Poor display by Liverpool ruined the day

Monday, April 9 – 1900
A glorious opportunity was allowed by the Liverpool team to pass unheeded on Saturday. They were visited by a team that have recently been running in the direction of the second division, even more strongly than themselves, and in the light of the steady improvement the Anfield team has shown of late, a victory was looked upon with a considerable amount of certainty. Here was the chance of making their position in the first division perfectly secure, for their success would have meant almost equal security for Burnley’s relegation in company with Glossop.

That they failed to realise the situation was demonstrated by the poor display they gave, and the chance of the season was allowed to vanish. The suspense and uncertainty is prolonged for another fortnight at least, and, if they fail at Preston on Saturday next, matters will be serious indeed. It is difficult to speak of the game with Burnley with any degree of pleasure. For one reason, the home team were in one of their lackadaisical humours, and never got fairly going; and secondly, the Burnley players, in the second half, were evidently so excited by the possibility of avoiding defeat, that they determined to risk anything and everything to bring about that desirable consummation. There was an incessant whistle blowing right up to the finish; fouls occurred every moment, not cases of accidental birth, but of deliberate intention. This was carried to such an extend, that the verge of ludicrousness was reached when Joe Taylor, the Burnley centre half, who had been a flagrant offender in these proceedings, caught Sam Raybould round the waist during an exciting melee near Jack Hillman, and, imitating the art practiced by Rugby players, absolutely refused to allow the home centre to proceed. The penalty kick, however, furnished no other result than the bringing to Mother Earth of the burly custodian, whose anatomy repulsed the terrible drive, the injudicious effort of Raybould, who was entrusted with the task of conversion.

The second half of the game would completely put into the shade any ordinary Cup-tie wrangle between two intensely rival teams, and it was only during the short intervals between the fouls and the ceaseless and unnecessary clamouring of the players, that little bits of football shone out. It was a sorry display, and, though Liverpool were a shade superior in their methods, neither side deserved to win.

Burnley scored their only goal owing to weakness of the Liverpool left backs, Billy Dunlop rushing out to tackle Tom Morrison, and failling utterly; and Bill Perkins getting mixed up with the task of watching John Miller and the same time of keeping an eye upon the other extremity of the net, where Abe Hartley eventually planted the ball. The forwards were very erratic, and did not work together in anything like their usual style. They accomplished some smart work at times, but they more often failed to make headway, and from the chances given should have easily won the match two or three times over. Raybould, for instance, dashed clean through on two occasions, but, as has been witnessed in other matches, he failed to benefit thereby, and all along the line, many really clever bits of play were unrewarded owing to the lack of judgment and the absence of the necessary finish to crown their attempts with success. Tom Robertson was by no means a complete failure, but he was often at fault, and Charles Satterthwaite indulged in too much fancy work to benefit his partner.

The halves worked hard, but mostly to little purpose, and the backs were weak, Dunlop being brilliant and feeble alternativily, whilst Archie Goldie was beaten repeatedly by the Burnley leftwing. Fortunately the visitors’ forwards were rarely dangerous, even when they had a chance of scoring, and Perkins had very few shots to deal with.

The Turf Moor eleven played in desperate fashion; there was nothing dazzling about their methods, which were of the rough and tumble order, but they succeeded in their object, and would doubtless, be well satisfied under the conditions that prevailed. They wanted points badly, and they got them, and, as to the manner by which they were obtained, that probably was a mere details. They gained a victory which their play certainly did not warrant, but when the day of reckoning comes the goal scored by Hartley may prove to be the club’s salvation. Hillman kept goal in rare style, and the two backs defended sturdily. The rest of the team kept going, and can now congratulate themselves on having taken four points from Liverpool this season. The latter have surely realised the gravity of their position by this time, and, with only four more games to decide, there is no scope for the indulging in half-hearted methods, or in any but the fully determined attempts to secure the retention of the club in its present position.
(Liverpool Mercury, 09-04-1900)

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