September 17, 1894
Ill-luck is in the ascendancy in the Liverpool camp. To be beaten by Bolton Wanderers after having by far the most of the game, and then forced to fight the Throstles on their own ground with but ten men, is a slice of fortune the Anfield club would gladly have escaped. No less than five of the first team are suffering from injuries, more or less severe, and two if not three of the men are likely to be laid up for some time.
The worst feature of the calamity is that four of the invalids (Neil Kerr, John Drummond, Patrick Gordon and Malcolm McVean) all belong to the department in which the club is professedly and, it may be truthfully stated, alarmingly weak. In the game with the Bolton Wanderers, it was generally anticipated that the home team, strengthened by the presence of Jimmy Ross and Neil Kerr, would be returned easy winners, and the feeling of ill-humour which filled most of the spectators, when the match concluded, was in a measure due to their prognostications not proving successful, many forgetting entirely that it is the element of luck which the game possesses that adds that spicy relish which perhaps is one of its greatest charms of the sport.
No one who saw the encounter on Thursday will deny the fact that it was largely owing to a slice of good fortune that the Wanderers defeated the home team. Although Kerr was of little use throughout the game – his injured shoulder being a great detriment to anything but a feeble display – a decided improvement was noticeable a times in the method of the home attack; and if the players who are laced in that responsible position will follow the advice and style Ross, there is reason to hope that a great change for the better will develop early on. There was a marked similarity in the style of play of the two clubs, but the greater experience in First League warfare enabled the Boltonians to snatch a victory.
The first visit of the Second League champions to West Bromwich aroused a lot of interest. After opening in splendid style, and when everybody was looking forward to a grand contest, an unfortunate accident to Patrick Gordon completely changed the aspect of the game, ruined the chances of Liverpool, and quite spoilt the combat from a spectator’s view.
Of course, it is not to be thought that Gordon’s absence from the field was the sole cause of the heavy defeat. There were other reasons, and marked ones too, and which the committee will, no doubt, look into. It was painfully evident in the last two matches that there are some of the team who do not take that care of themselves they should do. They seem to think that if they pay attention to the usual order of training once or twice a day the remaining portion of the time is to be spent as they think fit.
This is altogether a mistaken notion, and is one some of the players will do well to dispel at once. By now they should have found out the truth of the old adage “it’s the pace that kills,” and the sustained speed at which first league games are carried out is only to be obtained by the most assiduous training, and, above all, careful and strict living.
Where the team last year used to shine, in finishing so strongly, now is the weakest point of their play, and it behoves the whole team to at once bestir themselves and mend this fault, or else they will assuredly kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.
William McCann again did well, but would be even better if not embarrassed by Duncan McLean and Andrew Hannah lying too close upon him. The two latter were not up to par, McLean giving Billy Bassett every chance by his wandering continually out of his position. The halves were generally good enough, but do not feed their forwards as they ought to do. Jimmy Ross, Harry Bradshaw, and Hugh McQueen did the bulk of the forward work, John Givens, although a thorough trier, being always too slow to be of real use.
The West Bromwich team are evenly balanced, Bob Crone being about the only one not up to first rate form. Bassett’s run, followed by his well-judged dropping shots, were always a source of immediate danger. The whole eleven are fast, well-trained, and seldom fail to make the most of their opportunities. Their visit on New Year’s Day will be looked forward to with great interest.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: September 17, 1894)