November 4, 1895
While Everton are slowly but surely pulling themselves together, the Liverpool team are certainly on the downward grade. To lose four away matches in a month, especially at such an early period of the season, bodes ill for their chances of the championship, or even their chance of competing in the test matches.
The aggravating feature, too, is that three out of four losses have been almost free gifts to their opponents. If ever a team – and particularly a powerful combination like Liverpool – had a great opportunity of covering themselves with glory it was the team on Saturday last.
Against equal teams a lead of two goals is always considered good enough for a win, and the failure of Jimmy Ross’s men to grasp such a chance is a sure sign of a great underlying weakness.
Even with the absence of John Holmes and Malcolm McVean borne in mind, the substitutes Matt McQueen and Davie Hannah, are of such good quality that the extraordinary and tremendous defeat cannot be put down to that cause altogether.
It appears rather to be a want of esprit de corps, primarily, and secondly a woeful lack of dash and common-sense methods of the whole eleven, and especially of the forwards, when playing away from home.
Immediately the visitors had obtained their two goals they went in for a lot of “parlour” play, which, although appearing very nice from a spectators point of view, allows a determined team to gather themselves together.
If the Liverpool forwards had kept the pace up to the pressure they started at they would without much doubt demoralised the Heathens, for at the stage they began to ease up and indulge in a lot of finessing, both John Dow and Fred Erentz were very shaky in their clearances, the former especially, and it but required the rubbing-in process to be adopted to have completely and effectually won the game.
On account of the forwards slackening in their efforts, a natural consequence was that the half-backs and backs were given more than their share of work, and they, not meeting the rushing tactics of the Newton forwards in the proper manner, were rather easily beaten, and then made matters worse by becoming flurried.
Had there been but one calm, level-headed, and reliable back the game might have been saved; but unfortunately it was not to be, and in a very short time the home eleven had rushed two goals.
From this point the visitors were a beaten and disorganised team, and no department did anything worthy of their reputation.
John Whitehead’s inclusion, as it afterwards turned out to be, was a serious mistake. He has only just recovered from a severe attack of typhoid fever, and took the field with nerves as unstrung as it was possibly for them to be, and, as a result, was unwittingly the direct cause of the loss of more than one goal.
Neither Archie Goldie nor Tom Wilkie ever approached the high standard exhibited against Notts County the week previous, although the latter did himself greater justice towards the end of the game. Goldie was weak throughout, and for some inexplicable reason kept missing the ball, even when no opponent was near him.
The half-back play was but of a mediocre description, Joe McQue being the best of the trio on the whole, yet he never got the weight of Joseph Cassidy. He was continually failing on the floor when tackling one or another of his opponents, seeming quite unable to maintain his balance.
Matt McQueen, perhaps due to the shortcomings of Frank Becton, was but little on evidence at the start, but towards the finish he had completely mastered his opposing wing.
Billy Keech throughout the encounter appeared over anxious and consequently being too highly tried floundered about with but a small degree of success against the extremely smart left wing of the Manchester club.
After a display of some very pretty and close work between the three inside forwards at the outset nothing of note was performed by this trio, and on the day’s play the most successful workers were Davie Hannah and Fred Geary.
Becton was a rank failure throughout for so great a player, and it is apparent to the merest novice of the game that he is entirely out of condition, and there is no question that he has trespassed in this fashion in several previous games.
On the day’s form Hannah appeared the most fit of the quintet, and what is more was a thorough trier.
Harry Bradshaw at home and Bradshaw away are two different players, while has developed a too-clever flashy style of play, which is more suited for a schoolboy’s team in a public park than for a high-class player.
Ross found more than his match in James McNaught, and was given no quarter, whilst his generalship can be questioned for not altering his tactics, or at least the “modus operandi” of the team, when he saw the gradual deterioration.
Of the Newton Heath team, every sportsman can give them nothing but unstinted praise. To be two goals behind, and that too against a stiff wind, and then to draw the game out of the fire, so to speak, and eventually win in such a handsome manner is indeed a glorious feat, and one they deserve the highest compliments for. They saw the chance when Liverpool eased up, and quickly availed themselves of it, and to McNaught and Cassidy are the chief honours due.
The manner the Heathens’ centre pioneered his forwards was a great treat, especially the way he opened up chances for the left wing, Richard Smith and Jack Peters, and by a happy combination of the two styles of forward play he brought his attack up to a point of irresponsibility.
The contest taken altogether was a grand one, and pleased their supporters, as can be easily imagined, immensely.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: November 4, 1895)