November 11, 1895
Quite in accordance with their late displays, particularly away, was the exhibition of Liverpool at home on Saturday. Whether they suffer from an attack of ennui or indifference is not proved; but such a slow, uninteresting show as the first half of the contest with Leicester Fosse points to a slackness somewhere.
The play was fitful, and rather of an individual character than otherwise, and the boasted combination of the Anfield brigade was prominent by its absence.
The play of the first quarter of an hour gave promise of a great fight, but after this till close upon finish there were but few tasty touches throughout the encounter.
The old weakness with Liverpool was again strongly in evidence. After some really beautiful touches and bewildering exchanges in midfield, they seemed altogether incapable of putting any finish to the work.
Frank Becton was the only player out of the five who attempted any shooting, while the amount of “pottering” indulged in fairly roused the crowd.
If the Liverpool team intend to win at Leicester they will need to greatly alter their tactics for a similar execution of their works as shown on Saturday will only bring about disaster.
Matt McQueen had but little to do throughout out the game, but “halting between two opinions” cause him to lose a goal which should never have been recorded.
Tom Wilkie and Archie Goldie defended pretty well, but they came nowhere near to their display against Notts. Goldie repeated his Newton Heath failings by missing the ball and man frequently, but his kicking was both clean and powerful.
Wilkie excelled in tackling, but was now and the n erratic in his clearances. Bill Keech, by his untiring zeal, is gaining hosts of friends, and his “modus operandi” could with great success be copied by all members of the team.
Joe McQue is himself again, and his great judgment was the feature of the game. In fact, if this magnificent player had not been in a great and happy humour it would have gone hard with the home team, for it needed just such an exponent as McQue to keep that dangerous centre forward Willie McArthur in subjection.
John McLean worked as hard as ever, but not with the usual amount of success hen generally attains, while his kicking was at times somewhat faulty.
The continual changing of the forward rank, owing to injuries, &c., has had its blighting effect, and now the thorough understanding and excellent feeling of old is seldom apparent throughout any portion of the game of late.
Fred Geary made a successful substitute for Malcolm McVean, and was especially prominent towards the closing stages of the contest. Still he seems to lack confidence in himself on in his speed, an on no occasion did himself justice when he had glorious chances of a single-handed sprint.
Jimmy Ross, for the nonce, was evidently out of form, and it may appear rather funny to read that he was the worst forward on his side. Nevertheless he has done such yeoman service for his club that his failure for once can be easily overlooked.
Harry Bradshaw made a very fair shape on his return to the position where he earned his reputation, and although he was not so successful as of yore he did more good to his side in the centre position than he would have done had he been on the outside left. After all the various individuals tried in this very important position, there is little doubt in the minds of reliable judges that he is the best man for the position, and, providing he will leaven the short passing game, as played by Ross, Becton, and himself, with a few wholesome opening-up swings out to the extreme flanks, there is every reason to hope for a return to the state of affairs as at the commencement of the season.
Becton and David Hannah worked exceedingly well together, but the former was inclined to dribble too much, and consequently wandered out of his position. If he wishes at any future time to give the ball to the right wing it is much easier to send it there by a good kick than to dribble past three or four opponents to that side of the field before parting.
Still his play on Saturday was a great improvement on the two previous weeks, and when fit he is par excellence.
Hannah was as fleet of foot as over, and was also the best worker on his side, and had Becton not been too anxious to score, both Hannah and Bradshaw would more than probably have segmented their club’s total.
Towards the finish the Fosse men showed their teeth a little, and were deservedly punished by the third goal coming from a free kick against Jack Walker.
The Fosse men seemed to impress many with an idea of distinct cleverness and extraordinary dash, but after the initial burst they did nothing of any moment.
The goalkeeper was sound and resourceful, as were also the two backs Harry Bailey (late Walsall Town) and Harry Davy (late Blackpool). Bailey showed a fine turn of speed, and as a result gave little or no quarter to even a fast man like Geary.
James Brown, the right half, was the best of the middle line, although Walker (late Everton) and Arthur Henrys (late Newton Heath) did solid work generally.
Chief among the forwards was McArthur, the centre. He was always an immediate source of danger, and generally headed all attacks upon the home goal. He had capital supports in Harry Trainer, brother to the great North End player, and Matt Bishop on the left, and Davie Manson – who earned the sobriquet brick-top – and John Lynes on the right.
If the play of the Fosse is carefully summed up, they can be recorded as being likely to be a dangerous team at home.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury; November 11, 1895)