Tag Archives: David Henderson

Liverpool Giant Killers

Liverpool have many a time been on the wrong end of an FA Cup upset, but the fact they have been in the top division for most of their history means they have rarely been giant killers themselves. Only three times during their Division 2 days did they beat teams from the top flight, the first occasion being in 1893-94 when Preston North End were defeated at Anfield.

After being elected into Division 2 of the Football League following their Lancashire League success of 1892-93 Liverpool easily coped with the step up and would earn promotion after remaining unbeaten all season. In the FA Cup they beat fellow Division 2 side Grimsby Town 3-0 in the 1st round but despite their league form, Preston would see them competing against a completely different level. They had not finished outside the top two in the first five seasons of the Football League and although they were in the bottom half of the table this time around, they had shown their strength in the 1st round of the cup, thrashing non league Reading 18-0.

The tie of the round was undoubtedly league champions Sunderland at home to current runaway leaders Aston Villa, but the game at Anfield was next in importance. On 10th February, the morning of the game, the Liverpool Mercury predicted that play ‘promises to be of the keenest kind’ with Preston seeking to ‘regain lost prestige.’ Liverpool had demonstrated their ability by beating top flight Burnley and Newton Heath at Anfield earlier in the season and the Mercury believed that there was a ‘fair prospect that they will again carry their flag in triumph.’

Such was the interest in the game that the gates were locked some time before kick-off with 18,000 inside Anfield giving Preston a warm sporting reception when they took the field. They became more vociferous though when Andrew Hannah won the toss to determine ends and roared with approval when Joe McQue was the first to try his luck on goal, but his shot from distance was over the bar. After slowly working their way upfield by winning  series of throw-ins Preston earned a free kick but they failed to get it on target.

In the fourth minute Liverpool took the lead in bizarre fashion when the ball pinged around the box and when Bob Holmes kicked clear, it rebounded off David Henderson’s legs into the net. Preston responded strongly and spent long periods in the Liverpool half, but they were unable to get any shots on target to test keeper Billy McOwen, although one effort from William Greer skimmed the crossbar.

David Henderson
David Henderson

After weathering this storm the game turned into a tense midfield battle with little side giving much away, but Hugh McQueen did manage to get in a shot that bounced back off the bar. Then shortly before half time Malcolm McVean made it 2-0 out of nothing, scoring with a cross-shot that deceived keeper Jimmy Trainer. Straight from the restart Preston pulled a goal back when Jimmy Ross converted John Cunningham’s cross.

Malcolm McVean
Malcolm McVean

When the second half started a Preston onslaught was anticipated but Liverpool’s half backs were able to keep them in check, and from a long clearance by Duncan McLean McVean almost scored a second. However Preston did find an equaliser, Frank Becton scoring after some good build-up play.

When the second half started a Preston onslaught was anticipated but Liverpool’s half backs were able to keep them in check, and from a long clearance by Duncan McLean McVean almost scored a second. However Preston did find an equaliser, Frank Becton scoring after some good build-up play.

Neither side was happy to settle for a replay and the game was end to end, with Liverpool finding the all important winning goal, Henderson scoring after a good run and pass by Frank Gordon. Preston tried their best to get back into it, while Liverpool remained dangerous at the break and there was an almighty cheer when the whistle went to confirm Liverpool’s victory.

Liverpool were unable to continue their giant killing in the next round, when they went down 3-0 to Bolton Wanderers at Pikes Lane. However they were promoted at the end of the season following a test match victory over Newton Heath. Preston had to play a test match to avoid relegation themselves, beating Notts County 4-0. Liverpool’s only FA Cup other victories against teams in a higher division have been against Everton in 1954-55 and Chelsea in 1961-62.