September 4, 1899
Had the clerk of the weather been in an amicable mood on Saturday many more thousands of football enthusiasts would have joined in the excitable yell which greeted the final blowing of the whistle at Stoke. However, one cannot have all one wants, and I should imagine the Stoke management are more than satisfied with the result of the game with Liverpool. The contest was looked upon as one of the stiffest of the year, and few and far between were the people who looked forward to the “Potters” “bagging a brace.”
For an opening match, and under such conditions, it was a grand struggle, and I venture to think, though the scales were almost on a balance, that the victors deserved all they got. It must be admitted that in the first half Liverpool certainly showed Stoke the way round, but the way the Potters went for goal during the greater part of the latter half more than made up for their apparent lack of skill at the opening.
In my opinion, the heavy rain which fell just previous to the second half had a big say in changing the aspect of the game, for after this the Liverpool players fell away fifty per cent in their command over the ball. Be this as it may, the home half-backs showed themselves a line that will take some beating, whilst the evergreen Jack Eccles made his debut as captain with as fine an exhibition of back lay he has ever given.
Nor must the light-haired Scot, Alex Raisbeck, be overlooked. He seemed to possess the capacity to be all over the field at the same time, and it was certainly a trying ordeal for a junior lad like Sam Higginson to make his first appearance in class football against such a giant in physique and ability. However, the centre played his part with credit.
(Athletic News: September 4, 1899)