderland defence, whilst in the last few minutes the visitors were nearly scoring again.
The game was a very fast and open exhibition of sterling football, the Sunderland forwards being smarter on the ball and more dashing than the home team. Fortunately Storer was in grand form. He had some stiff shots to deal with, and the defence acting in splendid fashion, the Sunderland men were prevented from scoring up to half-time. The visitors’ backs played a vigorous and powerful game, their kicking being extremely effective, and all round the team was remarkably clever. Sunderland were the better team, and deserved their victory, their defence and attack being altogether superior to that of the home side. The Liverpool forwards were poor in comparison with their opponents, and in front of goal were weak, presenting in this respect a striking contrast to the Wearsiders. The latter created a most favourable impression, and are a string all-round team, the passing and combined action of the front rank being remarkably clever.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 28, 1897)
Harry Storer, Liverpool (Lloyd’s Weekly News: December 1, 1895):