September 11, 1899
The League season was opened at Anfield on Saturday in fine though boisterous weather, a capital attraction in the shape of a visit from the Wearsiders forming the programme. Over 20,000 spectators surrounded the enclosure, and with the ground in really find condition, a fast and exciting game was anticipated. Both teams were well represented, and Mr. Tom Armitt (Leek) had control of the following sides.
Liverpool: Bill Perkins, General Stevenson, Billy Dunlop, Rab Howell, Alex Raisbeck, William Goldie, John Cox, John “Sailor” Hunter, Peter Kyle, Hugh Morgan, Tom Robertson.
Sunderland: Ned Doig, Andy McCombie, Robert McNeill, Matthew Ferguson, Sandy McAllister, William Raisbeck, James Crawford, Jim Leslie, Billy Farquhar, William Fulton, Colin McLatchie.
Sunderland won the toss and commenced with a fairly strong breeze behind them. The home side were the first to threaten danger, but Robertson on two occasions spoiled chances by running the ball behind. For some time play was located in midfield, and though the visitors’ right wing made several attempts to get through, they were repeatedly pulled up by Dunlop. The home forward indulged in some neat passing, but failed to endanger the Sunderland goal, owing to weak shooting, though Hunter came near the mark from a pass by Howell, the ball travelling just wide of the posts.
Sunderland were more effective when in possession, and Raisbeck stopped a warm shot from Farquhar, but the home right getting away, Cox centred nicely, Kyle failing to utulise the pass. At length, Crawford beat Goldie and Dunlop, and shooting across struck the upright, when McLatchie catching the rebound drove into the net. This success encouraged the visitors, and another burst along the right wing, led to Farquhar getting his head to a dropping shot, and Perkins was beaten a second time.
Sunderland were now going in capital style, and Perkins saved splendidly from Crawford. A change was brought about by Morgan and Robertson racing away, but the latter shot wretchedly, and Sunderland were quickly around the home goal again. The defence was srely tested, shots being sent in, which were luckily intercepted by one or other of the backs, but close on time the ball was sent into the net by Crawford, who was adjuged offside, and a moment later Leslie beat Perkins, only to find the referee’s verdict against him.
At half-time the visitors were two goals head.
On resuming Liverpool, with the wind behind them, made headway, and Cox attempted twice to lower Doig’s charge without avail. The visitors changed theor tactics in this half, relying upon the kick and rush style, and with Farquhar lying close on the backs, the Sunderland wings were often boding danger to the home goal. Occasionally the Liverpool forwards got away, but their attempts to score were very feeble, and the Sunderland backs easily stalled off every attack.
From a movement on the home right Cox was fouled, and the Sunderland goal was endangered, but the ball was driven back by McNaill, and the visitors going away with a rush Crawford almost defeated Perkins a third time, whilst a few minutes later McLatchie had a fine chance close in, but was fouled by Stevenson.
Sunderland were more dangerous than the home side when in motion, and gave Dunlop and Stevenson some anxious moments. Raisbeck, however, was repeatedly in evidence, and the visitors were prevented from adding to their score. Liverpool gained two corners in the closing stages of the game, , but Doig and his backs were not to be beaten, and when the whistle blew Sunderland were left deservedly victorious.
Final result. – Liverpool 0 goals, Sunderland 2 goals.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 11, 1899)