En route to wining the League title, Sunderland beat Liverpool in November 1894.
24th November 1894 League Division One
SUNDERLAND 3 LIVERPOOL 2
(Hannah 75,Campbell 82,Gillespie 88) (McLean 35,Bradshaw 45)
Referee Mr Attendance 8,000
Sunderland:-- Doig, Meehan, Johnstone, Dunlop, McCreadie, Wilson, Gillespie, Millar, Campbell, Hyslop, Hannah(J).
Liverpool:- McQueen, Curran, McLean(D), McCartney, McQue, McLean(JG), McVean, Ross, Bradshaw, Hannah(D), Drummond.
Liverpool arrived on Wearside with just about the worst record in the league and yet they came close to accomplishing what no side has done this season with what can only be described as a remarkable performance. This was Liverpool’s first visit to Newcastle Rd and although they were distinctly inferior to Sunderland they scored 2 goals in the 1st half and prevented Sunderland from scoring. In fact they led 2-0 until 15 minutes from time when Sunderland got their 1st goal and then went on to score 2 more to pull the game out of the fire.
The wild scenes when the winning goal was scored have never been seen on the ground before and the many home supporters who had already left the ground in disgust would be amazed to hear that Sunderland had won on reaching home. If ever Sunderland looked like losing it was here. Rain had fallen during the morning making the turf very greasy and the Scotch mist which hung around the ground together with the smoke from the nearby railway made the light very bad indeed. In the circumstances the attendance of quite 8,000 people was excellent.
Liverpool arrived on Friday night and stayed at the Temperance Hotel in Roker and included Curran at full back in place of Andrew Hannah. Sunderland were unchanged with McNeill still unfit. Liverpool kicked off attacking the Newcastle Rd end and some good passing by the home forwards quickly forced a corner. Hyslop got in a shot that Mclean deflected for another corner which Meehan dropped into the goalmouth where J Hannah put a good chance over the bar. McQueen saved soon afterwards and then Ross got away and Johnstone found him a hard nut to crack.
Eventually the Sunderland man got the better of the tussle and placed the ball through to Campbell whose hard shot forced McQueen into a save. Sunderland pressed strongly and kept the ball in close proximity to the Liverpool goal but the visitors defence was sound with McQueen kicking away several times in capital style. Gillespie put in a clever run and was looking dangerous when he was barged over by Mclean who cleared. After Curran cleared a shot from Millar Ross dashed away and slipped the ball to Bradshaw.
A bit of neat passing followed but then they ran the ball out of play. Sunderland were quickly back at the other end and got a free kick that enabled them to mount a hot attack until Hannah got caught offside. Hyslop sent in a grand shot that looked a winner until McLean luckily got in the way. Ross was tackled by McCreadie who was in splendid form and when the ball ran loose another tussle ensued with Wilson until Ross finally secured the ball. He quickly passed to McLean whose hotshot went whizzing just wide.
Meehan hit a long dropping ball up to Campbell who raced away and looked certain to score until Mclean overhauled him to get in a fine tackle. As the ball ran loose McQueen dashed out and kicked away as McLean held onto Campbell just to make sure. It was certainly a foul but the referee would have none of it. Sunderland were awarded a free kick soon after but the ball was cleared to Bradshaw who raced off towards the home goal. McCreadie tackled him successfully and then yet another free kick was given against Liverpool.
Meehan wasted it by firing cleanly into the net. Curran saved his goal by heading a clinking shot from Millar over the bar but the corner came to nothing. J.Hannah got possession from the goal kick and sent the ball up to Campbell whose cross skimmed the head of Gillespie as it went behind. Sunderland maintained almost continuous pressure but could not get through although they were perhaps not as direct as they might have been. Millar missed by a few inches and then Liverpool raided as Sunderland seemed to relax their efforts for a while.
D Hannah took advantage of a mistake by Meehan and was looking dangerous until Dunlop checked him just in time. Drummond and Hannah were quickly back on the attack and Ross got in a good shot that Doig turned away for a corner. After 35 minutes a tricky run from D Hannah ended with him swinging the ball out to Mclean on the other wing and he cut inside and scored for Liverpool with a high shot. Buoyed up by their success Liverpool had the better of the exchanges for the next few minutes before Sunderland re-established their superiority.
They got a free kick and then a corner but failed to make any use of the advantage. J.Hannah put over a deep cross that Millar blazed high over the bar and then following another Sunderland corner Millar missed again. Campbell tried a long range effort that McQueen saved and then Gillespie drove wastefully wide. Sunderland kept pressing and Gillespie sent in a splendid shot that deserved a better fate than to slide just wide. Despite all their efforts Sunderland were unable to find a way through and then Ross dashed away for Liverpool and was getting the better of Wilson when he was pulled down.
The free kick was whipped into the goalmouth where Bradshaw neatly headed past Doig to put Liverpool 2 up on the stroke of halftime. The home crowd were stunned into silence by this setback and Sunderland trooped from the field knowing they faced a mighty task to get back into the game. Liverpool began the 2nd half full of confidence and pressed for some minutes whereas the home side seemed somewhat disorganised. At last Sunderland managed to break and McCreadie had a shot blocked by McCartney.
Another attack by the home forwards saw J Hannah get in a shot with no better success as Mclean headed out. Gillespie was fouled but the referee chose to ignore it as chance after chance was lost through poor shooting. A spell of midfield play followed with both sides resorting to rough and shady tactics. Eventually Sunderland got forward and Hyslop sent in a long shot that went wide. Very poor play by Meehan let in Drummond but he was bowled over before he could shoot. Gillespie made a splendid run but was deliberately fouled as he made his way into the penalty area.
Only an ordinary free kick was awarded when it should have been a penalty and Hyslops strong kick went wide. This seemed to dishearten Sunderland and when Drummond galloped away past Meehan things looked black for the home side but somehow they managed to clear the danger. Sunderland won a corner but they failed to improve on it and for all intents and purposes they were a well beaten team. All Sunderland’s attacks were beaten back and the long faces of Mr Watson and the home committee were a sight to see.
With 15 minutes to go there was a chink of light in Sunderland’s gloom when they were awarded a free kick. The ball was played in to Hannah and he hooked it over his head and watched in delight as it dropped into the net to reduce the arrears. Sunderland began to entertain hopes of a draw but Liverpool were still a force to be reckoned with and Bradshaw sent a shot past the post. With 8 minutes left Sunderland attacked again and Hyslop got the ball to Campbell who spun round and coolly slotted the ball past McQueen to level the scores.
Pandemonium reigned and scores of people who had started to make their way home tried to return to their places. Roared on by the crowd Sunderland played like demons and Liverpool struggled desperately to keep them out. Sunderland won a corner that was taken by J Hannah and when the ball was curled in Gillespie got to it first and drove it past McQueen with 2 minutes left to send the home crowd into raptures. The scenes were almost indescribable with hats and sticks being thrown into the air and the cheers could be heard miles away.
Liverpool were stunned and protested unconvincingly against the goal to no avail. The excitement was intense and a free kick to Sunderland was sent out of play. The ball travelled quickly to the other end but Meehans a long kick had Sunderland pressing again. They were forced back and after the ball was kicked into touch the throw in gave Hyslop a chance but he put it wide. Sunderland launched a couple of brief raids but were unable to add to their score and when the whistle blew they had won a remarkable game by the odd goal in 5. (Newc Dly Ldr)