September 25, 1899
The great match at Anfield between the elect of Liverpool and Everton ended disastrously for the home club, and enabled their rivals to regain some of the honours that were so ruthlessly torn from their grasp last season.
Nothing stimulates the sporting instinct more than a pitched battle between two clubs of the same city or district, for each organisation boasts its enthusiastic supporters, who for weeks prior to the actual contest have carried on a wordy warfare, quite as exciting and much more satisfactory to them, than often the game itself results.
Those who pinned their faith in the ability of the Reds to repeat their dose of last year must have been terribly disappointed, not so much with the result of the struggle as with the form displayed by their favourites.
The weather at one time appeared likely to seriously affect the gate, but evidently the elements are not considered when such an issue is at stake as the one under notice, though truth to tell, the excellently appointed and well covered arena of the Liverpool Club is sufficiently protected against any contingency.
At any rate the people rolled up in thousands, and if at the finish there were some who wore the gloomy visage significant of disappointed hopes, the majority must have been satisfied with the bill of fare provided.
Not that it was a great game, by any means, for high wind in the first place militated against a correct exposition, whilst in addition the players particularly on the Liverpool side appeared to have marked out the lunging kick, coupled with an unbounded providential trust in eventualities as their style of playing the game.
Let it be stated at the outset that there could be no doubt as to the superior eleven, for both when having the advantage of the wind and when operating against it did Everton display more dangerous methods than their opponents.
Of course there was always a certain amount of interest in the game, for on these occasions, the very fact of kicking the ball anywhere or anyhow is lustily applauded of sneered at by the respective partisans; but apart from this there were occasions flashes of bright work emanating mostly from an individuals meteric rush than from some well concerted efforts of a number.
The face of both teams being without a point to their credit was perhaps sufficient to incite the men to such deeds of valour, for in the words of Mr. Dombey’s sister. ‘’It was really necessary that someone should make an effort.”
Everton must have made the bigger effort, for they annexed all the points at the finish, and it was distinctly appropriate that ‘’Settle” should have this unique honour of blighting the hopes of Anfield.
It is perfectly clear, judging from the team put on the field by Everton that the selection committee know not a medium course, but pursue the often ill-fated policy of rushing to extremes.
The eleven which had done duty for the club previous to Saturday had been given a fair trial and found wanting in some particular instance and had not secured a victory out of three attempts.
Changes were of course naturally anticipated, and those who expected most must have been thoroughly satisfied.
Gee, who has shown about the best form in front rank, was shelved altogether and Taylor brought from halfback amongst the forwards.
Surely it has been decided by now whether Taylor is to be a forward or a halfback and judging from the manocevres at Anfield the Everton skipper was evidently trying every position on the field for the purpose of discovering which would best suit his capacities.
The sweeping changes brought victory, though whether the result was due to the alterations in the team of the rank bad play of the home side is opened to question. The latter case seems the more plausible.
Doubtless the action of the selectionists will be received in some quarters as demonstrating the keen discernment of this body, but what if Everton had lost?
With Gee as partner with Settle, Everton would have shown to greater advantage at Anfield.
Their forwards were more reliable than those of the home side, and beyond measure more dangerous when in possession of the ball.
Taylor evidently intended to butive Sir Boyle Roche bird, and be not in two but half-a-dozen places at one time. All the same he gave a good display, at times acting as vanguard to Sharp, and always ready to pounce on any stray chance, but ever enabling the men on either side to him to make headway and the most of every opportunity.
The whole line showed more system and more ability than their opponents, and in marked contrast to the previous week, did not fail to bang the ball into goal at every opportunity.
The halves were capital, and the excellent form displayed by Blythe must have fixed the Jarrow youth’s permanent position in the team. There was no better player on the field, though both Boyle and Wolstenholne rendered excellent service the former being more judicious and effective than for some time past.
Balmer and Molyneux were a pair of good sound backs, though the latter found Cox a tough opponents, but Balmer was rarely in difficulties and kicked strongly even under disadvantageous conditions, Muir had such an easy time that he almost allowed a slow rolling shot to beat him being evidently too suprising to find the ball coming anywhere near him.
The Liverpool team were like a ship without a man at the helm.
The forwards were disjointed, and no wonder for Wilson, who acted as a sort of stop gap in the centre had not the remotest idea of his position.
The sight of a blue jersey seemed to infuriate him into a boisterous rush, but for all practical purposes he might just as well have been a spectator.
Cox was the best man in this line though Robertson put in a few old-time sprints, and the inside men were passable, but they were as a body incompetent.
To be deprived of the services of Allan and Walker is a great blow to Liverpool, and the officials deserve some commiseration for their bad luck.
The Anfield Mark Tapleys must be having a glorious time just now.
There is really some credit in being cheerful under present circumstances. At half. Howell played a rare good game and both Raisebeck and W. Goldie did well at times, though not so noticeable as of yore.
The defence however was very feeble, and repeatedly was the Everton forwards let in and enabled to reach within a few yards of Perkins, who however gave a splendid display between the uprights.
What with weakness both in defence and attack, it is a wonder that Everton were not three goals ahead at the finish. They had the chances.
Perkins was the saviour of his side, and his exhibition demonstrated that his previous performances have not been true representations of his skill. Shots of all kinds were dealt with in equally clever fashion, and his display was one of the most pleasing features of the game.
Of course, the question now agitating most minds is weather Liverpool intend scoring any points at all in this season’s League tourney.
On present form they are not likely to do so.
There is one feature to be witnessed during all League matches, both at Anfield and Goodison Park, which deserves a word of encouragement.
The half time and in many cases, final results of the remaining League matches are to be seen by comparing the score board at Everton, which is placed near the press box, and the sandwich man’s board at Anfield, with the list given in every issue of the Official Programme.
The rapid and accurate information than obtained must be an extra source of gratification to those who invent in the above pennyworth.
(Liverpool Mercury: September 25, 1899)