September 3, 1900
Blackburn Rovers were beaten pointless by Liverpool in the first match of the season, two goals coming in the first half and one in the second, and a crowd of close on twenty thousand people witnessed the operation. Apart from the scoring, Liverpool were the better team by quite the number of goals placed to their credit. Still, the game was well contested, especially in the first half, for at times it was rather dull and uninteresting in the second portion. This may be put down to the condition of the players. Nothing could have been finer than what was shown by the men at the start, for all the lot seemed to be as keen to play as the spectators were to view, and the proceedings were just what suited the home crowd.
Whatever the Rovers did Liverpool seemed to go one better, but for a scoring event there was always something seemed lacking. They were all tryers, and good ones at that, but when it came to steering the ball through the somewhat limited space they experienced some difficulty in one shape or another. For one thing the backs, when it came to close quarters, were a great stumbling black to the efforts of the forwards, who in the earlier stages were rash and made a pop for goal at every opportunity, and considering what fairly good openings came their way they did not shape at all well, the few shots being badly directed, and allowed to go to the wall. In the respect the Rovers’ forwards fairly earned the biscuit, as they were all at sea when near goal.
The Liverpool men were better, and the first goal came after good work by Robertson, who beat Houlker and passed to Walker, and the latter did the right thing in crossing over, but Cox seemed to be in difficulties, and Satterthwaite rushed up and hit the crossbar, Robertson finishing a good effort by scoring. This shows whether the Liverpool men were the better, for no matter what the Rovers did in the open there was always something lacking when the most needed, and about the only decent shots Perkins had to save during the match was one from Bryant in the first half, and Somers in the second. Whittaker had not much to do certainly, but the Liverpool men had the knack of putting the ball out of his reach, and he had no chance with any of the shots which took effect.
The Rovers’ backs were not up to the mark, or they might have prevented two of the goals, as they left much to chance, and the forwards were a little too quick for then. Yet in the open they did well, Crompton especially. The same fault lay with the half-backs, as they allowed their opponents too much scope, when within popping distance, or else otherwise they tackled their men all right, Houlker being the pick. The forwards were just as erratic, putting in fairly good work to gain a position, and then losing it through a little slack work. It will thus be seen that the Rovers ream want a little polishing-up all round, their work filing for want of finish. In this respect the work done by the Liverpool men was more complete, both in attack and defence, and on the whole they gave a creditable show. The wing play of the forwards was very fine, and one does not know which to praise the more, but I think the left were the more effective, as they had a tough customer in Crompton to face. Walker, on the other wing, was always busy, and Robertson clever, but the latter would serve his side better by parting with the ball sooner. He certainly provided the tit-bits of the match, only he over-did the thing, and clever as he is he cannot score with three opponents hanging on to him.
The home half-backs were also a more serviceable lot, and it was quite refreshing to see Wilson putting in really judicious passing, which was a great factor in the success of Robertson and Walker. Further behind Robertson, of Stoke, and Dunlop were very good both in tackling and kicking, and all round Liverpool fairly earned the victory by three goals. Teams:
Liverpool: Bill Perkins, Tom J. Robertson, Billy Dunlop, Charlie Wilson, Alex Raisbeck, William Goldie, Tom Robertson, John Walker, Sam Raybould, Charles Satterthwaite, John Cox.
Blackburn Rovers: Arnie Whittaker, Bob Crompton, Allan Hardy, James Hosie, Bob Haworth, Albert “Kelly” Houlker, William Bryant, Peter Somers, Wilfred Oldham, Hugh Morgan, Michael Kelly.
(Source: Athletic News: September 3, 1900)