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Pooled to pieces

Regular readers of our Matchday Magazine will know all the facts and figures behind each new week at Cliftonville Football Club, while our Twitter followers are regaled with daily delves into the archives – and today provides yet another significant anniversary.

For it was on April 4, 1893 that the Reds took on Liverpool at Anfield.

The Liverpool Mercury’s report notes that “Only a moderate attendance assembled and, owing to the indisposition of the home team to play the legitimate football, a very tame game resulted”.

Liverpool – who had just recently won the Lancashire League at the end of their very first season in existence – took the lead when Hugh McQueen netted with a “capital side shot” before John Miller made it 2-0 and, though the hosts were “complete masters of the game”, they were unable to extend their advantage before half-time due to a combination of fine goalkeeping by Cliftonville custodian John Clugston and their inability to resist what was described as “gallery play”.

While the Reds – who could legitimately lay claim to that moniker due to their hosts sporting their original blue and white attire – showed “much more dash and cohesion” after the break, Liverpool raced 3-0 in front when Miller registered his second goal of the game only for Cliftonville to pull one back when Olphert Stanfield converted after “a nice run” by DS Anderson.

Further good saves from Clugston prevented any further scoring until the closing minutes, when John Smith completed the home team’s 4-1 success.

Cliftonville (2-3-5): John Clugston, EH Thompson, Robert Stewart, DS Anderson, D Brown, Alex Crawford, R Baird, James Williamson, Olphert Stanfield, James Barron, William Kennedy Gibson.