September 12, 1898
This match was played on Saturday on the new ground of the Sunderland Club, being the first contest decided on the ground. The weather was fine with a moderate breeze blowing down the ground. The turf was in fairly good condition, though a little greasy. There could hardly have been fewer than 30,000 spectators present. The match was prefared by a little ceremony, the Marquis of Londonderry, a lover of sport, opening with a golden key a gate leading into the enclosure and admitting the players. His lordship made a short speech, in which he congratulated Sunderland on the fact that Mr. J.P. Henderson, the present of the club, and his brother, Mr. James Henderson, had stepped into the breach, and by their enterprise had prevented the town being without a football enclosure.
When play commence it rules fast at first, but slowed down somewhat by the interval. All through there was a lack of dash and brilliancy, though things livened up somewhat towards the finish. From the first Sunderland had the best of the play, and in less than five minutes Morgan, their centre-forward, had the ball in the net. He was, however, promptly ruled offside. Several shots were made by Sunderland forwards and half-backs after this, but many of them went wide, while the splendid defence of Liverpool’s big backs kept out those which would otherwise have gone through. The Liverpool forwards played a loose and slow game, and were generally easily disposed of whenever they got over the line. On the other hand, the visitors’ half-back line was superior to that of the home team, and it contributed materially to the defence which prevented Sunderland from scoring before the interval.
Just before half-time Allan, Liverpool’s centre-forward, was injured on the knee, and he did not appear on the field during the second half. With this disadvantage the visitors were even more pressed by the home men, and very rarely got over the line. Still they played a stout and grand defence, and it was not until five minutes only had to go that the ball found the net. The goal was a lovely one. Morgan passed the ball to Saxton. That player followed it to close on the goal line at left corner, and giving a beautiful twist with his left foot, sent it a little to the rear of him right across the goal mouth, where Leslie smartly headed it through. There was some doubt about Saxton’s being offside, but after consulting the linesmen the referee (Mr. Fox) allowed the goal. This reverse seemed to waken up Liverpool, and they were smartly bombarding the Sunderland goal when the signal to cease play sounded, with the score: Sunderland, one goal; Liverpool, nil.
Sunderland: Ned Doig, Phil Bach, Robert McNeill, Matthew Ferguson, Sandy McAllister, Hugh Wilson, James Crawford, Jim Leslie, Hugh Morgan, Jimmy Chalmers, Arthur Saxton.
Liverpool: Harry Storer, Archie Goldie, Billy Dunlop, Rab Howell, Alex Raisbeck, William Goldie, John Cox, John Walker, George Allan, Hugh Morgan, Tom Robertson.
(Source. Sporting Life: September 12, 1898)