March 30, 1896
The Liverpool team are just now in a most deadly earnest mood, which, if sustained, bodes ill for the clubs who will have the qualified pleasure of meeting them in the test matches. Like the eleven the Anfield Club met the week before, Burton Swifts, they have dealt with Crewe Alexandra in exactly the same manner, and 7 to nil away.
The dreadful state of the weather, a heavy snowstorm fallen in the early morning caused the ground at Crewe to be almost unplayable, while the atmosphere, with the rain and wind was of icy coldness. As can be easily understood, the players from Liverpool were considerably less troubled by the adverse elements than the amateurs, and no doubt the Anfield mudlarkers or ploughers owe their handsome victory partly to this account.
The “amateurs,” as viewed and judged by Saturday’s form, are indeed well-named, and thoroughly deserve the position they occupy in the League table. For slight-built men, however, they were most assiduous with their attentions to the visitors, who, on the whole, were oftener upset than the Alexandrans.
The game was characterised by the very earnest display of the Lancashire men during the first-half. Nothing was missed or allowed to go a-begging, while nothing was given away, and this, too, it must be remembered, in the teeth of the gale. Towards the finish the Crewe backs showed a very nasty spirit towards their antagonists, and it took the referee all his time to keep both sides in check. Where all played so well and so effectively, it is difficult to individualise to any extent.
Harry Storer had about half a dozen awkward shots to negotiate, and he attended to them in an excellent manner. In fact his display was about his very best and most confident so far with the Anfield club. Archie Goldie and Tom Wilkie are a pair, when coupled together, whose names are synonymous with safety, and they excelled themselves on Saturday. The greater share fell to Wilkie, and his kicking against the wind was well-nigh perfect.
Of the halves, so well did each fulfill his mission that it is no easy matter to spot one better than his fellow. George Allan was the shining light among an eager set of forwards, Frank Becton for the nonce working extremely hard to feed both the centre and his partner. As an inside right Fred Geary created a capital impression, whilst Malcolm McVean still showed that the improvement of late is even still further likely to be added to or enlarged. Harry Bradshaw did a great amount of straightforward work, and was responsible for more than one goal being obtained. With less tricky and more plain, untarnished, but correct football this brilliant exponent can soon acquire his old reputation, especially if he regains his fine turn of speed, which seems to have slightly deteriorated.
Among the moderate set of players attached to the Crewe team, Fred Latham in goal was by no means a novice, but both backs missed a lot of play by being too fond of rushing at the Liverpool forwards, and being repeatedly foiled. The centre-half, Harry Simpson, worked well and to the purpose, but had to leave the field through an injury. The forwards were a rather disjointed but spirited crew, and made several capital and dangerous bursts in response to the frantic cries of the handful spectators. James Peake, the centre forward, was about the best representative.
(Source: Liverpool Mercury: March 30, 1896)