Sheffield United v Liverpool 1-2 (League match: December 29, 1897)

December 29, 1897
Match: Football League, First Division, at Bramall Lane, kick off: 14:30.
Sheffield United – Liverpool 1-2 (1-1).
Attendance: 5,000.
Referee: Mr. A.H.B. Coulson (his first match as a Football League referee).
Sheffield United (2-3-5): Bill Foulke, Harry Thickett, Bob Cain, Rab Howell, Harry Johnson, Ernest Needham, Walter Bennett, Kenny McKay, Jack Almond, John Cunningham, Fred Priest.
Liverpool (2-3-5): Harry Storer; Archie Goldie, Billy Dunlop; John McCartney (C), Joe McQue, Thomas Cleghorn; Fred Geary, William Walker, Abe Hartley, Andy McCowie, Joe Lumsden.
The goals: 1-0 unknown, 1-1 McCowie (32 min), 2-1 Hartley (55 min).

Considering the heavy nature of the ground and the inclement weather, the game was splendidly fought, but Liverpool were the better team, and fully deserved their victory. McCowie and Dunlop played magnificently, and the first goal scored by the former was the result of the finest bit of play seen in the match, Foulkes having no chance whatever with the shot. Liverpool played a splendid game all round, and but for some magnificent goalkeeping by Foulkes would have doubled the score. It was a great victory, the first that Liverpool has gained over the United in League matches, whilst the Blades have yet to score their first win against the Anfielders. (Liverpool Mercury, 30-12-1897)

1st Half:
** Liverpool lost the toss, and commenced against a strong wind and downpour of rain.
** The United immediately attacked, and fine work by Needham put the home right in possession, but their final efforts were easily cleared.
** After a spell of even play, the Liverpool left raced down grandly, and brought Foulkes to his knees, but Sheffield were soon at the other end. Dunlop, however, bringing timely relief with a huge kick.
** Liverpool then made a most determined onslaught on the United goal, Geary sending a splendid pass right across the field to McCowie, and Thickett being beaten, Hartley put in a fast shot which Foulkes saved at full length, but Liverpool persisted in the attack, and for some time the United goal was fairly bombarded, McCartney finally hitting the crossbar with a huge drive.
** The United backs eventually brought relief, and Howell, robbing Lumsden, placed his front rank in possession, the ball travelling at a great pace down the field, and Almond receiving right in front of Storer, made an awful attempt, shooting down to the corner flag.
** A moment later, from a free kick, Storer saved splendidly from Priest, who hooked in a high shot from Bennett when almost under the bar.
** Against the driving wind and rain Liverpool played most pluckily, but had all their work cut out to keep back the home forwards, whose shooting was, however, none too strong, and the Liverpool defence continued to act in excellent style.
** GOAL: Eventually Bennett and McKay got away on the left, and a corner resulting led to the United scoring, Storer fisting the ball away only a couple of yards, and from thence it was rushed into the net.
** GOAL: Immediately Liverpool worked down and a grand bit of work by McCartney enabled Geary to get away, and sending across to McCowie, the latter dashed through and beat Foulkes with a magnificent shot, this splendid bit of play being loudly cheered.
** Liverpool showed up better after equalising, and McCowie, who was showing splendid form, gave Lumsden a nice pass, and the outside man drove with tremendous force against the side of net.
** Even play followed for a considerable time, and Liverpool had the best of matters, Lumsden and McCowie having a clear course, when Thickett rushed in and relived.
** The heavy ground and the inclement weather severely tested the players, and up to half time Liverpool had quite as much of the play as their opponents, the forwards, especially McCowie and Geary, showing splendid form.

2nd Half:
** Both teams restarted in fresh habiliments, and Liverpool immediately forced the pace, gaining a corner, which was eventually sent wide by Dunlop.
** The ball was kept in the United half for some time, but the wind was very heavy, and it was with great difficulty that headway was made.
** GOAL: Eventually a grand bit of play by Walker put Geary in a nice position, and, racing down, the outside man put in a beautiful centre, which was sent through by Hartley.
** Shortly afterwards a brilliant run and centre by Lumsden gave Hartley another chance, and when only a few yards from Foulkes he shot strongly, Foulkes saving brilliantly.
** Another desperate attack was made, and, Lumsden again centring finely, Walker drove in at a tremendous rate, Foulkes again saving magnificently.
** The game was all in favour of Liverpool, but from a burst away Priest sent across, and Storer in kicking away drove against the opposing forwards, the ball just going outside.
** Liverpool burst away, and were near scoring again, Lumsden sending in a teaser, whilst a moment later Geary sent right across, but there was no one up in time to take advantage of the centre.
** Dunlop was playing magnificently, and repeatedly checked Bennett, who rarely got away, and continuing to hold the advantage, play was confined to the United half.
** The United left wing was occasionally prominent, but Goldie and McQue were not to be beaten, the centre half doing exceptional service.
** At length Bennett beat Dunlop and shot grandly, Storer sending over the bar in splendid style, and the ensuing corner was put behind.
** Liverpool gained a corner straight away from the kick out, but nothing resulted.
** A couple of grand sprints by Lumsden and Geary on their respective wings nearly produced another score, and United breaking away, chiefly through the efforts of Needham, Almond sent in a slow shot, which Storer easily threw away.
** Liverpool were pressing to the close.
(Liverpool Mercury: December 30, 1897)

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


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